Comments regarding the backyard images provided by Karen & Tim.
S2A: This patio is an example of a poured-in-place concrete slab. I think the look of these poured slabs are improved by the addition of the river stone inserted between the slabs, but this could make it harder to walk on. There are few joints, so this would not address your concerns for a permeable patio surface.
S2A: This is an example of poured concrete slabs that have been scored to give a look of smaller slabs. We thought of doing something like this for the first patio design that we showed you with the stair-stepped planting bed. The more we talked though, I really think that we should lean towards using pavers instead, they will drain better because of all of the joints between the individual paver stones.
S2A: You sent us this photo more for the gray siding color, but this is also a poured concrete patio. Again, the rock filled joints help with the look, and are narrower than other similar installations shown in your example photo's, so they may not cause an issue with walking on the patio. This type of joint could be an issue if you shovel a path through the snow to the garage?
S2A: This photo seemed to get high praise from you guys for the patio & fence. It looks to me to be a 12" square paver, and I think this could be a good look and with enough joints to encourage natural drainage. It has a more contemporary look versus than the more common brick-size pavers, and I also like the random 6 x 12 pavers that they used to break up the overall pattern of squares.
The fence is really nice! Totally custom, and I suspect very pricey.
S2A: This is quite different from your other images, but something along these lines could work. You said in your comments that you really liked this a lot, but Nancy & I were wondering if you still thought of it as an acceptable approach vs a hard paving surface. This would certainly help with drainage, and we could incorporate some pavers to give you a walk to shovel in the winters. We had done a secondary patio area at our last house with bluestone gravel and liked it a lot.