Common outdoor patios used to be uninviting eyesores. Equipped with little more than a few slabs of concrete, a glass-top table, and a few plastic lawn chairs, outdoor recreation spaces were more about low maintenance than exquisite design. However with advances in patio design and installation, homeowners are now able to turn a mundane space into an outdoor oasis.
Creating the perfect patio design requires an understanding of the many variables that will affect the final product. Before a homeowner breaks ground on a new patio, a comprehensive roadmap should be established. Planning can save time and money when the actual patio installation begins. Elements to take into consideration include: patio location, patio flooring, and patio accessories.
The location of an outdoor patio is the most basic and perhaps the most important consideration of a new design. It will ultimately determine the amount of use a family will be able to get out of an outdoor space. Factors such as sunlight, wind, and rainfall runoff will either make a space pleasant or unbearable. After all, what good is a great patio design if the patio location is too hot, too windy, and too flooded for year-round use?
Here’s a tip: if you’re an early riser, consider placing your new patio on the eastern side of the house for maximum morning sunlight. Conversely, if you’re a night-owl, place your patio on the western side to get the most natural light out of the evening.
Choosing the right materials for a patio floor is an essential part of patio design. Is the patio space going to be used for dining or simply for congregation? If the patio is expected to support an outdoor dining table, it should use firm materials that can create a solid and level surface. Natural stone, paver brick, and even stamped concrete can create surfaces optimal for heavy outdoor use. For dining patios, stay away from unfinished field stone and loose materials such as pea gravel.
What’s below the surface is just as important as the stone on top. Homeowners should always contact a contractor to ensure that the foundation of a new patio is stable and sustainable for the long run. Although construction can be done independently, professional contractors can provide the right mix of base materials for any specifications. Save on the surface materials, invest in foundations.
Here’s a tip: save on surface stones by collecting flagstone from fields and riversides. Flagstone can be found in a variety of colors including: red, blue, yellow, and chocolate brown. When arranged together, flagstones can create a unique mosaic look on a patio floor.
Patio design would not be complete without the right accessories. The right mix of plants, outdoor furniture, patio lighting, and source heating can transform a patio into an outdoor living space.
Potted plants provide a decorative flare that naturally incorporates the patio design into the existing landscaping. Taller plants can add vertical dimension to a space. They can provide privacy by enclosing a patio.
Outdoor furniture reflects the personality of the homeowner. It can be lavish, complete with cushions and pillows, or minimalist. Awnings allow homeowners to be more flexible with outdoor furniture by keeping fabric pieces out of the elements.
Patio lighting brings the patio design to life at night and can turn an otherwise forgotten space into the focal point of a lawn. It should not distract from the overall landscape lighting design but rather blend seamlessly with it.
Source heating is both for practicality and decoration. Fire pits, chimneys, and outdoor stoves can make a patio available for use year-round. They can also provide the centerpiece for family congregation.
Here’s a tip: throw away mosquito repellent candles. Burning fragrant pinion wood in fire pits, chimneys, and outdoor stoves will not only keep you and your family warm but it will also keep mosquitoes away during the summer nights.
Patio design and installation can be a fun project for any homeowner; doing the work at home can save time and money. However, before getting started remember to plan ahead and seek the proper advice from a professional patio contractor before laying foundation.
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