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Tips for Patio Design

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25 Sep 2022, 17:24 GMT+10

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The effect a new patio can have on your landscape is simple to underrate. Before beginning your new patio building project, this design guide for patios walks you through the important factors to take into account.

Introduction to the Patio Design Guide from Premier Gardens

The effect a new patio can have on your landscape is simple to underrate. The centrepiece or focal point of the garden is frequently a patio. A professionally built patio may be a tremendous asset and provide you with a lovely and practical space to enjoy the outdoors.

We design and build patios of all sizes and shapes, from tiny back gardens to those that wrap around the home and extend off into the yard, as landscape designers (and so, frequently, patio designers!). We commonly find ourselves guiding clients through the choices and judgments involved in building a new patio. Before beginning your new patio building project, this design guide for patios walks you through the important factors to take into account.

1. Size and Purpose

Why is a new patio needed? Although it can seem like an apparent initial consideration, it's simple to overlook in the rush of selecting furnishings and materials!

Is it to be a cosy spot for just two people, a place for the whole family to eat and hang out, or a "outside room" for entertaining and hosting dinner parties?

The patio must be a sufficient size, so the answer to this question should assist determine its dimensions!

As a general guideline, a patio with a table large enough for 4 or possibly 6 people should be 3m by 3m in size. If there are fewer guests or if the furniture is delicate, you can get away with a smaller one.

If you can flow over onto the lawn, you might be able to maintain the patio to a manageable size. The patio shouldn't be fully enclosed by borders, walls, or raised beds as a result.

2. Position

Should it be placed next to the house? The most practical location for a patio is typically next to the house because it makes moving food and beverages to and from the kitchen much simpler. Additionally, it prevents you and your loved ones from stumbling across (potentially soggy) grass.

But consider whether this is your best choice or whether there is another location where the patio may be placed. Remember that a patio is typically used for relaxing, eating, and socialising, so you want to be in the greatest position to kick back and relax in your surroundings! Often, the area next to the house does not offer the finest view. A thoughtfully designed patio can always have a weather-resistant entrance that blends in with the rest of the yard.

3. Privacy

Another thing to think about: Is privacy a concern? If so, this will significantly influence where you decide to put the patio; you might choose to put the patio away from the home for this reason.

Or, if that's not possible, think about adding a trellis, a pergola (see the following part), and, of course, plants to the patio to make it more private.

4. Is one adequate?

A second, smaller patio and/or seating spaces surrounding the garden may be excellent if you choose to place your patio near to your home. Only a chair or bench needs to fit in the available space for seating.

The majority of our clientele enjoy having a spot to relax in the sun on a summer evening (west facing), whether it be for a meal or just a quiet drink at the end of the workday (the "gin and tonic seat"). Additionally, you might wish to locate a spot to have breakfast or a morning cup of coffee.

Having a variety of seating spaces in the garden will frequently result in better use of the space and provide us, as garden designers, the chance to add more flow and exploration to the garden. Imagine moving from one seat or point of interest to another while holding a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

5. Pergolas

If the area is highly sunny, it may be advantageous to include some type of pergola on or at the edge of the patio to provide shade. When appropriate, it can also aid in granting privacy, and it is a way to soften the region by planting at a height.

A pergola is a discrete way to add down-lighting if you're planning to eat outside, which is crucial if you intend to do so frequently.

A word of caution: Pergolas require careful planning to make sure the posts are placed properly and don't obstruct your patio table and chairs. This is especially crucial for small patio spaces because they may quickly eat up valuable room!

6. Security and Other Issues

If the patio is going to be raised, keep in mind that there are safety considerations to take into account. You don't want a guest at your outdoor dinner party to trip over the edge of your patio and twist their ankle!

Other considerations for being practical

  • If your patio is large or if your garden frequently floods, having proper drainage is crucial.
  • Lighting: As was already said, if down lighting is wanted, a pergola may be advantageous. Instead of a pergola, there are several types of ground lighting that can be effective. Installing electric lights is frequently a wise investment if you want to eat outdoors frequently.
  • If you enjoy hosting events outside and want to be able to do so no matter the weather, awnings are a particularly significant consideration.

7. Form and Shape

How should your patio be shaped? Many of our clients want gentle, flowing curves, and large, curving lines can be both functional and beautiful.

Practically speaking, however, rectangular designs typically make better use of available space, which is crucial in today's compact gardens. Consider having a rectangular patio surrounded by wavy, curving borders as one design idea. Any plants that are allowed to overhang onto the patio as well as the design of the borders will soften the lines' sharp edges.

8. Materials

The most exciting and challenging aspect of building a new patio, in the opinion of many of our clients, is selecting the proper paving to complement the bricks or exterior walls of their home and the overall aesthetic of their garden.

This choice you make will likely have the largest influence on the patio's final design, so it's understandable that it might feel a little intimidating. more so, given the wide variety of materials available today. Concrete, brick, or extremely expensive natural stone were were the sole possibilities for pavement. There are many different materials and colours to pick from now that inexpensive imported sandstones and limestones are readily available, particularly those from India.

Concrete, sandstone, limestone, slate, granite, travertine, porcelain, brick, block, setts, sandstone, limestone,… the list is endless! The natural stones can also be simply hand-cut, tumbled, sawn, or sharpened. Additionally, they are available in a wide range of colours. In actuality, there are numerous hues and tints within each "colour" of Indian sandstone.

Of course, different materials are frequently used for the best results; take brick edging or gravel portions within paving, for instance. Not mind-boggling at all!

How do you decide then?

Our blog post on paving photographs provides some starters in the form of samples and ideas. Next, we advise browsing the websites and online catalogues of the many paving companies, like premiergardens.ie, to name a few. You should be able to develop some broad concepts about what you enjoy and dislike as a result of this.

Finally, we would highly advise visiting locations where some of the various varieties of paving have already been installed.

When choosing paving, several garden centres, builders, and stone merchants provide exhibition areas where the paving may be examined (both wet and dry). As landscapers, we frequently find it helpful to accompany clients to see some of our prior work. This is typically more beneficial than merely providing samples because it gives a sense of how the materials might function when included into a larger plan. With materials like Indian sandstone, which has such a wide range of colour variations, it is especially helpful.

As a result

Phew! That's a lot to think about!

Even though it may seem like a difficult process, investing the time to do it well is worthwhile because a patio is not something you want to replace every five minutes.

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