Patio Design Ideas & Tips

A well designed patio adds a functional outdoor living space to a home, and can be the perfect place for a number of outdoor activities including lunch by the pool, backyard barbecues and family games night. The larger the space, the more features will fit onto the patio. A simple design may just be an open space with a table and a few chairs, while a more amenable space might include a large barbecue grill, several pieces of furniture, and have an awning to provide shade and protection from the elements. A well-designed patio will also increase the value of a home, as functional outdoor living space is a sought after feature. After our previous post on general patio makeover advice, this post contains more specific, actionable advice concerning the style, design and size of a patio.

There are certainly an abundance of choices when it comes to patio design. Its size and shape, where it will be placed, the style and type of furniture, how to pave it, and whether to cover it are some of the choices made during the design stage of the project. The following ideas and tips will help you narrow down the choices and come up with an appropriate design for your situation.

Patio Styles

There are a few different styles to choose from when designing a patio, each serving a different purpose.

Bistro Patio: A bistro patio is ideal for smaller spaces, and typically houses a small table with two to four chairs. It is a nice spot to have breakfast or enjoy a glass of wine on a warm summer evening. To comfortably fit a small table and the chairs it is recommended to set aside a minimum of 36 square feet (6’ x 6’) of space.

Living Room Patio: For larger spaces, an outdoor living room is a wonderful choice, as it brings all of the amenities families enjoy indoors into their backyard. These spaces typically feature cushioned patio furniture, a large grill, and a shade feature for hot, sunny days. The space for a living room patio should be at least 16 feet by 16 feet to comfortably accommodate the chosen amenities.

Outdoor Dining Patio: An outdoor dining patio is a great option for medium to large spaces, and is the perfect spot to enjoy a nice meal outdoors. As it must be able to fit a dining table and chairs, this type of patio generally requires a 12 foot by 12 foot space. The size of the table and chairs should be determined by the number of people the homeowners expect to entertain. The patio should be situated so that it is close a kitchen to make delivering food as convenient as possible.

Sundeck Patio: Sundeck patios are generally smaller spaces located next to outdoor pools. They only have to be large enough to accommodate a chase lounge or two and a small end table for beverages.

Paving Materials

The functionality of a patio will determine the best paving materials to use for it. If it is next to a pool it will require a slip-free surface. If it is surrounded by a garden; rustic, earthy pavers are an ideal choice. Price is also a factor to consider, as options run the gamut from affordable to quite pricey.

Some of the most popular paving options include:

  • Brick
  • Concrete
  • Pavers
  • Tiles

Determining the Ideal Size for a Patio

There are several factors to consider when determining the ideal size for a patio. The first is the available space. A clear area of relatively flat ground is required to build a patio, so homeowners must assess the space they have and come up with a placement that makes sense. Another thing to consider is the intended use of the space. Will it be a small patio with a couple plants, or a larger outdoor space with furniture and amenities? How many people will be using it at once? Considering these factors will help homeowners determine the appropriate size for their patio.

Patio Placement Consideration

In most cases, the ideal spot is right outside the back door of the home. While there are some exceptions to this rule, it does make the most convenient placement. Some other things to consider include the view from the patio, how much sun and shade it gets, and the function the patio will serve. All of these factors must be carefully considered before work begins to ensure that it best serves its intended purpose.

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