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Patio Design Ideas

Patio Design Ideas

When designing a patio there are many considerations to take into account. Likewise when we look for patio design ideas there are countless sources of inspiration. But before you go out buying paving slabs, here are some points to consider when setting out your patio area.

 

Proportion

The patio is a very important part of the garden. It often forms the link between the house and the garden, it allows people a clean, level and comfortable area to entertain and to enjoy the garden. It is so important to get the size of the patio to be in proportion to the house and garden. Also the patio is to be sized correctly for practical use.
Often, in my designs, I create a separate dining area and a snug or a relaxing area. These have to be sized correctly so that when a 6 or 8 seater dining table and chairs set is placed in the dining area there is enough room to walk around the table comfortably. If someone gets up from the table there has to be enough room to push a chair back without it falling into a lawn or a planter.
Likewise with a snug area it must be big enough to accommodate people but yet be small enough to feel enclosed and intimate. Planting also helps with this but the size is so important to get right. A step down, or a change of paving material can also be another great tool to use to create a feeling of a different space within a patio area.

Linking

When looking for patio design ideas we must be careful not to forget some practical considerations first.

  • Try your best to have the level of the patio the same, or slightly below, the level of the floor of the house. This will offer a better flow from on to the other and lessen the risk of tripping when moving about.
  • Make sure that the areas that you are designating for furniture are not creating an obstacle for a route to the shed or the bins, for example.
  • Aim to position the patio so it maximises the amount of sunshine that it will receive. This may mean having a pad of paving directly outside the patio door which will link to a main patio area in a better position to receive more sunlight.
  • Try not to have a concrete path in between the paving slab and the house. Often times this comes as standard with new builds, so ask the builder not to put a path where the new patio will be meeting the house.
  • Install a patio/sliding/concertina/bifold door that has a low or flush threshold. This is great for a seamless link from kitchen floor to patio floor. It is ideal for wheelchair users and for children.
    If there is no choice only to have steps from the patio door down, try to use wide steps with a small “landing pad” directly outside the door. This will make it easier and safer for users.

 

patio door threshold-2

A seamless transition from outside to in.

Materials and construction elements.

There are many types of paving materials that can be used. In my designs and patio design ideas I tend to go for large slabs for the steps and dining areas and for smaller cobbles for the relaxing areas. I use large square shapes for the design of the patio and tend to avoid too many curvey shapes. I find that there is more value out of the square shapes while there can be lost or redundant space when there are too many curves or odd shaped elements.
The Kilkenny limestone slabs never fail to impress. They are stylish, safe, durable and they are Irish! The Indian sandstone is a popular choice. Try to go for the machine cut, if possible, as it offers good straight lines in all 3 sizes.

Kilkenny Limestone Slab 600×400

 

 

 

 

There are so many choices of paving material, including Cobble lock (manufactured, reclaimed or natural), manufactured paving stones (some look really good others a bit tacky), timber decking, composite decking, outdoor tiling, and various imported paving slabs. My advice to all my clients is to go to the local paving centre and have a good look around and see what you like. Try to complement the existing features of the house when choosing a paving material. An existing limestone wall can be complemented by choosing a silver or grey paving slab. A good choice is always a slab that is subtle and functional but yet stylish. This is key to creating a good patio. Let the plants provide the colour.

Construction elements would include raised beds, built in seating, shelter walls, fire pits, allowing a good pocket of soil for ground level specimen trees to be planted at a later date, steps, and outdoor kitchens. These are all elements that need to be thought out and implemented correctly. Generally these elements are built first and the paving is done last.

Raised planters are a great element to introduce to a patio, I would strongly recommend considering them if you are building a new patio or redoing an old one.

  • Raised planters are usually around 600mm (2 feet) high. So they double up as a bench if there is a crowd around.
  • Raised planters can act as a retaining wall between different levels. This is a subtle and clever way of breaking a change in level.
  • They allow for plant life to be introduced.
  • They offer shelter from the wind.
  • The plants are easily accessible so therefore easier to keep, less bending down.

 

 

Raised planter, no capping, clean lines.

 

Finishing touches

The tone of the brick edging around the beds or the choice of capping on a wall are all vital decisions to make. Try to have a common theme of colour and texture running through all the hard landscaping elements within the garden. Also try to keep the colour of or use the type of stone that is local to your area.

Patio brick edging.

Posted on 13th July 2018