In the past, a bistro table and chair set with a few hanging plants was enough to call your patio complete. Now, patios are being designed as social centers, extra living space and retreat spaces where residents and guests can make the most of the outdoors.
12 Ways to Make Your Patio a Perfect Oasis
This trend was partially started when the economy crashed, gas prices went up and “staycations” became more popular. Now, everyone realizes what a treat it is to have an outdoor space that is inviting, comfortable and attractive. The following are 12 ideas for creating the perfect patio.
- Get comfortable furniture. If you’re on a budget, blow the bulk of it on comfortable patio furniture. Everything else can be pulled together on a dime. However, if your furniture isn’t comfortable, the patio will sit unoccupied and there is no point in that.
- Invest in at least one space heater. Spend the money on at least one outdoor space heater so your patio – or an area of it – can be used year-round.
- Learn to be a container gardener. Container gardening is a simple way to adorn your patio with life and color. Visit your local nursery and discuss which plants do well in containers, which season they bloom (so you can divvy them up to gain year-round interest) and which ones attract bees, birds and other pollinators that will make your patio come alive and provide hours of contemplative entertainment.
- Think about privacy. As long as you’re at the nursery, talk to them about the hedges, plants, trees and shrubs that will help you create privacy from the neighbors. Even a simple lattice screen can suffice.
- Get in indoor/outdoor area rug. Area rugs help to anchor a seating area or designate a certain area for a specific task. They also add color and style. Placing an area rug or two on your patio will give it a more homey feel.
- Consider your theme. Approach the outdoor realm with similar consideration to the way you think about your interior spaces. Think of a theme, vibe or color scheme you want to create and then build on that.
- Think about lighting. Just as your heater(s) will allow your patio to be used year-round, the right lighting plan will make your patio as inviting in the evening hours as it is during the day. Include task lighting as well as ambient lights – dimmers are always a bonus – so you can control the mood.
- Add a water feature. The sound of running water is soothing but it also helps to mitigate ambient sounds like the neighbor’s music or traffic on a busy street. There are water features of all sizes and types or you can easily build your own.
- Hang some art. I love when clients have art hanging outside. It’s unexpected but so appreciated. It helps to provide that indoor-outdoor feeling in addition to adding style and color.
- Create different seating areas. If your patio is large enough, I recommend creating different areas – one for dining, one for lounging or napping, a conversation corner, etc. Create focal points for each one.
- Include an outdoor bed. There are many different versions of outdoor beds. If you don’t have space for the full-size version, look for porch swings that have outdoor mattresses as the seat so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
- Let there be shade. Provide shade coverage of some sort so you and your guests will have a reprieve on hot summer days.