Top 4 recommendations. How to Design a Patio Use our expert guide to learn how to design a patio – and create a fabulous yet functional outdoor living space.
We’ve come to expect a lot from our gardens, so competently designing patios is vital. After all, they should act as both vibrant social centers, equipped for dining and entertaining, and areas for quiet moments of reflection to escape the stresses of the day.
To achieve this balance in the backyard, careful thought must be given. An important step in designing a patio is finding the perfect spot; one that attracts light at the right time of day, yet is conveniently close to the house or equipped enough to provide everything you need.
The intended function of the space will ultimately determine the outcome of the design.
In this article, you will find all the necessary tips on how to design a patio perfectly: tips, inspiration and lots of ideas for patios.
How to decorate a patio: tips from the experts on patio design
Use this step-by-step guide to learn how to design a patio like a pro.
How to plan a patio layout?
The layout of your patio should be determined by how you want to use it – and, accordingly, what kind of furniture it will be furnished with. So, if you plan to host regular guests, you should consider different patio furniture ideas – a dining set, a lounge set, or both – that will help you make the most of the space. You also need to consider how big the furniture should be – in other words, how many people you want to host on it regularly – and whether you need to include patio cover ideas, such as pergolas.
Then you need to plan for the negative patio space – the gaps and spaces between different pieces of furniture, as well as between the furniture and the edges of the patio. Ideally, these negative spaces should be about 1 meter wide.
This will allow you to move around your patio comfortably without feeling or looking cluttered, and, especially if your patio is elevated or terraced and has no railing, means that furniture-and those sitting on it-are unlikely to fall off it.
The easiest way to design a patio that fits your needs exactly is to draw it to scale. This way, you can plan patio landscaping ideas such as flowerbeds, borders, and potting arrangements from the beginning, and even consider the space for any outdoor kitchen ideas.
Rope can be used to create patio boundaries in your existing yard as well, to further verify its size.
What’s the optimal size for a patio.
This largely depends on the size of your backyard. If you are considering patio ideas for an apartment or you have a small space to work with, you will be limited to certain perimeters. If you have a large yard, you’ll have to decide if you want the patio to be an element or the dominant design element.
But as a rule of thumb, you should plan for the size of the patio based on how many people it can accommodate on a regular basis – usually that means about 3 square feet of space per person. So, if you’re a family of five, a patio would be 12 square meters.
Decorate the patio in a kitschy color scheme with decking, a blue patterned rug, a wicker sofa, and a coffee table.
Create zones when decorating your patio
Just like indoors, it’s important to plan out the different areas of the patio at the beginning of its design. If, for example, an outdoor dining area is best placed next to the kitchen doors and provide shade in the design, then now is the time to do it right.
Similarly, you may want to create a seating area surrounded by pots or fragrant flowerbed ideas, such as beds of fragrant herbs or fragrant climbing plants.
Patio zoning isn’t as important if you want to use it flexibly-but if you are designing a patio that is fixed, perhaps because it is a series of small patios on different levels, you need to think carefully about its zones from the beginning.
Design a garden patio in a sleek, modern scheme with a decked and stone patio overlap.
Where to place your patio
Three factors influence this choice: how you want to use your patio; where it will look best in your overall garden design; and whether or not it will be visible.
How you want to use your patio: if it’s just for dining, a shady spot will do, but if you’re a sun lover, a sunny spot is better. Conversely, if your entire backyard is sunny and you want to create a dining area in a certain part of it, you can use clever ideas for a shaded garden to make the space perfect.
Where it will look best: Traditionally, patios are placed just outside the door to the backyard for convenience – but there’s no reason, especially in a large space, not to have a few. And, of course, if the only sunny spot is at the end of the garden, and the patio can be beautifully planted around it to create a beautiful view of it from the house, this may be the best option.
Patio placement for privacy: a patio should be secluded, but that doesn’t mean you have to place it for privacy in the backyard as is – there are plenty of garden privacy ideas you can use to create a new secluded space.
How to design a backyard patio in the formal garden of a country cottage with gravel, stone patio and large plant pots.
Choosing materials for the patio
While we always advise keeping up with gardening trends, it’s important that your patio design reflects the interior style of your home and the materials it’s built with.
For example, modern homes will suit modern materials and design techniques, while more traditional homes will require a search for period-inspired or authentic materials.
The past few years have seen a big shift in the materials and finishes used in patio design, with factors such as maintenance and patio costs to consider when choosing a material.
Also read the article A house with a pool is everyone’s dream.
Porcelain is becoming increasingly popular, primarily due to the fact that it requires little maintenance and the wide variety of colors and finishes available. Porcelain can provide a clean, more modern look. To keep the design from seeming cold or harsh, I use landscaping to soften it.
Here are some tips for choosing patio material:
1. Consider the terrain.
Design the patio to match the surrounding architecture, demonstrated with a dark herringbone brick floor in an industrial style.
At my garden design studio, we usually choose a paving material that directly reflects either the architectural features of the home or interior design elements. We also like to create patterns in paving, so we often choose smaller paving stones, mesh or bricks to use in conjunction with a larger format. The more interest and pattern we can create in paving, the more visually pleasing the overall scheme.
2. Choose hardwood for a patio with decking
Design a patio with layered decking against a blue wall, yellow and blue accessories, and a small tree.
If you’re considering decking ideas for your patio. It’s worth spending a little more on hardwood decking from sustainable sources, as it gives the best and most durable results.
We usually opt for hidden milled joints; this means that the boards are joined side by side, avoiding the need for screws embedded in the surface.
3. Choose brick for character and style
A round brick patio in a wooded garden with steps and a stone bridge.
Considering patio ideas for a cottage or patio for a historic home? Try brick.
4. Choose real, locally sourced stone
Stone quarried and delivered locally is certainly more environmentally friendly than, for example, granite quarried and shipped from China.
Going to a local stone yard or talking to your garden designer about it early in the process can help you find local stone that will also complement your overall garden landscape, like the rustic patio paving used in this small garden design.
Incorporate plantings into your patio design
Pockets of plants around the edges of your patio or as a separation between different areas will soften your design. Take inspiration from existing backyard ideas and choose a patio planting scheme that mirrors successful plantings in the rest of your backyard. However, highlight a few plants, such as specimen trees in containers, for a stylish look.
Planting plants for privacy and fragrance are also important elements in patio design. When mapping out your patio landscaping, consider plant features to optimize the space.
Use tall plants to frame the area and screen the back of the beds, while low-growing or climbing varieties that overhang the hard edges of the paving soften the separation between them.
Use a palette of plants that provide form, structure, color, scents and sounds, as well as tactile and edible elements. It’s important to provide stimuli for all senses throughout the year to make the patio space inspiring and inviting.
Incorporating hard landscaping into patio design
Raised flowerbeds and attractive garden fence ideas are important final elements of patio design that should be planned from the beginning.
Walls built with stone or cheaper materials will give your patio a more stylish look, especially if they echo the exterior materials of your home.
However, you can also complete your patio design with beds and borders made of wood, which can be cheaper and faster to build.
How to design a patio for shelter
Incorporate pergola ideas to add height, structure and ambiance to your patio space and create a penumbra rather than a full sun block. Pergolas are also ideal for incorporating patio lighting ideas, such as pendant lights or scented alpinaries, which will give your patio a sense of secluded tranquility.
Incorporate water features into your patio design
Water features are in high demand, mainly as a focal point, but also because the sound of water or the serenity of a still, mirrored pool transforms the garden into a serene space.
Water features can be functional and versatile; they can serve as habitats for wildlife or be used in innovative ways.
How to make an estimate for a patio design
There’s also the important issue of money.
Landscaping is the most expensive part of patio design – and while labor costs may be fixed, you can reduce or increase costs by using different materials and design elements such as railings, pergolas and walls.
There is a huge selection of natural stone and artificial paving at a variety of prices. But don’t forget to consider the cost of preparing the soil for the landscaping, laying the base, and the labor cost of paving.Here we’ve covered the top 4 recommendations for how to design a patio.