Patio Design... Plans to Prepare Before Building
will Design Your Patio?
You have options for your patio design. A professional landscape architect
or landscape artist would certainly do an excellent job of considering your wants and needs while creating a truly unique
and custom patio design. This would generally be the most expensive option.
Many folks will decide
to design their patio themselves. Everyone has a little bit of "designer" in them. Check out other patio designs
that you like, perhaps your neighbors', or maybe at open houses or model homes. See different patios in person and come up
with your initial concept.
Check out some books on patio design. You'll find all kinds of potential
ideas to combine into your dream patio. If you are computer handy, there is some great computer patio design software available.
Put your ideas onto your own professional blueprints.
Pre-designed patio and deck plans are also
an option to consider. Just browse through the different sample designs and find the one that suits your needs best. You can
always start with these and custom-tailor them to your personal needs.
Keep in mind that some
localities may require permits to build a patio. They may request a set of plans to review.
materials should be used in your patio design?
There are so many different materials to consider
in your patio design. Again, you will want to see some examples in person to get a feel for what you like best. Here are some
brief descriptions of some of the more popular patio materials:
Real Stone -
Natural looking. Long lasting. Often expensive.
Stone Veneer - The benefits of
real stone, but lighter and less expensive.
Brick - Very traditional, lasts a
long time, can be new or "historical" bricks. Different patterns are possible. Not quite as expensive as stone.
Pavers - Man made. Can sometimes look manufactured. Generally easy installation. Less expensive.
Concrete (Stamped and Colored) - Very practical and increasingly popular. Often looks just like
stone or bricks. Less expensive. Will probably need a professional with lots of experience to get the best-finished product.
Concrete (Plain) - Most affordable option. Not always the most aesthetically pleasing, but can always
be spruced up with brick borders, etc.
All of these are good materials to use in your patio design.
Of course you can use a combination of materials too. Another thing to think about is the material's color. Darker means more
heat absorption and warmth. Lighter means a cooler appearance, and glare can be a concern. Your final choice will come down
to your vision and your budget.
Will you design a covered patio?
all likelihood, you prefer to relax in the shade, right? If not, go ahead and skip this section. Anyway you will want to be
aware of the many different options to cover your patio. Keep in mind some covers will be better for shade than rain and visa-versa.
We'll go into more detail at a different time and place, but here is a brief list of some of the ways to cover a patio:
Aluminum Patio Covers
Corrugated Metal Roof
can probably think of a few more options yourself. Or, perhaps you would rather have no patio cover at all. Again, this is
YOUR patio design!
Who will build your patio?
While you are designing
your patio, it is important to keep in mind who will actually be building it. If you will have professionals design it, they
will most likely have suggestions and their own ideas for you to consider in your plans. It might be best to consult with
them and get their opinions before you start designing.
Have you decided to make your patio a
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project? If so, more power to you. There is nothing better than tackling a project and then being able
to admire the results for years to come, knowing that you did it all yourself. One thing to remember though...Do your research
first and keep the design within your capability to actually build the project.
Again, a permit
may be necessary to build your patio. You will want to check into that before you start.
do you build your patio?
Most of the time, patio designs place a patio adjacent to a house with
easy access from a central living area, such as a family room, living room, or kitchen. Often, patios are also found as components
of outdoor living spaces such as gardens. You should put your patio wherever it will be convenient for what you will use it
for. For example, if you would frequently use it for outdoor dining, consider having your patio outside of the kitchen. Most
importantly, your patio is your patio. Put it where it makes you happy.
Will you include an outdoor
cooking area in your patio design plan?
Most people will end up doing some outdoor grilling on
their patio. Some people choose to have complete outdoor kitchens as part of their patio design. Once again, the options are
only limited by your imagination (and your budget!)
The most basic option would be to have a simple
charcoal or gas grill to cook on your patio. Tried and true, this will do the job every time. If this is your intention, you
really don't need to go into too much detail for this aspect of your patio design.
you want to have a built in grill island, you will need to do some measuring and come up with a solid plan (many grill islands
are build of stone!) beforehand. In addition to a gas grill, your patio island can include a refrigerator, sinks, entertainment
centers, or pretty much any amenity you could possibly imagine. The sky really is the limit.
big should your patio be?
Your patio design should make your patio big enough to be comfortable
and small enough to be intimate. Since a patio is really considered an outside room, think about how big you would want it
to be if it was an inside room.
There are some rules of thumb, but it is your patio design after
all! Make it your own.
What type of patio furniture will you include in your patio design?
Are you thinking about your patio furniture? Now is a good time. Patio furniture ranges from very cheap to outrageously
expensive. Price really isn't what you are looking for though. You want quality pieces that are going to last many years to
come. This does not mean that you'll need to spend great deals of money on your furniture. Just buy smart.
Perhaps you want the basic patio set...a table and a few chairs to surround it. This is probably the most essential
place to start. In your search, you'll find a range of glass top tables, laminate top tables, iron furniture, aluminum patio
furniture, wicker furniture, plastic furniture, and different outdoor wood furniture such as teak and cedar. Factors to help
make your decision are finding what best matches your patio, your budget, and how long the furniture is made to last. But
please also do one very important thing...Make sure the furniture is COMFORTABLE!
After you find
the essentials, other patio furniture to consider for your design would be lounge chairs, extra accent tables and chairs,
garden benches, and patio swings (or porch swings). Also, many folks are doing built in benches, tables, etc. out of wood,
concrete, brick, or stone. Hopefully we quickly covered all of the bases there.
One last bit of
furniture advice: You can always start with the basics and add new pieces over time. Think about finding classic designs rather
than the more trendy stuff that will seem dated after just a couple of years.
What other features
should you include in your patio design?
Some cool extras you could add to your patio design
Fireplaces - What is better on a cool crisp night than sitting around a
warm campfire? There is no reason you can't do this on your patio. One way is to build a stone fire pit on your patio. Or,
you could find a nice metal or ceramic fireplace to compliment your patio décor. If you choose to go all out, you could
have a pro install a gas burner for your fireplace so all you have to do is flip a switch and have instant fire. Whatever
you do, please make sure your fireplace is far away from any thing that might catch fire.
- Have the feel of nature surround you with a peaceful and tranquil water fountain or a trickling garden stream. Perhaps have
a rock-lined stream leading to a small goldfish pond. Use your imagination.
- Again, use some of the same ideas and build a backyard waterfall as part of your overall patio design. You could build it
small or large, your choice. Pumps and equipment to make this all work are easy to find and affordable too.
Hot Tubs - This is self-explanatory. While not cheap, they really do take your patio design to a
whole other dimension.
What do I use to decorate my patio?
décor is strictly a matter of taste. Use decor that helps to enhance the relaxing environment. Birdbaths, planters,
clocks, and sundials are just a few outdoor accents to consider. How about using some fun tiki torches or light-up palm trees
for a more tropical feel?
Patio cushions can also make all the difference. You could also bring
out some extra accent pillows when you use the patio.
Enhance the mood with lighting. Special
lighting and light fixtures can be used to really top off the whole patio design. Make sure and use waterproof and weather
resistant lighting that's designed to be used outdoors.
How will you pay for your patio project?
Now that you are planning the design of your new patio, have you considered the best ways to finance it?
Check out Home Improvement and Financing.com. This informative site has articles, tips, ideas and project plans to help you to enhance and improve your
home together with "invest in your nest" advice on Financing and Insurance options for your Home Improvement Remodeling.