With modern patio designs, your options are limited only by your imagination and to a somewhat lesser extent, by your budget. In designing your patio, begin by determining a cohesive theme for your patio decor. Think of paving, plants and furniture like you would consider paint chips and fabric samples for interior rooms. Borrow the concept of a decorator's board to develop a cohesive plan for every aspect of your patio, from furnishings to ground cover. Think of your patio as part of your home, rather than merely an addition.
In fact, if your patio is partially or completely enclosed, it can become an extra room for your home. Your patio covering may feature a conventional awning overhead to protect it and your furnishing from the elements, or a screened-in enclosure around the perimeter to keep out bugs while letting in fresh breezes. An open roof design is a contemporary alternative for providing shelter above your patio while allowing sunshine to filter in and fresh air to circulate. Most open roof models have adjustable panels that can be closed to keep out rain and high winds.
Another option for your patio is a glass enclosure that offers the best of both worlds, an enclosed room and an unobstructed view of the outdoors. Open the glass panes when the weather is nice, close them when the weather doesn't cooperate or when you don't want to burn citronella to keep out unwanted pests. Glass enclosures also have the advantage of allowing an unimpeded view of your lawn or garden from your patio.
A gazebo is another elegant means of providing shelter for your patio while providing a defined space for dining or conversation or formal occasions such as garden parties or even summer weddings. For more laid-back entertaining, a barbeque pit or outdoor fireplace gives your patio a homey atmosphere, while providing the perfect backdrop for outdoor picnics and parties during the spring, summer and fall.
Landscaping is another important feature of patio design. Consider your overall color scheme as well as your climate when choosing greenery. If you love working with soil and pruning branches, high-maintenance plants and flowers are fine. Otherwise, stick with hardy, low-maintenance shrubbery that will allow you to spend more time enjoying your patio and less time weeding, watering and fertilizing.
Ground covering along the perimeter of the paved or wood-covered area of your patio can provide a seamless transition to a play area for kids or a flower garden while providing a backdrop. Trees and other greenery can define a dining or conversation area while providing color and life to your patio. Stone or wood dividers can also define dining, conversation and play areas, just as walls divide the rooms inside your home.
In the past, patio design followed a fairly traditional motif, such as wicker or vinyl furniture designed strictly for the outdoors. Modern patio furniture designs and materials have broken away from tradition to include wood, upholstery and other materials typically used for interior furnishings. Especially if your patio is covered or otherwise protected from the elements, furnishing your patio with sofas, dining ensembles and occasional tables is an excellent way to bridge the gap between the indoor and outdoor areas of your home.
But if you love the look of wicker, synthetic wicker furniture is more durable than traditional wicker, while retaining the same good looks. Synthetic wicker is also waterproof, so that it will retain its beauty for years to come. Consider wicker end tables, coffee tables, dining tables topped by tempered glass and even plant containers to accompany more traditional wicker chairs and loungers. White upholstery with square, clean lines is provides a striking, contrast with natural color curved wicker or rattan frames, as well as a contemporary departure from classic white wicker.
An elegant design idea is to incorporate a monochromatic color scheme for paving stones, furniture and wood deck flooring . Varied shades of gray create a sense of calm and a welcoming sense of shade in contrast to bright sunshine on a patio open to the sky. On the other hand, bright splashes of color in both furnishings and landscaping provide an excellent complement for earth-toned redwood or flagstone patio flooring.
Consider high-quality flagstone or redwood to provide paving or flooring for high-profile, high-traffic areas of your patio. It will be money well spent. Stone and tile are also excellent high-quality patio flooring materials. Less-expensive paving stones or concrete can hold costs in line when used for play areas for kids and walkways.
However you choose to design your patio, you will love using your updated space.