Contemporary Pergola Garden: modern Garden by Fenton Roberts Garden Design

​Beautiful patio ideas: What to consider

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Who doesn’t love it when a beautifully designed patio flows from the main house into the garden? So much style; so much space; so much potential! And let’s not forget that the right patio can definitely influence your home’s value for the better. 

So many patio ideas exist. Will you use your new one for an outdoor dining area? A play spot for the kiddies? A little reading nook for yourself? Have you even considered why you want a patio in the first place? 

Before you rush out to buy some concrete and treat yourself to a new outdoor spot, first take a look at these key considerations. After all, before one can consider what to do with a patio one must first know why it’s being built in the first place, right?

1. Patio ideas: What’s the purpose and size?

​Back garden at Bedford Gardens House. : modern Garden by Nash Baker Architects Ltd
Nash Baker Architects Ltd

​Back garden at Bedford Gardens House.

Nash Baker Architects Ltd

It may seem obvious to ask why you’re getting a new patio, but surprisingly it’s a question that’s often overlooked in the excitement of choosing materials and furniture. 

Do your patio ideas include a cosy area for two people, a family dining- and gathering spot, or an ‘outdoor room’ for dinner parties and entertaining? Answering these questions should help dictate your patio’s size. 

Generally speaking, 3m x 3m is a sensible size for a typical patio, with adequate size for a table large enough to accommodate 4 or even 6 people.  You can get away with smaller if there are less people or dainty furniture. 

homify hint: If you’re a fan of dining on your patio, then placing it close to a kitchen back door or patio doors is ideal. But check whether you have enough space to fit a dining table and chairs, plus adequate legroom to move around with ease.

2. Patio ideas: Location and privacy

A London Roof Garden:  Terrace by Bowles & Wyer
Bowles & Wyer

A London Roof Garden

Bowles & Wyer

Usually, the area adjoining the house is the most convenient place for a patio – it makes life much easier when it comes to transporting food and drink to and from the kitchen.  

But think twice about whether this is really your best option. Often the area adjoining the house might not have the best aspect; does yours offer the ideal setting for sitting, eating and socialising? A well thought-out patio design can always include a weather-proof way to access the patio which integrates seamlessly into the garden as a whole.

And let’s not forget privacy, which is another reason why many people set up their patios next to or away from the house. Of course you can always make your patio more private via trees, a pergola, or plants.  

If you have the space, it can be unique to have your patio adjoining the house, plus an additional, smaller patio and/or seating area around the garden – the latter need only be large enough for a simple chair or bench.

3. Patio ideas: Will a pergola work?

Although the UK is not generally known as a sunny spot, we do have our days when the weather allows for exterior socialising, right? And for those days, providing shade for your patio can be very beneficial. 

If you plan on dining outside quite regularly, a pergola is also an unobtrusive way to incorporate down-lighting. Just keep in mind: pergolas need careful planning to ensure that the posts are sited appropriately and don’t get in the way of your patio furniture, especially with smaller spaces.  

homify hint: If your patio will mainly be used by your children, we recommend placing it where you have a good view. One flat level is the best option with youngsters, and be mindful of any steps which could cause injury. And overhead coverage should definitely be considered to protect the little ones from the sun.

4. Patio ideas: Other practicalities

Planning a raised patio? Then you need to take precaution to avoid, for instance, a friend falling off the edge and ruining your al fresco soiree! Other vital considerations include: 

• Drainage requirements  

• Lighting – a pergola can help with downlighters. Alternatively, various forms of ground lighting are also possible.  

• Awnings – especially important if you plan on entertaining outside a lot, regardless of what the weather will be up to.

5. Patio ideas: The shape and form

A soft-flowing space with curves? A more linear design? What look will best fit your patio and its intended function(s)? 

Keeping practicality in mind, note that rectangular shapes tend to make more efficient use of space – a vital fact to remember with small gardens. Of course it’s also possible to have a rectangular patio with curvy borders. The shape of the borders will soften the harsh lines, as will any plants spilling over onto your patio.

6. Patio ideas: Materials

Your choice of materials will probably have the biggest impact on the final appearance (and purpose) of your patio. Fortunately, our options extend far beyond mere paving and brick, and the introduction of pocket-friendly imported sandstones and limestones mean that there is now a wide variety of different materials and colours to choose from.

Consider options like concrete, sandstone, limestone, slate, granite, travertine, gravel brick, block, etc. And remember that the natural stones can be plain hand-cut, or tumbled, or sawn / honed. 

What makes choosing materials even more fun (if not a bit daunting) is the fact that the different materials can be mixed for optimum effect – gravel areas with brick edging, for example.

homify hint: You’re not forced to stick to a traditional English-style look for your little patio / walled garden. Bring a more exotic feel to your outdoor space with richly patterned and colourful accessories like a Moroccan rug, fluffy cushions, intricate décor hanging from trees, outdoor lamps, etc. 

A picture speaks a thousand words; so, enjoy an ocean of inspiration with these 30+ pictures of beautiful terraces.

We’d love to know what your ideal patio would look like – and what plans you have for it!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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