Put thought into your Patio Design

Location, location, location. In the garden, the patio is the place where everybody congregates. Usually my clients want to know where to locate their patio and what size it should be. The best place is where you have a natural tendency to sit; a comfortable area with ample room. If you prefer sitting in the sun, I would look at the sun pattern (during a day when you are at home) and figure out where the sunniest area of your garden is situated. The sun is the most intense between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
patio and deck design


If you are sun-sensitive and prefer the shade, I would allocate a shady section of your garden, perhaps under a deciduous tree. If you do not have a shady area in your garden and you would like one, you can start by planting a shade tree.
Since it takes a long time to create shade with a young tree, I would recommend purchasing an umbrella or an awning for a quick design solution.
If your garden is large enough, you can design two separate patio areas, one in the sun and the other in the shade. Keep in mind your walk from the barbecue to the dining table should be relatively short (not at the other end of the garden).
Consider where the gas lines are located as this will determine where the barbecue is placed. For those who barbecue in the winter, it is a good idea to place the barbecue near the house and in close proximity to your dining room.
Square Footage
To determine the size of the patio, I need to find out a few details from my clients.
I take into account the number of people using a stone patio for example and the size of the patio furniture. If a client does not have patio furniture, I need to know how many people they will be entertaining. Will the table be set for four or for eight on average? Typically, you need about a 120 square feet to accommodate four people at a round table about three-feet in diameter. Account for walking space around the dining area and kid traffic, too.
Shape Up
Circular, oval, or rectangular? There are lots of shapes to choose from when it comes to designing a patio area. For help, I would look at the architecture and design of your house and magazine pictures of garden patio areas.
It’s a good idea to measure the intended patio area and draw it up on graph paper to scale. Sketch out a number of different patio shapes and sizes on trace paper placed over graph paper. When you are happy with one of the rough sketches for the patio, mark out the area in your garden using stakes, spray paint or a hose. If you have patio furniture, put it inside the outline of the patio and see if it is large enough.
Then you can easily make the necessary adjustments. Overcome the temptation to make a perfectly square patio and use your imagination.
The process of designing a patio is challenging because you are often limited by the size of the property. A well thought out properly executed design will make all the difference for a comfortable patio area.
Source: Marilyn Pomer Greenescape Designs
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