Create the perfect outdoor space with a new patio

What do you see when you look into your back garden? Do you see a slab of concrete looming through glass doors? Is your most distinguishing garden feature your rotary airer? Do you feel relaxed when you look out from the kitchen window or dread at the sight of weeds? Patios don’t have to be just a place for drying clothes or housing the barbeque you pull out a few times a year, they are an extension of your home and your unique style. A contemporary patio design will give you a chance to show off your personality and creativity and create an extra ‘room’ in your house without having to move.

Demand for better patio supplies means that you are only limited by what you can imagine (and your budget, of course). You no longer have to stick to squared designs based on a concrete slab. Circular designs can create islands for placing a table amongst the flowers, or to create interesting features along your shrubbery. Patio furniture is no longer restricted to wicker and rusty metal chairs – pay a visit to your local homeware store where you’ll find a variety of durable and beautiful pieces.

Planning a patio means stopping to consider details, costs and what you will use the space for. So before you jump in to the design stage, consider the following:

What will you use your patio for?

Those who love gardening won’t be happy if their spaces are confined and limited. At the same time, if you have a hands-off approach to tackling the garden then you might prefer to create a patio completely out of interesting paving stones and tiles, leaving out those pesky plants. If you don’t like your patio you simply won’t use it. While it’s good to get ideas from design books and looking at expensive concept gardens may get you dreaming, keep your tastes and needs in mind at all times. If you don’t barbeque, then there’s no reason to put in an expensive grill station.

What is your budget?

You can’t complete the project if you don’t have the money. Think realistically about what you can afford and what stages you can break your patio building into. There’s nothing worse than stopping in the middle and losing enthusiasm because the funds ran out. Beware cheap materials, but remember there are bargains out there. Mosaics from plates found at a charity shop can create a unique talking point.

How much work do you want to do?

If you’re a ‘do-er’ then sinking your teeth into a garden project is a great way to vent creativity and save some money in the process. There are some things however that should be left to the professionals, if you plan to pour a concrete area it may be worth bringing in the experts or a friend who knows what they are doing. Also make sure to think long term, if you want as little hassle as possible avoid gravel, mulch and high-maintenance plants and flowers.


Designed by Rockefeller Partners Architects
Photography: Eric Staudenmaier

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