Patios are a little more than a paved area adjoining the back of the house. It is used for recreation and spending leisure time. Usually, these are boring in design. A patio with careful planning and design can be transformed into an attractive feature and also form an integrated part of the garden design.
Citing a Patio:
Patios are a natural choice for spending time outdoors. They are convenient and form an extra room or extension to the home, with a good view of the rest of the garden. At times, the shade of the under building overpowers the patio. Hence, move it to a place that receives adequate sunlight and suits your design. You can place it either at the ends of the garden or one side, depending on the view you get from the respective places.
Choosing a Shape:
Define a clear boundary. It will emphasize the lines of the design. Do not opt for a low wall with planting cavity as it will soften the hard line between paving and lawn. Use a high wall instead. They can be useful on both the sides as a privacy screen or windbreak. Use a block screen wall instead of a solid brick wall. Plant shrubs in front of the wall. This will soften the impact and help filter the wind.
Changes in level:
Patios can be created by just raising levels. For instance, if a garden slopes towards the house a change of level helps to make a feature of a patio. Use a few shallow steps that could act as a doorway for the rest of the garden. A raised patio is a practical solution if your garden is on a slope. It can act as a vantage point from where you can see the entire garden. If your garden is on a flat site, raise the level by 15 cm to give the patio another dimension.
Paving materials set the tone of the patio. Make it vibrant and colourful by mixing materials. Try combinations. Pair it up with unique furniture styles. If the patio is close to the house, use materials that match with the house. Try and achieve a close match, this will help build synergy.
Finishing touches to a patio:
The beams of pergola help to give the patio an enclosed, integrated appearance that effectively extend the home. These beams act as an excellent support for the climbers that can beautify the space as well as provide shade. Avoid covering the space with thick climbers. This will hamper the sunlight. Grape Vines are a good choice as climbers. Vitis Coignetiae can also be used as it has larger leaves and gorgeous colour.
A built-in barbeque would look great for an alfresco treat. The built in seats will save ample of space and give the patio a well-designed look. Do not forget to add colorful cushions for a more comfortable look and feel.
Avoid packing the patio with containers. Grow shrubs and small plants in the ground directly. This will make watering less of a chore.
Getting the height right:
Patio beams should be high enough so that the area beneath is clear. The climbers should have shoots that cascade downwards. If you have employed hanging baskets, then keep the bottom of the basket above height. As a guide, a clearance of about 8 feet should be used.
The best patio is where plants and people meet. The use of bricks instead of the slab will create the illusion of space.
Patios do not have to be close to the house. A cosy corner can be more appealing.
Reference: Practical Gardening by Peter McHoy