With the summer well and truly here (or possibly waning), and the sun making much more of a regular appearance outside of August, many of us will be spending time with friends and family in our gardens. A key part of any garden is the patio, which homes the major outdoor items of furniture. If you’re thinking garden parties, barbecues or just a relaxing few hours with family outside, patios are a great place to do all of these. In this blog, we will be discussing the main aspects of what makes an amazing looking patio, from the patio doors all the way through to the patio plants that will make your outdoor area stand out.
We’ve partnered with the eco-friendly timber windows and doors experts at Bereco for this blog, where the team have kindly shared some tips and advice for making the most of this particular home space…
The key outdoor décor areas
Patio doors are a crucial part of the overall aesthetic, connecting the indoors to the out; they’re also one that is often overlooked in favour of the more obvious elements such as garden furniture. There are a few considerations to make when deciding what door to select, the first of these being the category of door to choose. There are three main options: Sliding, Bi-fold and French.
Sliding doors are an ideal choice if you don’t want to invade either the internal or external space surrounding the doors. They slide parallel to the angle of the door itself, rather than inward or outward, making them a perfect option for areas where space is at a premium. Most designs will have a fixed panel for the opening door to slide behind, meaning you can’t create a full width opening as with the other options. Don’t let this put you off choosing this style for your patio though, sliding doors have the potential to create a sleek and ultra-modern looking area.
Bi-fold doors, also known as folding or folding sliding doors, are quickly becoming a popular favourite with British customers this summer. Their concertina style mechanism allows for a full width opening, with minimal impact on your exterior patio space, seamlessly connecting the inside of your home to the outside. Their wide array of styling options mean they can fit right into any property type, from typical English country farmhouses to ultra-modern homes.
French doors are the ultimate choice for a vintage patio design. They open either outwards or inwards on a hinge and can be combined with fixed glazed sidelights and fanlights to suit any opening. Their wide array of styling options, including Georgian glazing bars and raised & fielded panels, can evoke classic period property designs, making them an ideal option for those wanting to keep it quaint.
Moving past the initial decision of the patio door, we can now start to move outwards from the house to the patio itself. One of the most popular styles of patio paving for the last few years has been the ‘random’ design. Giving the appearance of a completely non-uniform layout, ‘random’ paving slabs make for both a stylish and contemporary looking patio.
If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, then decking would be the way to go. There is a multitude of materials that decking is made from today, all the way from conventional softwood spruce through to more unconventional rubber produced from recycled tyres. Each decking material will give a slightly different feel, so make sure to check out all of the options available.
Usually the features that attract the most attention, as well as having the most use for social events, choosing the right garden furniture is key to hosting your dream garden party. Before we go on, it’s important to have space for the outdoor cushions that will need to be stored inside during rain (which, as we live in the UK, is fairly probable). If you have a small garden shed or garage, this will do perfectly. Alternatively, it is possible to purchase bench covers which are fully waterproof (and weatherproof).
Sofa sets are perfect for having a relaxing few drinks with family and friends. Typically ranging from four-seaters to ten-seaters, there is a large variety of situations for which outdoor sofa sets can be used. If you are thinking of indulging in regular outdoor dining, you can also get these sets complete with rising tables and umbrellas to protect everyone from the sun. Although these will offer some protection against rain, they definitely aren’t to be relied upon to keep everyone around the table dry if a storm creeps up on you. These can be handier than storage seating, as permanent outdoor sofas remove the hassle of playing furniture jenga through doors and windows, especially in smaller properties!
Aside from the furniture, the other thing to take your patio to the next level…plants!
Plants, as well as bringing the visual complexity and colour to patios, also bring scents and fragrance. Add this to the bees that will be busy pollinating your garden as a result, and your outdoor area will be brought to life. Patio plants should be suited to your own patio’s geography, so there are a couple of key questions that need to be answered before deciding what plants you choose.
- How much sun does your patio get during the day? If the answer is more than six hours, then you will want to get ‘full sun’ plants. If the total sun time is around three hours, then you will want plants labelled ‘part sun’ or ‘partial shade’.
- What is the climate like in your area? If the temperatures drop below zero in the winter, and there is plenty of ice and snowfall, you might want to consider choosing hardy perennial plants.
- What windows and doors will they be near? Some plants leave sticky residue on glass or window frames which can be a hassle for cleaning, but also can obstruct interior light as they grow and limit the sunlight you receive into the house, so consider smaller potted plants near these so as not to obscure views and natural light.
- What is your colour schemes of your house, windows and door frames? No matter how stylistic each item in your patio area is by itself, if there is a vast mismatch of colours, they won’t come together to create a cohesive setting. Consider your window and doors and their frame colour; this should be the colour of your pots/the wood for your deck and coordinate with plants and flowers you select!
In combination with the plants themselves, you will want to make sure that you pick the right planters. Planters are largely self explanatory, the main thing that isn’t obvious is that as well as the size relative to the plant, the planters should be able to take the weight of the plant they are holding. This won’t be an issue to think about for smaller pot plants, but for larger, more heavy plants, this factor will need to be taken into account or the risk of tipping occurs.
Hopefully after reading this blog, you now have a better understanding of how best to customise your patio to develop your garden and outdoor seating area into a haven for relaxing and social events. Patios take work, there is no doubt about that, but the rewards for keeping up the maintenance will continue to reap the rewards well into the future!
For any further information on complementing windows and doors to complete your patio space and look, please visit Bereco website for inspiration and ideas: www.bereco.co.uk