The Perfect Patio: Designing The Perfect Outdoor Space

The Perfect Patio: Designing The Perfect Outdoor Space

Your home is your castle whether you live in a 4 bedroom house or a 400 sf studio apartment. During our life we'll spend almost a third of that time in our homes - nesting, feeding, entertaining and just enjoying that time alone or with others.

For many of us, decorating and organizing is a hobby that allows you to see what you can do to customize your home and make it your own. For others, it's a necessary chore.

Even if you don't have a home that is particularly sizeable, certain aspects can allow even those on a budget to enhance their home value and livability.

It all depends on what you want to focus on. If you anticipate having to make multi-use out of each room to maximize space use, your furniture matters.

If you want each room to show a piece of your overall vision for interior design, then the color patterns, wall art, and floor plan can mean a lot.

Modern patio design with mint chairs

One of the most overlooked areas for homeowners tends to be their patio or outdoor areas that are part of their home.

It's a shame because most don't consider the opportunities that outdoor spaces can offer both as a center for regular relaxation and social events. The expansiveness or simplicity of your patio will be dependent on what your intended use for it is.

There are a variety of options, and they can seem overwhelming especially if you are going to design and furnish it completely on your own.

Thankfully, we have you covered and will walk you through the major decisions, options and more when planning and executing on creating your perfect patio.

Patios, Verandas, And Porches: The Bare Basics

Before we dig into what designing and furnishing a patio or outdoor space entails, it might help to break down what the difference between some of the terms used to describe outdoor spaces include.

It's not as complicated as it sounds, but it should be noted that the various labels can sometimes blend depending on your location/who you are talking to.

White porch swing with pillows
  • A Veranda: It is usually a piece of flooring that is enclosed partially using a bar that extends around its perimeter. These are typically made of wood and will wrap around at least two sides of your home. They can be elevated or almost on ground level.
  • A Porch: A porch is usually a flooring area that extends from the back or side of your house only. They can be enclosed to resemble a room but are open and aren't massive in size.
  • Usually, these are also elevated in some form. Depending on your location, it can also be located in the front of your home as well but usually refers to a much smaller area near the entrance.
  • A Patio: What makes a patio unique is that it is usually at ground level, is almost always in the back of the home, and is covered in cement, tiles or other materials for more solidified footing.

Because it is also on the ground level, it's more important for it to be made of a durable material both due to aesthetic quality as well as the threat of animals or potential insect damage.

Patios are usually much larger than the other two options above and have a wider variety of choices for customization. A patio can be enclosed completely, a bit, or not at all. Unlike the other two options, it is usually exclusively used for relaxation or social activities.

What Makes Patios The Best Choice?

Compared to the southern veranda, patios have a much more open layout that permits customization. If you are on the fence about whether you want your home to have a patio, a veranda, or a deck, the best choice is without a doubt a patio.

Patios are naturally more pleasing to the eye and are easiest to make the most out of no matter your budget.

Boho patio design with white sofa and colorful pillows
  • Patio flooring materials offer you a better-blended color scheme that has a robust elegance.
  • Whether you choose a light or dark tile, concrete or stone, the options for colors won’t be based as much on environmental factors such as pollen output, rain, and other conditions if you choose something enclosed.
  • If you choose something open, you’ll have more room to create something isolated from the overall scheme of the interior home without it seeming too disjointed.

Your patio will also have more available space to craft an environment for intimacy, sociability, or warm invitation with only a few pieces of furniture. If you are custom building it, the opportunities are endless.

If it comes with your current home or next home, you already have the basis of checking online or through lookbooks for suggestions based on similarity.

Patio Furniture & Decor

Choose your patio furniture based on color, intended location, and comfort for yourself and guests.

Your ideal patio furniture should be durable and count for the most typical weather situation that your area encounters. There are a few essential pieces that you should have:

  • Patio Umbrellas
  • Patio Chairs & Tables
  • Patio Swings
  • Patio Heaters (Depending On Your Location)
  • Diverse Patio Lighting

Each plays a vital part in the overall comfort experience so that you can enjoy your patio no matter the weather.

Patio Umbrellas

Patio Umbrellas are essential for summer, spring, and fall alike. They are the perfect protection from rain or just the right amount of shade on the hotter days.

Whether during cooking out, or just superior protection from the elements while you enjoy a glass of wine, they are absolute must haves.

There are several variations in the kinds of patio umbrellas you can choose from that blend or stand out depending on your intended use.

There are:

  • Regular Patio Umbrellas
  • Leaning or Tilted Patio Umbrellas
  • Cantilever Patio Umbrellas
  • Heavy Duty Patio Umbrellas
Black patio seating with red pillows and red umbrella

Cantilever Patio Umbrellas

These are one of the most eye-catching designs you can find. The thing that makes them so unique is that the covering itself for the patio umbrella appears to float above you and your guest's heads while the support and base are to the side.

These are neat because use a minuscule amount of space while being the most beautiful to look at and offering more expansive covering areas. Other forms of patio umbrellas stick through the middle or awkwardly beside an outdoor table.

  • Because poles beside a high traffic table usually mean problems, other umbrellas can be hard to use when you want for covering a table with a lot of people going near it during a large party.
  • Usually, Cantilever Patio umbrellas are perfect covering for a few chairs on the lawn or an entire table for a small party.

Regular Patio Umbrellas

Regular patio umbrellas are the obvious choice for those that want something that gets the job done while still looking pretty good.

The price range for them tends to be on the lower end, and for this reason, they are the most economic choice. They are perfect additions to most patio tables.

Most of the time, high quality, durable regular patio umbrella with sand or water base will cost under a hundred dollars.

The only issue that some complain about is the lack of sturdiness during high winds. They require breakdown and setup each time for use if you want to avoid any damages.

Brown patio umbrella with seating

Heavy Duty Umbrellas

Heavy Duty Umbrellas are effective because they are built for use beyond just special occasions. They are capable of withstanding harsher climates and for this reason, can cost a bit more due to the material strength.

The framing infrastructure will most likely be built from plexiglass or aluminum. They're perfect for parties because they are capable of lasting longer, and if you are willing to spend a bit more, can look fantastic as part of a larger set.

Tilted Umbrellas

Tilted Umbrellas are the other obvious style oriented choice besides cantilever umbrellas. The setup is similar, but it offers a bit less protection and tends to be smaller. Tilted umbrellas are about style over convenience.

The canopy body itself hangs on a tilt, hence the name. It's perfect for airy summer or spring days when just a bit of coverage can make a difference. They add just a touch of aesthetic value to your patio.

Patio Chairs

There is an abundance of choices when it comes to patio chairs.

Most are based on function:

  • Hammock Chairs
  • Bar Stools
  • & More
Wicker patio dinning set

Each has a distinct style made for comfort over durability or vice versa. No two chairs are made equal. If you don't know which to choose, choose based on three things:

  • Materials
  • Comfort
  • Color

The overall process of picking will become simplified. You can assess or breakdown your chair options based on how well they match your requirements.

Materials

The materials of your intended chair pick are going to determine how much you are going to be spending. This extends beyond just how well the materials hold up outside.

It's going to include whether you decide to buy separate cushions or add-ons for the seats themselves, the weight and size of the chair and how well they will hold up after each use.

Wood patio seating area

If you intend to entertain guests frequently, you will want something that is durable, comfortable and doesn't washout overtime. You can choose between aluminum, wood, wicker, etc.

The biggest thing that will determine durability will be the weight and quality of the frame for the chair. It’s what has to withstand the highest amount of stress. Don’t pick just off of how a chair looks without considering the weight limitations.

Comfort

The second most important factor that will let you differentiate between a deep chair or a lounge chair as your outdoor patio chair of choice will be the comfort options. Some chairs offer bare minimum and offer a range of suitable cushion addons.

The chair itself should be able to mesh well by offering the right amount of support for either laying back and lounging or dining. When factoring the cost for some chairs for your patio, include the cost of at least two cushions, one for the back and one for the seat itself.

It will reduce the risk of discomfort for yourself and guests, and in the event, one becomes damaged. Usually, you can switch them out easily without having to buy a brand new replacement.

The types of cushions you choose will vary depending on whether you will be leaving them outside or taking them in after each use.

Some decide to customize their cushions for the chairs themselves.

Popular options for those that want something comfortable and durable includes rocking chairs, deep seat chairs, and beach chairs.

Colorful patio pillows on comfortable seating

Color

Your color choices matter. You can pick a chair that is a vivid, bright color such as pink or yellow, and synchronize the rest of your outdoor setup to match.

Or, you can pick something simple and keep it flexible by choosing a neutral white or black color and letting your add-ons like cushions or covers compliment.

Patio Swings

Patio swings are great side options for adding relaxation/entertainment options to your patio. Nothing is better than relaxing enjoying a book in a rocking seat to your leisure.

You can choose between:

  • Simple Patio Swings
  • Covered Patio Swings
  • Customized/Artisan Swings

Simple Patio Swings

Simple patio swings are just as they sound. They have a simple framing setup and use a drop chain or chain covered by a pole that permits the suspended seat to swing. They're convenient and don't tend to creak as they swing. Simple patio swings are the most viable option.

Covered Patio Swings

Modern patio gray swing

Covered patio swings are a step above because they have a canopy or some form of covering that's good against the rain or the wind. They tend to have more cushion and thus more comfort.

The added covering means there is less chance that leaves and other remnants can get or stay on the seat due to the added protection.

Customized Swings

Customized/Artisan swings are the most expensive option, but have the most added luxury.

Artisan swings can come in a variety of forms from a ball with an opening to a thoroughly embroidered ring of poles that allows two to four people to enjoy swaying inside. They can be as complex or as simple as you would like.

The comfort of the materials and the durability will dramatically range from one to another. Custom swings require more thorough inspection because they will usually be standout art pieces.

Patio Heaters

Patio heaters are essential for those that live in lower temperature areas that still want to enjoy their patio during the cooler nights in spring, fall, or summer. Heaters can be stylish as well as functional, blending in perfectly due to their neutral color options.

Heater Options

Standup heaters are the easiest choice due to how easy they are to move, the range for their warmth, and their relatively low cost.

These can be placed next to tables, near a few seats for some added warmth, and they very rarely overpower.

The best part about them is they can extend heat beyond just a couple of feet up to a few yards away.

Mounted heaters and table top heaters don’t have much range, and can be limited due to their fuel, but are good for those that want something that keeps a small area heated.

Two patio heaters

If you want something that is effective, you have three options for fuel. You can choose between a propane, natural gas, or electricity powered patio heater.

Propane-fueled heaters offer the most heat and are the middle ground option for cost and convenience. Natural gas and electricity both have disadvantages such as lack of fuel options or lesser heat production.

Patio Lighting

Patio lighting can be either on the ground level, from above, or on elevated surfaces. You have the choice to illuminate your walkway or the perimeter of the patio itself using convenient solar lights that stick in the ground.

They are cheap and store light during the day by using a panel on the top. They activate when the sun sets and work fantastically.

Contemporary patio lightening

The only drawback is how sensitive they can be to being hit by a lawnmower.If you choose string lights, you can use them to hang from trees or your patio umbrella.

You may want something stronger that will standout, and for standup spotlights, they can be powered using an extension cord to an outdoor plug.

Patio Ideas

Your patio will only be as great as you make it. We've included small patio ideas, large patio ideas, and simple tips to follow to ensure your patio impresses your guests.

Tips For Small Patios

Small patios don’t have the spread layout options that larger patios do. That’s no problem for those that understand that less is more. There are a few main things to keep in mind when setting up or designing your small patio layout to ensure you make the most of it:

  • Don’t Over Clutter The Space
  • Incorporate Energy Efficient Alternatives
  • Use the Fold Up Options

Don’t Over Clutter The Space

Go the minimalist route. You don't need multiple patio tables.

One well placed rectangular or circular table, and a cantilever umbrella with a few well-placed chairs and an alternative grill will make it the perfect place to hold a small social gathering.

If you want to make your patio space stand out visually without adding too much, incorporate patio door curtains to make the entrance more lavish.

Small patio through the window

Incorporate Energy Efficient Alternatives

The last thing you want is guests or yourself tripping over wires from having too much clutter. You can cut down on that by going with electrical based patio heaters, lighting, and an energy green grill.

Use The Fold Up Options

If you can, choosing compact design chairs, patio swings, and tables will make it easy for you to fluidly adapt the space to how many visitors you will be having. Choosing the fold up option will allow you to use what you need when you would like to and then clear the area.

Tips For Large Patios

While smaller patios offer more options on a smaller budget, the opportunities for large patios for customization are expansive.

Go For Elegant

The biggest problem with those that have large patios is they tend to go the easy route. It’s easy to buy a full set and be comfortable with the bland.

A DIY patio option is a better choice because it gives you complete control over having the most outstanding patio both aesthetically as well as regarding amenities.

Wasting space shows, your patio should like lookbooks from home decor magazines. The best way to do that is to incorporate art pieces in the form of statues, fountains, and hanging lighting.

Even your patio shades and patio cushions can make an impact on how well your patio blends as one unitary space that breathes.

Backyard large patio

One of the more important things you can do is add in a bit of extra life to your patio. Plants help oxygen flow and can make your patio have a full feel to space. Incorporate a bit of shrubbery in potted plants or along the edges of your patio to act a border.

Keep Everything Pristine

Nothing looks worse than weathered patio cushions and pollen-caked chairs. Use patio furniture covers to keep everything looking fresh as the day you purchased them. Keeping everything perfect will allow you to take advantage of them without a diminished impact.

Taking a bit of time every so often to give everything a check up and brush up is essential to keeping everything looking good longer than just a couple seasons. If you have to, during the harsher months, be sure to keep your furniture in a covered/protected area.

Conclusion

We hope this guide offers a bit of interesting information to mull over when picking how you will decorate your patio or other outdoor space.

There is an abundance of options, and you need to take advantage of all of them to see that space shine and entice usage. Buying sets are nowhere near as effective as picking out each piece individually.

Check out a few of our other guides to find what else you may need for your patio!

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