All too often we focus all our attention on the layout and design of our home interior. It’s easy to overlook the fact that the exterior of your home can serve as both a functional and peaceful space too, if you have enough room and the budget for it! In fact, patio renovation tends to be one of the last projects homeowners embark on when deciding to renovate. Whether it’s due to time, budget, or weather constraints, designing your perfect patio is all about timing. If you’re looking for patio renovation ideas and inspiration on how to plan out your patio, this blog is the guide you need.
Step 1: Carefully Consider Your Patio Layout
This is the first port-of-call when renovating an outdoor space. You need to think about how you want to use your patio, i.e. its functionality. Will it be a space for entertaining or simple relaxation? Does the space need any storage areas? What type of vibe do you want the area to have?
If you intend to use your patio for entertaining, you’ll need to think about the maximum capacity of the area. How many people can you comfortably entertain at once and what type of furniture do you need to suit this?
Then there’s also the important consideration of negative space. In other words, the space or gaps you have between furniture items and the edge of your patio. Negative space is super important for balancing out the area and ensuring your patio is not overcrowded and uncomfortable.
Try to plan for a minimum of 3-feet between large furniture items to create the ideal amount of negative space.
Obviously, the size of your patio plays into the layout. Depending on how much available space you have, you’ll have to work your layout around this.
If you’re building your patio from scratch, what is the ideal size you should budget for? If you plan on using your patio for hosting, you want to make allowance for at least 25-square feet of space per person. So, if you intend to entertain about 6 people on your patio, the total square footage would measure around 150-square feet.
Step 2: Think About Patio Zones
Planning the layout of your patio is not that much different from planning the layout of an interior room. As each room in your home has designated zones, so should your patio.
This is the best way to ensure your patio serves as both a functional and relaxing space. For example, your patio should include zones for relaxing with lounging furniture. If you have enough space for it, your patio should also include a zone for eating and an outdoor dining table set.
You might want to include a zone for cooking too, especially if your patio will be your entertainment area. So you’ll need to create a zone for an outdoor kitchen area.
It’s also a good idea to think about how your home flows from the interior out onto the patio. Consider your preferred exit points into this area and the use of french and sliding patio doors for easy access.
Zoning your patio is not that important if you want to use the space flexibly or have no set plan for its intended use. But most homeowners find that patio zoning helps to create parameters within the project.
Step 3: Choose Your Patio Materials
Next, it’s time to think about the materials that comprise your patio. If you’re building it from scratch, you’ll need to consider a style that reflects or mirrors your home’s existing interior and the materials within.
For example, if you have a very modern home with contemporary materials, it’s best to use sleek and modern materials to create your patio. This is so that the flow of your home matches from interior to exterior space.
One of the most popular patio materials used today is porcelain for patio flooring. This is because it’s a low-maintenance, hardwearing material that’s available in a huge variety of colors and finishes. It’s ideal for a more contemporary, modern, and sleek patio design.
If you’re going for something a little more homey or rustic, you want to opt for hardwood for a decked patio. Yes, it may cost you a little more, but hardwood offers the most long-lasting, robust results. Some top hardwood choices include ipe, teak, and iroko for decked patios exposed to the elements.
Then there’s also the option of real, natural stone for a more country, farmhouse feel to your patio. Using locally sourced stone is also a great eco-friendly option. You can simply visit your local stone yard or enlist the help of a local landscaper to source the right rustic stone for you.
Step 4: Incorporate Plants Into Your Patio Design
If there’s one element that can really tie your patio together and create that serene feeling you’re looking for, it’s plants. When you’re bringing the design of your patio together, don’t forget to factor in some space for patio planters.
You might want to create in-built planter sections from your patio materials, or simply add beautiful pots of plants to section off areas of your patio. Whatever you choose, you want to take inspiration from your backyard in terms of the plants you use.
This is a perfect way to create an even flow from your patio down into your backyard. Then there’s also the option of using plants for privacy. If your patio is visible to your neighbors or the street, consider using taller plants or plant screens to block off the view of onlookers.
It’s also important to consider your planting palette. How will do your plants tie in with the rest of the patio color scheme? Focus on one or two dominant colors with the plants you choose to tie everything together.
Step 5: Plan Out Your Patio Shelter
Now, patio shelter is not always necessary, but it can make a huge difference if you plan on using your patio as an entertainment area. Even if it’s something as simple as a wooden pergola.
There is a myriad of patio shelter options to choose from. But ultimately, you want to opt for something that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing. A pergola is one of the best ways to add height, framing, and structure to your patio. You can choose a pergola with a fitted shade or Perspex cover for shelter from the elements.
Otherwise, there’s also the option of installing retractable awnings and shade cloths that you can use if and when you need them.
Step 6: Think About Functionality and Mood
A huge part of how much you actually use your patio comes down to how functional it is. So in order to create a space that’s comfortable and works for you, there are a few functionality aspects to think about. Such as:
The last thing you want is a patio that fails to drain water away from it. Standing water is a recipe for disaster and can ruin your patio materials, furniture, and become a breeding ground for pests.
Make sure you think about the layout of your land and yard before you build your patio. You’ll have to carefully consider drainage options if you plan on installing planting beds or containers. At the end of the day, your landscape designer should be able to help you with these functional design aspects.
Exposure to the elements plays a key role in how often you use your patio, too. If your patio is whipped by the prevailing wind in your region or sits in direct sunlight most of the day, it might not be the most pleasant spot to hang out.
When you design and build your patio, think about which way it will face — north, east, south, or west? And how this direction impacts its exposure to the elements.
The Mood of Your Patio
This is the fun part when you get to think about patio décor and the type of vibe you want to portray in this area. If you have no idea where to start, look at the interior of your home for inspiration on décor and design.
You might want to create a flow from indoors to outdoors, depending on which room opens up onto your patio. Most of the time, this is either the kitchen or living room. Ultimately, the type of décor you choose creates the overall ambiance of the space.
Step 7: Light Up Your Patio
If there’s one aspect that ties the look and feel of a patio together it’s the lighting. Keep in mind that your lighting has the ability to make or break the functionality and mood of your patio.
Some of the most popular forms of lighting for outdoor patio ambiance include:
- String lights
- Hanging pendant lights — especially over a centered dining table
- Landscape and uplighting
- Standing patio torches
If you can’t decide on which type of lighting you want, just think about what would be most functional for the space!
Looking for More Patio Renovation Ideas?
Designing an outdoor patio is much like designing any other room in your home. At the end of the day, patio renovation is a project you won’t regret as it offers fantastic return on investment.
If home improvement is your passion, then you’re already in the perfect place. Explore the rest of this site for amazing patio renovation ideas, DIY hacks, and other home inspiration.