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10 key considerations when planning a beautiful garden patio

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Empire State Loft Modern Terrace by Koko Architecture + Design Modern
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Adding a perfect patio to your garden is not as easy as it sounds. True, it might not be the most difficult task ever, but there is a lot to think about in terms of budget, layout, materials, etc. 

Fortunately, there’s always a helpful hand nearby for amateur gardeners / designers wishing to undertake this particular project. So, whether or not you’ll be hiring a professional for this task, let’s look at 10 key elements you need to keep in mind while daydreaming about your new garden patio…  

1. Your objective

Reading, afternoon tea, hosting friends… there are a million different ways to make use of a garden patio, so you’ll need to determine your main objective for wanting to undertake this project first. That can point you in a certain direction in terms of materials, style, size, furnishings and décor, etc. 

2. Positioning and privacy

West Village NYC Rooftop Garden Eclectic style garden by Amber Freda Home & Garden Eclectic
Amber Freda Home & Garden

West Village NYC Rooftop Garden

Amber Freda Home & Garden

What is the sun’s position during the time you’d most like to use your new garden patio? Are there any specific views you’d like to enjoy while on your patio? Will its location mean some noise disturbance for your neighbors? 

3. Size

Old Montauk Highway House Modern Terrace by SA-DA Architecture Modern
SA-DA Architecture

Old Montauk Highway House

SA-DA Architecture

Whether your garden patio is for al fresco family dining or a cozy spot for two, working out its size beforehand is crucial. At this point you should start looking at furnishings and decorations, take their measurements into account and (without buying anything) see what can fit comfortably on your new patio, if there’s still adequate legroom left for moving about, etc. 

4. Different zones

Creating split levels with stepped areas is a great way to add different ‘zones’ to your patio. Otherwise, more cost-effective ways of arranging various zones can be completed with paving designs (i.e. circles versus squares), different furnishings and décor for the various zones, walling, and edging. 

5. The style

Loft in Arlington Modern Terrace by FORMA Design Inc. Modern
FORMA Design Inc.

Loft in Arlington

FORMA Design Inc.

Just like you would consider different design styles for your indoor living room or bedroom, for example, so too should you sift through the different options to find the one which bests suits your garden patio (not only its look, but also its functionality). 

Remember to take into account your house’s style as well. A modern home can better complement more contemporary paving styles, while traditional paving is better suited to period properties. 

6. Your budget

Lake Barcroft Residence Modern Terrace by FORMA Design Inc. Modern
FORMA Design Inc.

Lake Barcroft Residence

FORMA Design Inc.

Don’t see this project as any different from one that would have been implemented on the inside of your home. Calculate a budget very early during the planning process, and remember to allocate about 20% for those unforeseen costs which jump out more often than not. 

7. What’s currently trending

Empire State Loft, Koko Architecture + Design Modern Terrace by Koko Architecture + Design Modern
Koko Architecture + Design

Empire State Loft, Koko Architecture + Design

Koko Architecture + Design

Minimalistic contemporary designs with an indoor/outdoor lifestyle using silver and grey color palettes are considered ‘hot’ at the moment. In terms of materials, porcelain is considered a classy and practical choice, while concrete is widely used in both interior- and exterior spaces thanks to its industrial chic look. 

8. Drainage and access

Spring Valley Residence Modern Terrace by FORMA Design Inc. Modern
FORMA Design Inc.

Spring Valley Residence

FORMA Design Inc.

More power to you if you’re already contemplating using a professional for this project (to help ensure that all the required ground works and building regulations are covered). But if you’re more the DIY type, then take some time to consider the best access into your property, how rainwater will drain, how those trees or manhole covers will be navigated, etc.

9. Your planned drawings

With those measurements you took earlier, put pen to paper and draw out your garden and patio. Drawn to even the most basic scale, having it right in front of you can help point out design errors, layout mistakes, and other blunders which might have popped up later had you not done a plan sketch beforehand. 

10. Your materials

A little research goes a long way! So, whether you pick concrete or natural stone, wood or porcelain, be sure that you know the pros and cons of each material, how it will be influenced by the outdoor elements, how they differ in terms of price and practicality, etc. 

And remember to have fun – it’s your new garden patio, not brain surgery! 

Next up: 7 ways to bring the tranquil tropical style indoors

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