In your wildest imagination, envision your ideal outdoor environment. Perhaps yours is a meditative space filled with planters and lush vegetation, ideal for quiet reflection, where a cushioned chaise or sectional takes center stage. Maybe your perfect patio is a sleek and contemporary pavilion overlooking the city lights, with outdoor cooking and dining configurations and a gas fire pit around which your guests can gather. If you can give a name to your stylistic preference, that will help you search for images of patios that will appeal to you: traditional, vintage, farmhouse, contemporary, eclectic.
Take stock of existing conditions to create a base map for your dream space. Locate and dimension doors and windows, and survey the elevation difference between indoors and outdoors to determine if you’ll need stairs or a multi-leveled terrace. Check the solar orientation of the area. Is it facing south and likely to get lots of light and heat, or is it north-facing and thus, shady and cool? Is there any existing vegetation such as trees or shrubs that can be incorporated into your overall design?
Visualize your use areas – lounging, dining, entertaining (maybe they can be combined) – to determine how your space will function. You can experiment with furniture layout by using on-hand pieces such as a card table and folding chairs. Use blue painter’s tape or sidewalk chalk to outline a fire pit or grilling area. Be sure to consider the following before construction begins:
- Electrical capability, including dedicated outlets for lighting, water features, cooking appliances, and audio visual equipment. Ensure that you have the capacity in your current electrical panel to accommodate your proposed outdoor features.
- Plumbing for irrigation, water feature or outdoor sink
- If a permanent fire pit or grill is in your plan, hire a certified plumber to set a gas or remote propane line and do the installation.
Once you’ve settled on a Conceptual Plan, you can fine-tune materials and finishes as well as landscape and furniture. You should expect your plan to evolve as you get more specific with your selections. Once you’re underway, don’t forget to accessorize with planters, toss pillows, and outdoor artwork which reflects your personality, as those are the items that will make the ideal patio space uniquely yours.
Creative Living is designed as a one-stop source for modern patio furnishings with complimentary design services. Our design professionals can help you recognize your style, lay out furniture, select colors and fabrics and arrange your patio décor.