Outdoor spaces have the power to move people in unimaginable ways. Each typology comes with its own characteristics, most notably its nature of human intervention. Within the stark differences of a residence and a garden, the patio falls midway between the spectrum. Patios are intervened “spots” or niches within your outdoor space like your garden or courtyard. Patios are usually demarcated by paved flooring or covered roofs stressing their purpose of outdoor activities. Patios are spaces that idealize activities best suited for outdoors like a barbecue party, book readings or just overly casual weekend picnic spots for the whole family. While housing all these activities, they can play an equally important role by blurring the boundary between the indoor and outdoor by providing for a smooth transition.
Patio Design Basics
Designing a patio is simple as long as you keep with the basics. There are 2 basic attributes- form and size. The size should be such that it does not occupy too much ground coverage on your garden, but at the same time it must be an adequate size for a small gathering to be accommodated. Form of the patio is a subjective choice, so it can be rectangular, ovular, circular or even arbitrary. But make sure to have enough space to sit and some additional space as well. For a resonating effect, place the patio as an extension of your public space, like the living or dining. Make them open out into the patio by using French doors. This creates an enhanced experience of your garden and the house as one seems to pour into the other like water meets air. The patio is great at doing this.
Furniture takes a stand when there’s a utility quotient to it. Furniture used must be light and mobile so it can be shuffled around for flexible utility. It must also be short of maintenance because it’s more likely to be exposed to weathering conditions like sunlight, rain and wind. So keep it simple. You can use anything from wrought iron, wicker, plastic, bamboo, cane, stone or mild steel. Each comes with its own texture and emotion that it paints over the space. If the patio is partly shaded, you can go ahead with slightly rugged linen based furniture as it rid of any weathering problems. Install a dustbin for hygiene purposes so there’s no need to walk into the house every time someone needs to dispose a little waste. If there is a roof, installing suspended plant holders will ground your patio and give it a little more natural quality.
The flooring depends on the nature of its openness. Open to sky requires rugged outdoor material. Stone, concrete, brick, vitrified tiles, clay tiles, cobbled stones are popular materials for patio flooring. Brick paving is more porous and softer on the eye. It allows water to percolate and moss to grow on its surface giving a rustic quality. The paving material must be rugged and be able to sustain constant weathering. Leave patches of fresh ground so as to allow planting on that spot. Make sure to provide necessary slope for the patio floor to drain at the edges. The material should reflect the feeling of the space. It’s always great if it coordinates with your space and furniture.
For the outdoor segment, it goes without saying, the sun will be your friend for as long as it’s out. The minute he tucks away is when artificial lighting plays a role. Ambient lighting makes a patio seductive at night, giving it a warm but effortless glow. It can be converted into romantic evening retreat by concealing low-voltage mini-lights under steps, railing or benches. Another idea is to install a spotlight in the branches of a nearby tree. This gives lighting from overhead which can be quite pleasant. Lighting is probably the most influential element in your design. It is what really sets the mood.
Patio decor and accessories
These are elements that give fun and vibrancy to your space. Umbrellas can be installed over seating areas to give appropriate shading. Speakers can be installed at all corners of your patio at ceiling height to give surround sound. They can be embedded in the wall to reduce its visual impact. If not, encase the speakers in a wooden casing that appropriately fits into the ceiling or wall junction. Barbecue machines can be placed away from the main seating spaces as it generates smoke. A small section can be dedicated to a kitchen counter that houses the barbecue grill and it can be shaded .This can double up as a bar, and even a gathering space. Plants are always a great way to bring your patio to life. If there is room for more, a fountain can be installed as an element of focus. The water is the missing element among the fire, air and earth, which will together, breathe the patio to life.
Fabrics for outdoors
The fabric must not just be limited to a styling element. High quality outdoor fabric is extremely important when it comes to protecting your outdoor furniture from the summer’s natural elements in order to maximize its duration. Any fabric must be weather resistant. It must be able to resist weathering conditions and stains and fading. Outdoors is synonymous with UV radiation today, so the material must be coated with UV repellent material. It can actually help protect whoever is lounging on it from skin related UV damage. Maintenance is also a key factor. The material must allow for light dust to settle on it so it can be easily cleaned with one wash. It must also be quickly dryable. Topping all of this, the fabric should be long lasting and serve a good number of years.
Author: Dilip Kandangath