The Perfect Patio Design

3-D rendition of patio design

We’ve all watched the HGTV channel and seen remarkable transformations to backyard landscapes in 60 minutes or less. I love HGTV because it inspires homeowners to improve their yards. Unfortunately, the best landscapes are well thought out and develop over time. This is especially true with patio design. The backyard patio area is an area that is used for entertaining, so it must be easily accessible and spacious – but it is also an intimate space, used as a private retreat from the noise and the stress of everyday life. The perfect patio design is one that allows for activities in both the public and private uses of this very important outdoor room. 

Location. Location. Location. Just like in real estate, the location of your patio is an absolute. It’s worth taking some time to walk around your yard and get a sense for where you feel the most comfortable. The back of the house is where patios are installed most often, but not always. If your backyard faces southwest and is very hot, or if it is in open view of the neighbor’s backyard, you will have to consider adding some type of screening for privacy for shade. This will increase the cost and complexity of the project. Being creative in locating the perfect spot for your patio sometimes can simplify the project. Patios used for entertaining will need frequent access to the kitchen, so it’s best to locate the grilling station nearby. 

The Public Room. If you do a lot of entertaining there are certain elements you’ll want to consider in your patio design. Size, traffic flow, and accessibility are key components to designing a patio for public use. Remember the 3-foot rule: any closer than 3 feet, and you’re in someone’s personal space. Be sure to allow an extra 3 feet around tables and seating areas and make your patio 3 feet wider than you think you need. Nobody likes to stand on the edge of a patio. Food preparation is often the main event at get-togethers. That could be as simple as an outdoor grill, or as elaborate as an outdoor kitchen prep area with bar seating. 

The Private Room. A patio that is designed as a personal space should have enclosures – or “walls” – that create a feeling of security. Personal patios often have a more elaborate planting design and elements that soften the environment. A small Koi Pond or pond-less waterfall provides just the right atmosphere for relaxation. If the patio is enjoyed after the sun goes down, low-voltage landscape lighting can set the perfect mood. Of course, fire pits or an outdoor gas fireplace is enjoyed by everyone – whether two people or twenty!