Aug 4th, 2010 by Kathy
Ask a hundred people, and you’ll get a hundred different ideas about what elements constitute the ultimate patio. Some want theirs to be grand entertainment areas, while others prefer theirs to be cozier spots where they can hang out with their families, and, once in awhile, a few friends.
In many cases, people dream about turning theirs into snug little hideaways that will give them some much-needed solitude; and, naturally, even similar visions will have endless variations. Then, there are those who have no idea what to do with their patios, beyond putting a few outdoor chairs on them.
Yes, it’s a shame, and it happens for a number of reasons, that many perfectly good patios are unused, or, at least, underused. In certain instances, it’s because people figure that they just don’t have a flair for decorating; so, they simply set up a couple of porch chairs or folding chairs, for the occasions when they want to sit outside. Sometimes, people feel that their patios are too small to have any real potential; or, their outdoor areas become unbearably hot in the afternoon sun. Some folks have even been known to avoid using their patios because they don’t afford enough privacy.
No matter what circumstances lead to the neglect of patios, the results are the same – a bunch of wasted space. It doesn’t have to be that way, however, because, for one thing, you don’t have to be an expert designer to put together some spectacular outdoor décor. Furthermore, there are several easy ways to fix, or compensate for, most of the obstacles that stand between you, and your ideal patio.
When you’re decorating a patio (or a porch, yard, gazebo, deck, or sunroom, for that matter), start by thinking of it as one of the rooms in your home. Just as they each have their designated uses, your outdoor room will serve a specific purpose; or, if it’s large enough, perhaps, more than one. Either way, it’s up to you.
Whether your goal is to divide your patio into sections, or to gain more privacy or shade, you have several options from which to choose. For example, trellises, multi-paneled garden screens, and planter benches with lattice, all make wonderful partitions that will allow air to continue to circulate. (Outdoor ceiling fans will keep cool breezes blowing in roofed garden structures.)
If nothing else, people often like to separate their cooking and dining areas. This minimizes traffic around their grills (which is especially important when kids are running all over the place), and keeps smoke from wafting directly toward picnic tables and patio furniture, where their friends and family members are socializing.
Of course, as is the case with the rooms in your home, you’ll have to decide on a color scheme – and, perhaps, a theme – for your patio. Luckily, that’s easier than ever, as, these days, the variety of outdoor furniture and accessories is as wide as it is for the indoors.
Okay, so, maybe that doesn’t exactly make it easier. In fact, it may actually make things more difficult, or even drive you crazy; but, in the 21st century, that’s the price we all have to pay for having so many choices.