Make the most of your patio

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

Useful steps to creating a patio where you can spend many hours relaxing or entertaining guests.

There’s nothing quite like coming home at the end of a long day at work and sitting outside with a drink and a snack with your loved ones. For many, this relaxing little routine takes place on the patio, which, depending on which country you’re in or from is also referred to as a stoep, a porch, a veranda or a deck.

Of course this is but one way people make use of their patios. Many while away their time reading books, creating items, eating leisurely meals, watching birdlife and celebrating special events on their patios. Given the pivotal role patios play in the life of a home, it’s not surprising that people place such importance on creating the perfect patio.

Arguably the first step to take when considering patio designs is to decide how much you are prepared to spend on such a project.

As is the case with any home improvements, such projects can easily spiral out of control and become a money hole. With this in mind, it’s best to do your homework first and set aside a reasonable amount of money. The trick is to then stick to your budget!

Another important aspect to consider from the outset is whether or not you want to use your patio year round.

If you want your patio to be an all-weather space, you will need to weather proof it accordingly. Elements such as screens, shutters, windows, sliding doors or roller blinds akin to the type used at restaurants will probably come into play should you want to use it year round.

Before incorporating such elements though, carefully consider the impact they will have on your patio as a whole. It may well be that blinds or windows and the like will cut off a large portion of a stunning view. Such elements can also make a patio and the interior of your home seem small and dark which is the last thing most homeowners want. Similarly, if you’re planning on braaing or incorporating a fireplace, closing it in could make it almost impossible for smoke to escape which could lead to serious problems. If in doubt, speak to a designer or architect and plan accordingly.

The next step to take is to choose your patio style and colours.

There are myriad different styles to choose from ranging from cheap and cheerful, eclectic, Provencal, farmhouse, beach, rustic cottage and many other styles besides. The choice is yours really. Again the style you choose depends entirely on your budget, the nature of your property and its location, how involved you want to be with your patio and whether or not you want it to dovetail with the rest of your house.

Once you’ve decided on the look you want, you can hone in on the furniture which will bring it to life.

If for example, cheap and cheerful is what you’ve decided on, make a plan to attend antiques markets or a second hand furniture store. You’ll be amazed at what gems you can find which can be repurposed for a fraction of the cost of new store items. If you’re after a sophisticated, neutral Provencal look, you should be able to find such French style chairs and the like at most retailers. A beach style patio on the other hand typically lends itself to natural woods, a hammock and bright pops of colour.

Lastly, don’t forget to incorporate the elements that will bring your patio together.

These could include soft, colourful throws and cushions, candles, ornaments, baskets, mirrors, pot plants, books, even blankets and chandeliers. The point is to create a space you, your family and guests will feel comfortable in and will be able to make the most of for years to come.

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