Style8 Ways to Maximize Your Patio
You have unrealized real estate sitting right outside. Now's the time to reclaim your patio.
When done right, a patio or deck space will be an extension of your home, and let's face it, now that summer is waning, we want to spend every minute outdoors. "It should feel like a room you want to spend time in," says Susan Collins Weir, of the San Francisco-based husband-wife team Studio Collins Weir. "Therefore, treat it with care when laying out the space and selecting furniture and accessories. If you wouldn't put that folding camp chair in your living room, why is it on your deck?"
This is your opportunity to create an outdoor man den. "A patio is a great addition to a house," agrees Russel Groves, of Groves & Co. "It increases the usable living space and can multitask as a space for alfresco dining, lounging, entertaining, cooking, and a multitude of other activities."
"Simply put, if you've got a patio or a deck, make pulling it together a priority," says Weir. "These are unique spaces that simultaneously offer privacy from the world and the expanse of the outdoors. Whether you're entertaining friends or relaxing with a cocktail it all seems better when you're outside."
Whether your patio is on the waterfront in the Hamptons, an urban oasis in the form of a roof deck, or a small backyard at the end of a cul-de-sac in Milwaukee, keep these rules in mind to make your outdoor living rooms as stylish and welcoming as the rest of your home.
How Will You Use the Space?
"The number one consideration is how you want to use the space," says Timothy Whealon. "Will it be a lounge, a dining space, a place where you want to have a lot of people, or all of the above? I think patios should be multifunctional: a place to read, a place to eat, a place to lounge, and a place to entertain."
Think of the Sun
"Consider how exposed the proposed patio location is," recommends Groves. "You may need protection from the sun, achieved with a pergola, plantings, an awning, or umbrella." Along the same lines, avoid dark colored stone that will get uncomfortably hot in the sun. "When considering stone, choose something light colored, like limestone. Wood decking is also great as it doesn't get too hot and adds a natural feeling."
And Think of the Rain
"You have to think about all of these elements when you are planning your space," says Whealon. "For example, an awning is really nice because it provides shelter if it starts to rain and you have guests over." Plus, as Kati Curtis, notes consider what drainage you might need.
It's Not All About the Grill
"As avid outdoor cooks, we understand the desire and need for the biggest and best grill available, but it shouldn't be the centerpiece," advises Chris. "Unless you're hosting a cooking show on your patio, keep the grill mobile and out of the way or built-in in a discreet location."
"One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is just putting concrete everywhere and not really considering how the patio fits into the rest of the landscape," says Curtis. But, be realistic: Landscaping costs can quickly add up so calculate what on-going maintenance will cost. Planters are a relatively inexpensive and flexible option.
Mix and Match
"Don't be afraid of patterned upholstery and cushions," says Susan. "They are a great way to mix up the look of your deck or patio and are readily available in a ton of different fabrics suitable for the outdoors." As for upkeep, remember to choose fabrics that are made for the outdoors and are easy to move.
And the TV?
"TV's belong indoors," adds Chris. "Always." You have the stars to gaze at!