Patio Design Ideas to Bring Your Outdoor Oasis to Life
Finding ways to upgrade your outdoor and patio decor is a great way to create a cozy and welcoming environment to enjoy throughout the warmer seasons. While you might feel intimidated by the images of perfect and extravagant outdoor living spaces you see in Better Homes & Gardens magazines, you can take comfort in the fact that you don’t need to do much to create a similar atmosphere in your own back yard.
Any patio setting wouldn’t be complete without somewhere to sit back and relax. When looking for furniture for your patio space you want to look for two things: durability and comfort.
Things left outside are prone to weathering and damage regardless of the weather forecast. Some pieces can quickly become bleached by the sun which fades the surface of the furniture. Precipitation and wind can further damage your furniture and compromise their structural integrity. Finding outdoor furniture and seating arrangements made from quality materials will help prevent overall damage and save you money on potential repairs.
Of course, relaxation is of utmost importance in any outdoor living space. Aside from finding furniture pieces that match the level of comfort and relaxation you’re looking for; the addition of throw pillows and cushions will only add additional comfort.
Any pillows you have on hand will suffice, but it’s important to take them inside to preserve the quality of the material. Many retailers sell pillows made from water repelling material that are made to withstand mild weathering.
When looking for accessories such as pillows and table covers, you might consider following a set color scheme as you design your outdoor space. Accessories are a great place to start to establish your own image of your ideal patio.
Continuing with the topic of relaxation, taking a few minutes (or hours) to hang out in the shade after a long day in the sun is a great way to still enjoy the outdoors, just a little more comfortably.
No matter how big or small your patio space is, there are a few options for shade that will have you covered. Awnings are a bit costly and require some set up, however they cover a substantial amount of space and are great for larger patios and those who have frequent company so everyone can be comfortable.
If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, or only want shade in certain areas of the space, an umbrella might be a more suitable–and cheaper– option. With umbrellas, you have two options. Table patio umbrellas cover the table area, but most are adjustable and are able to be repositioned as the sun moves throughout the day.
Freestanding umbrellas have their own base typically cover a greater area than a table patio umbrella would. Most are adjustable, and because they aren’t fixed to another surface they can easily be moved if and when needed.
For late summer nights, lighting is crucial. Outside of providing light when the sun goes down, adding lights to your patio area can create a soothing atmosphere. Christmas lights are affordable and provide a sufficient amount of light especially when fixed to the perimeter of an umbrella or awning. String lights with different styled bulbs can also be found at home improvement stores and while they aren’t harsh on the eyes, they provide a little more visibility than Christmas lights might.
Fire pits are another great lighting option but should be placed in an area away from plants and children to prevent injury or property damage. They’re also great for roasting marshmallows which is an obvious plus.
Spending time outdoors is even more enjoyable when in the company of beautiful plants and foliage that add vibrance and interest. Even in smaller spaces, there’s always room for plants and there are a wide range of options to choose from.
Before heading to the garden outlet, you should observe the amount of direct sunlight your patio gets throughout the day. Plants that require full sun means that they need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day, while full shade plants only require an hour or two of sun at the most.
Annual bedding plants are great in pots and hanging baskets, but also do well in garden areas. To fill up empty areas surrounding other larger plants, bedding plants such as cosmos and zinnias grow fast, don’t require much maintenance, add color, and return every year.
For shadier patios, hostas are the way to go. They thrive in low light as well as shade and look beautiful regardless of where they’re planted. In the summer, many hostas also bloom flowers which is always a nice addition to any space. Only needing to be watered once a week, hostas are easy to maintain, and can be easily propagated whenever you want a new plant.
Music adds to any social event and livens up a space. Weatherproof outdoor sound systems able to withstand the elements, have great sound quality, and most are able to connect to any device through Bluetooth so you can play DJ from your seat. If you’re not keen on the idea of having to look at an entire sound system outdoors, some home and garden stores sell Bluetooth speakers disguised as rocks that can easily blend into the patio environment.
Water features such as fountains and small streams give off a more naturistic vibe. In a larger yard, you can put in a small stream to line the perimeter or that runs along the side of the yard. Fountains are more convenient, however, if you want to save money and space. While, yes, outdoor fountains can certainly cost you a bit more cast, there are a multitude of DIY tutorials available online that can guide you in creating your own fountain for a fraction of the cost.