7 Essential Elements to Include in Your Patio Design

Last updated on January 29, 2024

Use these seven keys as a checklist for your ideal patio design. Read on!

There are two kinds of patios: the ones that get used every spare moment and the ones that sit idle except when they’re swept out at the end of every autumn.

The following will explore a few crucial components of patio layout and design that can help ensure your patio gets used to its fullest potential.

Everyone needs to be spending more time outdoors, right? Making your patio comfortable and welcoming can make it easy for you to spend afternoons enjoying the sun and the latest cozy mystery novel.

What's Inside

Take Care of Drainage First

patio design

Before we dive into the fun stuff, it’s important that you take a moment to study the drainage situation where your patio is located.

Poor drainage can cause a ton of problems, as too little water or too much of it can shift the ground beneath your patio and wear out all your patio features much more quickly. 

If there are places in your yard that gain deep puddles after a rainy day or places that seem patched no matter how much water they get, you probably have drainage problems.

If you don’t have a pathway for rainwater to fall from the roof, through the gutters and away from your patio or home’s foundation, you have drainage problems. 

Take care of any drainage issues you discover before you get to work on your patio. This is because water can seriously damage any of the work that you do, making your efforts almost worthless.

If your drainage solutions are in place before you get to work on your patio, your efforts have a much higher chance of lasting longer.

Get Inspired

front patio

Once you’re ready to get to work, it’s often prudent to take a step back and get inspired. Drive around your neighborhood and take a look at what other people are doing that works with the color scheme and climate of your terrain.

Spend some time online looking through patio ideas and suggestions from individuals and design companies. Check out some magazines from your local library or pick them up at your local department store.

Getting clear on all the options and what speaks to you can help you avoid changing directions halfway through the design process because you’ve suddenly discovered something awesome that you hadn’t thought of before.

Seating Must Be Comfortable

outdoor living space

Pretty seating arrangements are a major component of patio design. This being said, not everything that’s pretty is comfortable.

Rule number one if you’re going to create a patio space you and your friends love lounging in is that it needs to be comfortable. Make sure to run your hands along different materials before purchasing to get a sense of what it’s going to feel like to sit on them.

Try out different pieces of furniture at the store for more than five minutes. If you’re shopping with a spouse or roommate, sit and have a conversation with them about the furniture. Shift around. Sit in different positions. 

Shade Is Required

patio awning

No matter how much you love the sun, there are going to be moments when the angle of the light is not optimal for your patio. Without adequate shade, this often means you and everyone who’s enjoying the outdoors with you have to move inside around midday.

Avoid this issue by seeking out shade. If you want to maximize sunlight, you’re not alone. Plenty of flexible solutions exist. Take a look at some patio awning design ideas and figure out what times of day you’re going to need shade and from what angle.

You don’t want to be shifting your furniture around to avoid a glare as this can quickly take away some of the charm of your patio experience.

Pesticide and Weed Killer Avoidance

overgrown garden

While pesticides and weed killers can make it easier to get the look you’d like for the areas surrounding your patio, new studies are finding severe problems with them almost daily.

If you’re congested or itchy every time you sit on the patio, you’re not going to utilize the space as much as you would otherwise.

Beyond this, pesticides and weed killers leech into the water system, slowly poisoning all the local organisms (including humans) and creating chronic illnesses like cancer among the population. Avoid this entire gross problem by seeking out natural and organic options.

People Gather Around Fires

deck fire pit

For an incredibly long time, humans have been gathering around the fire at the end of every day. We’re soothed by flickering light and subtle crackle sounds, and this means that a fire pit (standing above ground or in the ground) can be an excellent focal point for your patio.

Just be sure to look up the local fire regulations for your area. Some places, particularly those prone to forest fires or droughts, can have burn bans at certain times during the year.

Some townships also require you to purchase a fire license before having a fire at your home. These are often very inexpensive (around ten dollars).

Finally, if you’re lighting a fire, be sure to have the proper emergency equipment nearby: water or a fire extinguisher.

Go Green

patio plants

Of course, part of the wonder of the outdoors is the magic of plant life. Figure out what types of plants thrive in your area with little effort and bring them into the space either in the ground surrounding your patio or in larger pots and containers on the patio itself.

The less work a given plant requires to flourish, the less likely you are to find yourself overwhelmed with tasks you need to do when you step out on your patio. If all you can see is stuff you haven’t gotten done when you’re using the space, you’re far less likely to use your patio on the regular.

Hopefully, you’re now feeling excited and energized to take on the patio space at your home.

The patio can be a place where memories are made, where friends come and enjoy long summer days with you, and where children and pets play happily for hours.

Taking the time to ensure your patio is both beautiful and comfortable can result in you and members of your household spending more time outside, breathing in the fresh air.

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