Design Dilemma: Five Secrets to a Great Patio | Home Design Find
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Design Dilemma: Five Secrets to a Great Patio

mediterranean patio

We all know one when we see one. Some patios stand out for their beauty, comfort and ease. They welcome you in, and ask you to stretch out and relax, or gather with friends. But it doesn’t just happen by itself. To have a beautiful and functional patio, you have to incorporate several crucial elements that will go a long way to making your patio the favorite room of your house.

  1. First, create a basic infrastructure.
     The reason a great patio doesn’t just happen by itself is that there are some basic elements any patio needs to feel comfortable. Electricity is helpful for adding lighting. A gas line or water line might be necessary if you plan to add a gas grill or an outdoor kitchen. Of course, it is possible to have a basic patio that doesn’t include any of these things, but if you hope to get a lot of use out of your patio, to eat often there in the evenings and to use it for entertaining, you’re going to need some infrastructure to make it all happen. A simpler patio, like the one below, might be nice for a few drinks in the early evening, but becomes harder to use for big parties and grillfests without electricity, gas or water.
traditional patio

2. Lighting, lighting and more lighting!
Nothing sets a successful patio apart from its less successful peers then good lighting design. This means soft lighting coming from a variety of sources that are suited to both work tasks and setting the mood.

Below, lights strung overhead provide a nice, romantic feel that never feels too harsh.

traditional patio

Here’s the same idea on another patio:

mediterranean patio

Finally, lighting from strung lights doesn’t preclude general lights that are stronger and perhaps necessary for completing tasks. Here’s an example where strung lights work in tandem with general spotlights:

midcentury patio

Below, a lighting designer used five different light sources ranging from barn lamps to light posts to lanterns to get just the right glow. And don’t forget the candles!

eclectic patio

3.Make it accessible.
What good is a patio if you can hardly get to it! The best patios allow for an easy flow between the indoors and outdoors. Windows and doors that open directly onto the patio, and that generally open and close easily, even when you’re carrying trays, are what you should aim for. A great patio feels like a simple extension of the house.

rustic porch

4. Add a grill.

It’s practically mandatory for any outdoor space where you plan to entertain. A gas line is the easiest way to go, although propane and charcoal grills can be another option. If you want even more comfort and ease, add a water line for rinsing off plates or getting a quick drink of water.

eclectic kitchen

5. Add a pergola or an enclosing structure.

Nothing will up the cozy factor more quickly. Pergolas and enclosures make an outdoor space feel like a room. It will feel intimate, safe and inviting. Just check out the cozy patio below.

traditional patio

Here’s another example.

traditional patio

An added bonus is that pergolas allow you to hang lanterns, string up lights and plant draping flowers and plants.

So there you have the five basic secrets to a great outdoor patio space. There are plenty things you can do to go further — add a fireplace, furnish your patio with eclectic and vintage flea market finds to add charm and quirkiness. But these are just the extras. Follow the first five back rules and you’ll find yourself spending the entire summer out on the patio!

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