Outdoor living is a major trend and it’s here to stay. You read my article “A Simple Guide to Patio Planning” so you’ve made all the important decisions, identified a trustworthy professional to help you with the project, and are ready to take this patio show on the road. What else should you be aware of?
Extra amenities and fire hazards
Having an open grill, a furnace, some lighting, and plants in or around your patio sounds great – and kudos to you if you can afford them. However, it’s extremely important to note that the lighting should be low voltage and very well insulated, for outdoor use. Furthermore, any sort of cooking equipment that involves an open fire should ideally be placed outside the patio, with all the proper safety measures for ventilation in place. Also, make sure the base of the patio is level, to avoid wobbly chairs and tables.
Trees, plants, and turf
In this respect, the possibilities seem endless. You should plan your plants with a design that designates special places for potted flowers or shrubbery. Another great idea is to use groundcovers or succulents which add both a splash of lively green, but also release wonderful scents (think thyme or basil). And creating a bit of shade by planting a few trees around the patio is also a project that’s bound to come out very rewarding. Do bear in mind that trees require a lot of care and maintenance, especially in their first year – and also that you might want to plant them at a safe distance from the patio itself. You don’t want to risk accidents, in case of a storm, nor do you want too much shade from the crown of the grown tree itself.
Wind can’t be predicted nor prevented, so it’s important to plan your patio with this in mind. As the Black & Decker Complete Guide to Patios explains it’s best to figure out the direction(s) from which the wind blows most often in your area. If you live in a particularly windy place, with less sunshine than the national average, it might also be a good idea to place your patio on a small elevation, as cold air drops. As for wind protection, Black & Decker suggest that, counter-intuitively, solid walls are less efficient at protecting your patio. Instead of a solid surface, perhaps try a filtering barrier, such as a lattice or a louvered fence.
John Stuart works on behalf of patioawnings4less.co.uk in outreach and content creation. He creates engaging content that help businesses connect with their audience and stand out from the crowd.