Freshen Up Your PatioFebruary 4, 2020 8:39 pm
It may seem like the rain is never-ending at this point in the Pacific Northwest winter, but the glimpse of blue sky today had us all dreaming of spring and thinking about perking up our patios!
If you’re ready to mentally move on from this gloomy gray and focus on the sunny weather ahead, there are a range of tasks you can undertake to get your patio ready for lounging, entertaining, or whatever it is that you like to do outside. Improvements can be as simple as a good clean-up, or you can go all-in on a new landscape design to really maximize the usability and enjoyment of your outdoor space. Here are some questions to ask yourself before embarking on your patio project:
What Do I Want From My Patio?
Your outdoor lifestyle will change as new friends and neighbors come and go, your family grows, and your hobbies shift to new interests. Perhaps you’ve discovered a passion for the culinary arts and want to expand your outdoor meal prep options with a brick pizza oven, built-in grill, outdoor refrigeration, and space for growing organic herbs and produce. The play area and sandbox that were perfect for toddlers haven’t been used in years, but your teens would love a place to hang out with their friends. Perhaps you’d enjoy the fire pit or hot tub through the rainy winter months if they were more sheltered. Before you make any changes to your patio, it is important to assess your needs, keeping in mind how your outdoor living may continue to change so you can make adjustments that you’ll enjoy for many years.
What Does My Current Patio Offer, and What Do I Need to Change?
When you’re ready to change up your patio, first take a good look at what the space already offers. How large is the existing patio, and does it need to be larger or smaller? Is it oriented toward the best views of your yard or do you need more privacy? What condition is it in? If any repairs are needed, now is the time to do basic maintenance to repair settling, reseal the concrete, stone or pavers, and replace any cracked stones or broken railings to be sure the space is safe and usable.
What Patio Improvements Can I Do Myself, and What Will I Need Help With?
There are many ways to give your patio a fantastic makeover, no matter what your budget or timeline may be.
- Cleaning– It is amazing how much difference a thorough cleaning can make to your patio. Power wash the area, using appropriate treatments to remove mold or rust stains. Re-sand joints between pavers and repaint or stain any railings or wood accents. If you already love your patio space, a good cleaning may be all the refreshing you need.
- Pruning Plants– Overgrown plants near your patio can encroach on the outdoor living space. Shape plants attractively and consider removing or replacing any damaged or unsalvageable plants. Add new mulch around the patio for a fresh look and to discourage weeds that detract from the area.
- Light It Up– Without proper lighting, you won’t enjoy your patio after dark. Overhead illumination can be improved by adding recessed lighting to covered patios or string lights to pergolas. Up-lights can add depth and drama to your outdoor space by highlighting the beautiful shapes of surrounding plants and trees and illuminating stairs and pathways will ensure a safe journey from house to patio in the evening.
- Get Edgy– Redefining the edge of your patio with deeper beds, retaining walls, poured concrete planters, or a privacy screen can completely change the feel of the space.
- Have a Seat–Seating can be incorporated into many areas in your patio, whether it’s a retaining wall, a semi-circular bench accenting a fire pit, or benches that serve double-duty as railings on an elevated patio. If you’re not considering any additional structures, a fresh lounging or dining set can give your patio a whole new vibe. With so many styles of outdoor furniture available these days, you’re sure to find one that suits your home, be it mid-century modern or Mediterranean. Even replacing old covers, cushions or accent pillows can give existing furniture a fresh look.
- Fire and Water– Add elemental life to your patio by incorporating fire or water into the space. Heat it up with a gas or wood-burning fire pit, fireplace, or even fun torches or lanterns. If liquid refreshment is more your style, options are plenty: koi ponds, fountains, or streams surround you in the sounds of nature. For a more immersive experience, consider a pool or spa.
- Contain Your Enthusiasm– Adding containers is a great way to instantly update your patio with natural elements. Large containers of tall grasses or shrubs can create privacy, whether they’re oversized pots or built-in beds.
- Shade for Sure– Providing shade over your patio will make your outdoor living space more comfortable in all weather by reducing glare, blocking harmful UV rays and controlling the temperature. In the Pacific Northwest, shelter from rain Options include pergolas, gazebos, and pavilions. In a small space, even a patio umbrella will do the trick, and don’t underestimate the natural sunscreen of a beautiful shade tree!
- Fun With Flooring– Most of us think of a concrete slab when it comes to patios, and there are some beautiful options available, whether stamped, stained, or textured, but there is also a range of other materials to consider. Depending on the style of your house, wood tiles or decomposed granite might be stylish options. Even a mix of materials, when done right, can add interest to your overall design, versus being too busy as one might expect. And don’t forget about personal touches—adding your initials or children’s handprints will give you something to smile at for years to come.
- Add an Accent– Speaking of personal touches, you may have a treasured item, such as an outdoor clock, thermometer, barometer, or sculpture that would provide a perfect centerpiece for your patio area, or even serve as inspiration for the entire outdoor space. A functional chalkboard wall provides instant art whether it’s a drawing surface for kids, or a menu board for dinner guests!
If you’re ready to add new life to your patio, our team of landscape architects and designers can help you find great ways to freshen up your space, so you’ll spend more time outdoors enjoying it!