Take off your thick jumper, turn down the central heating and throw those curtains and windows wide! Summer is here and with it brings warm sunny days, and balmy nights sitting in your beautiful garden. The summer months are the time to entertain friends, family and neighbours and the addition of a patio to your garden means you have the perfect space to do so – in style. The creation of the perfect patio is not complicated, but will require a little forward planning to ensure you’re able to get the most from your new outdoor space.
Plan your space
Have a good think about what you’ll be using the patio for; entertaining, relaxing, dining, or all three? You’ll obviously be limited by the size of your garden but by considering all options you’ll avoid making it too big and overcrowding the rest of the garden, or too small and not fit for purpose. Make a sketch using scale model drawings of any furniture you plan to use in the area to make sure everything fits well and looks good.
Accessorise with nature
Don’t worry about purchasing expensive decorations for your new outdoor space. The best accessories are the ones you’ve probably already got in your garden. Several strategically placed large planters filled with low maintenance bulbs from somewhere like www.spaldingbulb.co.uk/, grasses or evergreens look striking, and will also provide some much needed shade and privacy. The planters can be changed as often as you like to reflect the changing seasons or a change in colour scheme.
Pick your materials
You may be fooled into thinking your patio has to be made from traditional grey concrete slabs, but the truth is there are now a huge variety of attractive and affordable alternative options to choose from – sophisticated natural slate paving slabs to beautiful smooth limestone that feels fantastic underfoot. Shop around and select materials that suit both your garden and personal requirements.
Just as with the inside of your home, accent lighting can add atmosphere and ambience to your finished patio area. Make sure it stands out after dark – create a vibrant carnival feel by hanging strings of coloured lights or a calm relaxed vibe using candles and twinkling clear fairy lights.
Heat it up
One of the hottest patio trends for 2014 is an outdoor fireplace. Not only will they add some much needed heat when the evenings get a little chilly, but the snap, crackle and golden glow of an open fire creates an intimate setting for an evening garden party. Best of all is that you can toast marshmallows over the open flames for an instant dessert
A patio isn’t just a place for grown ups and many families decide to use the area as a playground, placing swings, outdoor toys and swimming pools there. Protect children from scrapes and bruises by adding a soft floor covering which can be removed during winter months if necessary.
If you have the space, consider separating your patio area into two distinct areas; one for eating and one for relaxing. This way you’ll be sure to maximise your space and get the most from your garden this summer.