Getting your patio right: Five things to think about

The patio is one of the most important aspects of every garden. While often we spend lots of time thinking about the plants we’re going to seed, the greenery and the sights and sounds of the green space, it’s actually on the patio where we spend the most time.

While that doesn’t mean we should ignore our planting, what it does mean is that we should also place significant importance on our patio space too. After all, it’s where we’ll sit, socialise, eat, drink and generally relax. 

So, getting your patio right. Where exactly do you start?

Location and Size

One of the first steps when creating a patio and getting it right is ensuring that it’s in the right place and it’s the right size. 

Think about what you’re using it for and this will help you place it. For example, if you want to use it to enjoy al fresco dining, then positioning the patio near the kitchen is going to be the best option. If you want the area to sunbathe, then place it in the area of the garden that catches the most sun.

Think about the size in relation to the rest of your garden. A large patio may overpower a smaller garden, while going small may not allow it to do the things it needs. Spend a bit of time in your garden with some measuring tools to plot out and discover the right dimensions for you.

Materials and Style

The materials for your patio can have a huge impact on both its appearance and its durability. You want to opt for something that’s easily maintainable and will stand the test of time, such as porcelain, tiles made of natural stone and things like concrete paving stones. 

Each has their own benefits, with the likes of natural stone, such as slate or limestone, providing that timeless, elegant feel, while porcelain tiles are great for not staining or marking, as well as preventing weeds from appearing in any cracks. 

Concrete is more cost-effective, while you can also consider the likes of brick and wood decking, although the latter does require a lot of maintenance. 

What’s important to note is you want to make sure that the patio flooring you opt for is suited to the overall architecture of the home.

Furniture and Accessories

Of course, oce you’ve got the right flooring in place, you then need to think about the furniture and accessories that ultimately will dictate how frequently you sit there. Getting garden furniture right is an absolute must as it can be the difference between using the space regularly, or getting fed up quite quickly.

Again, you want to think about furniture that matches the purpose of the space, and it needs to be comfortable, durable and high-quality. Cutting corners on price will usually lead to it breaking down quite quickly or being a less desirable space to sit in.

You want your furniture to be weatherproof, while adding in cushions and throws when the sun’s out can really add to the comfort. 

Accessorise the space with planters, outdoor rugs and lighting to make the space more inviting, with the likes of solar-powered path lights and lanterns a good option to make the space a warm and calming environment.

Finally, think about heaters and fire pits to keep the space usable during the cooler evenings and into the autumn and winter months.

Shade and Shelter

Providing shade and shelter is essential for creating a comfortable patio space. Depending on your needs and budget, there are various options to consider. Umbrellas and shade sails offer flexible, budget-friendly solutions, while pergolas and gazebos provide more permanent, stylish structures.

Consider adding climbing plants like wisteria or clematis to your pergola for natural shade and a touch of greenery. For more comprehensive weather protection, retractable awnings or even a fully covered patio area can allow you to enjoy the space regardless of the weather.

Maintenance and Longevity

Finally, you’ve spent all that time getting your patio right, you want it to last. Ideally, you want it to last with minimal maintenance, which is why going for high quality, durable materials is a must, especially in the UK.

However, you should be prepared to regularly upkeep your space, cleaning, sweeping and sealing to keep it looking its best, while continually checking your furniture to ensure it’s still fully functional.

When creating your patio, do so with good drainage in place to avoid puddles and potential damage, while when purchasing furniture and accessories, consider easy-to-clean options, which will save you quite a bit of time.