The patio is not just for summer – with these clever ideas, you can use it any time of the year. So why not give your patio an overhaul and enjoy al fresco Hallowe’en party or a get-together with friends at Bonfire, as well as a fantastic party on the patio at Christmas? From introducing some more privacy to adding a comfy banana bench for extra seating, you could completely transform your patio.
FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES
With the basics in place, you can start to add the seating options;
- Dining set – invest in a large dining table, chairs and benches for when you want to welcome family and friends to a dining experience on your patio. Hardwood garden dining sets are the best invest – they don’t warp or rust and providing they are protected from the cold overwinters to come, they will last a lifetime.
- Benches – for a more relaxed approach, choose items such as a spacious banana bench. Add cushions and throws and you have a practical outdoor sofa
- Built-in seating – if you are building your patio from scratch, we have seen that the current trend for the patio is to add integral seating in the walls and other features of it. Again, cushions and throws make for great additions that soften the ‘blunt’ edges.
- Recycled plastic rug – the floor is not to be neglected either. The outdoor rug is a fantastic use of recycled plastic and in most cases, can be left outside throughout all four seasons. A great way to add both colour and pattern to the patio.
Before you start adding lights and other accessories, you need to spend a little time giving the patio an overhaul. If your patio is well-laid and in a good state of repair, it takes no more than a good wash.
- Power wash – a jet or power wash is a great piece of kit to invest in. Opt for an environmentally friendly cleaning product that the manufacturer recommends to use with the unit and start by giving the patio a fantastic clean. By removing the moss and other detritus from the patio surface, it will be less slippery for your guests.
- General maintenance – from resealing the flagstones or giving the concrete patio a polish, spend some time and effort on giving the patio surface an overhaul.
With your patio cleaned and spruced up ready for your next social gathering, you can now start to add the ingredients that make it a pleasant outdoor ‘room’
Start with lighting;
- Functional lighting – if you are serious about using the patio as a socialising space, you need to have all the basics in place and that includes lighting. We are talking more than pretty fairy lights. Invest in the services of a qualified electrician to rig up permanent and functional lighting on the patio, from spotlights to pendant lights, to wall lights and LED lighting in decking or stone walls. There are so many garden lighting ideas for you to try.
- Add detail with lights – once you have the functional lighting in place, you can use smaller garden lights to add detail, romance and ambience to a space. From LED strings curving around tree trunks to pretty hanging fairy lights, there are many options.
If you want to use the patio as a socialising space potentially all-year round, you will need heat. Again, there are various options;
- Patio heaters. From electric heaters to gas-powered lamps, these are heating opting that when not in use, could be stored away. However, they are not the most environmentally-friendly although manufacturers are making changes.
- Fire pits. From open fires to enclosed firepits, these are considered the romantic option for the patio. There is something attractive about a fire that people enjoy sitting around, enjoying the company of others.
- Fire bowls. If you are proposing to dine outside, fire bowls on the table make a great addition. Although they won’t be enough to warm people in the depths of outdoor winter dining.
And finally, adding a note of privacy to your patio also gives it a feeling of being a room. From fencing to hedging, there are various ways of adding privacy to a patio, perfect for the feeling of cosiness in the cooler evenings.
It’s all in the design
Take a quick look online and you will see how clever design really creates an outdoor room, making more of the patio no matter what the season.
For example, include the open fire pit in a chimney stack, add tech with an outdoor TV and sound system, add yet more functionality with an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven. Or why not add a boundary to the patio with a garden bar?
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.