A professionally designed patio can be a wonderful asset. But don't leave it all to your designer - this is our guide to success for clients planning a new patio.
For many people a patio is the focal point of the garden, a beautiful yet functional space in which to enjoy the landscape. Gone are the days when a patio required either expensive natural stone, at the top end, or concrete slabs or crazy paving, for the more budget-conscious. Whatever your budget, there is now a wide range of materials, textures and colours to both match your own taste and enhance your property. Regardless of the size of your project, take a little time to research the available options and decide what you like.
Before calling for quotes, you should be clear what your new patio
will be for. Is it to be a cosy area for two people, a family space,
or an 'outdoor room' for larger gatherings? The main reason for
considering what is perhaps an obvious question is that, along with
the size of your garden, it will dictate the size of the patio.
As a general rule, 3m x 3m can comfortably fit a table and 4, perhaps
6, chairs. Adjust that figure up or down depending on your patio
furniture, the number of people you want to accommodate and, of course,
the amount of available space in your garden.
If you have the space, overspilling onto the lawn can be one way to keep your patio to a reasonable size - and cost. For that reason, it is often useful to avoid completely enclosing your patio with borders or walls and raised beds.
The most popular place for a patio is usually adjoining the house,
but that might not have the best aspect. Be open to locating the
patio in the best position to sit back and relax in your surroundings.
Great patio designs can always incorporate a weatherproof way to
access the patio while also integrating seamlessly into the rest of
Privacy considerations also affect decisions on patio placement. If you are constrained for space, consider alternative ways to make the patio more private by incorporating items such as a trellis, pergola or imaginative planting.
Well-constructed pergolas serve a number of functions and are always
worth consideration, either on the patio itself or around the edge. First
and foremost, a pergola provides welcome shade if the area is very
sunny. This can also help provide privacy if necessary.
If you are planning to use the patio at sunset or at night, a pergola is an excellent way to incorporate down-lighting. However, take care to site the pergola appropriately so that it doesn't get in the way of your patio furniture.
If your garden is on a slope, there are safety issues to consider as
the patio will usually have to incorporate steps or have multiple
levels. Boundary walls or safety rails are just two ways to address
the problem, both of which can be made to look very stylish.
Have you thought about the shape of your patio? We have designed patios in a number of shapes, such as circular or octagonal as well as rectangular, but also irregular shapes with soft flowing curves. Rectangular shapes make the most efficient use of space, an important factor in modern small gardens.
The final consideration has probably the biggest impact on the
appearance of your patio and makes up a moderate chunk of the overall
cost - the choice of materials. It is probably fair to say that the
choice nowadays is mind-boggling and new products and styles are
launched every year. Concrete, sandstone, limestone, slate, granite,
travertine, clay as well as brick, block, setts, gravel, all in
different colours, shades and finishes. To make it even more
complicated, the best patio designs often incorporate two or more
materials or shades for the best effect.
When deciding on your preferred material for your project, keep in mind that the bulk of your project's cost is usually down to labour. Trading up to a higher quality product does not tend to increase the overall project cost significantly, and can bring added benefits such as extend the life of the patio. Please contact us about this if you need some unbiased advice.
We would always advise that clients spend some time before they call
us to understand exactly what their patio will be used for, take
a look at as many relevant examples as they can, and to have a
small selection of preferred materials and colours in mind. Your
ideas do not have to be absolutely fixed as we can discuss your
preferences with you and provide advice and guidance.
There are many websites that show patio designs, both from paving suppliers and other landscape designers. As a starting point we would suggest the following manufacturers, as their websites are very informative and often include design tools and brochures which can help you to visualise your project.
As well as our small gallery on our website,
we have a portfolio of hundreds of previous projects which we are
happy to discuss with you, answer any questions you have or
to provide inspiration.
Finally, we would recommend going to see actual examples of patios laid in your preferred materials. Some garden centres and builders merchants have display areas where the paving can be seen, and we can also take clients to see some of our previous work.
For help making the right decisions for you, or to talk to us about incorporating a patio into an overall garden design, please call us on 07803 928185.
Designed for spending lots of time outdoors in the warmer months, this patio is constructed with natural slate and blockwork edging. Note that the surrounding wall does not completely enclose the patio; there are easy routes to the other parts of the garden including the children's play area.
Pergolas and Lighting
Pergolas provide shade during the day and can be used to support lighting at night. This patio is intended for entertaining, the focal point being the table in the centre lit by the chandelier above. There are many different types of pergola, this particular example allows the space to be used even during light rain.
Placement and Shape
Patios can be made in all shapes and sizes. This example shows a circular stone patio with blockwork edging. The patio itself has been positioned away from the house to suit the shape of this particular garden, and the different elements in the garden have been connected by a curved walkway.
Using Multiple Materials
This patio combines a number of different design features to good effect. The focal point is the circular design in the centre, which is surrounded by a square in darker stone. The patio itself has a curved edge and is surrounded by a gravel border. A good selection of planting makes this a very enjoyable space in which to sit, eat or entertain.