Fit It All In
Even a modestly sized patio can accommodate major outdoor living elements. Designed by Puck Erickson of Arcadia Studio, this back patio incorporates a grill, elevated bar table with built-in stools and deep seating.
A. Silvestri “Alfresco” planters complement the modern look and bring greenery to the patio. Puck approached the design “with a strong sense of aesthetic discipline and restraint,” which is evident in the overall result, which is clean, contemporary and never fussy.
Use Mature Plants
When landscape architect Wendy Harper started working on the patio and pool deck that accompanied a new home, she “wanted it to feel like it had all been here from the start.”
Local stone, turned railings, mature plants and authentic pottery made all the difference. Within a short time, the patio looked established instead of bare. French Anduze containers planted with softly hued succulents were the perfect finishing touch.
Appeal to the Senses
When creating our patio spaces, it’s natural to think of how things look. But do we consider how they sound and smell? The classic accoutrements of the garden became standard because they do keep all the senses on mind.
Fragrant blooming plants in containers bring the scent and water features bring the sound. The trickling water from this custom Eye of the Day fountain beside a patio designed by Rick Button is one of the homeowner’s favorite features in their entire exterior space.
Ways to Say Welcome
You can’t walk past a home design store without seeing a design element — whether it’s a wreath, planter, or sign — meant to engage visitors and make them feel at home. We loved the fresh idea shown in this photo: what better way to say “hello and welcome” than two comfortable chairs on the front patio, flanking the door? We also appreciate the throw pillows that match the trim paint.
Traditional patios are a perfect rectangle. But why? Here we see an angular zigzag of a patio designed by Rick Button, which creatively uses available space.
It’s all about dimension: Depending on where you’re standing, the datura plant partially conceals a wall fountain or, if you’re seated on the stone bench, you get the direct view of the fountain with some privacy offered by the datura. The takeaway here is that no matter how awkward you think your exterior space is, there’s a way to design the patio that will work for you.
Making the Best of It
When your house’s footprint takes up most of the lot, you may have little else outside but a patio. Even then, you can make that space useful for gardening, as Puck Erickson did here with this built-in raised bed.
With as little as 24 square feet, you can grow enough produce to feed your family through the summer and depending where you live, even longer. Homegrown herbs and veggies are fun to grow and are also a great teaching tool for your kids. Caution: Make sure your patio gets plenty of sunlight if you aim to reap a plentiful harvest.
Sarah Kinbar is a writer and editor with a passion for design and images. She was the editor of Garden Design magazine, curating coverage of residential gardens around the globe. As the editor of American Photo, Kinbar worked with photographers of every genre to create a magazine that told the story of the photographer’s journey.
She has been writing about architecture, landscape design and new-home construction for NewHomeSource since 2012. During that time, she founded Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides content for website redesigns, blogs, inbound marketing campaigns and eNewsletters.