Patio landscaping 101

Does building a patio mean just laying concrete patio blocks on the ground? Can be. But patio landscaping offers a whole lot more possibilities, ideas that can turn a “Well OK” patio into a “WOW” patio. And you don’t have to go overboard. Just a few things here and there can give your patio an eye catching look.

Patio basics

Before we go on to actual patio building and landscaping, let’s start with the basics.

The location

Your patio can be a place for relaxing
Your patio can be a place for relaxing

One of your most important patio landscaping decisions will be where to install your patio. Your first idea may be “Well, just outside the patio door”. That may not be a bad idea in itself, but there may be other options. Have you considered the following issues?

  • Visibility: Do you want to see neighbors and passers-by when you are on your patio and do you want to be seen by them? Will you want to leave things, like a barbecue, on your patio? If the whole of your patio is located in full view, will you have to install some kind of barrier to have some privacy? If so, how well will this barrier integrate itself in your landscaping?
  • Sun: Do you want only sun, or some shade as well?
  • Accessibility: Do you want your patio to be a sort of extra room accessible right outside the door, or do you want it to be a sort of roofless pavilion separated from the house?

You should try to think of all the pros and cons of various possible locations on your yard before making the final decision. Can’t move a patio, you know.

The material

Concrete blocks are the most popular option probably because they are the easiest to install. Bricks or natural stones make much better looking patios, but they are more complicated to work with and they cost more. So how much are you willing to invest in your patio? Would you perhaps settle for a smaller, better looking patio?

The construction

Quality of construction is also very important, not only because it will make the patio look better, but also because it will make it more stable and durable. Just placing patio blocks or stepping stones on the ground will not give outstanding results. Depending on what you choose to use, be it blocks, bricks or natural stones, there are different methods that you can use. In most cases, building a patio on a gravel base is quite adequate. Building a concrete base will give you the most stability and may be advisable for uneven natural stones that are likely to rock when people step on them. If you plan to have steps leading up to your patio, a concrete base for the steps is also advisable.

Patio landscaping

Simply adding a nice patio in your yard is a plus, but patio landscaping adds an extra touch of charm and beauty. So here are a few patio landscaping ideas:

  • It’s a good idea to have a few trees bordering your patio, but if you plan to build a rather large patio, why not think about building the patio around a few trees. Be sure to leave some space around each trunk so as to let rain water get to the roots. Be sure that the patio landscaping doesn’t outgrow the patio itself. Choose trees that remain rather small, otherwise your whole patio may end up in the shade.
  • A flower bed surrounding part of the patio’s edges is a must. Flowers at the base of trees in also to be considered.
  • Potted flowers are good. Use terracotta pots of various types and sizes for a more romantic or South European style. For a more contemporary look, if your winters are not too cold, why not have small trees planted in large pots. For a classic look, use ornate garden vases.
  • Adding lighting to your patio landscaping will let you enjoy more of your patio. Plus, it can be used to give the place a dramatic look, such as if you light up your trees from the base up.

Have you considered all the possibilities? There are some landscaping ideas you may not have thought of.

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The right plants in the right locations with the right conditions