26 Aug 2013

In Great Britain, our patios are a little piece of paradise outside the back door. Unfortunately, they can start to look a bit neglected if they are not looked after, which is a real shame. With a small amount of effort and some imagination, these outside spaces can spring back to life and entice you out into the open air again.

Colouring in

A quick fix can be had by adding a splash of colour to your patio or decking. Pick a strong, bright colour, like cobalt blue, fiery red, sunshine yellow or aubergine purple and buy pots of various sizes in this hue. Different heights of pot adds some interest, placing some in front of others in tight groups draw the eye in that direction. Add a cushion or two to the chairs or a buy a parasol that matches, or how about staining a wooden bench in the same colour. Repetition of one accent colour makes it pop and this all could be done in one afternoon and at fairly low cost. You could even change the colour theme every year to keep it fresh and interesting; garden centres are always adding to their range of accessories.

Flickr ©Blue Adept - Orange Glaze

Edgy herbs

Adding some raised beds at either one or all edges of your patio will give you space to plant some herbs. These are fun to grow and fresh produce will add something special to your cooking. They also add some delicious aromas to your garden which will waft indoors when the windows are open. If they grow in abundance you can share them with family and neighbours. A selection of chillies and sweet peppers can add a splash of bright colour, and the different varieties can be a real conversation starter. Why not take it a step further and plant tomatoes, courgettes, strawberries and raspberries. A bright kitchen garden outside your back door can influence a whole new way of life. Take the theme further by adding pots, tubs and baskets with a rustic feel, and add chairs and a small table that are worn, strong and wouldn’t look out of place on a farm. Cottage-style windows and French doors would go especially well with this kind of garden, even if you are in the middle of town.

Flickr ©Claudiasimsphotography - Herbs and Spicy!

Chic and complete

Your outside space can reflect how your home looks on the inside. If you have a sleek, minimalist living room, adding bi-folding patio doors such as these (pictured below), which open out onto a chic deck will simply extend your living space. Fitting a patio door into the living room or kitchen makes the area a lot more usable and creates a room with a view. Changing the style of an existing opening will create a new look for the whole area, both inside and out, if the doors are past their best. There are many different styles and sizes out there so it’s easy to find one that will suit your needs, taste and budget. New bi-folding or sliding doors can let the garden into your home and add a bit of personality to your terrace area at the same time. Add patio furniture which mirrors your sofa and soft furnishings, so if there is black and chrome inside, you can continue this theme. If you’ve added lime-coloured accessories, for example, make sure you repeat this inside and out. Pot two large plants in matching pots and place one either side of the patio door, almost like a reflection. You can plant tall grasses, dark shrubs and bay trees which are all clean looking and without flowers. This adds to the minimalist feel by keeping things sleek and simple. The whole effect is very stylish but quite easy to maintain

©Creative Doors - Classic Open-Vu Bifold Doors

Warming to a Fire Pit

There are a number of fire pits on the market at the moment that you can just buy and use, from large metal bowls to terracotta chimneys. Placed in the corner of the patio with a couple of casual chairs surrounding it, a fire pit makes a cosy place to retire to on cooler nights. Hang a couple of jam-jar tea lights on nearby trees, or place them on low walls to add some warm colour. These you can make yourself, just pop a little candle into a jar that has a colourful bow tied around it. If that’s not for you, these are available to buy already made.

 Flickr ©Wickerfurniture - Decorative Patio

For something more permanent, a brick-built fire pit can be added if your patio is large enough. They can be circular or square in shape and as high or low as you feel would be comfortable to sit around. Built-in seating in brick or wood can be constructed to surround the pit, or add some rustic chairs that could be used all year round. Make sure you consider a cover for it for when it isn’t in use, and some gaps in the brickwork at the base to allow rainwater to drain out. Imagine how pleasant it could be, sitting outside facing a roaring fire in the winter months, toasting marshmallows on a stick. A fire pit would enable you to use the patio for more than just the Summer.

Flickr ©Celebration Harts - Fire Pit

These are just a few simple ideas that you can pick and choose from and make your own in order to revamp your patio or terrace area to match your own personal style and taste while still suiting a huge variety of budgets. Let us know any thoughts and ideas you have for sprucing up your patio area!

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