Tuesday, 19 June 2012

How to Determine the Size of Your Backyard Patio

Having a backyard patio is one of those features that can really add value to your property and make your house a destination place for family and friends.  A well-constructed patio has the potential to completely transform your yard, but that transformation may not be what you want if the patio isn’t the right size. 

It’s important to take the time to determine the right size for your patio before you start digging and building.  A patio that is too small will leave everyone feeling cramped and one that’s too big will leave a lot of wasted space in your yard.  Follow a few simple steps to figure out the ideal size for your backyard patio. 

How Much Space?

Perhaps the primary factor that will determine the size of your backyard patio is how much available space you have to build it.  You must measure your year carefully before you start the planning process. 

You’ll also have to take the shape of the yard and any other features into consideration when figuring out how much space you have.  If you have a pool or other permanent fixtures that will affect how much space you have, and if you have kids you might not want to eat up too much of their play space.  Try to take all of the different factors into consideration, then designate a section of usable space for a patio.  You might not end up using it all, but at least you’ll know how much can be used and where it is within the yard. 

What’s It For?

Before you get to work, it’s wise to figure out what you’ll be using the patio for.  Do you plan on using it as a place to lounge in the evenings or afternoons and catch up on your reading?  Do you want to use it as a second kitchen in the summer?  Do you want it to be the neighborhood summer party destination?

Deciding what you want to use your patio for shouldn’t be the sole factor that determines the size, but it will help you with the design elements.  If you plan on cooking and eating out there, you’ll need the equipment and furniture to do that.  You may also want a fireplace, space for couches or any number of accessories that match your desires. 

How Many People?

After you figure out how much space you have and what you’re going to use it for, you can decide roughly how many people will be using it on a regular basis.  If you only have a limited space available in the yard, this step may be irrelevant, but if you have a lot of space, this will help. 

As an example, if you have half the yard, but you only want it for yourself and your immediate family, you won’t need all that space.  However, if you plan on hosting parties with 20 or more people, you’ll probably need as much space as you can get.  Take your time and really try to envision what your backyard patio life will be like, and you’ll end up with exactly what you want.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Create A Patio Haven

Summer is around the corner and 'tis the season for outdoor living. Options for creating an outdoor space abound and can be customized depending on your budget, taste and how you intend to use the space most often. Whether you have a small balcony or a full-size deck, there are decorating pieces available to fit all needs.

The basics of an outdoor room include seating (chairs or benches and tables), an umbrella, accessories such as lights or candles, fire pits (optional) and grills (gas or charcoal). Before buying furniture and accessories for an outdoor space consider the following:

The outdoor space itself -
The amount of space you have at your disposal, the position of the access points to the space and any safety considerations (e.g. fire safety for wooden decks) will determine the kind of furniture and accessories suitable for your outdoor haven. A small patio balcony attached to an apartment will most likely hold a small table and a couple of chairs. Most balconies are covered so an umbrella may not be necessary. If the space already has outdoor lighting you will not need to buy lights or candles unless they are for ambiance. A larger deck will hold more people and so require more furniture.

Type of furniture -

Patio furniture comes in a variety of materials and styles and provides a plethora of choice for creating just the space you want. The most common materials for furniture are wicker, wood, plastic and metal (aluminum, steel, wrought iron, etc.). Fabrics on patio furniture are usually weather-proof thereby eliminating the need for protection from rain or snow. You can choose between standard chairs, loungers or storage benches with seating on top. Umbrellas offer an even wider choice with enhanced features like tilting stands for sun protection from any angle, built-in lights and fabrics that offer UV protection.

Patio accessories -
Creating a cozy outdoor space is even easier with the availability of several accessory pieces like fire pits, tiki torches, string lights and solar lights, and even outdoor rugs. Fire pits provide the glow and warmth of a campfire without the hassle, and are great for entertaining - s'mores anyone? Tiki torches bring a touch of class and can also be used with citronella oil to ward off pesky insects. String lights come in beautiful colors and shapes and will enhance any outdoor space. Solar lights not only provide the perfect low glow but are also environment-friendly and budget-friendly. And finally, nothing can bring a space together more than a well-chosen rug.

Cooking outdoors -
With the choice of grills available in the market today, grilling has become a great way to make healthful, flavorful food while avoiding a messy kitchen. Depending on your patio space you can choose between gas/electric grills or charcoal grills. Grilling on gas/electric grills doesn't mean that you have to compromise on that smoky flavor with ingenious accessories like smoker boxes to impart that wonderful flavor to food.

Protecting your patio furniture -

The best way to make your patio furniture last is to protect it in inclement weather. This means either storing all patio furniture and accessories indoors, or if you do not have adequate space, covering furniture securely with weatherproof covers. Invest in good quality all-weather covers to preserve and protect your beautiful space so you can enjoy it year after year.