Making the Most of Your Patio

Making the Most of Your Patio

Create a useful outdoor living space

By Sylvia Cochran

Backyard with patio set
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Use your patio as the outdoor extension of your interior living space and style. It is an excellent venue for dining, social gatherings, recreation, children's playtime and even schoolwork. Making the most of your patio can entail inexpensive solutions that make the space more user friendly and attractive. Or you may choose to invest in a complete overhaul to make the area more habitable. If you prefer not to place furniture on the patio, you might choose to make it your hobby area or for your container gardening.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Making the most of your patio can be a budget-friendly undertaking. Depending on the look you choose, you may need patching material, cleaners, outdoor furniture and outdoor-rated lights. Possibly, you may want a chiminea, mosquito netting or privacy screens. Other ideas include potted shrubs or trees, blooming flowers, an awning or soft screening.
Making Your Patio Come Alive

Step 1:

Patch cracks and exterminate wasps or other insects that may keep you from using the patio. Declutter the area to restore your patio to basic functionality. Find alternative solutions for your recycling containers, garden tool storage or potting materials. Thoroughly clean the area. Spruce up its looks by adding some blooming flowers around the patio edge to make it more visually appealing and integrate it with the surrounding yard.

Step 2:

Transform your patio into an outdoor living room. Purchase outdoor furniture, such as tables, chairs or daybeds, and plan on spending time outside for relaxation. Your patio can become a reading room, study area, homework room, dining room and -- on mild evenings -- your bedroom under the stars. You can install outdoor-rated lights for evening illumination. You may also want to add a chiminea to burn logs to ward off the evening chill and have a mosquito net over the daybed to keep the bugs out.

Step 3:

Create a private outdoor space for exercising or sunbathing. If your neighbors can see your patio just by leaning over the fence, you may shy away from using it as an outdoor exercise area. Enhance your privacy by placing attractive removable screens around the area most open to view. Combine privacy screens with large, potted trees or ornamental shrubs. Mix the natural elements with the manmade structures for an eye-catching visual effect that beautifies your patio, while at the same time making it more functional. Use this method to hide unsightly items on your patio, such as a composting area or your air-conditioning unit.

Step 4:

Install an awning and attach screens to create an indoor-outdoor room. This is a trick homeowners can learn from RV enthusiasts. Awnings usually come standard on an RV, and some RVers have begun to attach soft screening material to the sides of the awnings; this creates an indoor-outdoor room that provides protection from the sun and rain and keeps bugs out. You may enjoy the same effect on your patio by installing an awning on your house and attaching screening materials when it is fully extended. If insects are plentiful in your area or if you are allergic to certain kinds of insect stings, this setup may allow you to enjoy the outdoors without risking exposure.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • One great way to give your patio some character and comfort is a patio daybed.
  • Add some plants in pots and flowers that will add a splash of life and color to your patio. Keep in mind the seasons and the fact you may to move the pots around depending on how the sun hits the patio through the year.
  • Renew the look of your patio by purchasing an outdoor umbrella with a splash of color. You may be amazed at the difference a bright colored patio umbrella can make to a lifeless yard.

About the Author

Sylvia Cochran is a regular contributor to DexKnows, specializing in home and garden.

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