Patio ideas are based on the various purposes your patios serve in your landscape design.
Both the size and the location of any hardscape is determined by the function you intend to use it for, and by whom it is intended to be used.
There are patios that are built exclusively for public gatherings where your guests will spend the majority of their time.
Other patios are made exclusively for a handful of people like family members, long-time neighbors, and close personal friends.
Still other patio ideas are centered on the idea of a private retreat. There are times that homeowners want a place all to themselves where the rest of the world is removed and far away.
Let’s examine each of these patio ideas in detail to see how they can fit into the greater picture of a professional landscape master plan.
Public patios are built to catch the eye and draw attention to a gathering area.
The size of the patio is determined by the number of people expected to use it. It must also include convenient transit areas that lead to and from other areas of interest. Popular locations for public patios include swimming pools and outdoor fireplaces.
More intimate settings can be created by using patio ideas developed around a theme of partial enclosure.
To create partial enclosure, a wall is built around part of the landscape to block out a portion of the surroundings. An entryway provides access to the seating area, and an open ceiling allows for a view of the nighttime sky and the overhanging branches of illuminated trees.
An excellent example of this is the entry garden. An entry garden is basically a garden courtyard and patio, built on one side of the house that connects the front and back yards. In this very private space, a handful of special friends and family members can gather for an evening of quality time and meaningful conversation in front of down lighted gardens and illuminated fountains.
Other locations for small group patios can include courtyards inside of gardens, near arbors, or next to natural ponds. The sizes of the walls that enclose these hardscapes vary based on their location and adjacent landscape elements.
Some, such as the patios built near gardens and ponds, have only decorative seat walls that function merely as adornments rather than true enclosures. Others, like the ones we see in outdoor living rooms, have walls that completely block out the outside world, much like the walls of a home do.
For people who truly value privacy, patio ideas based around Zen gardens and morning gardens are extremely popular among Houston area couples who want a space just large enough for two so they can talk over coffee and watch the sunrise in the morning.
These patios are by nature very small and are often marked off from the rest of the landscape by building them at a higher elevation than the rest of the yard and by surrounding them with a small masonry wall or seat wall that marks the spot as a place for residents only.