Picture this: sunshine, the gentle breeze billowing through your hair, a cold beverage in your hand, and a couple episodes of your favourite show lined up on your iPad. Are you on a destination holiday? NO! With a new piece of furniture here and a few twinkle lights there, you can enjoy that holiday feeling when you extend the size of your house by creating a PATIO DESTINATION.
The patio can be a quiet place or a party place or a place to gather for family celebrations. Given its versatility, it's important to take a little time and consider the benefits of styling your patio to be another room in your house. Below, we'll walk you through all the ins and outs of unique patio design and help you create a space you'll never want to leave.
One of the best ways to make use of your patio space is to consider different seating configurations. Perhaps you'll set a luxe outdoor sofa set to one side, with a fire pit as the centrepiece. Don't be afraid to accessorise with blankets and pillows, wall décor and potted plants.
Then, in another area, you might incorporate some benches (to maximise your seating potential) around an outdoor table. Atop the table, don't shy away from a runner down the centre, candles, or more small plants.
If you can arrange comfortable seating on your patio – no matter the size – you have created an extra room in your house – one that can be used for relaxing, entertaining and as a quiet reflective space.
No matter what size the space, your patio will feel like an extension of your house when you add your personal touches to the seating configuration – knee blankets around the fire pit, scented candles on the dining table, overhead fans, shade and floor mats.
Once you have your floor plan, or configured where to place your seating for different areas of your patio (eating, drinking, conversation, bar), then it is time to consider the style of outdoor patio you wish to create. Being an extension of your house, the patio can be styled to look like another room in your house, using similar furniture, colours and design style. Or, you might like to make a complete change of style so that when you enter your new room you feel you are in a different setting. Many people choose to replicated their favourite holiday destination for their patio – tropical, leafy and fun, or calm, meditiative and peaceful.
Your outdoor décor should reflect who you are and what you want your room to express.
Well, we've already detailed three of our favourite decor ideas:
Fire Pit - fire pits are spectacular additions because they come in all shapes and sizes. You can make your own with grey pavers or invest in a modern version, made of glass and stone.
Ceiling Fans - as for ceiling fans, these, too, beckon to everyone's style. You can search out anything under the sun, from fan blades that look like elephant leaves to vintage metal fans that give off a mighty breeze.
Shade Umbrella – umbrellas can be fantastic décor as they not only look great but blend utility into your patio area.
Tiki torches never go out of style. If you line your patio space with torches, or use them to differentiate separate seating areas, you've added a whole lot of ambiance on top of light.
We almost wrote twinkle lights or fairy lights, but what we really mean are small, soft globe lights that emit soft pops of colour and light.
Trim the roofline across the entire patio to frame your space with a soft glow. If you have a pergola, that's another opportunity for a strand or two. Outline your bar with twinkle lights so you can beckon everyone to the refreshment stand.
Another lovely alternative is curtain lights. These are small LED twinkle lights that stream down like a curtain. Here's what you do: hang a sheer white curtain across the expanse of one of your blank walls. Then, drape these lovely curtain lights atop it, plug them in, and watch your space morph into a sweet oasis.
Hurricane candle holders, like firepits, come in many shapes and sizes but, our favourite way to tackle this project is to be on the lookout for large, glass candle holders that have a little door. This will protect you from any potential hazards, i.e.candle wax on your new patio furniture. Once you've secured the candle holders of your dreams, measure the size, and then pick up a few white pillar candles to match.
Your choice of furniture will define your space, so whatever style you choose, make sure that you follow through with all elements of your new patio area – colour, furniture style, flooring, décor elements, lighting. Whatever your style choice, keep in mind the amount of exposure to the elements that your furniture and décor items will get. Sun can be harsh on any furniture left outside exposed.
Most outdoor furniture, and therefore most outdoor styles, fall into a broad range of categories – modern, contemporary, Balinese, Hamptons, beachside or traditional.
We decided to forego the (not unique) suggestion of a television for your outdoor patio space. If you're bringing friends and family together, why not provide a few hours where no one's eyes are glued to the screen?
Instead, glue your guests to a portable wood-fired pizza oven. This is one of the most unique patio ideas we've stumbled across. Both the kiddos and the adults will be drawn to this activity and everyone can enjoy a truly fresh-baked pizza as part of their meal.
There are a few different materials that are best-suited for outdoor furniture. They include:
Each of these materials will hold up to the summer sun, winds, and rain. In our opinion, you can't go wrong with wood. It's ageless and has a natural organic beauty that manmade materials just do not have.
Timber creates a casual feel and a warmth to the touch. The organic feel of wood will reflect the ambiance you've created with your lighting. Some of your strongest options are going to be cedar or acacia wood. And if you have the finances to take things up a notch, then you might consider teak, which will last a lifetime.
Which brings us to side/coffee tables. Side tables, or end tables, don't have to come in a matching set. And, given the beckoning of your patio bar, you're going to want to create ample opportunities for people to place their glasses and appetizer plates down somewhere.
Before we talk about cooling, we can’t stress highly enough the necessity of sun safety. Australia has the highest skin cancer rates in the world with 2 in 3 Australians diagnosed by the age of 70. More than 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer each year. At Project Shade we are on a mission to help reduce the impacts of the sun, while embracing the positives of sun exposure and the great outdoors!
Sun safety aside, the number one ingredient for cooling your new patio is shelter. How can you create
shade in your little oasis?
What if you were to let nature do its work? There are plenty of trees that provide natural shade like palm trees, magnolias, and Japanese maples.
You can also build your own pergola out of strong material like cedarwood. If you plant vines along your pergola, you're setting yourself up for some truly glorious shade. Don't be afraid to hang patio curtains, either, to ward off both the sun and maybe a few pests.
And if you think trees just won't cut it or are not an option, then there's no harm in bringing in some man made materials. An outdoor umbrella is the first piece of furniture that comes to mind. Nowadays, patio umbrellas come in all shapes and sizes, with a multitude of mounting options. They can be a permanent fixture or can be removed by being closed or completely mobile. Let's take a look at one of your best options: an offset or side-post umbrella.
Before you consider permanent, costly structures, or appliances that need electrical installation, there's one essential item every patio needs: an umbrella. No one wants to come to a weekend barbecue only to roast like the chicken.
(Remember all our discussions about décor and style? Here is another excellent element to reflect the style you choose for your new patio-room. An umbrella can be designed to match any of your style selections while providing the shade you need to keep you and your visitors safe.)
So, here's what you do to install shade but not intrude upon all that space you need for luxe sofas, dining tables, and hurricane candles: install an offset patio umbrella, also known as a cantilever umbrella.
These umbrellas are attached to a swivel arm and, rather than opening from a centre post, they hover out and cover your space. Cantilever umbrellas swivel 360 degrees, so you'll always have wiggle room when it comes to placement.
That swivel motion does two things. First, the post can be placed outside the walking area, removing the need for an obtrusive metal pole in the middle of your patio.
Second, you can move the umbrella as you see fit. You can move it to cover different spaces and you can shift it with the setting sun.
Believe it or not, it gets even better. You can also mount your offset umbrella to the wall, bolt it down, or install it as an in-ground
cantilever umbrella. Imagine being able to mount your expansive source of shade high up, away from the noise and the crowd, and be able
to move it any direction you please.
Like everything else patio-related, you have several different style options here. You can go with a square, octagonal, hexagonal, or even rectangular shape. And, of course, fabrics and colours abound as well.
Our cantilever umbrellas provide both versatility and affordability. As your next outdoor gathering draws near, we can help you keep the heat in your salsa and off your friends' backs. We'll set up any covering you need, big or small, and turn your next soirée into an all-day affair.
Pour that cocktail jug. Fill up the ice bucket. Get that grazing plate prepared! Place it on the new coffee table and plan to spend an afternoon relaxing in a beautiful, new extension of your home.
The patio will be the new living room you never knew you had. You won’t believe just how much you use it – all through the seasons, relaxing or entertaining, family or friends…
Here at Project Shade, we can offer a range of shade alternatives to your home. Allow us to install a cantilever umbrella in your newly designed patio or allow us to advise you of the most appropriate type of outdoor shade solution for your space.
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