Add Interest Underfoot
What you put under your feet on the outside is just as important as the inside. A beautiful and patterned outdoor area rug will pull your patio furnishings together. It will liven up pavers, brick, or wood flooring, bring your color scheme down to the ground, create a visual center and provide a relaxing and comfortable outdoor living space.
Put Pattern to Work
In landscapes that include lots of different plant types and textures, too much additional pattern can be overwhelming. Small doses are a good way to provide visual relief as well as interesting contrast to furniture. This patio set’s solid-red seating cushions are paired with red-and-white pattern accent pillows for a pop of style.
Think Big with Plants
Most people tend to think of containers as temporary or seasonal things that go away in the winter months, this year, why not start out with a new set of frost-proof pots, large enough to plant permanent trees or shrubs. Then plant your regular annuals at the bases of the permanent plantings. It makes it easier to leave everything outside all winter long. Put your large containers on heavy-duty casters so you can move them around the patio as needed.
Move the Air Around You
Patios that are shielded from the elements can also, unfortunately, be shielded from cooling summertime breezes. If you have a structure overhead–either a real roof or a pergola–you may be able to include a ceiling fan, which can help drop the temperature up to 10 degrees. Outfit your ceiling fan with a light and you’ll have a reliable source of overhead illumination, too.
If you have limited backyard space, you may want to screen your seating area from your neighbors. There are a variety of visually pleasing ways to do that, including attractive fencing, tall trees (which also supply shade), shrubs, or a hedgerow.
Exterior lighting has many functions–ensuring safety along walkways, offering ambience as natural light fades–and should be an integral part of any patio design. A pendant fixture above this table can cast light on diners lingering after the sun has set.
Mix up Materials
Small shifts in color or material supply welcoming visual interest underfoot on a patio. Consider a border, or use different sizes of stones to delineate seating or eating areas like this red brick helps designate the dining area and warms up the blue flagstones.
Utilize the Hardscape
A stone floor may gently transition to a stone border surrounding your patio–but why not design and build it at a height that makes sense for seating, too? The short wall adjacent to the fireplace supplies an impromptu spot for guests to sit a spell.
Add Color Smartly
Look for neutrals when buying big couches, rugs, or chairs. Add color and pattern with pillows and accessories to change or update the look. After a few seasons, if you tire of your accessories or they are starting to look a little faded, plan to stock up on new cushions, rugs, and more end-of-season sales. That way, when spring rolls around again, you’ll be ready with a new look purchased on a bargain budget.
Pile on Fabrics
Outdoor textiles come in an amazing array of colors, patterns, and styles. Use the durable fabrics–designed to endure through sunny and stormy days–to colorfully cover cushions, fashion throw pillows, and create patio-enclosing drapery panels. In this backyard, formally patterned pillows dress the patio chairs and settee, while color-coordinated throw pillows draw attention to an outlying bench.