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10 Great Patio Design Ideas

Jun 10, 2013 | Patios


Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia

Sometimes change is a good thing — especially if that patio is looking a little lack-luster. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or have a large space to put life back into your patio. From the patio designs listed below, you can pick just one eye-catching idea or use a couple of them together.


Just Add Some Water

If your patio area doesn’t have a koi pond or swimming pool, add a fountain! The sound of trickling water is always very soothing and even if you don’t have a very big space, you can still add a table-top fountain.  But if you have the room (and the money), go all out and buy a birdbath with a fountain built in or a free-standing fountain.


Shade for Your Patio

The weather is warmer and you’d like to use the patio more than you do, but it’s so hot in the sun! There are many ideas that can provide shade for at least some of your patio such as: umbrellas, awnings, sails, pergolas and building a roof. Look at the space you have and be sure you know how you want to show off your personality; also make sure that no matter what you choose, it can stand up to any type of weather. If you choose a pergola, then you can add colorful climbing plants to add natural shade; umbrellas go with almost any type of style as do sails which are modern. If you choose an awning, remember that it has to be attached to your home somehow.


Fire Pits Are Great for Conversation Areas

A fire pit is a wonderful addition and a must have for a patio. The air can be a bit cool in the Spring and Fall but if you put some comfy chairs around your fire pit, you can enjoy the evenings and the warmth it gives off.


Patio Lighting

You should be able to use your patio at night just as you do in the daytime and the heat will be more tolerable then as well. There are various ways to light up your patio:

  • Landscape Lighting – Solar powered lights are a great way to light up the patio and they turn on by themselves as it grows dark. These lights need the sun to charge them so don’t place them in shady areas. Purchase several types so that you can put them all over: on tables, in your garden and on deck railings.
  • Outdoor Light Fixtures – If you want lighting to be permanent for your area, this is the way to go. These lights can be connected to a pole, house or another structure and they are available in lots of varieties.
  • Umbrella Lights – You can add lights to your umbrella canopy or buy a light centerpiece that will encompass the pole.
  • Decorative String Lighting – If you’re throwing a party or celebrating a holiday like the Fourth of July, string lights are popular. They come in all sizes and shapes and you won’t have any difficulty finding lights for your theme.
  • Outdoor Torches – These are great for not only providing light but keeping those pesky insects away as well! They come in all kinds of styles so you are sure to be able to find the right one that completes your patio.


Patio Container Gardens

Container gardens can contribute quite a bit to a patio and they don’t take much time. For the “wow” factor, go with colorful pots or perhaps use earth tone colored pots and let the flowers or plants bring that “pop” of color. You can use a couple of big pots with bold-color flowers or place several small, brightly colored containers around the patio or you could even have themed containers such as a teacup planter. The possibilities are endless and your patio will definitely be brighter!


Outdoor Rugs for Your Patio

Outdoor rugs will divide the wood, stone or concrete surface of your patio and will give it a comfy, warm, homey feeling. With outdoor rugs you could use the occasion to add those bursts of color or purchase rugs that will flatter the colors of your patio to make it a calm and relaxing area. One way or another other, your patio will definitely be appealing!


Add a Bar Cabinet or Party Cooler to Your Patio

If you like to have get-togethers with friends or family, then a bar cabinet may be just the thing for your patio. You don’t need a real bar, but if you have space then go for it. Otherwise, a bar cabinet will work just fine. Make sure that your bar cabinet is made to withstand all types of climate and that it’s large enough to store many different types of alcohol and wine – padlocked to prevent little hands from reaching inside. If you’re looking for something that will store food as well as beverages how about a party cooler? They come in several different sizes and styles from stainless steel to rustic.


Add a Patio Bistro Set

These 3-piece sets can be put anywhere in the backyard: in the garden, on the patio or by a gazebo or arbor. Bistro sets come in different types of material such as resin, metal and wood; and they also are available in several styles. The bar height bistro set is ideal by a deck railing, in a patio corner or at an outside bar space. A bistro set will make conversations a little more private.


Outdoor Serving Cart

Service carts are a terrific idea because they are very movable from one place to the next and can be used outside or inside. They have many uses as an appetizer cart, beverage cart, a portable table for guests or dessert cart. Serving carts are stylish and some even have a removable top table for serving or can be folded for easier storage. No matter which one you choose, your serving cart will be an added bonus to your patio.

Add an Open-air Kitchen to Your Patio Area

If you want a completely new way to barbecue, an open-air kitchen is a great concept and they come in several styles that will compliment any patio. If you have lots of space, and money, these kitchens are well worth it when you consider that not only could you have grilling materials but also a cooking island, refrigerator and a prep counter!

These are just a few of the many patio design ideas that are out there and they’ll get you pointed in the right direction. You may even come up with your own ideas if you take a look at your patio. So go ahead, take a long hard look at your patio area. Could it use some sprucing up? When you’re ready, contact us and we’ll be happy to help!


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About the Author

Matt Johnson grew up in a family of landscapers and gardeners as the grandson of Raymond Johnson (Founder, 1933, Johnson's Florist and Garden Center) and son of James and Carol Johnson (Founders, 1960, Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.). Since 2007, he has led Johnson's Landscaping Service with his brother, Charlie.  Matt and his wife Jaime live in Petworth in Northwest DC with their 3 sons and 2 big dogs.

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