Spring is approaching and with those warm sunny days when the emphasis is on outdoor living and enjoying the garden, pool and barbecue with friends and family on a shady patio.
If you do not have a patio, now is the time to look at your options. There are various manufactures along the coast offering pergolas of different designs and shapes; most are constructed of timber which has been suitably treated for outdoors and covered with thatched grass.
Alternatively you can have a patio built; an overhead structure that is well designed and carefully sited can add immeasurably to the comfort of dining outside. A well made patio and pergola will allow privacy, shade and protection from wind and rain, not to mention the added value to your home.
The construction may have a solid roof, the basic frame being either freestanding or attached to the house. A rectangular shape is the most effective; the frame should be built from sturdy wood and can be roofed with a variety of materials, including wood, reeds, acrylic, glass panels, canvas or even creepers. Remember if the roof is solid it must be slightly pitched to allow water to run off; an ideal height would be at least 8 foot.
Brick works well in both formal and rustic settings; it is easy to work with and comes in a variety of colours, textures and sizes. Stone offers warmth and is very durable; but should ideally be laid by an expert. Tiles in terracotta or ceramic can be used, but be careful when choosing exterior tiles if the surface is not rough they will be slippery when wet. Decking is another alternative and which is now extremely popular; it gives a natural look to the garden, you should make sure however that the wood used is decay resistant and specially treated for exterior use. A hot tub or spa have understandable appeal, if you decide to add one to your outdoor living area, you will be faced with various choices and design decisions, by visiting manufactures showrooms you will have a better idea of which one would best suit your needs and fit into your designated area.
The best type of lighting for a patio is diffused lighting, which is light filtered through translucent materials, this provides glare free illumination. Use downlighting on pathways in the garden and uplighting to enhance feature plants.
The value of containers in the garden or on the patio cannot be overstated; containers can bring flowers, vegetables and shrubs to the patio area. There are many types of containers available, such as, terracotta, ceramic, wooden barrels and modern type containers of steel or other metals. The possibilities are endless, experiment with shapes, sizes, colours and of course plant materials.
If you are an avid cook, why not have a barbecue custom built to your own specification? If not a local garden centre will have a good selection. There are many different types of barbecues available which are easy to assemble for the patio. Also available are gas barbecues in all sizes, these are easy to use and with the added bonus of being simple to pack away for the winter.