Hardscape Patio Ideas

Choosing a direction for a patio renovation can be difficult. This list of hardscape patio ideas will help you narrow your focus and proceed with the perfect patio. Keep reading to see the different options you have and what’s best for you during your hardscape renovation.

Consider How You Plan to Use It

The most important thing to consider with your hardscape patio is its functionality. In other words, how do you plan to use it? Whether you’re planning a space for grilling and dining, lounging around a fire feature or a combination of both, every intended use requires a certain amount of space. Failure to plan accordingly could produce a space that is either too small or too large for your intended use.

Consider Your Furniture Preferences

Most everyone has seen a hardscape patio that is crowded with furniture. This is a result of the homeowner making the mistake of waiting until the space is completed before considering furniture. Furniture is important to plan for because the spacing requirements can differ depending on the quantity, type and even style of furniture. Though it’s obvious that 8-person dining takes up more space than a 4-person set, most do not think about how the choice between circular and rectangular tables will affect their space. Additionally, most people do not consider that woven furniture is typically bulkier and will require more space than aluminum or teak options. Though you don’t need to have final selections made, it is important that your hardscape patio be designed to accommodate the furniture you prefer.

Consider Built-In Seating

Sitting Walls: When planning your hardscape patio, consider adding built-in sitting walls. These walls provide additional seating that is great for kids and larger gatherings where overflow seating is essential. Additionally, from an aesthetic standpoint, sitting walls add visually appealing height and depth to the hardscape patio. Sitting walls also help to create the true feeling of an “outdoor room.”

Bar-Top Seating: If you are considering a grill island or outdoor kitchen, consider adding bar-top seating to your structure. This addition will provide a casual spot to start an evening of entertaining or simply share a drink when a neighbor stops by.

Additionally, and possibly more importantly, kids absolutely love bar-top seating. Your kids or grandkids are going to love climbing into a bar-top chair to keep you company while grilling. Bar-top seating will also provide an outdoor alternative to indoor kitchen islands where so many children do their homework every evening.

Consider Your Upgrades

When planning and designing your space, it is important to consider your upgrade choices. As these examples show, certain upgrades will significantly increase the use and enjoyment of the space.

Pizza Oven: Almost everyone loves pizza and it is not difficult to make. If you include a pizza oven in your outdoor space, your weekly pizza night will be spent on your hardscape patio.

Outdoor Television: Though most go outside to get away from screens, an outdoor television will undoubtably increase the use and enjoyment of your hardscape patio. Your game days will be drastically improved by the outdoor setting that resembles the tailgate experience with grilling and games. Additionally, the “spooky” sounds provided by an outdoor setting will forever enhance your family’s scary movie nights.

Outdoor Lighting: Some of the most enjoyable experiences you will have in your outdoor space will come after the sun goes down. It is impossible to have these experiences without the ambiance provided by quality outdoor lighting.

Outdoor Audio: Whether it is jazz to unwind after a long day or some Buffett at a pool party, adding music will enhance the atmosphere and enjoyment of your hardscape patio.

Gas or Propane Fire Feature: Even if you love and prefer a wood burning fire, consider adding a second gas or propane feature. Because it is convenient to start and stop, a gas or propane feature will undoubtably get used more frequently. With a gas/propane feature, a late night glass of wine can be enjoyed by a fire without any hassle.

Consider your Style

Whether your style is traditional, transitional or contemporary, don’t be afraid to personalize your space. The outdoor living industry is much larger and diverse than most homeowners realize. As with indoor remodeling, there are an infinite number of ways to personalize your hardscape patio and outdoor space. Your hardscape patio will be more comfortable and, therefore, more likely to be used if it reflects your personal style.

Borders and Inlays: A great way to personalize your hardscape patio is with creative borders and inlays. These design flourishes allow you to customize your space with complimentary colors and contrasting textures.

Consider a Theme

If properly designed, your hardscape patio will be a backyard retreat and an escape from the stresses of everyday life. With that in mind, consider designing the outdoor space around your favorite or dream vacation getaway. Design the space to resemble a European bistro, a beach resort or a mountain retreat. Whatever your inspiration might be, don’t be afraid to go “all-in” with a theme. Incorporating the details of a theme can be fun and will add to your enjoyment of the space.

Consider Privacy

Even if you love your neighbors, there will always be days where you want to be alone and gatherings that are meant to be more intimate. Whether you use trees, outdoor curtains, decorative screens, or privacy walls, it is important to plan for privacy.

Consider Shade

It’s no secret that Central Virginia gets hot in the summer. If you envision using your hardscape patio during the day, it is important to think about ways to provide shade.

Pavilion: Adding a pavilion is the best way to add shade and cover to a hardscape patio. A pavilion will provide both a retreat from the sun and cover from the rain. Though it is the most comprehensive option, a quality, custom pavilion is also the most expensive shade option.

Pergola: Though more open than a pavilion, pergolas do provide shade and protection from the sun. Cover can be increased with the addition of retractable shades and curtains. Additionally, pergolas are great structures for mounting fans that also provide a reprieve from the heat.

Shade Trees: If you live on a cleared lot, adding shade trees to your property is a great way to help cool your home and hardscape patio. When planning your tree placement, it is important to consider the track of the sun to maximize your shade. Also, be sure to consider the impact that trees will have on your hardscape patio. Certain trees become messy when fallen leaves and flower petals stain your hardscape patio. Additionally, if planted too close, tree roots can disrupt and damage your hardscape patio foundation.

Umbrellas: Like outdoor furniture, viewing umbrellas as an afterthought can be a big mistake. Many umbrellas require a significant amount of space that should be accounted for during the planning and design phase. Planning the space and location for umbrellas can help to prevent a cluttered and cramped space.

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Mike Newberger

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