1 – Having an outdoor patio is wonderful, but adding a canopy of your head is even better. It will feel more like an extension of your home. Dressing up the pergola with string bistro lights or an outdoor chandelier will add even more character to the space. Make sure the ‘outdoor’ fixture you are selecting is wet rated. There are many on the market that are only damp rated. Meaning they have to be installed in a covered porch area vs. an open pergola. Another tip, if you are planning on installing a light or fan, make sure your Landscape Architect or carpenter designs a notch (see image to the right) into your pergola post so they can hide all the electrical wiring needed. It will feel like an afterthought if you have exposed cords running up your pergola posts. Even if you try hiding them with a climbing vine.
2- Break up the low growing horizontal planting with height and interest to your summer pots. A colorful annual display can be quite beautiful but why not try something more unique. We added 4 lemon trees to this client’s collection of Italian terra cotta planters. These lemon trees are located around the pool landscape. They add height and a light buffer between the pool patio and other entertaining zones. The homeowners love being able to go outside to grab a lemon to add to their ice tea or beverage.
3-Update your hardscape. This patio on the left does the job with getting your guest outside to enjoy a meal and to provide shade during the hot summer days but it doesn’t exactly have the WOW factor. The lawn is sloped up around the patio to accommodate a level patio area but then leaves an awkward step leading you into the lawn. What we did was – replaced the stoop and steps, updated the main patio with a bluestone inlay and Fond Du Lac outcropping edge around the whole patio. Also creating a lower grilling area to accommodate more guest. The wrap around step makes a cleaner transition from the lawn to the main patio. Also, now the pergola is a real focal point. Dressing up the post with stone base columns and keeping the wood its natural color creates a pleasant contrast to the white house trim.
4 – No need for a cut flower arrangement when you have a permanent table top planter to add style to your patio. This is a lovely idea to always keep your entertainment space decorated. Adding an outdoor rug and some pillows will complete the look even further. Your guests will feel quite comfortable and at home.
5- Add an outdoor kitchen space to your main patio. Check out this dramatic before and after!
Before – These homeowners had separate components on their patio (green egg and rolling grill cart). That is fine for the casual weekend griller but they asked for something grander. Their wish list included a main entertainment space that could accommodate 10+ adults comfortably.
After – This was a tremendous difference to this space! We designed and installed 2 separate bar countertops (seating 10 adults total), a Kalamazoo grill, fridge, pizza oven, outdoor TV, outdoor fan, and the list goes on and on! Now this is definitely the go-to area for this backyard. They even incorporated outdoor heating elements for those late-nights sports games!