Designing Your Patio

Think of your patio as a small garden and ask yourself two questions: what should you use instead of grass for the floor, and what can you use for the walls?

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios
Minimalist Patio DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fixing the Style

Most design gurus agree that the look of a patio should be determined by the style of the house. So the patio of a period house needs paving or gravel and stone walls, while decking and trellis suit a modern home. The plants you choose —leafy and jungly, minimalist or colorful — also affect the look, so think before you buy.

Silver Metal Container Plants Set Against Pastel Pink Walls DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Beautiful Backdrops

Unless disguised by climbing evergreens, the walls will be prominent features of a patio, and need careful thought. Flick through a few garden design books for inspiration, looking at backdrops to see what's aesthetically and practically possible. Stuccoed walls in pastel shades provide privacy.

Visually Appealing Trellis DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Filtered View

If you want filtered views, a trellis is the best option. A trellis also has the added advantage of providing support for scrambling climbers and tomato plants.

Deck with Candles and Topiary Shrubs DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Decorative Floors

When the water from patio pots drains out, it can stain or rot lumber, which would be a shame if you have a beautiful deck. To prevent this, treat decking regularly with wood preservative, and remember that if your patio is in shade, it may become slippery in wet weather. Tiles, which come in a wide range of colors, may be a safer, more practical option.

Tile Pavers for Patio Flooring DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Long-Lasting Pavers

Pavers are extremely hardwearing. Whatever flooring you choose, drainage channels are essential. If you are using decking, create removable panels for clearing any blockages underneath.

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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