A Place for Your Patio

From convenience to landscaping needs, use these tips to evaluate where your patio should be.


Photo by: ImageBrowser


By: Peter Walsh

A patio will give you a clean, sturdy surface to entertain family and friends or simply relax outdoors. There are several factors when it comes to deciding where to put your patio.

First, consider how you plan to use it. For example, if you want to use the space to entertain then you'll want it located near the kitchen so you can easily transfer food and dishes to the outdoor dining area.

If you plan to use it to hold a hot tub, then locate it off the master bedroom or family room. Off the family room, a patio can act as a second sitting area and expands your overall living space.

Mediterranean Patio


If you enjoy relaxing in the sun in your backyard, then make sure you put your patio where it will have a southern or western exposure but provide shade with an umbrella, canopy or vine covered pergola, particularly in climates where scorching summer temperatures will make it uncomfortable.

For a cool respite from the sun, a northern or eastern location would be fine. An eastern location gets morning sun and is shaded in the afternoon. A northern location is generally shaded by the house itself and provides little sun all day.

If you have large shade trees on your property, you might want to nestle the patio among the trees. You'll get dappled sunlight and a feeling of escape from the house. However, don't build the patio too close to the trunk of the trees. Most tree roots grow out not down. Roots grow out past the drip line of the canopy of branches so keep the patio away from the roots.


Photo courtesy of Rich Pomerantz

Photo courtesy of Rich Pomerantz

Front Yard

If your town building code allows it, a front yard patio located near a walkway to the front door, can act as a welcoming place for friends and especially neighbors to stop by for a chat since it's a less intimate space than a backyard patio.

Your front yard may offer better views of your tree lined street and your neighbors pretty landscaping. A top of chair height border of shrubs will help screen it from the street and create a sense of privacy.

Neoclassical Front Portal


A courtyard patio is another option. Generally a staple of Spanish or Mediterranean architecture, a courtyard is surrounded on three sides by the house. It's accessed through a gate or archway in front. This intimate space acts as an outdoor room particularly in hot climates where it can be used most of the year in nice weather.

But it can also fit into any small space you have. "It can be a charming little space," says Joanne. "You can create an environment that suits your personality for not a lot of money." With little or no grass, enclosed by walls, fences or bushy trees, a courtyard patio is intimate and cozy. You wouldn’t have the same feeling in a large space.

Since you'll be spending a lot of time sitting on your patio make sure you put it with the best view. Ideally, you'll have something nice to look at the whole time. Hide garbage cans, tools and hoses. You wouldn't have those in your living or dining room so why have them on your patio?

Take advantage of garden views in your own yard or borrowed views of the natural landscape of a neighboring woods, a pond or a field. If you are not sure where to put your patio, consult a professional. Landscape architects, landscape designers and garden designers can all help you site your patio.

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