Stone Blossom Guide - 3 Elements to a Great Patio

Patios come in all shapes and sizes.

Some patios are formal with straight lines and rectilinear attributes.

Some are rounded with pavers that reinforce the circular pattern.

While others mimic organic forms and may use natural stones with irregular edges.

But regardless of aesthetic shape, all great patios share a few common elements that increase the utility, comfort, and enjoyment of the space.

Below are 3 elements of a great patio.

1. When in doubt go bigger

Comfort may be a subjective thing but is rarely found in spaces that are too small for their purpose.

One simple way to think about the patio space is to compare it to the margins of a paper. Imagine reading a book where the text went right up to the edges of the page. You’d get the sense that your vision would be in jeopardy of dropping off the page at the end of every line. It would make reading considerably less comfortable and distract you from the contents of the book. You might get to the last page, but you’d most likely be agitated when you did.

A cramped patio also suffers from a lack of margin which lowers the level of psychological comfort.

Here are a few signs your patio is too small for your needs:

  • Your patio lacks the room for you easily walk around a set of patio furniture when the seats are occupied.
  • You worry that children or guests are at risk of being burned because the grill is too close to where people are coming an going.
  • If any gathering larger than a few visitors means setting up extra chairs on the lawn.
  • If you are experiencing any of these conditions then your patio is simply too small.

Of course, the best time to ensure that your patio will not be too small is during the conceptual design phase of the landscape design process.

2. Eliminate the cut-throughs

A hallway is not a place of rest and it is most certainly is not a place to enjoy a meal.

The hallway analogy is a good one to illustrate a major failing of improper patio design.

Patios are gathering places, and as such are often centrally located and accessible from more than one direction of travel. This can make them susceptible to people cutting right through the middle of the space (effectively turning them into a hallway) if they are not designed with consideration of the destinations they are connected to.

Some of these other destinations might be a door to the kitchen, to an adjacent garage, a driveway, a pool, or the open play spaces of the lawn.

A patio design must account for this set of circumstances by taking traffic flow into consideration and diverting patterns likely to cut right through the center of the space.

When your family and friends can easily circumnavigate the gathering and resting areas of the patio you’ve most likely eliminated the cut-throughs making the space less outdoor hallway and more outdoor room.

3. Ensure a strong relationship with the kitchen

One of the primary (and tastiest) roles that a patio plays is that of the outdoor dining room.

The summer months in New Hampshire need to be cherished and actively enjoyed to offset the harshness of winter in these parts. Taking your family meals on a patio during a festive cookout or on the daily is one of the joys of the summer. Indeed it is where long-lasting memories are made.

What will lower the likelihood of making these memories often enough is a patio and the kitchen don’t share a strong relationship.

You will be less likely to entertain or even inclined to use your patio frequently enough if in your mind there is too much effort involved to make it happen.

If you dread the shoulder pain your going to feel carrying a plate of food across a great distance between your kitchen and patio or if you're worried you’ll need a nap from going up and down too many stairs, too many times, you won’t use it often enough.

The goal of a patio is to spend time breathing fresh air and catching a bit of sun (or shade) alone or with someone you enjoy being with. If your patio considered these three elements when it was designed, you might just find your self with more time, well spent.

Contact Stone Blossom for a patio designed specifically for your property, that meets your needs, and gives you and your family a place to gather and create memories.


Learn more about our landscape design process.

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