Designing Your Patio
There a lots of things to consider when choosing paving designs for your outdoor space. In addition to aesthetic factors you need to think about the environmental factors as well; for example, how much sunlight will your chosen area receive? The less sunlight it receives the less likely you are to experience problems with weeds and moss.
You will also need to consider where the water will drain to when it rains - this needs to be away from the house in all cases. However, following changes to the regulations in 2008 it can't drain directly onto public highways unless you first obtain Planning Permission - find out more here.
Maybe you want a quiet area to sit and relax, a simple low maintenance patio where you can enjoy entertaining family and friends or somewhere safe to park the car? Whatever paving design you are trying to achieve, it is worthwhile taking some time to think about how you will spend time in the space you are planning to landscape, so that it not only suits your style but you get maximum benefit from your investment.
Grab a pen and paper and start making some notes, and get everyone involved who might be using the space!
How do you spend your time?
Is your outdoor space for entertaining friends and family with food and drink? If so, you should make sure the paving you choose is resistant to staining and easy to clean. We also recommend you choose a flat finished product as some heavily riven paving products are difficult to sit tables and chairs on without making you think you are at sea. However, if you like heavily textured looks, simply combine the two materials together by including a flat paved area designated for dining.
If you want a sanctuary where you can relax after a hard day at work, why not include some walling or high planting in your design. This will help to break up large open areas to provide a cosier feel for you to enjoy on your own. Using more decorative features such as paving circles or project packs used as stand-alone areas are a great way of achieving a hideaway at the end of the garden.
Then make sure you allow space for good sized borders and raised planters to bring some life to your patio. Even if you are not, adding large plant pots with easy growing plants and flowers will make your garden a more enjoyable place to spend time.
Whether you are washing the car, cleaning the bikes or just want to be the envy of your neighbours, a well designed front garden and driveway can create a great first impression and add value to your home. With a well designed driveway and front garden, you'll be surprised how much time you spend outdoors!
Are you using your space efficiently?
Once you have an idea of how you like to spend your time, it's important to understand any limitations or considerations you should take into account. Each site is different so it’s worth speaking to a professional landscaper, but here are a few things to think about:
Try to make sure that your patio is positioned where you will get the most benefit from the sun, or not if you want some shade. Try linking a back door patio with a remote area to get the best of both.
Do you have any important existing features, trees or planting that would be good to retain?
This can make your new project look instantly mature without having to increase your planting budget.
Think carefully about levels, as this can affect usability and drainage. Creating terracing can be hard work but it can pay off in terms of more useable space. If your garden drops towards the house, it will be important to ensure adequate drainage is installed, there are lots of discreet options available now, contact your local builders merchant for advice.