Use zones: to truly function for outdoor living, patios need to serve multiple purposes. At the very least think about creating a living area and a dining area, but you may also want a cooking area if you love to barbecue, and a zone for reading or quiet time. When deciding on layout, think about when you’ll use each area and whether you want it to be in the sun or shade. Often you can create these zones simply through careful placement of garden furniture: for example, you might want an outdoor sofa in the lounge area, a table and dining chairs in your dining area and a hanging chair in your quiet time zone. You could also consider identifying these areas through features such as outdoor rugs, or by breaking up the areas with pots and planters.
Choose plants that delight the senses: scented plants are ideal for patios, creating an outdoor area that looks and smells great. The scent of lavender is known to have calming properties, while herbs such as rosemary, thyme and mint work well in pots and the flowers of the chocolate cosmos plant give off the delicious scent of dark chocolate.
Consider lighting: there’s little better than spending long summer evenings with friends but to be in the garden after dark requires some form of lighting. Solar lights offer an easy and sustainable way to bring lighting to your patio without the issues of plugs or wiring. Table lamps, floor lanterns and festoon lighting can all be great options to add atmospheric illumination to your evening gatherings. You can build the ambience with tealights and a firepit, which has the added advantage of providing some heat as the temperature drops.
Dress to impress: in the same way you might dress your home when friends are coming for dinner inside, don’t neglect to dress your patio when that will be the focal point for entertaining. Lay the table as you would indoors, pick fresh flowers from the garden and display them in a jam jar at the centre of the table, light some candles and consider laying out throws and blankets in case it gets cooler later on.
Use pots to create a sense of style: think of your patio as the front-of-house area of your garden, and its social epicentre. It’s fine for other areas to be rough and ready, but aim to keep the ‘working’ elements of your garden, such as bags of compost, discarded tools and empty pots away from this prime real estate. Be selective about what’s on display: choose a theme for your pots and planters, and arrange plants thoughtfully, aiming to create displays of varying heights and complementary colours. Plant pots are a great way to add a pop of colour and a sense of style to a garden, and remember that terracotta pots can be painted if you want a change of theme.
References to “we”, “us” or “our” are to the part of the Vistry Group (including Linden Homes, Bovis Homes, Countryside Homes, Drew Smith, Vistry Ventures or one of Vistry’s joint venture companies) from which you are intending to purchase a new home. References to "you” and “your” are to the prospective buyer or buyers of a new home from us.
All images are used for illustrative purposes only and are representative only. They may not be the same as the actual home you purchase and the specification may differ. Images may be of a slightly different model of home and may include optional upgrades and extras which involve additional cost. Individual features such as windows, brick, carpets, paint and other material colours may vary and also the specification of fittings may vary. Any furnishings and furniture are not included in any sale. Please check with our sales consultants for details of the exact specifications available at the development(s) for each type of home and the associated prices.