Published at Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 - 00:08:28 AM. Patio. By Alek.
How to Create the Perfect Patio Experience By taking time to plan and design your patio, you can create an area where all the different features combine to produce a unique space that possesses character, comfort and charm. In effect, transforming a popular garden feature into an outside room. To create the perfect patio for your garden, consider the size and position of the patio area carefully. Most people prefer the patio to be close to the house but you may wish to choose a location in a sunnier part of the garden or a position offering a better view. By placing the patio near to trees and shrubbery, you create a naturally sheltered area similar to an arbour. But this type of location can bring problems. Firstly excavating the footings for the patio may cause damage to the roots of the trees and shrubs that were the chief attraction of that particular location. Close proximity to trees and shrubs will almost definitely result in the unsightly problem of leaf mould forming on the patio creating a slippery and hazardous surface. For a patio that complements the house and garden, proportions are all-important. When deciding on the size of the patio, you must also think practically about how it will be used. If you want to put a table and chairs on it, you will probably need at least 3m x 3m but to accommodate sunloungers and possibly barbeques a larger space may be required. So its worthwhile deciding on the type of patio furniture you will be using at this early stage. Shape is another important factor in your patio planning. Dont be constrained by the traditional rectangular template - a curved patio is often more space efficient and can blend more harmoniously with the rest of the garden. Experiment with shapes and geometric patterns to highlight garden features or mirror flowerbeds. Mark out the patio area with a hosepipe or string line to help you visualise the space. Once you have decided on the shape and size of your patio there is another important feature of the design to consider that many people overlook - colour. The variety of stone available to the patio builder is matched, if not surpassed, by the rich diversity of colours in which stone paving materials now come. A quick glance at any paving stone suppliers catalogue or website will vividly illustrate this. We will look at the colours available later, but at this stage it is a good idea to consider whether you want the colour of the patio to complement or contrast with the colour of the walls of your house. Then there are the questions of patterned or plain and mix or match? Are you going to use stone of the same colour or do want to create a pattern on the patio surface? Matching different materials is yet another option worth considering. A patio constructed of two different types of stone can be very effective, as can the inclusion of an area of decorative gravel in the design. But if the mix and match approach appeals to you take care, for not all materials will work well together. As with so much connected with design, personal taste plays a significant and overriding role. Nevertheless, it is a generally accepted rule that natural stone does not work well with reconstructed materials. The patios perimeter also offers the opportunity for other design elements that can enhance its overall appearance. Firstly, you may want to build a low ornamental wall around the perimeter of your patio. Once again it is at the design stage where you should be looking into the height of the wall, the type and colour of the brick you are going to use and whether the top of the wall will be finished with coping or incorporate areas for planting. Another option worth considering is having contrasting edging at the patios perimeter, which can be in terms of both colour and material. A patio constructed of slabs can be given an elegant block edging, providing a simple but effective counterpoint to the main patio area. Whatever design you are looking for, it is advisable to produce scale drawings to visualise the finished patio. Scale drawings can also assist in calculating the quantity of materials needed. Patio slabs Stone slabs or flags come in many shapes, sizes and colours. The main types of stone are natural stone and reconstructed stone. Natural stone is what its name implies and is the more expensive of the two; but natural stone slabs can vary in size and thickness and consequently will require a higher degree of expertise to lay. Reconstructed stone slabs - sometimes described as reconstituted or artificial stone - are concrete units where a specific concrete mix has been designed to resemble natural stone. A wide range of natural stones can be imitated including Bath stone, Portland stone, Stainton stone and red terracotta. A word of caution on reconstructed stone slabs. Although they are the less expensive option, the quality can vary greatly and the cheapest stone slab often bears little resemblance to the natural stone it is trying to imitate. So its advisable to look around to find the best supplier. Traditionally the most popular stone for building patios has been sandstone, as it comes in a wide range of attractive colours and textures. But there are other interesting and decorative alternatives. Travertine is a hardwearing stone common to southern Europe. The largest building in the world constructed predominently of travertine is the Colosseum in Rome. A noticeable feature of travertine stone is its naturally pitted surface that is excellent for simple, rustic designs. But its the colours of travertine stone that make it so attractive to patio builders. In addition to grey, beige and white there are rich browns, reds and golds that are ideal for creating a patio with a Mediterrannean appearance. Another stone favoured by professional patio builders is granite. The reputation granite has for toughness and durability often overshadows its natural beauty. Natural granite slabs are usually dark and silver grey, or pink. But its beauty is heightened in the sun as it sparkles and glints providing a glamorous sophistication. When looking at the variety of stone available you will soon discover that patio slabs can come with different finishes offering another dimension to patio design. These finishes are produced by specific operations: acid-etched, smooth or coarse ground, grit or sand-blasted, rubbed or polished, giving the stone a different appearance and character. A riven surface refers to stone that has the appearance of having split away from the main rock mass resulting in a rough, textured appearance. Tumbled stone has a distressed look marked by rounded edges and a well-worn quality. Polished stone has a smooth surface imparting a refined elegance, while in stark contrast slabs that have been shot-blast have a coarse, roughened surface. Block paving and setts? Although the patio slab or flag is the most popular stone material for building patios other materials are available, namely block paving and setts. Block paving comprises of rectangular shaped blocks similar to bricks. The most common size for block pavers is 200mm x 100mm with a depth of around between 50mm. They can either be made of concrete or clay and come in a wide selection of colours. Clay paving blocks are more expensive than the concrete variety but both can be tumbled or polished Paving blocks are usually laid in one of three patterns: herringbone, stretcher bond and basketweave. Whatever stone material you decide to use, accurate plans will help you estimate the quantity of materials needed and get quotes. Remember to check that there are no underground pipes and cables in the area. If the patio is to butt onto an exterior house wall, it must be below the damp proof course.
Patio Furniture - What Are the Best Patio Furniture Materials For You? Choosing patio furniture can be a little overwhelming because there are several material types and hundreds or possibly thousands of styles made from those materials. The type of materials that you choose should depend on your personal preference but also on the climate where you live, whether your patio is covered or uncovered, your budget and several other factors. By keeping in mind your priorities and carefully thinking things through, selecting the right patio furniture be straightforward and easy. When you are choosing new furniture the first thing that you need to do is pick a type of material. The most common materials are wood, wicker and rattan, metal, and plastic. Wood Wooden patio furniture is very popular and lasting. In general, wooden patio furniture can stand up to the elements like very hot sun or summer storms pretty well. However, if you decide to use wooden patio furniture you should treat it with a water resistant coating to protect it from drying out in the sun or becoming damaged from being out in the rain. It is a good choice if you do a lot of entertaining because its very strong and rigid, thus can accommodate people of all different sizes. Its also simple to change the look of wooden patio furniture with just a new coat of paint in the color of your choice. Good quality wooden patio furniture can be expensive but if you carry out regular maintenance of painting or protective coating on the wood every few years, the furniture will inevitably last for a long time. Wicker and Rattan If you like to change the decor of your patio frequently and dont want to have to buy new furniture every time then wicker & rattan patio furniture would be a good and decent choice for you. Wicker and rattan is the second most popular type of furniture that is made from natural materials. Both wicker and rattan furniture is durable, light weight and to a certain extent - flexible, making it great for patio furniture that needs to be brought indoors or moved frequently. Wicker is actually not a material by itself. Wicker is the end result of weaving rattan with other materials, usually bamboo slats, to make furniture. Rattan (originated from a Malay word - Rotan) is technically a tree, although it grows like a vine along the ground. They are usually found in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australia. The rattan vines are cut and peeled, then steamed to make them pliable, and then they are used as rattan weaving materials. Rattan furniture can be made of stripes of Rattan that are woven together when the wood is wet. It can also be strips of Bamboo or other materials woven around straight rattan slats. Rattan easily accepts paints and stains like many other kinds of wood, so it is available in many colors and it can be worked into many styles. Both rattan and wicker furniture is a less expensive alternative to hardwood, if you want to have furniture that is made from natural sources. These types of patio furniture dont require a lot of maintenance and can be used in or outdoors all year long. Its also possible to change the outlook of Wicker or Rattan furniture by giving the furniture a new coat of color. So, if youre inclined to change the decor of your patio frequently without buying new patio furniture every time, then wicker or rattan furniture would be the best choice for you. Metal Metal patio furniture is often a more economical choice compared to hard wood type especially for people who want the stability of wood but wouldnt want to spend too much. Metal furniture is also great for people that want furniture that has low maintenance costs because most metal furniture doesnt require the kind of maintenance that wooden furniture does. There are three main types of metal patio furniture that you can purchase. They are wrought iron, aluminum and tubular metal. Wrought iron is probably one of the most expensive types in the range. Wrought iron furniture is incredibly popular because its stylish and adds a very classic feel to a patio but its also popular because of its durability. Wrought iron furniture is heavy and requires little upkeep. For instance, just a simple new coat of paint every year or so will keep wrought iron furniture looking beautiful for years. Furthermore, wrought iron patio furniture is sturdy so that it can be comfortable and safe for people of all sizes. It is also heavy which is good in that it wont be blown away in strong winds but not to a point that it is too difficult to move. Aluminum is often used commercially because its so easy to maintain, light-weight and tough. Hotels, public pools, restaurants, resorts, and other types of businesses that deal with the public often use aluminum patio furniture for their outdoor patios. Aluminum is a very much lighter metal than wrought iron so if you will frequently need to move your furniture, aluminum may be a better choice. Most if not all outdoor bars and bistros will quite definitely choose aluminum furniture because of its weight & maintenance cost. Aluminum furniture can be a bit pricey for some people but the cost is negligible over time as aluminum patio furniture will last for a long time. Tubular metal patio furniture is the least expensive type and easily found at discount stores. It has some of the durability that other types of metal patio furniture have although it is not as strong as aluminum or wrought iron. Tubular metal doesnt require a lot of maintenance and can lasts for a long time. It can though become bent and damaged and can never quite be bent back into its original shape. It is also light enough to easily be blown away in strong winds. Plastic or PVC Patio Furniture Plastic or PVC patio furniture is the cheapest option and can be easily found at discount/bargain stores. Stackable Plastic or PVC patio furniture can be found at any discount store, sometimes even at the grocery store. They are easy to maintain because all you need to do for cleaning is simply to wipe the dirt off. It stands up well to any natural elements except strong winds and usually will only last for one season. They are not very sturdy and can break easily. There is a high possibility it becomes a safety issue if you have little children using it frequently because it tends to tip over or break. They also tends to crack and splinter very easily, which is dangerous even to adults. If you are looking for some cheap, quick patio furniture then plastic is the best choice but dont expect them to last.
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