Patio and Decks
Providing remarkable extremity for our homes, patio and decks are places of comfortable entertainment and outdoor relaxation. Naturally then, home owners will put special care and focus into turning their patio or deck into a fun and welcoming portion of the home. When we typically think of landscaping, plant life and yard work come to mind, but don't neglect the fact that landscaping also deals with the interior and exterior shapes of the yard and all of the structures that define those shapes.
In the early phase of patio or deck design, there are dozens of decisions that subsequently affect the degree of formality of the living space. Size of space must align with how you intend to use the patio or deck--if you have a proclivity for outdoor dining, the patio or deck should be able to comfortably entertain guests, tables and chairs.
While the most typical deck and patio plans are to utilize a geometric square or rectangle, a patio and deck plan should follow your individual garden shape rather than precedent. Straight edged housed tend to invite straight edged decks or patios, but you may also consider varying the contour of the side of the deck that is closer to the edge of the yard to create one interesting line where the other is rigid.
Although decks are normally constructed out of pressure treated lumber, there are a number of other durable synthetic materials available today (of course, appearance and durability may increase the cost). Patio materials come in a variety of forms as well, from stone, brick and concrete pavers or slabs to interlocking pavers and tiles. Whereas interlocking layers tend to formalize the patio with a polished look, natural stone or textured cement give off a casual, rustic feel.
After shape and materials for your deck or patio have been considered, you can move on to determining types of vegetation to surround the area with. Many ground level decks and patios are enclosed with perimeter plantings of various heights. Perimeter plantings usually account for a deck or patio exit space.
While annuals provide a short-lived splash of color, long lasting colored perennials may be a better choice. Long-term planting is best with slow growing plants or a plant that can withstand regular trimming so as to not let the plant spread excessively. Be sure to consider the flowering season when you choose a deck or patio plant and balance spring and summer flowering to maximize the length of blooming time. If you happen to reside in a colder climate, try adding some evergreens for year-round color effect outside your window (even if you can't sit on the deck in the chill).