Looks can be deceiving and with all these TV makeover shows, I have yet to see a patio that is executed properly. Not only does it have to function and look good, but it must be practical and long-lasting as well. A lot of what we see on TV is staged and isn’t a true reality of what is involved. The east coast climate that we live in includes harsh winters and hot summers and the California/Vegas style outdoor spaces don’t work for us Pennsylvanians, as our outdoor living season is much shorter and at the mercy of rain.
Check out a few examples of how WE can make show-like ideas work for you.
Visual: Checkerboard of grass and pavers leading up to a pool deck for a striking, stimulating contrast. You plan to invite guests over for cocktails and a dip in the pool.
Reality: A maintenance nightmare of edging and getting lawn scrapes in the pool. Those crisp clean lines need to be edged on a regular basis because grass will creep over the sides of pavers. The grass will also dry out quickly due to the small soil space and heat radiating off of the surrounding pavers. Any element close to the pool will get clippings in the water, even with the best bag-collecting mower. Finally, you can forget that cocktail attire. Anyone who has walked in stilettos knows that your heels sink into grass…this would be a tripping/cocktail spilling hazard!
Solution: Choose contrasting pavers or add pops of greenery in flower beds or planters. Save the maintenance for your manicure, while you are blissfully enjoying a sip of sunshine.
Visual: Lots of cozy upholstered furniture and pillows to create cozy outdoor seating for the whole family. Everyone sitting back, laughing telling stories of “when I was your age”.
Reality: Any fabric, no matter how weatherproof it’s rated, will absorb moisture. It will drain more quickly than indoor cushions or foam, however, it needs to be stored, brought inside or covered when inclement weather is upon us. A pop-up thunderstorm rolls in and suddenly you are screaming to your son to grab a pillow and cover.
Solution: Choose furniture that has fewer cushions for open areas and save the fluffy stuff for under canopies or porches. All-weather wickers, teak, and polywood are all great materials to choose from. If your space is susceptible to wind gusts, choose heavier furniture so you aren’t chasing it across your neighbor’s lawn (learned from experience)!
Visual: A striking paver inlay design that is a true work of art and showpiece, unique to your space and a telltale of your style.
Reality: This intricate pattern is very labor-intensive…that means it’s costly! It also limits what you can do with patio furniture arrangements. It would be a shame to cover it and it would look strange if the furniture was off to the side making the overall look seem imbalanced. Even the perfect framework for your furniture could go wrong if you purchase new furniture of a different size.
Solution: Up your interest factor with large simple inlays to substitute outdoor rugs or by adding borders around the perimeter of your space. Mixing materials and/or colors can add a lot of texture to a flat space.
The finishing touches that make YOUR patio “viewer worthy”, is what we bring to our clients. There are no two patios alike and every client has a different wishlist for their space. Factors such as elevation, sun exposure, size and materials all make a patio unique to its owners. We can’t wait to help you channel your patio style!