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Design the Patio of Your Dreams

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What’s Your Personal Patio Style?

Themed inspirations for outdoor living spaces that are all you.


Backyard Landscape with Pool and Hot TubWatching the kids learn how to swim in the pool. Cooking up some spiced ribs on the grill. Sipping a gin and tonic while watching the sunset.


So many memories can be made on a backyard patio. It’s a place where you can feel safe and cozy while at the same time getting out and enjoying the elements. A custom outdoor patio that is designed around your family and home creates a space for you to cultivate an outdoor life. Features like outdoor kitchens, whirlpools, wall enclosures and pergolas can provide hours of entertainment and relaxation for your family and guests.


Whether you want to design a completely new patio or renovate your current one, you can find inspiration from many sources that will speak to your personal style. Patio design firms often draw ideas from popular themes and then add custom features to suit their clients’ tastes. If you choose to go with a set style or theme, the style of your home should go into that decision. For example, ranch-style houses are often paired with a Southwestern theme, while Victorian homes are well matched with a Shabby Chic ensemble. Read on to discover some popular patio themes and what you might find to be your own personal patio style.


Southwestern Motifs Capture the Wild Heart of the Desert

The mysteries of the desert and classic Native American arts come to life in Southwestern themed patios. This style is for those who enjoy adventure and don’t mind a little sand in their boots. The Southwest is filled with sun and bright colors, so don’t be shy with your proverbial brushstrokes. Reds, oranges, yellows, and blues reflect the fiery colors of the desert in contrast to the vast desert sky.



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Structures inspired by clay-crafted adobes can create enclosed spaces for intimate gatherings and date nights. America’s inspiration for many of the patterns and objects in New Mexican styles came from, of course, Mexico. The colorful woven Mexican blankets add a layer of casual luxury when laid over an outdoor couch or used as a tablecloth. Chimineas are wood burning stoves, a centuries-old tradition originally used as bread ovens in Mexico. Sold for decoration in a variety of sizes, they make a perfectly subtle accent in a corner or on a table.


Outdoor Bar, Patio and Fire Pit

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Fire pits are a must on a Southwestern patio – where else would a cowboy warm up after a long night’s ride? Round clay or sandstone bordering make for pits that provide a respite for weary travelers. For seating and dining, go with classic wood or wicker furniture in medium warm tones. Metals also evoke a sense of fire and heat, so iron and bronze can also work very well. Iconic images of the Southwest, like Kokopelli symbols and turquoise Zuni embellishments, will give the space an extra touch of authentic.



Under the Tuscan Sun, Old World Style Still Reigns

Tuscany has long been a destination for romantic vacations and solo trips for finding oneself. So it’s no wonder that the Old World charms are captured in so many New World patio designs. Rolling fields of juicy vineyard grapes, elegant olive trees and fragrant herbs create a rich, green landscape that induces total relaxation. If you’re a romantic at heart, then an Old World style patio may win your affections.


Tuscan Style Patio - Old World Decor


To capture la dolce vita of the Italian countryside, surround everything in your dream patio with greenery. Vertical gardens swooning with vines, terra cotta urn planters filled with jasmine and wisteria, and shady trees of apple, fig, and olive will bring the calming tones and scents of Tuscany to your own backyard. Geraniums in brilliant pink and white are a common sight on Tuscan homesteads and add a joyful brightness to the color palette.


Food is king in Italy, and dining al fresco is a standing tradition in the Italian summer. Your patio furniture should be a centerpiece of the scene you create, allowing family and friends to enjoy long, leisurely meals together. Choose rustic metallic finishes, wrought iron, or anything with an oxidized look. The surrounding décor will focus on cast aluminum or bronze statues of the gods and other figures, Medici vases, Venetian pot water fixtures, and anything terra cotta. For flooring, fall for sandstone or flagstone, which reflect the earthy colors of Tuscan farms.



Get Off Beat with Shabby Chic: Classic Furnishings, Oddities and Antiques


Shabby Chic Patio Decor

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Shabby chic makes old look new – or is it the other way around? Whichever way you look at it, this style blends retro with romantic and leaves a lot of room for originality and even quirkiness. The shabby chic look is for lovers of all things antique and collectible. You may have diverse interests and are often exploring new things, but always like to come back to your usual creature comforts.


Gentle pinks, blues, and greens against soft whites are prominent in the shabby chic style. Patterns will be classic American – floral, plaid, and stripes – all very familiar. While the fabrics might be predictable, this is just the backdrop for a fascinating array of knick-knacks and antique store finds to be sprinkled throughout the patio. These can be whatever you want – from salvaged ship parts and stained glass windows to collectible 19th century figurines and original works of art in ornate frames. Let your free spirit roam and don’t hesitate to be spontaneous.


White and antique wicker seating creates a casual and cozy setting for catching up with loved ones over a cup of tea. Natural fibers are best, in keeping with a country theme, eschewing all that is too urban. Distressed oak hard wood floors can be covered with soft area rugs in seating spaces to create an outdoor living room, and left exposed by the pool or hot tub. This motif offers a slower pace of life, one that can be savored and welcomes reflection on the past.







Contemporary Designs Create Cutting-edge Leisure

Style seems to start West and move East, and it’s no different when designing a patio. The futuristic styles that design houses call “contemporary” are often first embraced in the uber chic homes of Sonoma Valley, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Contemporary designs are most often embraced by forward-thinking types who enjoy keeping up with the next best thing. While contemporary looks can work in rural, urban, or suburban settings, they create an ambiance that decidedly favors the city.


Modern Patio Design - Contemporary Wood Deck

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Contemporary living demands all of the modern conveniences, so no need to be conservative on the bells and whistles. A full-size kitchen and bar is a perfect example of such luxury. These can be designed large or small to fit any size budget. The foundation of the patio itself will have clean-cut lines to evoke symmetry, and cool flooring made of materials like slate or limestone. Patterns in flooring or walls are industrial and angular, and may have repeated tiling, stamping, and carvings.


In the furnishings and accents, neutral tones contrast with the brightest of brights for elegance as eye-catching as Californian sunflower fields. More earthly colors can be strategically placed for a natural feel even among stainless steel and stone surroundings. Select rattan furniture for casual dining, or dark woods for added sophistication. Walls and planters fitted with bench seating can also provide additional places to lounge around the dining and pool/spa areas.


Contemporary Patio with a View

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Contemporary looks can be dark or bright in tone, but almost always call for more light to soften things up. Metallic chandeliers can be hung under a pergola or even from a tree branch, blending lavish modernity with a classic lighting scheme. Use mirrors set at the back of cavernous and covered spaces to reflect more light into them. A trellis wall offers filtered views, lets in natural light in the daytime and provides a space for adding greenery like climbing plants and vines. Elaborate water features are another opportunity for added lighting – they can be programmed to alternate in multiple colors, and are especially alluring at night.



It’s Your Space: Let Your Personality Shine Through

Your patio is your patio. These styles can guide the design, but ultimately the look and feel should make you feel good each moment you spend there with your friends and family, or even alone, knowing that your patio is your special haven away from the duties of the home and the trials of work life. Your patio is your oasis where some of the best memories of your life will take place. It’s a place where you can be yourself, and just be.


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AUTHOR - Jennifer Young

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