January: A new patio for a new year

Inspired by the lack of jobs one can do at this time of year, I’ve been setting my mind to the idea of planning a new patio.  There are some really great deals to be had in the garden centres, since everyone is trying to sell off old stock in readiness of the growing season and they’ll do almost anything to entice you over the threshold.  At the very least, you ought to be able to snaffle up some bargain tubs and containers – even a bench if you are lucky.

With the garden itself at its most bare, the structure emerges without distraction.  It becomes easier to see how the garden flows and how a new patio might complement the environment.  Before anything else, all the designers agree that one must decide on location.  This isn’t as obvious as it seems.  What you want from your patio will dictate where it should be almost as much as how the sun affects it.  For me, since this area will be first and foremost a space for eating and drinking -for barbecues and beers – it needs to be close to the house.  Ideally it should therefore be close to the kitchen.

It is worth remembering though that the environment will alter how you experience your outdoor space; from exposure to breezes which might make it unusable on otherwise sunny days, to the sun’s arc which may make it unpleasantly hot in the midday sun or chilly in the evening.   I’ll be using mine at lunchtime and in the evening, so will need to think about a bit of shade and shelter as well as optimizing the sun’s rays.  Apart from position, I have a list of things to tick off before I start calling up the builders and it is worth considering each carefully since they all relate to each other and the overall success of the scheme.

My patio designers list includes: location, access, size and shape, drainage, materials and lighting, decorative elements.