Creating a patio is simple: lay down some pavers, set up a table and a few chairs, and put in an umbrella for shade. To obtain a truly outdoor room-worthy patio, however, you will need to put in some additional conscious effort. A proper outdoor room requires a few essential features including definition, accessibility, a focal point to gather around, and special touches that evoke an indoor setting, but allow you to enjoy your landscape at the same time. Transform your patio into an outdoor room and savor your al fresco space for hours on end.
Define the area
Just as your home’s interior includes flooring, walls, ceilings, and other layout features, so does a successful outdoor room. A patio alone doesn't create an oasis! First off, no one likes sitting on wobbly furniture or having to watch their step, so check your patio’s existing hardscaping for cracks, uneven surfaces, or loose pavers and make any necessary maintenance repairs. Next, upgrade your patio by surrounding it with seat walls, plantings, privacy screens, low fencing, or any combination of these outdoor “walls.” A visible perimeter provides definition; still, avoid closing off the space too much by leaving one or a few sections open to invite people into the space. Finish off the look by setting up a canopy, building a pergola, or installing an awning over your outdoor room, which not only provides the sensation of enclosure, but helps protect from sun, rain, and wind.
Keep it accessible
What makes a room approachable in your home’s interior? Perhaps a leading hallway, plenty of open space, or flawless continuity from one area to the next. Mimic these tools for accessibility by minimizing the feeling of separation between your patio and the main home. Glass doors and large windows adjacent to your outdoor room, for instance, create a seamless transition from your home’s interior. If your patio stands alone in your yard, line a noticeable pathway with foliage or freestanding walls to produce a “hallway” to direct traffic to the space. Most importantly, your landscaping should allow people to easily access your outdoor room without hesitation.
Create a focal point/central gathering point
Transform your patio into an outdoor room by giving the space new purpose. Is there a functional space your main home is missing that could work al fresco? Build your outdoor room around a fire pit or open-air bar. Include plush seating to encourage long, lounging evenings spent deep in conversation. If a new entertaining space is on your list, convert your patio into an outdoor dining area complete with a suitable table and chairs. Whatever your decision, make it count towards giving people a reason to spend time there.
Encourage friends and family to enjoy your outdoor room for hours with the kinds of furnishings you might find indoors. Include comfortable sofas, chairs, an area rug, and a coffee table for a friendly living room setting. Or, hang a chandelier, mirrors, and outdoor lighting reminiscent of an intimate indoor sitting area. Adding these extra touches is your time to insert your personality!