When designing an outdoor space, sometimes it is not so much what you should do, but also what you should avoid. Here is a quick guide to what is in and what is out.
What will you use your patio for? A conversation area with a fire pit, a dining area, an outdoor kitchen? Your patio's purpose will drive all the other elements of your design.
Sketch your plan out on graph paper. That way you can make little cutouts for your furniture and move them around, see how things work together, etc. It is much easier to push pieces of paper around than it is heavy pots and furniture.
You must create a focal point. An area without a focal point just winds up looking messy, as your eye does not have anywhere to land.
By coordinating with Mother Nature's color palette, you create an inviting living space in the outdoors. It is also possible to change seating cushions up at different times of the year if you desire, spring colors for spring, autumn colors in the falls, etc.
Not only should your color palette blend with the natural colors in your yard, it should also blend with the exterior color of your house and trim. This gives the space continuity and flow and is pleasing to the eye. If you are designing on a wooden deck, make sure the wood in your design compliments the wood of your deck.
Use plants as accessories. They hold up well to the weather and can add a pop of color wherever you need them. Container plants can also be moved if you want to change things up a bit. Any smaller accessories, like candles, tableware, etc., should be stored in the deck box when not in use to prevent weather damage.
This is an outdoor space, not indoors. The materials for any furniture should be able to stand up to the weather, and accessories should be sturdy enough not to blow away when the wind blows.
Remember that sketch? This is why. It is much easier to try different-sized furniture pieces and containers on paper than it is on the patio once you have bought everything. Play with your design, make sure to arrange the furniture so that it meets your space's purpose. Poor furniture arrangement or too much or too little furniture can ruin your design. Make sure to get it right on paper first.
Creating a design for your outdoor living space is an exciting and fun project. Just keep these tips in mind and you will wind up with a space you can be proud of.