5+ Basic Design Principles for your Patio

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So the weather is finally cooperating and it's time to enjoy the outdoors once again. Whether you're completing a new patio or updating an existing one, the final touches can make all the difference in your end result. Much the same as an interior room makeover, elements such as lighting, furniture, accessories and décor will all have to be thought through.

While most room renovations can easily incorporate many of the original elements (or re-purposed items from other rooms) new patios often require an innovative plan and fresh ideas.

Either way, when planning your patio design or makeover, it's a good idea to follow some of the basic design principles that are used for interior spaces.

  • Balance -The placement of objects with consideration to their visual weight. This can be either:
    • Formal or symmetrically placed furniture. Think of a bed that is flanked by nightstands.
    • Informal or asymmetrical balance. Imagine a couch across from two side-by-side chairs.
    • Radical balance. A central element with elements radiating outward. Visualize a dining table with surrounding chairs.
  • Rhythm -Repetition in design helps the eye move around and ties the space together. It can be repeated in color, form or texture, in the actual pavers or any other element of the patio.
  • Harmony-The design elements, arrangement and color should all (or mostly) come from the same style idea. For example, modern, country or rustic.
  • Emphasis -The space should have a focal point. Good outdoor focal points are fireplaces, fire pits, fountains and large or group plantings.
  • Proportion and Scale -Is the ratio from size of one part to another and how it relates to the space as a whole?  A large space would look awkward with lots of small chairs, unless they are grouped together to create a seemingly larger, singular object, like in an outdoor wedding set up.

patio design colorsColor Your World

Nothing alters a space faster or easier than changing its color. Color can make large spaces appear smaller, or make small spaces appear larger. Today's paving stones come in a variety of colors and offer both warm and cool tones in their collections. This allows homeowners to coordinate the space with their home's exterior, (or an existing patio) and helps to set the space's 'mood".  Just like in natural stone, most paving stone colors are not monochromatic. Tones are created by starting with a base color and additional colors or highlights are added to create new and unique blends for pavers.

Look closely at your new paving stone; then bring a color highlight forward in cushions, rugs, and plantings to create a cohesive and pulled-together look. Or choose a complementary colors (located on opposite sides of the color wheel) to guide you.  Bold blue and orange combinations are reminiscent of southern Spain, while pale green and soft pink are a favorite in Shabby Chic designs.

Stage1 design tip: Keep in mind how the color of your pavers will support the overall look of your patio, and implement a paver color that will allow you the most freedom in redesign as your tastes and interests change.

When you follow these basic design principles, your patio décor and accent colors can easily be changed throughout the season. Have fun and don't be afraid to experiment.