Backyard Patios...
Ingenious ways to convert your backyard into a secluded patio

With backyard patios, just like with any other patio or deck, one must always remember that the patio forms an integral part of your landscape design and is an important extension of your home.

In South Africa, where the weather is (mostly) great and many people spend their leisure time outdoors, these outside patios fit into our lifestyle like a well-fitted glove.

By now you have realised that I encourage your personal involvement when you do any home improvements. It shows in the design as well as in the final product. These are the things that add real value to your home.

It is therefore imperative to take just as much care in the planning and design of your backyard patio as it will be with any other DIY project you plan and implement.

So, the decision is final! You are going to build your own backyard patio, so it is time to look at some clever features to incorporate into your patio design.


Outdoor Storage

All outdoor areas needs some storage space, whether it be for the:

  • "braai" (read barbecue if you are not South African) accessories,
  • the citronella candles or that oil lamp for the romantic evenings,
  • or the cushions for the patio furniture, it is always a clever idea to designate some space for these.

Outdoor storage space needs to be easily accessible, attractive and waterproof. A box tucked inside a build-in bench is much less conspicuous than a freestanding shed on your patio. Make sure that the unit has a solid top to shed the rain water and a perforated bottom to drain any water that may leak in.

It is best to incorporate the storage space into the design of the patio and consider a lockable unit for expensive accessories or long-term storage.


Integrating Plants

Bright and sunny patios are ideal spots for plants and flowers to flourish. Integrating plants onto your patio not only break the harshness of the materials used, but increase your sense of connection with nature and add colour and scent to your patio retreat.

You can even provide your own herbs and fresh produce. Freestanding pots are always a very good option, especially for herbs, but build-in planters can be integrated into your design for creative alternatives as patio boundaries.

Whatever type of planters you decide on, remember that care must be taken when you select your plant species and think about clever watering ideas and techniques, as the ambient temperature on an un-shaded patio is much hotter than one would imagine sometimes.


Build-In Benches

A build-in bench is always a welcome amenity to any outdoor space. Consider the views and the practicality of where you decide to place your bench.

Build-in benches around a table create a permanent corner for designated dining while a long, backless bench that wrap the perimeter of your patio are great for large gatherings. It also allows your guests to face either the patio area or away from it if the views are in that direction.

To ensure that the seating is comfortable, take care to ensure that the seat height is the correct height from the patio floor. I always make it around 450 mm high as this height is comfortable for most people.


I think you get the drift of how to go about the design of your backyard patio.

One important thing to remember is that many countries need permits and building plans for outside structures. Here in South Africa they are not to strict with stand-alone walls and wooden structures, but once you put a roof over your backyard patio, you will need approved plans.

Please make sure you follow all the rules and regulations as it is heartbreaking to finish your project on time and within budget only for the city counsel to instruct you to break it all down again.


Home Lovers Motto

To encourage, to motivate, and to help home owners to find
great home improvement ideas -
To change from the house you have to the home you love!


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