Power to the Patio!

By Dan Gregory

This handsomely paved patio doubles as an outdoor dining room.

The right patio becomes an extension of the house to provide open-air living space for relaxing and entertaining. The word derives from the Spanish for courtyard or open area, and probably from the Latin "patium," for meadow. The example at the top of the post and here, Plan 124-691, is only two steps below the 

living room; there are other patios off the kitchen and the master suite. The gridded concrete terrace makes a simple and effective backdrop for plantings and outdoor furniture. Here's an even simpler example,

with concrete pavers instead of a complete concrete terrace -- Plan 892-8. Eave lighting, along with light from inside the house, bathes the outdoor space in an inviting glow. You can add flexibility to a patio by covering

part of it: shaded areas work especially well for outdoor dining and sitting areas, as shown in Plan 449-13 by David Cox.

A patio gives a house room to breathe and connects it to the surrounding landscape, especially if you are 

building on a sloping site, as demonstrated in Plan 891-3 by Cathy Schwabe. Carved into the hillside, the brick-paved patio is framed by the bench built into the retaining wall.

Patios and pools are a natural combination; this example, Plan 449-2 also by David Cox, shows how a courtyard

patio sets off the pool and becomes an outdoor room for swimming and sunning. Outdoor fireplaces are

another popular patio amenity, either built into part of the house proper, as in Plan 48-476, or placed

somewhat apart to define a larger uncovered outdoor room, as in Plan 120-175, above.

Fire pits are growing in popularity as new versions -- known as fire bowls and fire tables -- come on the market. I saw several different fibre cement designs at recent home builder shows; they use clean burning bio

ethanol. The El Dorado Fire Bowl is a simple, appealing rounded shape, and when not in use for

flames it has a handy wooden top so it can turn into an outdoor coffee table (photos courtesy El Dorado Stone). Brown Jordan's Equinox rectangular fire table has a round fire well built into one end -- so  
it can be used as a table and a fire pit at the same time (photo courtesy Brown Jordan Fires). 

What better way to warm up your outdoor entertaining space, as Plan 901-120 shows!


So, let the patio party begin!

To brows more plans with patios click here.

Fri Jun 12 00:00:00 PDT 2015