A Garden Patio With a View
A Garden Patio Has So Many Uses
Having just built a small extension onto our house with the prospect of wonderful views of the rolling Irish countryside, the time has come to think about developing the garden patio.
With an interest for gardening and another for watching the flowers and weeds grow from the comfort of a reclining chair, my haven at the moment is our new patio area. Apart from just watching the world go by - if only - we'll be able to enjoy our new patio heater on cool evenings and also a really good BBQ.
With my favorite Nikon macro lens, I can easily indulge in my passion for taking photos of the micro lives of garden insects and flowers, or perhaps I'll just sit on a recliner surveying the beautiful view with a drink in hand and my thoughts. A renewed life for me now revolves around the garden and patio.
SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY LIFE!
Created on 29 May 2013
All photos © Rob Hemphill
Not Just Any Garden Patio
One with a roof and pigtails!
As we were coming to the end of building what has become a really good bedroom suite with loads of space, it was decided that a covered patio area was also needed, or at least desired.
Leading out of the bedroom through a pair of French doors, we have constructed a garden patio with a twist - or should I say two twists...that of pigtail twists! What is that about, I hear you ask?
Well, in the Emerald Isle, as you all know we have lots of green grass, which comes from lots of soft rain (a term referred to by the Irish about drizzle or misty dampness or even full-on rain). This soft rain is often a bit of a nuisance - complete understatement. So we need a hat or roof!
Therefore, on wet days we must stay dry, and sunny days, we have to take advantage of every ray of sunshine when it comes our way, and...sunbathe of course! Not actually proper sunbathing, but the next best thing - you guessed it, sun-worshiping on a hammock swinging chair - and yes, there's a choice of TWO pigtails to hang it from, maybe there will be another chair in the future!
Books on Patio Ideas
Patio Just Built
Is Gardening Fun...
...or is it a chore?
I've always enjoyed gardening from a young age, and the idea of producing your own organic and natural foods seemed so obvious, and more to the point, SO TASTY!
Digging the soil, planting the seeds and keeping the pests at bay is all part of that wonderful interaction with nature that makes growing anything so fascinating. Why have we forgotten how to tend our vegetable plots or fruit gardens? I'll tell you, part laziness and part laborious. Yep, digging the soil can be hard work, especially for anyone with back problems, and also our lives tend to be more non-stop than they used to be.
But are we busier now than before, or do we make ourselves feel overloaded with things to do? I think we are overloaded to some extent as workplace jobs are more demanding, time is more scarce due to longer hours and the body may be tired at the end of the day.
I know I can't spend as much time as I'd like to doing the heavy work, so that's my pathetic excuse for building my patio, and now at least I can LOOK at my garden and enjoy it - and not be a slave to it...
...but, first I've got to:
~~ plant flowers, shrubs and trees
~~ and dig
~~ and mow
Building Steps Into Patio
We built narrow steps into the paving area leading from the patio around the house. By keeping each step height to about 4 inches, the pathway flows better beside the planting.
In the garden we've only managed to get the first few plants in as yet, and still wait for the newly planted grass to show through on the lawn area.
Garden Patio Furniture - First get comfortable!
The reviews on this charming bench speak for themselves, it's built to withstand the weather and is made from aluminum to resist corrosion. It will definitely last longer than a wooden bench - and it looks elegant in the garden.
The low price is tempting me to buy another!
I haven't used glider chairs that much in the past, but this model on the whole seems to get good reviews. You can even get a two seater and make up a decent patio set.
Where Acorns Grow
Being able to find anywhere in your house devoid of interruption and distraction is often not easy. If you're in the office, the phone will keep ringing, in the kitchen there will be occasional visits to the fridge or coffee pot by others, all helping to keep your thoughts away from their course.
I find my best thinking is done when I'm away from the computer, TV, telephone or newspaper, and just looking at the countryside around me. Somehow, nature doesn't distract, it's a bit like having music in the background, it enhances the thought process. That reminds me, I must think of installing some good speakers around the patio - then I'll be there... maybe not, a glass of wine or a beer would be nice too. Yes, that's it, got my drink and my music, my thoughts and nature, what more do I really want?
Garden Patio Speakers
There are so many lovely designs for laying your patio flagstones and also the type or types of stones you use.
I've laid a number of different patios, from the more formal brick design to the random crazy paving design, and one thing they all have in common is that will give you a designated clean, weed-free area around your house and/or garden.
Once you've chosen your stones or paving slabs, you'll need to work out how to lay them and whether to make a pattern or stay simple with the design.
Indian Sandstone Paving
Our patio are is paved with this attractive Indian Sandstone which has a more rustic look. The only issue with these softer stone pavings is that it's advisable to seal them with a protective coating after laying in order to reduce the chance of scratching or abrasion.
How to Lay Patio Paving Slabs/Stones
Guidelines for the best way to lay a patio area from scratch once you have the site scraped back to bare earth. Remember to allow for depths of different layers and materials in the planned finished height, i.e. from bare soil to top of paving slab.
A well laid patio will keep weeds and other little critters out from living amongst the slabs. Always think of aftercare, and make it easy!
- Excavate to a depth of between four and six inches depending on the type of paving to be used. Ensure that the area is completely level and free from small stones and pebbles.
- Set up an edge restraints to give the paving slabs something to butt up to and keep all paving aligned.
- Fill a layer of coarse sand to a depth of at least 2 inches over the whole area. This gives a good base to lay the stones onto.
- Start laying paving slabs from one corner - leveling and bedding in each slab as you go. This is easier done onto a sand base rather than directly onto earth, as long as there are no little stones in it. A rubber hammer is frequently used to tap down the slabs.
- Leave gaps between the slabs for grouting later. For smaller sized paving, a gap of a quarter of an inch is adequate, but for anything bigger, at least half an inch will suffice.
- Once all slabs are laid and completely leveled, it's time for the grouting. This can be as simple as just sweeping sand into the gaps and leaving it at that, but if you want a more permanent job then this is the way:
a). Lightly water the paving all over to ensure gaps are wet.
b). Make a mix of cement and mortar to a soft consistency and fill gaps...or
Buy a ready made grouting specifically for particular paving types. I used an Indian Sandstone and wanted to apply a protection coat over the slabs and joins, so bought a grout mix suitable for exactly that.
- Lightly water over all paving and sweep excess debris away then leave to dry.
- Job done! You now have a well constructed patio or paving area.
How to Build a Paver Patio
A Chiminea Is a Must Have
Our new chiminea on its maiden light. This La Hacienda version makes cooking out on cool evenings no problem. It even helps to keep the bugs at bay.
What makes this one so good is that it's open design all around rather than on one side keeps everyone warm at the same time. They are a great invention, and there are so many different designs available.
Stainless Steel Patio Heater
This model is powerful and they say fashionable - I guess it looks pretty cool! It's easy to assemble, has a fantastic output of 46,000 BTU's and is made of stainless steel and a mocha powder coated steel, this is one heavy, stable unit.
If you're the outdoor entertaining type of person, you won't go wrong by getting one of these, or maybe two to balance the area.
Patios - Places for Entertainment
Once you've got you patio paving down, grouted and finished, you'll have a wonderful area asking to be filled.
We now have two patio areas connected by paving made of gray Indian Sandstone. Rather than using the usual concrete slabs, we opted for something with more character, and chose 3 different sizes to break up joining lines creating an attractive pattern.
Now we have our blank space, we've got to fill it. The new table and four chairs are waiting to be unpacked, as is the sun shade and swinging hammock chair. The hacienda has been lit once, and boy, was it a good buy? Huddling around it after a barbeque in the cold air of night, it kept us cozy as well as giving a focal point.
Our patio space is an entertainment place.
Man at Work - Yep, it's me!
Room With a View
Waking up in the morning is a treat when you have two large windows like this to frame the wonderfully lush Irish countryside.
Our view over the patio and garden leads to one of the horse paddocks with gentle rolling hills in the distance. Whether it's sunny, misty, foggy or rainy we appreciate the beauty in the landscape in front of us.
Now, all I have to do is to roll my sleeves up and start getting the new garden area planted up. It will be exciting to add plants to the long border under the fence and watch them grow and bloom, and in a year or two we will have a wealth of color in the foreground of our garden painting!