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How to Plan an Outdoor Room

Updated on June 4, 2017

Outdoor rooms are exterior leisure spaces that every homeowner will love to have.

Sometimes referred to as patios, they are, for the most part, an extension of the home's interior in terms of aesthetics and comfort.

Being a part of the garden and the landscape, with proper planning, an outdoor room or patio can become a favourite area ideal for lounging, relaxing, playing, dining or entertaining if only for the warmer periods of the year.

Comfortable Outdoor Room
Comfortable Outdoor Room

Traditionally, they were built as inner courts of Spanish style homes, but today the term patio, by common usage, refers to a number of outdoor garden rooms that includes:

  • Entertaining areas
  • Brick terraces
  • Wood decks
  • Atriums
  • Gazebos
  • Pools
  • Lanai (an open roofed veranda)
  • Attached or detached garden rooms

Planning and Other Important Issues

Adding a patio or outdoor room to a house requires careful thought and planning. The value of proper planning can not be overstated and will determine its overall success.

It doesn't matter if the plot is small or large, or if the whole outdoors topography looks easy to tackle. There is still a need for proper planning at the design stage. A good, well thought out patio design will create a beautiful result that can be enjoyed by the family for many years.

While developing the design concept, the following important issues must be addressed:

  • Seclusion or privacy. Is the outdoor room meant to be totally private? Perhaps a cul-de-sac?
  • Flexibility in use of space. Is the patio design aimed at creating a multi-purpose space?
  • Comfort. It is important to plan a patio that’s comfortable, no matter the theme of the outdoor room.
  • Aesthetics and beauty. It must be pleasing, inviting and generally beautiful, whether the idea is a modern minimalist theme or a vintage theme.
  • Safety in use. It must meet safety requirements, especially with the issues of improper installation of patio canopies, vertical screens, and support beams.

Addressing these issues while planning will go a long way in determining whether the outdoor space will be a success or a failure.

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Successful Patio and Outdoor Room Designs

Based on the above issues, a successful patio design can be achieved, even without spending much time or money. Whatever the choice may be, a patio must add a pleasing architectural shift between the home and the garden.

1) Privacy & Seclusion

As an extension of the living room, a patio must have a sense of privacy and seclusion as much as is possible, almost as much as the indoor rooms do. However, there mustn't be a feeling of being in a confined space.

If for example, the yard (or garden) faces a busy street, the street side can be made private without losing its sense of being spacious.

This can be achieved with the use of vertical screens made from materials such as wood, framed screens with trellis patterns punctuated with evergreen shrubs, decorative bamboo screens or simple and lively screens using beautiful flowering plants and shrubbery.

2) Flexibility

A successful outdoor room design must conform with, and adjust to the family's differing activities. It should be planned to accommodate casual gathering, entertaining, children's games, barbecues, outdoor dinners, reading, lounging, etc..

The best way to achieve patio flexibility is to give its design elements multiple uses, such as barbeque fire pits that double up as central low round tables, outdoor benches that also serve as storage units for gardening equipment, balls, etc., or creating more than one access from the indoors to the patio so that it opens up into more than one indoor rooms.

3) Comfort

Patios planned for use through the different climatic seasons will be found to end up being more comfortable and therefore more used all year round, except maybe during adverse weather conditions.

For instance, sustaining a comfortable room temperature involves using the right design elements like screens and patio overheads, and patios must be built in the right location (relating to the sun and the wind), so as to modify excessive heat during the hot summer months, and strong icy winds during the colder months.

4) Aesthetics & Beauty

When searching for patio design ideas, you will discover that most of them are successful designs because a balance is achieved between their architectural design and other aesthetics on the total outdoor room scheme.

Successful patios are the ones that are a continuation of the indoors to the outdoors, a balanced flow.

The materials used for construction blends well with those used inside the house. Textures and tones are in harmony with plants, patio furniture, and other decorative touches. During the planning stage, attention to its construction and decorative details will contribute immensely to its overall mood and atmosphere.

5) Patio Safety

If not chosen well or installed rightly, some patio construction materials may be unsafe and may encourage accidents. It is advisable to make it a point to learn about the different properties of each material desired to avoid unforeseen hazards.

For example, using slippery and glazed floor paving materials may cause nasty slips and falls when it rains, and constructing a beautiful deck without ample structural support for weight may cause collapsing floorboards with a party of many guests.

Also, deck rails may look architecturally pleasing, but they may not be strengthened well enough to guarantee safety.

DIY Outdoor Garden Rooms

So, when you decide to create your outdoor room, plan for safe but aesthetically pleasing traffic patterns between the house and the exterior room, and through to the garden. Good lighting must be provided along the garden paths and the steps.

But whichever design idea that you eventually choose, allow yourself plenty of time to plan it carefully.

And if you want to save money and avoid having to hire a landscape designer, you can design the space and surrounding garden with a garden and landscape design software program (if you are software savvy) that will make planning and create awesome patio ideas faster, easier and exciting.

They are easy to use, highly versatile, and they allow users experiment and create new ideas at the click of a button.

Before commencing plans to build an outdoor room, you should know the functions you want it to serve. Then examine the landscape and decide on the best spot to place the patio.

After you've determined what will work well, and know what you want, put the ideas down on paper; so to speak.

You will discover that the time taken to plan and map out your leisure space will pay great dividends when it is finally completed.

© 2011 viryabo

Your Views Are Welcome

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    • AllSuretyBonds profile image

      AllSuretyBonds 6 years ago

      Great Hub. The first picture on your Hub is an awesome outdoor room. That would be nice to have!

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 6 years ago

      Hello ASB, thank you for being my first visitor.

      Outdoor rooms can be made as awesome as one feels. It is a comfy looking patio i agree.

      Thanks for leaving nice comments.


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      You are awesome! I see about 5 hubs here posted already for March 31st. WOW and all great writes, as usual.

      I'm way behind, sad to say. BUT...maybe I'll catch up.

      Great job.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 6 years ago

      Hello Denise, how is it going? Good to see you.

      When you mentioned the April hubchallenge i decided to try to get ready and prepare earlier. A good advice i got from one of your great hubs.

      I know you'll get ahead of me in no time. I just hope i can finish this challenge this time.

      Thanks for your encouragement to us, and thank you for the visit.


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