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A few key decisions transform a large space into a series of intimate outdoor rooms.
- A single flooring material keeps the patio -- which contains three separate spaces -- from feeling frantic.
- Built-in and freestanding furniture can be used in tandem to delineate spaces. Here, a bench orients guests around a built-in fire pit.
- If style and temperament demand, a few touches can add a welcome touch of whimsy, as the little spots of grass around the fire pit demonstrate.
- On a patio, directing the view is important. Here, the bench urges guests to look outward to the rest of the yard.
- In place of plain block or concrete, a subtle tile mosaic weaves through the built-in bench.
A fireplace serves as a patio's focal point.
- A subtle pattern shift provides contrast in the patio¿s floor.
- The fireplace's surround extends into a built-in bench, offering even more seating.
- A poured concrete border extends to offer a back for the built-in bench.
- If a patio backs up to a yard's border, include enough space to plant a border of tall-growing yet dense trees or shrubs.
- While there's patterning underfoot, a variety of pillows in both neutral and bold tones dress up the chairs and benches.
A few chairs and a fire are all that's needed in this streamlined outdoor space.
- While most patios function just fine without cover overhead, this one relies on a translucent glass-and-wood structure to provide protection from the elements.
- If your color scheme is mostly neutral, apply subtle patterning with varied sizes of bricks and pavers to spice it up.
- A patio can be a simple paved space, or it can include amenities to extend its use and enjoyment. Here, a site close to the house enables easy extension of gas lines for a fireplace.
- A lushly planted landscape adjoins the paved section of patio, creating a soft transition to the yard beyond.
- All those extras that are beloved inside can be used in an outside space, too. Even a simple shelf above the fireplace allows for display of treasured mementos.
A sequestered patio supplies a spot for seats.
- A seemingly random pattern and color in the geometric pavers offers visual variety.
- Different containers can complement or contrast other hardscape elements. Here, the gray speckled pattern blends seamlessly with the surface underfoot.
- Furnishings can be fancy and built-in, or simple -- a scrap piece of granite on a wood base, for example.
- Backing-up to a densely planted selection of garden gives the patio and seating arrangement a secluded setting.
- To maximize the informal style of a patio, include a bit of space between the pavers and add gravel.
Subtle shifts in furniture and plant materials break up a broad patio.
- Pavers are omitted from narrow sections of the space, providing an unusual way to include planted material in a patio.
- Leaving out mulch, gravel, or sand in the breaks between pavers helps maintain formal style.
- Narrow, upright trees gently shield various patio spaces -- dining, relaxing, conversation -- from each other.
- Rely on subtle shifts in furniture color or material to break up an expanse of patio.
- While each furniture setting is slightly different, they maintain the same clean lines to better reinforce the contemporary style of the patio.
Casual and graceful combine for an intimate gathering spot.
- Close-cropped shrubs offer a classic border.
- Pergolas can be used to shield unpaved or paved areas; here, the wooden structure screens the patio.
- Slim wood edging offers a distinct border for sporadically placed pavers.
- While the hedge furnishes a more formal statement, other elements in the patio, such as the oyster shells between the pavers, create a casual air.
- Careful site selection can allow a patio such as this one to be sheltered by both trees and a fence.
Pretty pavers and hidden outdoor extras create a pleasant outdoor space.
- Informal and formal seating areas maximize the flexibility (and usability) of a patio. Here, a raised bed border can stand in for extra seating during large gatherings.
- A few columnar trees offer strategic shade for the chairs and couch below.
- Fences define borders in a yard, but when used as a design element in a patio, they can offer welcome privacy.
- Uniform plantings, such as this hedge of hydrangeas, reduce visual clutter.
- An in-ground fire pit nestles unobtrusively under the coffee table.
Plants and shrubs soften this patio's rigorous design sensibility.
- Although the edges are geometric and regular, the pattern of flowerbeds moves subtly in and out of the paved patio spaces.
- A mix of shrubs and flowers offers a medley of foliage and blooms.
- Shrubs and a single gate define a more secluded section of a patio space.
- A small fountain -- a miniature focal point -- faces the entry trellis.
- Straight lines rule this patio layout -- everything from the trim pattern of the shrubs to the angles of the entry trellis follow the style rule.
A visually arresting motif forms the floor of this patio.
- Whimsy meets practicality in this playful pattern that mixes squares of grass with pavers.
- A fireplace offers a focal point and a backdrop to the patio.
- A patio can also naturally extend into a grassy space; definition of edges comes thanks to stone edging and columns.
- A wall of stacked stones offers a spot for a collection of colorful containers.
- Movable chairs and a bench, which picks up on the material choices in the patios fireplace and edging offer several seating spots.
A happy-go-lucky assembly of plants adds pretty appeal to this patio.
- Carefree flowers and foliage bolster the casual appeal of this patio/garden space.
- Perennials dress up the thriving flowerbeds, while cheery annuals such as hardy geraniums offer pops of bright color.
- Placed around a patio, additional elements, such as this trellis adorned with hanging baskets, create a focal point.
- Pavers turned on edge designate the patio from flowerbeds.
- Dress up the simplest of paving materials, such as these rectangular pavers, with a pattern like this herringbone version.