Make Your Patio a Perfect Retreat

Enjoy a relaxing, stylish patio with these tips.

Create Privacy

Create your own private sanctuary by planting hedges and using fences or walls.

-- Create a curved pathway leading to your patio so you only get a glimpse of it from the yard.

-- Use bright colors, such as orange, red, and yellow, to draw attention to flowers instead of your patio.

-- Plant a tree near your patio so you can relax under the tree's leafy canopy.

Use Fun Shapes

Add interest, even if all you have are plain concrete pavers, by playing with geometric shapes.

-- A mixture of paver shapes and sizes in an irregular layout adds drama.

-- The gateway effect created by two wide pillars makes the patio feel larger by creating distinct spaces.

-- Placing furniture on the lawn integrates the lawn into the patio area -- creating a more spacious feel.

Select a Style

Create a high-end modern feel by ultizing contemporary style.

-- Stair-stepped planters hold architectural grasses.

-- A water feature echoes the planters' shapes, repeating the theme.

-- A gravel patio helps break up the white-painted concrete blocks.

Embrace the Cottage Style

Cottage gardens have classic appeal; create the look by using old materials and soft, romantic plants.

-- A retaining wall made from old landscape timbers gives the space an intimate feel.

-- Hydrangeas and violas are perfect plants for partly shaded cottage gardens.

-- The weathered bench offers a comfortable place to sit and rest.

Create a View

Add elegance and sophistication to your patio by giving your guests -- and yourself -- a stunning focal point.

-- A well-designed formal garden creates a perfect backdrop.

-- A fountain creates pleasant background sounds.

-- Surround the patio with fragrant flowers, such as roses, for even more sensory appeal.

-- A small tree, such as the dogwood here, adds shade and extra interest.

Add Creature Features

Make your patio your favorite place to get away by including features that fit your lifestyle.

-- An outdoor hot tub is a perfect way to relax after a long day.

-- Nothing says inviting like sitting around a fire pit with good stories and s'mores.

-- A soft outdoor rug allows you to kick off your shoes.

Create a Classic Feel

Give your yard an old-world feel with materials such as flagstone and whitewashed lattice, which have timeless appeal.

-- A simple pergola embraces the patio, offering privacy and protection.

-- Adirondack furniture goes with just about everything -- and is comfortable to boot.

-- The latticework that wraps around the patio creates privacy but allows summer breezes, which keeps the patio from getting too hot.

Go with Lush Plantings

Create a botanical-garden experience without acres of space and complicated plantings by concentrating your favorite flowers around the edges of your patio.

-- Lush plantings give it a middle-of-the-garden feel.

-- A vine-covered pergola adds protection from the weather.

-- Simple flagstones add an irregular edge and blend the patio into the yard.

Make it Accessible

Ensure you use your patio by placing it where you can get to it easily.

-- This patio is extra convenient as it's sited just off the home's front porch.

-- A mix of materials, including river rock, square pavers, and gravel, create extra interest.

-- A wall of ornamental grasses blocks the view of the house, making the patio feel more secluded.

Coordinate Your Colors

Give your patio a well-thought-out look by coordinating the colors of your accessories with your plantings.

-- A bright patio umbrella picks up the colors of the impatiens planted around it.

-- A golden-toned bistro set pulls out the yellow tones of the stone and planters.

-- Purple coleus in the background helps the colors pop out.

Use Layers

Make your patio feel extra private by incorporating several view-blocking techniques.

-- A simple canopy shades the patio furniture.

-- A virtual wall of planters at the back of the patio creates a soothing edge.

-- A stucco wall around the patio makes it feel even more enclosed and intimate.

Add Artistry

Create a one-of-a-kind look by incorporating artistic elements into your patio

-- A beautiful wrought-iron gate welcomes you into the patio.

-- Mosaic tilework on the fountain makes it a great focal point.

-- Evergreen hedges and stone walls surround the patio, block distractions, and create privacy.

Make Your Patio an Extension of Your Home

Create an ultra-comfortable space by adding the same comforts you enjoy in your living room.

-- Outdoor furniture with plush cushions provides a great place to relax.

-- A vine-covered pergola casts shade and provides protection from rain.

-- A stylish lantern suspended from the pergola adds extra light at night.

Keep it Simple

Make your patio a private sanctuary where you can relax in peace by employing simple design elements.

-- Bamboo panels are an inexpensive way to create privacy.

-- Natural materials, including gravel and stone, lend a peaceful feel.

-- Combining materials, from mondo grass as a groundcover to the gravel and stones, creates interest.

Make it Cozy

Enjoy serenity even if your patio is in your front yard by reducing street noise.

-- A fountain creates pleasant background sounds.

-- The fountain's bold design takes attention away from the seating area.

-- A low boxwood hedge encloses the patio, creating intimacy without blocking the front of the house.

-- Two stairs create visual relief and deal with a slight slope.

Personalize it

Highlight your personality -- and artistic style -- by painting a design on the floor of your patio.

-- Bright colors and fun patterns are a great way to enliven a concrete patio.

-- Want more color? Paint your patio furniture, too.

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