It’s easy to picture yourself enjoying a new patio. A comfortable chair, a cold beverage, maybe a few friends to share in the fun. But one key detail remains: What shape should it be? The experts at Neave Landscaping hear that question a lot. After decades of designing custom patios in all shapes and sizes, we have a few backyard patio design ideas for you.
Great backyard patio designs should complement the architecture and period of your home. For modern homes, crisp, uncluttered patio designs are a perfect fit. A more casual cottage might call for patio design plans more curvy and casual in nature. The beauty of a custom-designed patio is the opportunity for your home’s architecture and period to ripple through to the outdoors seamlessly.
Listen To The Landscape
The landscape can inspire your patio shape, too. Maybe you have trees near your house that you want to keep, so the patio needs to take shape around them.
Steep slopes? A multi-level patio might be in order. An elevation change might suggest a certain curve or a wall that ebbs and flows. You want your patio to move with the landscape.
In the end, you want your patio to create a welcoming atmosphere that blends with the architecture of your home and the natural landscape.
That said, here’s a look at some backyard patio design ideas to consider, and why they may or may not work for you:
Don’t Dismiss The Humble Square
Before you yawn and dismissively wave off the idea of a simple square patio, consider it could be the perfect shape for you. It’s simple, and easy to set up.
Of all the backyard patio design plans, squares and rectangles are the most common. They might not be the most creative, but it’s often the most practical and cost effective. Rectangular shapes tend to make more efficient use of space. Square patios, with their straight edges and 90-degree angles, fit well into formal and contemporary style gardens.
A basic square patio that measures 20 feet by 20 feet easily accommodates a dining set, offering plenty of room for people to circulate around it. A square this size offers enough space to scoot your dining chair back and not slip off the patio. It allows room for some large pottery, maybe a small bistro or bar top table.
If you choose a large square or rectangular patio, you can designate different areas by changing the paving material. Another plus: pavers and bricks can easily be laid in a square pattern.
The Pros And Cons Of Circles
Round patios offer a softer look than a square or rectangle and can highlight a focal point in the center — a fountain or fire pit. Rounded patios can blend naturally into the surrounding landscape because they don’t have hard edges or sharp angles.
But some patio designers aren’t crazy about round patios. While a square, rectangle or organic shape can lead the eye to other spaces, a circle is more of a “dead shape” that doesn’t lead the eye anywhere.
Go With The Flow: Organic Backyard Patio Designs
A patio in an organic shape — often called free-form — offers a host of options. Less predictable than a square, rectangle or circle, some organic patios boast broad, sweeping curves, while others are characterized by unique angles and shape changes.
An organic patio is asymmetrical, so it’s often a good choice for informal gardens.
The downside: organic shapes can be less efficient. The curves tend to eat up more space. You might need 50 more square feet of pavers to give it the richness it needs. So a free-flowing organic shape might not be practical if you have a small space or landscape limitations.
But if designed with skill, they can be stunning. Free-form patios offer a sense of playfulness you don’t get in a square. They lend energy to the landscape.
Designing organic shapes takes a lot of skill. Resist the urge to grab a napkin and start scribbling. While a curvy organic shape might not seem to follow any rules, it’s actually trickier to pull off. You’ll want a professional designer behind your plan.
Consider More Than One Shape
You don’t have to limit your patio to one shape. Landscape designers agree the best way to create a unique and functional backyard patio is to design the patio in separate areas. Go beyond one expanse at the back of the house and create outdoor rooms with several smaller or separated areas. Connect them with walkways to create destinations.
Ponder Your Patio’s Purpose
Think about how you’ll use the space. Is it just for family, or will you regularly entertain 25 or 30 people?
Will you need an outdoor barbecue? An entire outdoor kitchen? Pondering a pergola? And what about seating? Think about its use first, and that might inspire the shape.
Let Neave In On Your Backyard Patio Design Plans
The experienced designers at Neave Landscaping can help make your dream patio a reality. At Neave, we take a hands-on approach when it comes to design. After scheduling an appointment, a Neave Group consultant will visit your home to become more familiar with your property and its surroundings during a landscape assessment.
This helps us get an idea of the specific requirements for your property. Our trained experts consider topography, climate and site drainage as well as how you plan to use and enjoy your new patio.
Give Us A Call
If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.