THERE IS NOTHING BETTER than being able to relax on the perfect patio furniture with a nice cup of coffee first thing in the morning. The sun is shining, there's a beautiful cool breeze blowing, and the world is just starting to wake up.
Sounds good so far, right? But, how do you know if you are buying the right patio furniture? Do you just go by looks, comfort, materials, expected life expectancy? Since choosing the right patio furniture is just as important as choosing the materials you built your deck from, to a certain degree, all of these should and will play a part in your final decision.
To make things a little easier for you in your search for the right patio furniture to turn that empty deck and patio from an empty and hostile spot into a warm, comfortable place to enjoy a family meal in the late evening as it cools down.
When buying patio furniture, your choice of materials sets the look of your entire patio. While you are shopping for furniture, you need to not only look for furniture that is pleasing to the eye but is also comfortable. Who wants to have patio furniture that looks amazing but is about as comfortable as sitting on a brick?
Those who love the natural look tend to be more interested in wood furniture. If you are going to invest in wood patio furniture, look for furniture that is made from center-cut hardwood that has a consistent grain. Also look for furniture that uses stainless-steel or zinc-plated. Not only will this help reduce corrosion, but with a simple wrench, you can keep your furniture nice and tight. So, all of this being said, let's look at the four most popular types of wood used to make outdoor furniture.
Both cedar and pressure-treated pine are very popular and perfect if you plan to hang on to your patio furniture for any number of years. If you are trying to work on a tight budget, I recommend you go for the pressure treated pine as it is typically significantly less than cedar. However, both of these woods age similarly, turning silver or gray. You can preserve their color by sealing the wood annually.
Teak is an expensive tropical wood that is typically quite expensive. However, if you want wood outdoor patio furniture that is going to last, teak is the way to go. Even under the harshest of weather conditions, you can expect to get 50 years out of furniture made from teak. You can let it age naturally or use teak oil twice a year to keep its natural beauty and preserve it for a longer life (Your grandkids could inherit your patio furniture).
For the most part, natural wood patio furniture is made from tree branches that have been rough-cut. This type of furniture has a couple of major drawbacks. The first is the being made from branches instead of the trunk, this furniture tends to be very flimsy in nature, with a very short lifespan. The second is that it doesn't do very well under harsh weather conditions. While you can seal using something like Thompson's® Water Seal, doing this can cause it to lose its natural rustic charm. If you just “have to have” this furniture, it is best kept in a sun room or under the roof of a covered porch.
Jarrah is native to Australia is another sturdy wood, similar in strength and durability teak. It has a very similar reddish color that makes it ideal for your patio. Like teak, there are specific treatments available to help it retain its natural color.
Metal patio furniture offers a sturdy look that so many people love. Metal furniture made from aluminum, cast iron or steel (if you want a retro-painted look) can provide you with versatility, comfort, and of course durability.
Aluminum patio furniture comes in two different forms:
Extruded aluminum furniture is ideal for those who like strap or sling strips. Being made from aluminum, this furniture is quite light and easy to stack. The webbing or slings come in a very diverse range of colors to help you create the porch of your dreams. Prices range from relatively inexpensive in your local department stores to quite expensive in some specialty stores. Aluminum does not corrode over time, but you may have to replace the strapping or sling after a few years
Image courtesy FamilyLiesure
If you are in the market for something a little less flimsy than extruded aluminum, but without the weight of cast iron, this is the way to go. With cast aluminum patio furniture, you can enjoy all of the ornate décor you might find with cast iron, but in a material that will not rust or corrode. You can expect to pay more for this type of aluminum furniture, but you might find the extra cost well-worth it.
The looks of today's cast iron can be traced all the way back to the Victorian era with every swirl and twist. The heavy weight of cast iron is ideal for those who live in windy areas (cast iron is pretty hard to carry let alone be blown around by the wind. The more complex the design, the more elegant it might look on your patio or deck. The drawbacks, it is heavy and hard to move around, and it can be very hard to sit on, so cushions are almost a must. Typical colors are black, white, or green. You will need an anti-rust oil treatment to keep it from rusting.
If you are trying to give your patio that bygone era look, then retro-metal may be just what you are looking for. Some brands come with beautiful artwork on the backs of the chairs, others come in a wide array of corrosion proof colors. However, you should plan to add some form of colorful padding or cushioning to make the seats more comfortable and to make sure you don't scorch your bum during the hot summer days.
Wicker has long been one of the most popular forms of patio furniture. It comes in two styles, natural wicker and “all-weather.” While they look very similar to each other, they differ significantly in lifespan and the amount of maintenance needed to keep it in good shape. All-weather furniture requires little more than a good wash down with a hose from time to time. Whereas natural wicker must be cleaned properly and then treated with the proper wicker oils to keep it from molding or dry rotting.
Traditional wicker furniture can be made with Rattan vines, bamboo, or cane. Because wicker is a natural material, it is best suited for use under cover porches or patios. You should avoid using natural wicker furniture when it is wet as this can cause the individual strands to stretch. If the wicker is painted, you can keep it looking good by simply adding a fresh coat of paint as needed.
This type of furniture is made from synthetic fibers that are twisted into sheets of wicker mounted on steel or aluminum frames. While it will fade over time, synthetic wicker will last for many years, even in harsh summer weather (you should store it out of the snow and ice). You can buy all-weather wicker furniture in an incredible array of styles and colors to match your décor and tastes.
Plastic/resin furniture has a few things going for it such as it's inexpensive with lots of styles and colors to choose from. But, like most other types of outdoor patio furniture, it's not without its own set of drawbacks. Most designs are very simplistic to keep the cost down, everything looks like a clone. The pieces are very lightweight and generally do not hold up well in harsh weather conditions.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of the different materials used to make outdoor patio furniture and their good and bad points, let's take a look at what you should be doing before you spend a dime on your first piece.
How you plan to use your furniture can make a huge difference in what you buy. For example, if you plan to lounge around in the shade on a hot summer day, a chaise lounge might be worth looking into. Do you plan to add a fire pit for family gatherings, a set of comfy chairs and maybe a love seat might be a better choice? Think very carefully about your projected use and then move on to the next step in the buying process.
Color should be the next thing you think about as you are the only one who truly knows what you have in mind regarding the final result you are trying to achieve. Basic white, natural wood, black, you name it and you can find it out there somewhere.
Spend some time looking online and in brick and mortar stores looking at the different types and styles out there. Sit in as many of them as you can. Heck, take pictures of the ones you like the most and take them home with you. Hold them in front of you and place the picture in the right spot. It's a good way to get a rough idea of how each type of furniture would look.
While you might feel the need to “insta-buy”, this is never the way to buy anything. It has never been more important than when you are buying furniture for your patio. Look for similar items on sale or at lower prices. Take your time and make sure you are getting the best possible deal on your new patio furniture. While you may pay more for quality furniture, you will find the investment more than pays for itself.
It can't be said enough that you need to take your time deciding on the type of patio furniture is going to be the best possible choice for your patio and your family. Keep in mind that you will be using the same furniture for many years to come. It pays to do your homework and make the right decision. I hope that the information I have put together here for you helps you find the right furniture for your patio and that you and your family enjoy many lovely evenings together.
ADDING A PATIO TO YOUR yard is a great way to make use of what might otherwise be a section of your lawn. Having a patio gives you a place to relax in the sun, enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or a chilled glass of wine in the evening. But, just knowing you want a patio is only the beginning. Do you know what size patio you want, what you want to be able to do on your patio, how to build it, or what amenities you want on your patio?
It took me a while to determine how I wanted to build my patio. In the end I settled for a large brick patio with a roof. The roof keeps the sun and rain out. It also protects my outdoor kitchen that can feed my family and friends on the weekends. To help you with your outdoor kitchen ideas, here are some examples of what others have done.
Just because you have a small patio to work with, doesn’t mean you can't make the most of the space you have. Consider adding furniture and a fire pit to give you somewhere to spend evenings year-round. Maybe add a pergola to keep the rain or sun at bay. If you live in an area where it gets cold in the winter, you can always add a patio heater along with the fire pit to keep everyone comfortable.
Adding a patio cover is a great way to make your patio usable year-round in sun, rain, snow, and more. There are several options including a pergola, which you can build from scratch yourself, buy in a kit form, or buy ready built and install yourself. In recent years the use of retractable awnings as porch coverings. These can be great as you only extend the patio roof when you need it, the rest of the time it can sit retracted against the wall
Brick is one of the most popular materials to be used in building a patio. Not only does brick look amazing, it can be arranged in a wide range of patterns and better yet, bricks come in an incredible variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. While it might take you more time to build a top-quality brick patio, the resulting patio will last for many years and can look nothing less than magnificent when they are done. Consider using different colored bricks to create a mandala-like pattern or perhaps even an outdoor game-board the whole family can enjoy.
Just because you are working on a tight budget, doesn’t mean you can't still have a nice patio in your backyard. There are several ways you can keep costs under control and still end up with a lovely patio for your family. For example, with a little looking around, you might be amazed at how many places near you sell used construction materials such as bricks, pavers, lumber, railroad ties, and more. These are a great way to save money on your patio project. Alternatively, you might consider purchasing resin boards instead of lumber. Not only do they often cost less, but they require virtually no maintenance and will last for many years.
One of the wonderful things about today's concrete is that it comes in an incredible array of colors. Why not choose a color that complements the outside of your home? Many experienced concrete specialists can create different patterns in the concrete and make your patio look like it has been tiled, has a wood grain-like finish, or create unique patterns to your specs. This is your chance to create a long-lasting patio that will stay looking good for many years to come.
While it is always nice to spend time out in the sun, your patio needs to be your shady oasis from the sun. There are a number of ways you can do this, including both temporary and permanent methods. For example, if you are looking for temporary shade, why not add a table with an umbrella or perhaps a free-standing umbrella. If you are more interested in creating permanent shade, you could build a roof over your porch or perhaps a pergola with or without a roof. Each of these ideas offers you a good way to add shade to your porch.
There are many ways to put a lid on your patio based on where it is located, how big it is, and of course where you live. For example, if you live in Florida, your patio cover needs to be able to block the sun and rain, but it doesn't need to hold the weight of snow. Conversely, if you live in Montana, your patio cover better be strong enough to handle several inches of snow. The same applies to the materials you choose, corrugated fiberglass might work well in Florida, but unless you build a very strong framework under it, most likely would not survive a single winter in Montana.
If your porch is only usable during the daylight hours, you are missing. There are so many different ways you can add lights to your porch to choose from. Why not add string lights to your porch, they add plenty of light and atmosphere and come in a virtually endless range of colors. No power to your porch, why not try a string of candle-powered lanterns instead. Or perhaps battery-powered LED lanterns. You can use landscape lighting like those lining your driveway, or spotlights to showcase your hard work, the possibilities are endless.
You might be amazed what you can do with your patio with the right furniture. You can literally turn your patio into an outdoor living room, bedroom, play area, bar, or kitchen with the right furniture and accessories. Wicker and resin wicker are among the most popular types of furniture for outdoor use. Wood furniture is also very popular, in particular, Shaker style furniture. You can add a few throw pillows and potted plants, even add an outdoor rug to define your porch space while adding in a few creature comforts.
No matter where you live in the U.S. evenings can become chilly or cold, leaving you with a patio that can only be used during daylight hours and spends evenings empty. That is unless you add some form of heat to your patio. Patio heaters come in a wide range of styles, sizes, and forms of fuel. They can be freestanding, wall mounted, or site built. Porch heaters can be powered by electricity, propane, kerosene, natural gas, coal, or wood. Adding heat to your porch can turn it into a year-round place to spend quality family time or plan a few parties.
The most important thing about concrete pavers is that they come in an almost unlimited range of colors, shapes, and sizes. You can use them to create an incredible range of patterns and designs ranging from simple geometric patterns to adding bands of color to accentuate the rest of the pattern. Why not use strips of grass to add even more color to your patio? The best thing about pavers is you can choose the colors that best accentuate your home and the area you live in or go all out and create your own psychedelic mandala pattern.
Only you can truly know why you decided to build a patio in your backyard. There are so many different approaches you can take in the construction of your patio or work with the one you have. Maybe building yourself a secret garden, making it a formal outdoor space for hosting dinners and parties, or perhaps create a rustic chic space for your family to relax. To help decide what you want your patio to look like, you first need to know how you plan to use it, then start looking at furniture and accessories to fit in with this plan.
Just because your patio is outside, doesn't mean it should be nothing more than a flat concrete slab. Instead, it should be a place where you and your family can spend time together. One of the most popular outdoor patio ideas is to create an outdoor living room complete with a loveseat, two chairs, and a firepit. In fact, firepits have become one of the most popular patio accessories in the country. An outdoor patio is also the perfect place to build an outdoor kitchen that can be used for family events or staging a party for your friends.
Without adding your own personal decorating touches, your porch is little more than a flat slab that no one really wants to use. But, if you add potted plants, a little furniture, and perhaps a few lights, you turn it into a completely different world. Rather than running out to your local furniture store, why not get creative and make use of unusual items to decorate your porch, make tables out of wood barrels cut in half with a sheet of glass for the top. There are plenty of outdoor rugs you can use, an incredible array of outdoor furniture to choose from, rain barrels, hammocks, flowers, plants, and more. Why not go crazy and let the interior decorator in you go wild.
Okay, so Florida is not the only state where people have enclosed patios. In fact, having an enclosed patio is a lot like having an extra room in your home. You can furnish it like a living room, a den, or even a study. I have a few friends who use their enclosed porches as bedrooms during the summer. Add a ceiling fan or two to help keep things cooled down in the summer. A wood stove can help in the winter. Carpet adds a nice touch as does plenty of comfortable furniture.
A patio does not have to be flat on the ground, in fact, there is no reason why you can't treat your deck just like a patio. I started out with a deck and turned it into an outdoor porch paradise over the course of a couple of summers. I started with a resin “lumber” deck that was pretty boring, added some raised garden beds, a firepit, and a center raised garden with several perennials in it. My next project is to build a roof over it and add an outdoor kitchen.
Having a porch out in your backyard can be seen as the start of something good. It gives you a special place to turn into an outdoor recreation space for your entire family to enjoy. The number of things you can do with this space is virtually endless limited only by your imagination… And your financial resources. My personal suggestion is to start with what you think your patio will be used for. Then draw up a few plans to work with.
I hope you have learned something about making your patio into something amazing.
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A patio can be the perfect place to entertain or relax on a nice day
SUMMER TIME MEANS PLENTY of warm sunshine, barbecues, and being able to sit outside in the evening at the end of the day to enjoy a cool drink and good company. But, without a deck or patio for your grill, a few chairs, and maybe a table, where is everyone going to sit? Here I am going to cover how to build a patio for your yard you and your family can enjoy for many years to come.
The first step is the planning stage. Not only do you need to decide how big you want your new patio to be, but you need to decide what materials you will be using for the final top layer.
Size: When I was trying to determine the size of my backyard patio, I factored in room for several chairs, a chaise lounge or two, a small table, and a fire pit. Always allow for more room than you think you might need to ensure you have room for extra guests when the time comes.
Materials: There are a few great materials to choose from, including bricks, pavers, and natural rock. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages based on looks, durability, and how much work you are willing to put into building your new patio. You should also consider how you plan to use your patio and whether you plan to use it all year round.
Now that you have an idea of what type of patio (size, materials) you want to build, the next step is choosing the best location for it. There are several things you should consider as you look for the perfect spot in your back yard to build.
Unless you live in an area where the sun never shines or you have zero shade trees in your yard, try to pick an area that gets shade for at least part of the day. If you don't have anywhere in your yard that gets shade, consider planting a few shade trees, shrubs, and plants to help out.
The last thing you want is a patio that spends a large part of the time sitting in standing water every time it rains. Be sure to pick a spot in your yard that drains well to ensure your patio remains high and dry.
A small amount of slope, say around 1/4 inch per foot is just fine, it will help the water to run off and away from your patio. If the area has more slope than this, you may need to grade the soil or build some form of retaining wall that will let you set the appropriate slope.
Start by looking at any trees and their root structure in the area you plan to use, avoid building directly under the trees. Be sure to contact your local utility companies by dialing 811 before you start digging. Most will send a surveyor out to mark water lines, gas line, underground power lines and anything else you might damage by digging at no cost.
Most of the materials used to make a patio are very heavy by nature. You need to have a delivery route planned that will reduce the amount of manual labor needed to get them to the job site. The sand and gravel you need for the base will typically arrive in dump trucks that may be too heavy for your driveway or yard. If you are building a large patio, you may want to ask the supplier to deliver the materials in a smaller truck or palletized with a skid loader to help get them where you need them. This will be much better than having to haul everything one wheelbarrow load at a time.
Now that you know where you are going to build your patio and how big it is going to be, it's time to create a working plan. Trace out the area you plan to use for your patio, including any trees, shrubs, buildings, walkways, and gardens.
Then experiment by drawing in different sizes and shapes until you are happy with your design. Doing this will not only help to ensure you are happy with the final shape and size, but it will also let you experiment with different pavers and bricks to see which one will work best. It will also let you try out different patterns.
Just like your house and garden shed, your new patio needs a good solid foundation. Remember while the only thing you see is the final layer of pavers or bricks, it's what's hiding underneath, i.e. landscaping fabric, sand, and gravel, that is responsible for making it stable and holding it all together. If the place you are buying your pavers, bricks, or stones does not carry gravel or sand, you can find several suppliers in your local Yellow Pages.
Landscaping fabric performs two vital functions in the construction of your patio. The first is to help stabilize the layer of soil below the gravel by allowing water to drain through. Use the widest fabric you can find. Secondly, it helps to keep weeds from growing up through the gravel and sand before finding their way through your pavers.
Gravel forms the semi-solid base for your patio. It helps to ensure that any water buildup can flow into the ground rather than building up. Depending on the type of soil you have in your backyard, you may need anywhere from 4 to 10 inches of pea gravel.
Sandy soils tend to need less gravel than soils loaded with clay or organic matter. Gravel is typically sold be the cubic yard or ton. One cubic yard of gravel will provide you with a 6-inch layer that covers 50 square feet once it has been compacted. One cubic yard of gravel typically weighs in at around 1.5 tons.
You will need a layer of "coarse washed sand" to cover the gravel to a depth of approximately 1 inch. This layer of sand is used to create a "setting bed" for the pavers, bricks, or stones you plan to use for the surface layer. You can also use the sand to fill in any gaps between them and provide a smooth final surface.
Putting in a new patio takes a lot of effort and a relatively long list of tools to get the job done right. Here is a list of the tools you should have on hand:
As with any major project in your garden or yard, there is always going to be a list of supplies needed to get the job done. Here are the basics for you:
Now for the fun part, it's time to mark out your new patio's dimensions on the lawn and start digging. There are a couple of ways you can go about doing this, use spray paint to mark the borders, use a series of stakes and string, or even an extra-long garden hose or two. The nice part about using any of these to mark the border of your patio is that they can be used to create virtually any shape.
You should also use a length of string running from end to end in the middle running down the slope you need for the water to drain. Remember, you will need a drop of 1 inch for every ten feet in length if you want the water to drain properly.
Now for the real fun, you need to dig a hole in the shape of your new patio that is about 10 inches deep to make room for the landscaping fabric, gravel, and sand, while leaving enough room for the final layer of bricks, stones, or pavers to sit just above the ground when set.
One last thought here, you are going to be digging out a heck of a lot of dirt and need to have somewhere to dump it sorted out before you begin. Not sure what to do with it? Why not create a raised garden or fill a few planters instead of paying someone to haul it away?
The foundation of your new patio starts with tamping the soil down to form a smooth solid base. The best way to do this is to rent a gas-powered tamper. Not only will this make the job go faster, but it does a better job and you will find it easier to keep the necessary drainage slope.
Next, comes laying the landscaping fabric down to cover the entire "floor" area. If you need to use more than one piece, be sure to overlap by at least 6 inches to avoid bleed through.
Add your edging at this point, making sure that the top of the edging will sit just below the top of the final layer of your patio. Use aluminum edging if possible so that your string trimmer does not destroy it the first time you edge the lawn
Next, pour in the gravel and level it with a rake to create a smooth surface that continues to maintain the drainage slope. I recommend using pea gravel as it is big enough to allow for water drainage but small enough to be raked smooth. The layer of gravel should be approximately six inches deep.
On top of this goes a layer of sand that will be thick enough to ensure the bricks, stones, or pavers you plan to use sit about 3/8th of an inch above the edging. This way when you run the tamper over the final layer it will sink down to where it will be flush with the edging.
The final step in learning how to build a patio involves laying the bricks, stones, or pavers you intend to be the finished patio. There are several ways to mark out the pattern you plan to use, the most common of which involves using a number of stakes and a chalk line like you would use to mark sheetrock. The idea is to lay out the lines to match the pattern you drew out in your original paper plan. This could be a brick herringbone, paver checkerboard, or unique stone pattern. There are dozens of patterns to choose from online.
You should have saved some sand aside for the final step. Start by using your rented tamper to bricks, etc. into place. Warning, (as I found out the hard way) if you are working with bricks or pavers that are less than 2 inches thick, DO NOT tamp them as they will crack and break!!!
The next phase involves spreading the sand over the top of the final layer and using a push broom to force it into the cracks. This will help to lock the surface of your new patio in place and help keep weeds from growing in the cracks.
Finally, add any shrubs, planters, trees, or flowers around your patio, set out the chairs, light a fire in the fire pit and relax with a well-earned cold one. You certainly deserve it and your family will enjoy the fruits of your labors for many years to come.
Once your patio is finished it's time to deck it out with furniture. To get the most out of it in all weather you might want to consider investing in a patio heater. These are great for giving you back your outdoor space when the weather cools down.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about how to build a patio as much as I have enjoyed putting this information together for you. Remember it takes time, planning, and hard work to build a patio that will last for many years to come, but once you and your family can sit out and relax on it, it will all be worthwhile.
I hope you have learned something about how to build a patio
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