PUBLISHED: 14:36 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:48 20 February 2013

Give your outdoors some care and attention

Give your outdoors some care and attention

Patios are great for entertaining, relaxing or dining al fresco. Sam Gray offers advice on how to re-style a tired space or create one from scratch

OUR gardens are quickly becoming outdoor living/ dining rooms for part of the year. Patios ignored over the winter become shabby and weathered, in urgent need of re-styling. For those who do not have patios, now could be he time to introduce one to your garden, especially if you haven't the time or inclination for landscape gardening.

When planning a new patio, the size must suit its future use. For instance, if there are only two of you most of the time, an enormous space will be ridiculous, however those who love to entertain should create a larger area. It is a good idea to lay material on the ground for a visual representation before work starts. Patio shape should be informal with rounded corners to complement the asymmetry of most homes and create a natural blend into the rest of the garden. Materials are obviously important. Brick is durable and available in different colours, and other favourites include wooden decking and flagstone.

Lighting looks fantastic on patios and decking. Scattered candles, torches or lanterns are chic, but for a more unique look hang tea lights in glass jars from garden trees or drape fairy lights around large potted plants. Statues can make interesting focal points on patios, particularly when entertaining.

If you want your outdoor living space to have an exotic character, why not opt for tropical large-leafed plants in terracotta ornate pots, cabana drapes, a ceiling fan, and an outdoor fireplace to create an authentic Mexican style.

Article taken from July issue of Hertfordshire Life

Latest from the Hertfordshire Life