Patio Designs and Styling Garden Paths
Garden Path and Patio Designs
When designing patios and positioning paths, steps and driveways, it is essential to aim for unity and harmony. The type of walkway or sitting area you choose must suit the house and the garden, and their proportions should be in keeping with the property as a whole.
Designing a garden can be a daunting task, particularly if you are starting from scratch. It is also a time-consuming business which demands patience and persistence. Paths, steps and patios form a kind of skeleton within the garden, and along with boundary walls, buildings and any existing features, are all part of the basic design of any outdoor area. An understanding of the basic principles of design is therefore essential. You will also need to take local weather conditions and the microclimate of your garden into account, not only when planting, but also when choosing the materials for constructing any outdoor features. This does not mean that you have to be a horticulturist or landscape specialist to succeed; with enthusiasm and imagination, a tremendous amount can be achieved.
The first step is to put the basic plan on paper. This will give you a clear idea of how much land you have to work with, how the outdoor space is to be subdivided and where all the elements will be sited. The next phase is to consider the many design details which will enable you to create your outdoor haven.
Decide what effects you would like to create and what materials you should use in which areas. Ask yourself whether you are going to keep to a particular style and whether you want to achieve a particular visual theme.
If there are problem areas (these may include embankments and steep slopes, rocks, marshy spots and so on), it is essential to decide at the outset whether special construction of terraces,, steps and any other features will be necessary.
Although plants are a vital part of the plan, at this stage it is simpler to think purely in terms of colour, size and shape rather than specific species.
When it comes to putting the plan into action, the main question will be what to do first and how to stagger the various stages of the project. There are always countless options, but the best solution is to tackle the job systematically. Just as structural alterations should be tackled before you begin decorating inside your house, any construction work in the garden should ideally be completed before planting gets under way.
You will want to establish a basic framework, but if you cannot afford to lay paths and build patios at this stage, mark the areas where these features will eventually be. Although you may decide to lay lawn or even plant flowers here for the time being, you will not want shrubs or trees to establish themselves where they will have to be removed later on.
Deciding on The Basics
Paths and patios must be designed to suit the purpose they are to serve. It helps to think of the garden as a large outdoor room. Instead of carpeting, tiles and so on, you have a range of surfacing options from grass and gravel to brick paving, stone flagstones and concrete, some of which may also be used indoors. Inside you can introduce colour and texture with fabric and paint; outside, plants, flowers, and the materials chosen to surface your garden ‘floor’ will do this for you. The way you decide to combine these elements will go a long way towards determining the ambience of the garden as a whole. You will need to decide whether you want the effect to be wildly colourful or quietly restful; whether you are going to aim for a cosy private patio which offers solitude, or an open outlook which is not blocked by screens and tall plants or intersected by walkways.
You may have decided to divide the outdoor space into a series of ‘rooms’ linked by paths. These may be quite distinct from one another, and different in design. There may even be various types of path. However, it is still important to aim for harmony and to establish an overall sense of balance and proportion. Remember that even a seemingly chaotic, wild garden, with rough gravel paths and informal seating areas, often needs to be carefully planned and laid out.