Cosy country patio design guide

One of our Summer Temptation competition finalists posed a patio design dilemma to us – how to turn a bland patio into an inspiring outdoor space that could be utilised throughout the year.

There were a few obstacles, including a dog that is seemingly intent on sabotaging any efforts to establish a patio garden. Fortunately Karina Palmer, interior designer and marketing manager of AMERICAN shutters, has years of experience in creating fabulous spaces! The following design advice has been adapted from the customised design guide created to help turn Karen’s patio into a cosy country-style outdoor space.

The inspiration…

Cosy country patio inspiration

The design challenge …

“I purchased and renovated a very old house,” says Karen, “I needed help with the outside, which I gutted to a bare shell after removing an unsightly, rotting pergola that served absolutely no purpose.”

Karen's patio before photos

The garden beds were bare, so she planted flowerbeds. Unfortunately the flowerbeds also happen to be her Staffie’s favourite sun-tanning spot. Karen planted a lime tree, purple lobelia, roses and herbs in pots around the patio – all of which lend themselves well to a country-style patio we have envisioned.

The design advice…

The following minor building alterations would soften the straight continuous lines of the low garden wall, create more shape to the area and incorporate the pool…

Patio floor plan

  • Build a timber slatted alcove bench on the left-hand side of the steps and decorate with colourful scatter cushions.
  • Widen the stairs leading up to the pool area to make the change in level appear less steep and improve the flow between the patio and pool.
  • Remove low exposed brick wall down the side of the patio and replace with various height tropical plants, planted from the patio towards the boundary wall with lowest in front to create depth and contain the edge of the patio and dining area.
  • Enclose the front of the braai area with low wall, just high enough to contain coals, return the wall at full pit height, 90 degrees to divide braai pit into two areas. Use one side for braaing and other for feeder log fire. Build supporting pins into the brickwork at various levels so you can position the braai grid at different heights and have custom made braai grid manufactured for an exact fit. Incorporate handy fitted slatted timber trays on either side to make outdoor cooking a breeze.
  • Repaint the house wall and garden wall a warmer shade of white, the stark white is very reflective on sunny days and appears too clinical.
  • Renovate the concrete floor and stairs with stained paint effect in either a cool or warm coloured stains to either complement or contrast the freshly painted exterior of your home. You can find useful DIY instructions by clicking here.

Patio furniture and garden

Shade the patio with white umbrellas and illuminate at night with tiki torches, candles or an umbrella chandelier by suspending tea light candles or glass solar jars.

Patio lighting Image credits: Consol Glass, Martha Stewart and Shutterstock

Plant ‘robust’ tropical feature plants around the braai area and do away with tatty garden fencing thus liberating the Staffie! Install latte fence to obscure Wendy house and contain this side of the patio.

Add an untreated oak table and a loose bench and leave to weather naturally. Offset the outdoor dining area against a backdrop of plants enclosed with a random branch fence to protect the garden from the Staffie and create a cosy eating area. Delicate plants could be planted in protected area behind the seating.

Position the potted roses and lime tree to disguise ugly downpipes or replace the two downpipes with ‘rain chains’ on either side of the house. Replace the hosepipe with a spiral hosepipe that recoils for easy and neat storage.

Reposition loose wooden benches at latte fence and use colourful scatter cushions to decorate it. Position a small low table in front of the bench to create an area for drinks and easy braai time chats.

lime green and purple lobelia

Image credits: Shutterstock

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