When you think “patio,” what comes to mind? Is it a gathering space? A place where you’re hosting friends and family? Are you doing some outdoor cooking, having a cold drink, and catching up with friends while kids play in the yard? Or are you picturing a quieter, more reflective space with carefully curated plants and flowers and bubbling water features that help center your mind and feed the nurturing aspects of your personality? Or do you see something entirely different? 

Just take a look at the definition of patio, which bluntly describes them as “an outdoor space generally used for dining or recreation that adjoins a residence and is typically paved.” Not much to it, right? There are very few rules but with the right imagination and expert guidance, the possibilities are endless.

You see, that’s the thing about patio spaces — they’re really just a blank canvas that be molded to suit your personality, serve your needs, and reflect your values. So take a look at your current patio space, if you have one. Does it excite you? Are you using it in the ways you hoped you would, or has it become drab, unkempt, and in need of an overhaul?

Let’s transform that disheveled space into something vibrant, inviting, and functional! Here are three ideas that are designed to inspire your new patio transformation, and, if you’re so inclined, the patio experts at Greenhaven can help you make your patio dream come true!

The Entertainers

Some folks make their patio spaces an extension of the inside of their homes that flows into the outdoors, creating a balance of indoor comfort with outdoor amenities. Just imagine being able to lounge comfortably out in the fresh air among colorful blossoms and fresh, cool breezes, but with the same level of warmth, coziness, and ability to host guests as you would be able to in your living room. 

When looking to transform your patio space into a place to entertain, scale should be a top consideration. Even small spaces can be used for entertaining if you arrange things creatively while staying focused on your goal of including things that will make your guests feel comfortable and welcome. One of the most important aspects of this is seating. Think about the events you’ve hosted in the past and what you’d like to achieve in the future. Will you be focused on dining outdoors? Dinners and brunches? Or more of cozy wine, spirits, and hors d’oeuvres-type affairs? 

If it’s the latter, then maybe you don’t need a full dining table. Maybe one or two small bistro tables coupled with multifunctional pieces like pouffes and stools — which are easy to move and can even have items like serving trays stacked on top of them — amidst larger, cozier pieces of furniture will help you achieve your goal of comfortable, functional dining in spite of smaller quarters.

Smaller spaces can also be broken up into separate areas through the use of dramatically hung curtains, privacy screens, and even vertical gardens, all which can add some dimension to your patio and maybe even give you some much-needed privacy neighbors and passers-by. 

Fire pits and fireplaces are great centerpieces for a patio space, as they create warmth, visual interest, and a natural place for people to gather around. Some outdoor patio furniture comes complete with built-in storage, so we encourage you to fill those spaces with extra soft blankets, board and card games, and even items like plates and other supplies that are used specifically when you’re entertaining outdoors. 

Last but not least when it comes to making a transformational patio space for entertaining is lighting. Lighting can add so much character to a patio, whether they’re strings of patio lights hung overhead, fixtures that incorporate the textures of your patio’s overall motif, or if they’re solar lights that line pathways or point toward focal points in the yard. Lighting can be a simple, and almost magical way to make your space truly special. 

The Reflectors

For some, the patio is less a space for gathering and is more a space for meditation, reflection, and relaxation. Transforming your current space into such an oasis is easier to achieve than you might think!

While considerations like scale and lighting are just as crucial to a more reflective space as they are to entertaining (or any style of space, for that matter), an aspect that is crucial to creating a more meditative space is incorporating a variety of textures to your patio. 

In order to achieve this, just think about some of the more basic elements of our natural world. Water, stones, grass, plants, and light — in some combination that suits your space and budget — are just some of the elements and textures that you can infuse into your patio design that will give you the peace of mind that you’re seeking. 

Of these considerations, one feature that our clients tell us over and over again that they just can’t live without is having a waterfall adjacent to their patio. Research points to the positive benefits of “blue spaces” — those places that are on or near water — and how close proximity to water can make us feel happier. If you’re someone who is looking for a water feature that is both aesthetically and psychologically pleasing, then consider the rhythmic, refreshing, and misty waterfall. 

The Botanists

Patio transformations are all about the details. And those details can be just as much about the life you create in it as the life you’re living in it. If you’re someone who just loves plants and flowers and gardening, then there’s no reason why you can’t create a transformational patio experience that perfectly reflects your love of greenery. 

The cool thing is that there are so many ways that you can bring vegetation into your patio space. It can exist as an accent, or, in this case, can exist as the entire theme of your patio. We recommend using a combination of more traditional components like planter boxes, flower pots, hanging baskets in conjunction with more unusual and modern ideas, like vertical gardens, plant walls, ladders, and shelving to help give your patio dimension, defined spaces, and areas that can evolve with the seasons. 

You can even make a potting bench with your gardening tools a central part of your patio so that your space is just as functional as it is ornamental. Let your green thumb live in a totally green space!

Here’s the bottom line: Your patio can be whatever you want it to be. Let the above ideas inspire you to expand on their suggestions or to spur you on to achieve something else entirely. Our goal at Greenhaven Landscapes is to help you take your ideas to the next level, by listening to your needs and desires and turning them into a real living, breathing space that makes you happier, healthier, and more engaged with your yard.