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Listen To The Landscape

backyard patio seating arrangement next to poolThe landscape can inspire your patio shape, too. Maybe you have trees near your house that you want to keep, so the patio needs to take shape around them.

Steep slopes? A multi-level patio might be in order. An elevation change might suggest a certain curve or a wall that ebbs and flows. You want your outdoor patio to move with the landscape.

In the end, you want your outdoor patio to create a welcoming atmosphere that blends with the architecture of your home and the natural landscape.

That said, here’s a look at some backyard patio design ideas to consider, and why they may or may not work for you:

Don’t Dismiss The Humble Square

Before you yawn and dismissively wave off the idea of a small patio in the shape of a square, consider it could be the perfect shape for you. It’s simple and easy to set up.

Of all the backyard patio design plans, squares and rectangles are the most common. They might not be the most creative outdoor living makeover, but these often have the most practical functionality and are cost-effective. Rectangular shapes tend to provide plenty of space for outdoor entertaining. Square patios, with their straight edges and 90-degree angles, fit well into formal and contemporary style gardens.

A basic square patio that measures 20 feet by 20 feet easily accommodates a dining table set, offering plenty of room for people to circulate around it. A square this size offers enough space to scoot your patio furniture chair and not slip off the patio. It allows room for some large pottery, maybe a small bistro for outdoor dining or a bar top table with a seating area.

If you choose a large square or rectangular patio, you can designate different areas by changing the paver patio base material. Another plus: pavers for paver patios and bricks for brick patios can easily be laid out in a square pattern.

The Pros And Cons Of Circles

Round patios offer a softer look than a square or rectangle and can highlight a focal point in the center — a fountain or fire pit. Rounded patios can blend naturally into the surrounding landscape because they don’t have hard edges or sharp angles.

But some patio designers aren’t crazy about round patios. While a square, rectangle or organic shape can lead the eye to other spaces, a circle is more of a “dead shape” that doesn’t lead the eye anywhere.

A circle can be limiting for outdoor furniture placement. Some designers say it’s the least efficient of all shapes.

Go With The Flow: Organic Outdoor Patio Designs

pergola outdoor space near poolA patio in an organic shape — often called free-form — offers a host of options. Less predictable than a square, rectangle or circle, some organic patios boast broad, sweeping curves, while others are characterized by unique angles and shape changes.

An organic patio is asymmetrical, so it’s often a good choice for informal gardens.

The downside: organic shapes can be less efficient. The curves tend to eat up more space.

You might need 50 more square feet of pavers to give it the richness it needs. So a free-flowing organic shape might not be practical if you have a small space or landscape limitations.

But if designed with skill, they can be stunning. Free-form patios offer a sense of playfulness you don’t get in a square. They lend energy to the landscape.

Designing organic shapes takes a lot of skill. Resist the urge to grab a napkin and start scribbling. While a curvy organic shape might not seem to follow any rules, it’s actually trickier to pull off. You’ll want a landscape design professional behind your patio project.

Consider More Than One Shape

You don’t have to limit your outdoor space to one shape. Landscape designers agree the best way to create a unique and functional backyard patio is to design the patio in separate areas. Go beyond one expanse at the back of the house and create outdoor rooms with several smaller or separated areas. Connect them with walkways to create destinations.

Ponder Your Patio’s Purpose

Think about how you’ll use the outdoor living space. Is it just for family, or will you regularly invite 25 to 30 people for outdoor entertaining?

Will you need an outdoor grilling space? An entire outdoor kitchen? Pondering a pergola? And what about an outdoor fireplace? Think about its use first, and that might inspire the shape.

Let Neave In On Your Backyard Patio Design Plans

The experienced designers at Neave Landscaping can help make your dream patio a reality. At Neave, we take a hands-on approach when it comes to design. After scheduling an appointment, a Neave Group consultant will visit your home to become more familiar with your property and its surroundings during a landscape assessment.

This helps us get an idea of the specific requirements for your property. Our trained experts consider topography, climate and site drainage as well as how you plan to use and enjoy your new patio.

Give Us A Call for Your Landscaping Needs

If you’re a homeowner in the Hudson Valley, call us at 845-463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call 914-271-7996; from Connecticut, dial 203-212-4800. Or, fill out our contact form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.

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landscape planning guide neave group cover

FREE Landscape Planning Guide

Download our FREE Landscape Planning Guide and start planning the landscape of your dreams!

Download Now