To make a great patio area create shade with a veranda, have solid decking or paving, make the space pretty with garden and buy a quality barbecue.
Many homes in Australia have some sort of patio area, even kit homes, which are perfect for entertaining, creates a space for children to play during wet weather or if you want them to get out of the sun and is somewhere for you to relax on a warm day. To make a great patio area there are several things you should include.
Veranda or Awning
Your patio area will need shelter and you can either extend your veranda out to cover the patio or have an awning which can be attached to the exterior wall of your home and pulled out when you need it. The benefit of this is you can fold it away and let the sun in through you windows, keeping your home warmer in winter, plus get it out of the way if you want to use the space for something else.
Paving or Decking
You will need a hard surface, which you want it to be even. If you lay pavers yourself make sure you use a spirit level to get them straight and even, otherwise pay a professional to put them down for you. A timber decking always looks nice, although it will require you to re-stain it every few years as the weather gets to it. A decking is best when your home is built on a sloping block or you can have one built up if your garden is flat.
Put a garden in around your patio which will soften the hard edges of your deck or paving and provide extra shade. You could have plants in pots around your patio and also hanging baskets. Grow climbing plants, such as wisteria or climbing roses up the veranda posts and up over the veranda so that your patio blends in with your garden.
No patio area is complete without a good barbecue. Invest in a good quality one as it is better to get one that will last. You will find that if you have a great patio area you will spend a lot of time out there, particularly in summer, and a barbecue is a quick and easy meal to have through the week as well as an easy way to entertain. You don't need to plan a barbecue like you do a normal party. Just let your friends know on the same day and pull a few steaks and sausages out of the freezer and you are set.
If you have the space and the budget and feel that you will use your outdoor space often you could install an outdoor kitchen. This makes entertaining a lot easier as you are then able to prepare all you food outside. Have a decent amount of bench space, a sink and even a fridge and you can run your whole party from out on the patio. The chef need not be stuck indoors away from the guests at all.
If you have children think about their needs when you set up your patio area. Allocate an area just for them to play, with a small table and chairs for them to draw, play games and build cubbyholes when it's wet.