Nature's Design Dilemmas Lead to Creative Patio Choices

This entry was posted on September 26, 2016 by Jeniffer Bello.

Planning around natural obstacles can be a challenge for homeowners trying to create a plan around their patio furniture sets. Trees, for instance, are the ultimate source of greenery for a backyard, but they create some design dilemmas. But even in spots with deep shade, there are creative solutions available.

Martha Stewart Living Magazine advises homeowners to make the most of spaces that seem hard to use even when they amount to a small segment of their property. These out-of-the-way areas can be turned into a quiet nook where shade-loving plants thrive or a small water feature can be a focal point.

In one California home featured in the magazine, a well-developed backyard had one place that required a unique design change. In a narrow space where the pool ended and a sunken utility area began, there was a deeply shaded corner.

The homeowners chose to make the most of it for both day and night use. A large tree overhanging the shady spot was festooned with colorful electric lanterns that light up the corner after dark. The patio furniture was arranged symmetrically, with a double-sized outdoor chaise lounge installed in the middle of two decorative stools used as side patio tables.

Overcoming Obstacles

Mature trees are among the most interesting obstacles that homeowners must address when coming up with an outdoor design plan. For one thing, most trees create a section of deep shade where it can be difficult to grow grass. Better Homes and Gardens advises homeowners to come up with an alternative ground cover to prepare the space before bringing in outdoor furnishings.

Decorative rock or pea gravel poured over a length of weed-blocking material is one alternative to a grassy cover. Stepping stones made of slate or concrete can be inserted into a gravel surface edged with bricks or pavers.

Another choice is to construct a small platform big enough for a chaise or some patio chairs. Once the ground is leveled, homeowners can install a patio floor of sand-based brick or another building material that doesn't require the use of mortar.

The result will be a small but intimate patio for quiet reading or a bistro-style corner for a meal for two. If the structure is built close enough to the tree, a hammock can be hung between the two. Or, a freestanding hammock can be situated there for a shady napping spot.

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