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Building Your Dream Patio
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A patio is a great place for the family to get together for summer evening meals, or where you can have friends around for a barbeque. It needs to be somewhere that is comfortable for you but is also well designed so that it adds value to your property. Building your dream patio involves thinking about various factors such as location, the design, how many people is it for, what kind of mood do you want it to set, your budget and the materials you want to use.

Planning is important if you want to get it right. It should fit in with the design of your house but you can find inspiration from many sources, online, in magazines, at other people's parties! If you are struggling get an expert in. Look online for local designers or in the phone book, ask around for recommendations. You can choose to use the designer all the way through until completion or you can just ask for a visit and consultation.

Think about how much space you have to work with, what kind of planting is suitable and what the weather is like where you are. If you live somewhere where there is sun for most of the year, then you can have furniture outside, umbrellas for sun protection and other items because you do not have to worry about rain or snow damage, or storage during that part of the year. If you do live somewhere wetter and colder during certain times of the year then you will want a more permanent structure that protects the area.

Also remember that the joy of the patio is to enjoy being comfortable outside. You may want to consider tidying up your garden so it is an extension of the patio and think about plants that can be enjoyed. Bring some of the greenery onto the patio in plant pots if you want, and when you are buying decoration for the patio choose items that reflect being outdoors and nature. Remember the more planting there is, the more maintenance there will be, so if you are not a keen gardener and cannot afford to hire someone, choose low maintenance options! Popular choice to have on a patio that also make great focal points include items like fountains or bird baths.

Size depends on how big the gatherings you will be having will be. If there are lots of young children likely to use the area try to keep it safe for them by avoiding sharp corners, choosing materials that are not as dangerous such as plastic over glass. Avoid small pebbles and things that young children might pick up and put in their mouths or plants that are dangerous to ingest. Include a play area just for them to keep them entertained. Planning is important when building your dream patio but it will be worth it!

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