Patio Design: Patio or Furniture First?


I love what I do and I take my role as a Landscape Designer very seriously. I am often disappointed when I visit a prospective client’s home and see landscaping work that in my estimation “misses the mark”. More often than not I see a patio, terrace or deck installation that does not accommodate the furniture properly. The end result is a space that does not flow properly or allow adequate room for the intended use. I have also seen projects where the furniture (picked out after the patio was constructed) does not fit on the new patio or insufficient room for comfortable passage with the furniture in place. I have also seen patios that were constructed much larger than needed and the furniture looks lost and or out of proportion, not only does it look bad it is also a huge waste of money. Money that could have been used more effectively to enhance the project differently, perhaps with substantially more impact. Examples would be a fire place, fire pit, water feature, landscaping, lighting etc.

Whenever I discuss outdoor living spaces with clients I recommend that they go to a few outdoor furniture stores or magazines to get an idea of the new and exciting products that are out there.

Think of your outdoor spaces the same way you think inside rooms. A place to cook, eat, sit down and relax etc. I wish I had a dollar for every time I get that blank “deer in the headlights stare” when I recommend this approach, however, the client will usually come back to me enthusiastically with furniture ideas that are very different from their initial thoughts. This is when the client really starts to get excited and begins to realize the potential that these new ideas and spaces can have for their lifestyle.

The reason for this “backwards” (furniture first) approach is really quite simple, let me design the space to the furniture you want not the other way around. When I know exactly what the client wants, I can perfect the patio design and traffic flow as well as the landscaping that is connected to it. Another issue I face is the client that wants to use the 20 year old musty, dirty and outdated furniture they have. Well… that’s a mistake! The idea here is to get you and your family excited to go out and enjoy the new space and spend quality time together. The goal here is not simply to install a new patio… It is to get you outside to enjoy the fresh air and enhance your lifestyle. Trust me when I tell you a well-designed outdoor living space will do just that. No detail is too small and the guidance of a trained professional will make a huge difference and add tremendous value to your home and the time you spend there.