CD Designs Blog

    Creating A Traditional Patio Area

    A traditional patio garden is a great British garden staple. Perfect for adding interest to a garden and extending your living space, a well designed patio area will be great for relaxing, entertaining, and spending time with the family.

    If you’re starting from scratch, think carefully about design. Pick a spot which offers natural light, and is accessible from the house. Choose a durable flooring – pattern imprinted concrete patios are popular for their hardwearing nature and minimal maintenance needs, and are available in a range of colours and patterns. It’s also a good cost-effective option – try a gray, beige or soft peach, with colour mixed into the concrete for an attractive finish. Diagonal scoring can also look very good.

    Decking is popular for its looks, but bear in mind it can become slippery in wet weather, and requires proper installing to keep weeds from popping up between the decks! Paving is another popular option, but as with a pattern imprinted concrete patio, it should be installed by professionals for the best finish.

    Add plants and flowers around your patio in raised beds or rockeries, and put container plants around the patio – these can also be popped onto section dividers or hung from walls to provide great scent and colour. Get advice from a local nursery or friendly gardener on how to select plants that will work well and provide colour and life all year round.

    Choose suitable furniture for your lifestyle. Outdoor sofas are wonderful if you’re guaranteed good weather or have a covering (or nearby emergency indoor space to move them too.) Plastic furniture is hardwearing, durable and can be fun and funky. Wood furniture is classic and lasts for many years if well preserved – just be careful of splinters or unfinished edges with small children. Avoid folding chairs or loungers if there are little ones about or you’re accident prone – they are one of the most common sources of domestic injuries!

    Pick furniture of the right size – remember to leave space to move chairs in and out. If you’re likely to have a number of people eating and drinking together on the patio, a large table with an integrated parasol is a great option for summer (and showers!). If you’re just looking to enjoy a coffee and newspaper in a small space, try a cafe-style bistro table and metal chairs. These can be painted in bright enamel finishes to become a centrepiece.

    Install a BBQ for cooking and a firepit for Winter and evening warmth. These are lovely social areas for gathering around – but best for older families, or patios where children can safely be kept away.

    Finally have fun with traditional decorations. A wheelbarrow, watering can or old fashioned bath tub can make an attractive planter, as can old milk-pails and belfast sinks. Visit reclamation yards or antiques fairs, or buy replicas from DIY stores and garden nurseries. Add lanterns and solar lighting into borders and rockeries for a pretty night-time glow. Water features and ponds are wonderful alongside seating areas, for relaxing and watching nature at its finest.

    Creating A Functional Patio Area

    A good patio area will be functional, versatile, and effectively add extra living space to a home.

    If you’re starting from scratch, think about the ground cover. Decking is popular, but can be slippery in wet weather, and require weeding and mending if not installed properly. Concrete can be used creatively to create a hardwearing surface – pick an unusual pattern-imprinted concrete patio, and ask about the range of shades available, so you can create an overall colour scheme.

    Look at sectioning off a patio with raised beds, and create walkways from the home to garden for a large area. Raised areas add interest, and can be ideal for separating children’s play areas with food and entertaining areas.

    Look at making use of garden features. Overhangs and awnings are useful for shade, and nearby trees can be used for hanging bird feeders, wind chimes and lanterns. Train creepers and flowering vines up trellises and walls to create beautiful Summer displays – ideally plants which attract butterflies for glorious Summer time relaxation and observation.

    Use plants creatively – mix pots and raised beds with an array of seasonal plants of different heights, colours and overall looks – delicate fronds teamed with bold blooms and exotic leafed shrubs for lots of diversity and interest. Create a small area near the children’s section where they can grow their own nasturtiums, herbs, pansies and other ‘starter’ plants. Sunflowers in pots are also children’s classics and will encourage them outdoors.

    Look too at sectioning off a BBQ area for the family to enjoy outdoor eating, and leave plenty of space for loungers and chairs – ideally under a shady spot, or with space for a parasol. One of the main benefits of having a pattern-imprinted concrete patio is the opportunity to enjoy food with the family al-fresco – British Summertime permitting of course!

    Creating A Family Friendly Patio Area

    A patio can be a great way for families to enjoy time together outside, but it’s important that the space is designed to be family friendly.

    Firstly, avoid any fragile items. A good patio should be used for eating and relaxing in, but keep glass and good china indoors. Pick solid chunky Perspex or plastic items instead – there are plenty of funky outdoor ranges available at good prices. The same applies with lanterns, candleholders or other breakable patio ornaments – either hang them well out of reach, or avoid them altogether if you want to avoid accidents.

    With patio furniture, opt for the solid types that don’t need folding. Folding chairs are a common source of injuries in children, so avoid them entirely. Make sure the furniture that you do choose is strong and hardy. Avoid iron wrought items if they have spikes, sharp edges or arrows in their design. Only pick wood if it is well finished, so splinters aren’t a risk.

    Try to keep a section of the patio for the kids to enjoy. Perhaps add some small benches to section off their area. Add storage boxes and put their toys in it. Sturdy plastic tables and child-sized chairs will allow them to enjoy dining away from BBQs or adult drinks. Position it near to any grassy areas to they can play easily.

    Avoid water or ponds – they are simply far too dangerous for small children. Even if your own are grown, consider visitors with toddlers. Save the water features until they are older. Similarly with flooring, avoid flagstones or rocky gravel. A simple pattern-imprinted concrete patio provides a durable surface, and play mats can be added for comfortable sitting.

    The Best Outdoor Fire Pits

    There’s nothing like an outdoor fireplace when you’re entertaining on the patio. Ideal for roasting hot dogs, marshmallows or just huddling around on a cool night, they are beautiful and functional tools for making the most of your outdoor space.

    Three types prevail on the market – wood burning stoves, gas or propane fire pits, or gel / ethanol pits which create a smokeless flame. A wooden model will be cheaper than a propane model, and designer brands can reach over £1000 in price.

    Regardless of brand however, a great fire pit will enhance the look of your block paved or pattern imprinted concrete patio no end.

    Good models to choose include the wood burning outdoor fire pit range from Weber. The lighting store Lumens carries some modern styles, including Blomus gel fire pits which offer polished stainless steel finishes and frost-proof ceramics.

    For hammered copper versions, try the Woodstream range, for a particularly attractive finish and great cooking potential. The Well Travelled Living range boasts urban and minimalist features, and the Asia range offers world influenced and traditional styles. Try Australian company Ecosmart for vent-less fire pits powered by bio-ethanol, but expect to pay for them. Unica Home is popular for high-end designer fires, with top brands including Extremis and Ore.

    Don’t rule out stores such as Argos and B&Q or Homebase either, which tend to offer their own branded ranges at excellent prices. Pop a lovely little fire pit at the end of your driveway or patio, huddle around and enjoy the evening in comfort!

    In case you missed our earlier post on Fire Pits, here are some of our favourites:

    Concrete Fire Pit - Pic by Snassek

    Picture 1 of 6

    Concrete Fire Pit - Pic by Snassek

    Our Favourite Fire Pit Pictures. Does Your Patio Have One?

    We’re not afraid to admit that we’re a little bit obsessed with fire pits. Ideal for making more of your outdoor space in cooler weather, there’s nothing lovelier than huddling around a glowing outdoor fire with some hot food, a drink and good company of an evening.

    Concrete Fire Pit - Pic by Snassek

    Picture 1 of 6

    Concrete Fire Pit - Pic by Snassek

    There’s also a huge range of fire pits and other outdoor fires and stoves now available at a range of prices. Some powered by wood, others by ethanol or special bio-gels, the fire pit market ranges from the budget simple brand to high end designer art pieces.

    Many people however prefer to build or commission their own designs – and as you’ll see from some of the images of concrete fireplaces below, there’s nothing more satisfying than designing a piece that works for your back garden. We can also assist in showing off your fire pit to its best potential by building the pattern imprinted concrete patio or Pattern imprinted concrete driveway for it to sit on! After all, a beautifully designed fire pit requires a suitably attractive supporting structure!

    Whether concrete fire pits, pattern imprinted concrete driveways, patios, floors or other concrete items – we’re always here to help you make the most of your outdoor space. Ask the experts and we’ll advise on the best options for your circumstances. Meanwhile enjoy the radiating glow from these fantastic images below – some of our favourites indeed!

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    T: 01706 827180

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