mylandscapes contemporary garden design london

garden inspiration patio design ideas

best contemporary patio design ideas for town gardens

blog / outdoor trends

design & words Amir Schlezingeramir schlezinger

Quite the Patio

Five hundred years of Andalusian patio splendour have finally caught on in less favourable climes, and another fifty years to hone the craft in a modern context. Urban patio smallishness is by no means lacking in sheer garden design expressiveness, and while timeless patios and their flagstone surfaces remain foolproof outdoor environments, the design principles which reinvent them delineate interplays of purpose and style to maximise London weather prospects and size limitations. Whether taking up an entire garden footprint, or outlining an intimate zone within the overall layout, an inspiring patio design facilitates a limitless palette of artistic, and functional, outdoor living ideas.

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1. ideas 2. steps 3. layout 4. detail 5. design 6. paving 7. seating 8. lighting 9. planting 10. upkeep

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1 ideas

“Well-honed patio ideas imbue spirited sophistication, with or without the inebriants...”

The infinite array of small London patio gardens encompasses every imaginable size, form and function, where tininess takes on renewed meanings indeed, and the diverse design ideas which sustain outdoor exuberance in these bijou spaces follow suit as well in an unrelenting gamut to match. When we tackled the confines of a Kensington patio a while back, its 4.6-square-metre hollowed shell presented an all-time record size-wise, nevertheless, with a cantilevered bench, cedar screens, rendered walls, fitted planters, irrigation and an innovative lighting scheme, this tiny patio was transformed into a self-contained, standout architectural garden – gleaming with bespoke design ideas.

2 steps

“On the Patiofront – definitely a contender...”

Spatial monotony is indeed the perennial antagonist of a dynamic patio paragon, where level changes, contrived or unavoidable, instil paramount three-dimensionality. In segmenting a continuum of stone or mere concrete into a visually refined, diverse gamut of materials, we design effective outdoor sequences, rich in balance, detail and natural light fluidity. Similarly to fully decked gardens which require juxtaposition of contrasting elements, a well-articulated patio design infuses distinct spatial links between various zones to elevate its flat, flagged stone surface with effortless split-level ideas.

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3 layout

“I've got a patio, and I'm not afraid to use it.”

The classic Moorish architecture of paved patio courtyards, with its symmetrical water rills, pools and avenue plantings requires space – quite a lot of it. In our dense, expanding urban environment, garden design asymmetry finds its niche ever so often to wholly reshape tiny private patios into deceptively greater outdoor spaces. Ironically, the frequent utilisation of such small, handy confines typically ensues in summertime, weather permitting, yet increasingly, the permeation of progressive design layouts, advanced alfresco gadgetry and prevalent property parity redefine ideas of patio indulgence, however compact.

4 detail

“Well done, boys. Looks like a brand-new patio for breakfast.”

Patio living is no longer dissociated from alfresco opportunities or owners' pride, and in fact, when epitomised by invigorating details in a well-crafted garden design equilibrium, has the capacity to alleviate daylight shortfalls in lacklustre weather and its consequential, dreary patio microclimates. While pure avant-gardism not a prerequisite, and picture-perfect garden vignettes fluctuate with the changing seasons, detail robustness architecturally sustains fundamental design ideas of contrast and enhanced light in cohesive indoor-outdoor gardens.

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5 design

“El patio, one of the earliest forms of outdoor living as we know it... Kitted out for maximum homely pleasure.”

The low-key homeyness of perfectly proportioned patios derives its design ideas from much greater landscape settings, where refuge and permanence amid viewable surroundings define intimate scalability. While mostly associated with dining get-togethers, brief coffees and occasional sunbathing, patios' durability enables extensive outdoor multifunctionality. My first patio performed thoroughly for the entire family, doubling as a gated driveway, play area and a Bamboo garden. Each ensuing patio design expanded these living ideas into further uses, always enclosed and cosy, where a watchful eye over the kids, engaging garden perspectives and some edible ingredients dotted around made patio life effortlessly entertaining and uncomplicated.

6 paving

“Patio, bien pavimentado”

Patio gardens broadly sustain design conventions encompassing natural stone, and while traditionally paved, their contemporary ideas, layouts and extended scopes freshen stony conventionality with rebranded purposes and a whole new material spectrum. The vast array of porcelain tiles, composite decking and synthetic grass presents countless creative combinations, and while numerous patio areas are converted into glazed skylights for subterranean basement extensions, their surface definition is likewise transformed. Still, a well-paved patio garden, highlighting the subtle nuances of flaking sandstone, limestone or granite conveys unmatched timelessness.

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7 seating

“Petite patio awesomeness”

Our sedentary living is embodied in the patio posture, and since we spend most days sitting down and incessantly checking our phones, contemporary patio ideas are emblematic of this lifestyle more than ever before. To enhance this outdoor passivity, we require soothing landscaping factors, distilled by intimacy, edibility, familiarity, scent and tactility – the traits of a well-planned patio design. Augmented by sophisticated lighting apparatuses, efficient heating devices and surround sound systems, while integrated in a flawless continuum of indoor-outdoor conveniences, the patio seating ideas we generate revolve around maximum comfort and all-year-round reliability.

8 lighting

“Ready or not, here I come, you can't hide... Gonna find you with my low-voltage patio lights.”

We know it's a successful patio design project when our clients leave the garden lighting on with a dimmed interior, showcasing their pride and joy outdoor focal point. The smaller urban patio gardens are, the brighter they glimmer, amid unremitting environmental incandescence and high ratios of reflecting surfaces. To achieve pinpoint accuracy in our patio lighting, we utilise precise beam angles and wattage within a selectively lit palette. We assess contiguous luminosity, projected through glazed elevations, adjacent properties and structures, and manipulate the lighting circuits efficiently to complement, highlight and at times deflect the views to sustain well-balanced night-time panoramas among exceptionally usable patio settings.

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9 planting

“Patioed up to the hilt, galvanised by selective foliage palettes.”

Foliar scope within patio gardens is variable, ranging from sparse potted accents where planting in the ground isn't feasible to fully fledged, lush raised beds. We strive to soften a patio's bare bones which often can be overwhelmingly sombre with brick, concrete and stone, and no matter how limited the space is, an astute selection of uplifting foliage, if only a handful, pivotally transforms the ambience. Planting design ideas for a sheltered patio, a small courtyard garden, or an outdoor space adjacent to a glass conservatory are extensive, where cultivation of semi-hardy or tender species, unusual climbers and Mediterranean fruits is enabled by warmer microclimates.

10 upkeep

“I got 99 problems, but a patio ain't one.

In London's compact clay soil, high water table and ample rainfall, the maintenance of a flagstone patio is indeed continual, and without consistent sealing, power jet washing and general TLC, natural stone accumulates algae and moss, with persistent surface discolouration. Yet, smooth sawn paving creates a luminous expanse, indispensable not only in its reflecting qualities, but also in fashioning seamless, flat and highly usable surfaces. The prevailing convention throughout Europe leans towards sedimentary and igneous rockiness, where the ideas of minimal patio maintenance manifest themselves in Belgian cobblestone courtyards, Italian terrazzo verandas and French granite sett patios, favourably outlasting and outperforming wood products.

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– coda –

Totally Patio

Patio ideas preserve formality and constancy within a vast range of man-made landscapes, extending our design intentions to facilitate sought-after comfiness, respite and autonomy across diverse garden scales. From large poolside patios to miniature private urban pockets, and every vintage courtyard garden in between, the layouts we design represent an essential need to establish a solid foothold from which to indulge in a gratifying, and particularly personal, patio lifestyle!