Plan to Personalize Your Patio, and Don’t Forget Shade!


You know what that Pharrell song “Happy” says… “like a room without a roof”. Hellooo…! That’s your patio! If there’s a place to be happy during summer, this is it!

How can you make your patio a personalized place to be happy? Here are 7 easy planning ideas from Innovative Openings.

1. What do you want to do on your patio?

Woman and two young girls sitting on patio reading book smiling

Do you want to just kick back in a deep, soft chair and watch the clouds go by? Do you want to eat meals outside? I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again: figure out what you really want to do in your outdoor space, and then plan, purchase and arrange accordingly. If al fresco entertaining is what you dream of, a space plan might include a great outdoor kitchen, extra seating, and something that functions as a buffet. If it’s really all about relaxing, skip the dining table and go with some deep-cushioned furniture- you will be amazed at how much more time you spend outside enjoying your patio when you set it up for what YOU really want, not just what the media tells you.

2. Who is going to use this patio?

Adults? Children? Seniors? This also drives your decision making process. If you have children who will be using the patio space, it might be a great functional idea to include a synthetic wicker chest to stow away the toys when the kids are finished playing. Some seating may be wonderful for younger folks, but difficult for others to get in and out of.

3. Find some inspiration

iron candeliere

Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. Once you know what pastimes you want your patio to facilitate, it’s time to get busy and find a jumping off point that makes your heart sing. Maybe it’s a photo from a magazine or online site like Or maybe it’s an amazing candeliere you found for sale on Etsy, or a fabric swatch. The inspiration part may be a color, a texture, a theme, or any number of design oriented aspects… the idea is, you start there, and then make it your own!

4. Think about scale

Before you purchase anything significant, be sure to take some measurements and think about the size of the space you have to work with. A large patio space can accommodate multiple “zones”, and larger pieces of furniture, but a small patio calls for pieces that work within that scale. Don’t crowd yourself! If you have to, edit your overall idea so that the most important aspects get top billing.

5. Don’t forget about flow

So often overlooked, “flow” can really affect how you feel about a space. Let color, style and texture move from inside the house right out onto the patio, and everything will feel like it makes sense. You don’t have to repeat everything, or stay within a strict framework echoing your interior design, just relate enough of your patio design to your interior to make everything look tied together. Go ahead and let your patio be a more fun space if you want! Just have some relationship to the inside as well.

6. Don’t make your design set in stone

Let it evolve and change with you over time… your tastes and influences change, and what pleases you visually and tactile-ly on the patio will change too. Just keep your overarching plan in mind, and rather than adding willy nilly, think about numbers 1 through 5 on this list. And if you do add something, it’s a good idea to take something away. Smaller, low investment accessories are a great way to change up your look, and next season, when that trendy item is passe, you won’t mind letting it go in favor of the next fab find.

7. Plan for shade

I left one of the biggest for last, in the hopes my readers will remember it. No matter what you set up on your patio, when it is uncomfortably hot or bright, you won’t want to be there. You’ll miss plenty of hours and opportunities to spend time in the personal paradise you’ve created. Patio Shades and awnings can make all the difference, letting YOU be in charge of when to use your patio, not the blazing midday or afternoon sun. Or the morning sun either. Just you!

Oasis ®2600 Patio Sun shade
Solar patio shades block sun on the sides of patio structures- keep your view!
Patio awning with automatic wind sensor
Lateral arm awnings are perfect for patios without existing structure!













Pinnacle structure awning
Pinnacle awnings are perfect for shading the tops of patio structures like pergolas

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