The decorative aspects of a patio, from the plants in the borders to the cushions you place on the garden chairs are all come down to personal taste. What might seem like good taste to one gardener might well be hideous to another.
However, some important factors such as proportion and scale are universals and are important no matter how you decorate your outdoor space. A successful patio needs to be in proportion to the rest of your garden and to the house. It should be sympathetic in overall appearance to the style and materials used for the other buildings against which it is set. If not then the design simply will not work.
Other aspects depend on your taste in design and your approach to life. These are the things that we tend to think of as embodying a particular style. Fashion plays an important part too. Even if you think you are not a slave to the latest trends, some become so popular and commonplace that is hard to avoid them.
An example of this is wooden decking. It is now so widespread and easily available that it has become the first choice of many people who would have previously had only considered paving. With a trend as popular as this, however, you need to consider what is really the most appropriate material for your garden. Only you will be able to make this decision.
Regarding design, everybody is different. Some people like to give an order to their spaces while others have a more relaxed attitude and may tolerate, in fact, even prefer, a certain degree of dishevelment and disorganization. The two are not mutually exclusive, but a tendency one way or another will determine how you choose a style and create your patio area.
Like the rest of the rooms in your home, the garden allows you to express your personality. It also reflects the way you choose to spend your time. If you think of the patio as a quiet retreat, you’ll plan for privacy and comfort. If your garden is often the setting for parties, your priorities will be space, seating and dramatic lighting effects. If the house opens on to the patio, it is a good idea to relate the two, perhaps using furniture in similar styles or matching colors. You could extend a tiled floor outside, or echo a wooden floor with decking.
Remember that whatever scheme you choose, it need not be forever. You can change the look any time you want, very simply, with new planting and furniture. Many people update their gardens as often as they change their interiors so don’t be afraid to experiment when choosing the style for your patio.