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A Look at Common Mistakes & Patio Design Tips to Create a Functional Outdoor Living Space

Designing an outdoor patio space and picking out your furniture and décor can be a complicated process. You have to remember you’re not setting up an indoor space. And the process is not nearly as straightforward since there are several factors to consider.

For this reason, mistakes are often made, resulting in a confusing, un-cohesive patio area that just doesn’t look or feel right.

So, to help you design the perfect outdoor patio area, here’s a look at the most common patio design mistakes along with tips on how to avoid them.

Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Patio Space

Here are some common mistakes to avoid with your patio design, along with tips on how to decorate a patio for optimal form, function, and comfort.

1. Designing for Indoors Instead of Outdoors

While it’s nice to have a seamless transition from your indoor living space to your outdoor patio, you should avoid using indoor furniture and décor outdoors.

Indoor furniture is not made to withstand the outdoor elements. And the design of indoor furniture and décor does not suit an outdoor patio. In other words, it would look rather out of place on your deck or patio.

So if you want to add a couch and coffee table to your outdoor living space, don’t look at your indoor furniture as the solution. Instead, look for weather-resistant outdoor patio furniture that is made for the outdoors.


2. Too Much or Too Little Furniture

Any living space should be functional and aesthetically pleasing. With too little patio furniture, you won’t have enough spots to sit and comfortably enjoy your outdoor living space. And with too much patio furniture, you risk cluttering your patio, making it feel crowded and not having enough space for easy traffic flow.

So when choosing patio furniture, select items that are comfortable, made for the outdoors, and look good alone along with a few other pieces. And make sure the furniture is proportionate to the size of your outdoor space.

If you want a minimalist look, add a splash of colour and personality, such as a pillow, plant, or piece of pottery.

3. Not Enough Décor

Even with the nicest outdoor patio furniture, your patio will feel incomplete without any patio décor. So, consider adding a select few weather-resistant outdoor accessories that will tie the space together without making it feel too busy, such as:

  • Lighting
  • Pillows and cushions
  • Pottery, containers, and urns
  • Hanging ornaments
  • Candles
  • Windchimes
  • Garden statues
  • Outdoor wall art

4. No Plants

It’s not an outdoor living space without plants. After all, adding plants will soften your patio, make for beautiful décor, and even add fresh scents to your outdoor living area.

Depending on the size of your space, try adding patio trees, potted plants, a dish garden, or a vase of fresh-cut flowers from your garden.

5. Too Many Plants

While an outdoor space isn’t complete without plants, too many plants can overcrowd your space. So if you have potted plants, containers, garden beds, or a combination of plants, make sure they are well spaced, so they don’t take over your outdoor living area.

There should be ample space for a seating area and other outdoor décor so your patio can have a balanced look.

6. Lack of Indoor-Outdoor Connection

Your outdoor patio should be an extension of your home and indoor living space—without the indoor furniture. There should be a coordinated transition from the inside to the outside. Otherwise, your patio won’t look like it’s part of your home.

So consider using a patio décor style that is similar to your indoor living room to make for a smooth transition from indoors to out.

7. Poor Furniture Arrangement

Patio furniture should be arranged in a way that promotes comfortable conversation without the need to shout. It should also allow for room to move around easily without any obstacles.

So arrange furniture evenly around your patio, facing seating close enough for easy conversation and near tables to place drinks and plates, or around a fire pit, with room to stand up and safely walk around the table, fire pit, and chairs.


8. Insufficient Lighting

Along with creating a welcoming ambiance, outdoor lighting is a must to make your outdoor space safe, functional, and visible at night.

There are many types of outdoor lighting to choose from, including:

  • String lights
  • Solar lamps
  • Pendant lights
  • Sconce fixtures
  • Overhead fixtures and
  • Energy-efficient LED and CFL lightbulbs for outdoor use

There should be enough lighting on your patio and throughout your yard so you can see every corner of your space at night.

Illuminating every area of your space also makes the area appear larger and look more aesthetically pleasing.

9. Not Considering the Direction of the Sun

The direction of the sun on your patio will affect your comfort and outdoor enjoyment in summer. So keep this in mind when planning your furniture placement.

You don’t want to sit with the sun beaming on you all day, so try to place your furniture out of the sun’s direct path. And add an awning, pergola, shade sail, gazebo, or patio umbrella to ensure you have enough shade.


The Takeaway

A little bit of planning can go a long way when it comes to patio design. So avoid ruining your outdoor space with these patio design mistakes. And instead, aim for a well-proportioned, balanced space that is functional, comfortable, relaxing, and inviting.