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Backyard Patio Remodeling Tips

Learn how to size a patio correctly to ensure the area can accommodate dining and patio furniture

A video transcript featuring Scott Cohen, The Green Scene

We're in the middle of remodeling this backyard, and one of the problems that the homeowner had is that the patios were undersized for their needs. Now a patio that's sized here at about 10 by 10 feet is a little small for a table and chairs, and you could fit a table and chairs here, but not much else. You wouldn't be able to get around it.

Leave room for doors to open
We've got an exit point here from the house, and as we open these doors we'll be crashing right into that furniture. You want to make sure you patios are sized appropriately for the furniture you're going to have, but also for the traffic that's going come through the yard. Any time you have an entry/egress from the house, you want to make sure you leave room for those doors to open wide and still be able to get through between the table and chairs. This patio is a little too small for them, so we're adding more patio space here in the middle area where we're going to keep our furnishings.

Add an area of interest
This patio is a little tight for a table and six chairs, which is what the owners want to have here. And there's no cover, there's no real area of interest and nothing that really excited them in this backyard. What we're going do to fix that is take out the planter that kind of broke up the space and add a hardscape in the center. We're going to use this same Arizona flagstone in the center here, so it looks like it was always part of the original plan.

Anchor the space with built-in seating
To anchor the back of the space, I've got a seat wall that's about 14 feet long with a back rest, so that's going to entertain about 14 people. At either end are pilasters, and those pilasters will be veneered with stone and there will be cast caps on top at cocktail-table height, which is about 30 inches tall. That helps for people to be able to put their drinks down when you're entertaining, and then I have an arbor that goes over the top.

Add entertainment value
One of the reasons I placed the arbor was for shade, but another is to allow us a place to put some lights and some outdoor speakers so we can have sound in this backyard, and turn this boring, bland backyard into something that's a little bit more exciting and better set up for entertainment.

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