The key to an organized landscape design often lies in separating different outdoor rooms according to function, ambience, or appearance. Segmenting two or more patio areas can help to optimize the efficiency of the space, relieve foot traffic congestion, and ensure safety around fire features and grills. However, depending on the design of your hardscape, keeping an open plan can sometimes be a better option. So, when should you consider segmenting one or more patio areas? Read on to find out.
Related Read: How to Extend Your Patio Season
Wide Open Spaces
A large patio, particularly one without a focal feature to draw the eye, can benefit from being divided up into sections. Smaller outdoor rooms can help to maintain visual interest and create a layout that invites guests to explore what the hardscape has to offer. For large, flat patios, vertical division is highly effective. Room dividers might take the form of seating walls or raised plant beds, built from a richly textured wall unit such as Rivercrest Wall from Unilock. Rivercrest Wall is cast from pieces of actual flagstone, ensuring a natural and vibrant appearance.
Another option for a large space is to separate rooms vertically by designing the hardscape with multiple levels. Each level can be separated by steps or a small drop. For example, consider placing your fire pit area on a raised platform where it can be used as a vantage point to enjoy the view of your landscape. A circular fire pit, such as the RomanStack Firepit Kit from Unilock, with its open design and possibilities for corresponding permanent seating, is an excellent option for creating a fire pit area where guests can take in the surroundings.
Keeping Pets and Kids in Mind
To ensure safety during busy family BBQs, consider keeping the outdoor kitchen and/or bar area separate from the rest of the patio. This will help to keep pets and children clear of hot cooking equipment and sharp utensils. To separate the outdoor kitchen from the rest of the patio, a low wall enclosing the kitchen works well. Match the wall to your grill island to ensure a unified design. Unilock wall units are versatile and can be used to construct both features. Consider, for example, a Brussels Dimensional System Grill Island along with a low wall of the same material.
Alternatively, the kitchen/bar area can be shaped in such a way as to cordon off the space without the need for additional vertical features. A U-shaped bar/grill can provide more working surface area and keep the chef included in the social activities, all while keeping young children safe out of harm’s way.
Optimizing the Flow Between Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Areas
While keeping your outdoor kitchen out of the way is important for safety, it is also important that it retains access to your dining area, as well as your indoor kitchen, in case you need to make a quick dash inside for the odd condiment. A U-shaped grill or enclosing wall allows quick access and will work in conjunction with a more open plan for your outdoor dining area. To keep your outdoor dining area visually separate while retaining easy access, consider a less physical division, such as pergola overhead, a border around the area, or a simple change in the paver or laying pattern used for its floor.
For example, a Richcliff outdoor kitchen can be separated from the rest of the patio by a Courtstone border in the Basalt color options to highlight the earthy undertones of the primary pavers. Or pair Richcliff with a modern paver, such as Promenade Plank, for your lounge or dining area. For maximum distinction and visual interest, you can even do both.
Creating Privacy and a Sense of Intimacy
Another reason to segment two or more outdoor areas is when privacy is required from the rest of the patio. This allows a number of individuals or smaller groups to use the patio at the same time without disturbing one another. This can be done by tucking outdoor rooms into hollows carved out by retaining walls, erecting taller privacy walls, or opting for a more sprawling hardscape design broken up by large plantings. The effect of these strategies is not only increased privacy, but also a greater sense of intimacy. Including fire features in these separate spaces can further enhance their romantic ambience. Tall fire features also contribute to a more private space. The Barcelona or Tuscany Pre-Built fireplaces from Unilock serve as excellent room dividers and will add Mediterranean charm and cozy appeal.
Breaking Up a Small Patio
Breaking up a small patio into too many individual parts can sometimes limit the amount of space the patio has to offer, particularly when using bold vertical divisions, such as raised plant beds and walls. A subtle division, using patio furniture, permanent seating, or accents, can help to keep things less cluttered and more organized.
An open plan for a small patio helps to create the impression of a larger space. By using large format pavers, such as Beacon Hill Smooth XL Units, and creating subtle borders from smaller pavers, such as Copthorne, you can ensure a division that takes up very little space, but will nonetheless keep your outdoor areas distinct and separate according to function.
For more help finding the optimal layout for your landscape, connect with a Unilock Authorized Contractor today!
The title image features a Richcliff patio with Courtstone accents, a Promenade Plank lounge area, and a Brussels Dimensional System grill island and water feature.