Exterior Worlds
Outdoor Landscape Design
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Outdoor Patio Design

Outdoor patio design is based on function and artistry. People look for professional landscaping companies who can build patios that provide amenity and comfort for special events and that will support activities pertinent to their interests and lifestyles. They also want these patios to contribute a sense of artistry and design to the property as a whole. They want beauty added to the organic elements of their yards beyond the simple level of lawn and garden forms.

The functionality of outdoor patio design is always predicated on the activities that will be transpiring on that patio. People use a patio either for sitting or standing. Designers use the patio as a foundation element. Many landscaping styles require integrating softscape with hardscape elements. Contemporary patio design is an example of this.

In contemporary landscape design, for example, it is often common to use pottery, abstract art, potted plants, and even planters containing small, low-growing tree species to break up the hardscape. Outdoor patio design in these yards provides a horizontal plane upon which to build various unique vertical elements, both living and manmade.


There is really no exact method we can use to say just how many patios a certain style of type of home will need. We have to meet with the client and take a close look at the house, the trees on the landscape, and the surrounding lawn and garden elements. We also need to get a clear picture of the lifestyle of the homeowner.

When these things become clear to our minds, we can then map out where outdoor patio design can be strategically placed to establish key areas of interest. Some will be built to host special occasion events. Others will be constructed as private areas and used only by the homeowners themselves.

The shape and size of a patio will ultimately be determined by surrounding aesthetics. Home architecture and landscape design elements have to be complimented with patio building materials and patio geometry. There are a many ways that Exterior Worlds has done this in the past. You can review the details of just some of these projects in our Case Histories Section.

When we consider how activity and aesthetics are truly the heart and soul of outdoor patio design, we realize immediately that there are very few places indeed where we cannot build them. There is one exception to this rule of freedom however, and this is area that is adjacent to the home itself. We do all that we can to avoid linking a vertical wall of a house to the horizontal plane of a patio. To create such perpendicular inorganic structures creates an overwhelming right angle that is too much for the eye to bear.

We prefer to enliven the inorganic by surrounding any outdoor patio design with greenery or ornamentation of some sort. Even entry gardens that lie to the side of a home in the space between the house and the property line, we build custom fountains, install planters with flowers, or create linear gardens. This creates the sense that the patio, no matter how large its size, is surrounded by an organic presence.

This is very important to preserving the beauty of a yard. Since hardscapes can take up to 80% of the landscape in many yards, surrounding an outdoor patio with even a little bit of vegetation creates the sense that Nature is always present, alive, and well in the inorganic world of human structures.

Many people think that high-end landscape design should only be done with special stonework. This is not a hard-fast rule. Concrete can actually be a very cost-effective and highly aesthetic material for outdoor patio design. This is due to the fact that here are so many ways to make something as ordinary as concrete look highly decorative.

Brushing and staining concrete are two methods used by landscape architects to add texture and color to its surface. Proprietary masonry techniques are also used to create blocks of concrete that look identical to stones. The effect is the same, but the cost is significantly less.

Many people, though, are willing to invest considerably in stone patio design. The colors and sizes of stones that are used must then be chosen in accordance with surrounding garden design and the color and architecture of the home.

Two of the more popular stones that we commonly use for this are limestone and flagstone, although these are only two examples. In reality there is an infinite variety of more unique and even obscure types of stones that we hand lay to construct any custom patio necessary for a design element or special occasion.

Outdoor patio design is essential to every form of landscaping. As we previously noted, hardscape elements are actually more abundant than organic elements in landscape design. In order to prevent Nature from looking overwhelmed, it is essential that we create structures that can harmonize with softscape elements rather than dominating them. Patios are perfect for this because they are constructed as horizontal planes parallel to the surface of the Earth itself.

Such a structural design engages Nature on the level of equivalence rather dominating it from the standpoint of antinomian ruthlessness. When we build such an element, we create opportunities for other manmade elements to embrace the wild and living elements of their surroundings without choking them out. Human creature comfort can work hand-in-hand with lawn and garden aesthetics to create the essence of superior Houston outdoor living.