Many Houston homeowners prefer to have a wood patio constructed in their yard in order to give their landscape a more natural and traditional look.
If you build it adjacent to the home, it provides an excellent transition from indoor living space to outdoor living space. This is one way to create unity between home architecture and the rest of the landscape.
A wood patio does not have to look plain if it is designed by a professional landscape company. Like anything else, it can be created as a personal expression of individual personality—much like the walls and decorations inside the house. Wood color can be matched to interior walls, and patio designs can be further personalized with unique planters, ornamental posts, decorative railings, steps, and energy-efficient solar powered or LED lighting fixtures.
Houston landscape clients have many options to choose from when it comes to the type of wood used to build such a surface. In terms of savings, pressure-treated pine is type most commonly used in our area. It is very tough, and it can be stained to look like cedar. Hickory is a less common, yet also affordable and durable wood that can also be used, and by nature can withstand a beating from the elements without losing its appearance.
Other wood options include cedar, redwood, and mahogany. Mahogany is the by most expensive, and by far the most decorative. Surprising to many, it is not always dark in color. Some cuts are dark red in color and resist decay impeccably.
Many people fear that a wood patio will degrade no matter how high in quality it is, or how painstakingly it is treated against weathering. This is not the case. If a professional builds the structure, and treats the wood correctly, it is sure to last for years. The key lies to the quality of wood that is used to begin with, and the additional treatments applied by the patio builder.
Most pressure-treated wood is prepared at the mill prior to being shipped to a contractor. When the landscapers receive the wood, they apply additional sealants to its surface. These sealants block water that otherwise would seep between the grains of the wood itself. If the space between the grains can be protected in this manner, the entire aesthetic of the wood surface will be preserved.
While it is true that any water sealant, in a humid climate like the Texas Gulf Coast, never last more than two years at the most, more sealant can always be applied when necessary. Regular retreatment of wood patio surfaces can be line itemed in our landscape maintenance agreements.
In terms of actual wood patio design, there is great freedom within two simple boundaries. A patio’s color, size, or geometry should never look at odds with the house. Equally important, it should never appear to contradict or constrict garden design.
Beyond these two simple principles, however, there are no real absolutes that dictate where a patio can or cannot be built. Many locations in the yard can be chosen that will still provide a corollary relationship to home and garden design. A wood patio can be built in the center of small, custom gardens. It can also be a virtual extension of the back of a home. It can aesthetically extend an arbor or outdoor kitchen into the landscape or it can stand all by itself as a special gathering spot of special interest. Lighted paths and walkways leading to its surface can connect it like illuminated arteries that traverse the landscape at night.
There is always the relationship between wood and water to think about as well. Many people have natural swimming pools or ponds in their back yards. A well-built and water sealed wooden patio is an excellent way to unify water, lawn, garden, and trees into a singular presentation that evokes images of quiet and pristine lakeside retreats.