Walk through the yards of many older homes and you'll come across the elegant worn edges of an old brick patio. There may be several places where the bricks have shifted, leaving grass to grow between the joints.
This aged look can be achieved in several ways. There are many materials, including salvaged bricks and tumbled pavers that are designed to give an instant lived-in feeling. The edges may be tumbled or the colors are slightly muted, mimicking the look you get after living with a patio for 20 years.
The shape of the patio also is important. You want a patio that curves with the land and flows with the layout of the house. The patio might curve around the side of the house near a sunroom, for example. This type of design is more likely to look natural and give the appearance of being in place for many years.
Curves also help guide one's eyes through a garden. A curved patio section could encourage visitors to walk toward a large oak tree or define an area that will house an old stone bench.
Once the patio shape is determined, leave room around the patio for curved flowerbeds. This gives a natural flow to your landscaping and helps eliminate the hard edges of a rectangular or square patio.
You then can add plants and shrubs that will gracefully grow a few inches over the patio line, blending the plant material with the patio sitting space.
A patio can be a wonderful addition to any new home. By adding a few curves and planning the flow of the space, you can create an impressive lived-in feeling.
Allison E. Beatty is an avid old house enthusiast who has been renovating houses and writing about them for more than 10 years. She contributes regularly to national newspaper, magazines and web sites. She lives in an 1888 Victorian era home.
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