Who doesn’t want a patio to be a central spot to hang out, relax, eat and entertain without spending a fortune. We simply love our current set-up which serves all the needs. Let me walk you thru the process from selecting the right patio cover and features to the actual set-up for entertainment and privacy,
Size, Price, Design & Features for a Patio Cover
Our builder grade home came without any patio cover but it is an absolute must to have in the Texas heat. We connected with several contractors to get several ideas and quotes. Quotes ranged from $12,000 to $65,000 (!) in August 2021 so it is time well spent to understand the differences. Here is a list of items to verify:
- Size of Patio
- Tie-in to house or freestanding
- Materials (Stone column wrap, Hardie Plank, Cedar plank ceiling, stained cedar columns)
- Number of support posts
- Roof Shape (Gable, Hip, Flat roof)
- Permits needed by city or country
- Electrical features such as outlets, switches, recessed lights, ceiling fan
- HOA requirements/ approval
- Windstorm certificate (Professional engineer needed)
Our Patio set-up: A Gable Roof Patio
We settled with a gable roof patio measuring 15x20ft (or 300sqft) tied into the siding of the house. We love how the high ceilings and the light painted color give a clean look and airy feel. It is a decent size to fit a large conversation set or big outdoor dining table. You could also fit both if each set is not too big. For our next house we will probably target a slightly bigger patio cover (about 400sqft).
To save on costs, we went with just Hardie Plank wrap. Although our windstorm insurance does not require a windstorm certificate, we got it anyway. On the one hand it is good to have an independent engineer verify construction, on the other hand, having a certificate may be useful when selling the house later on.
We made sure we have sufficient electrical outlets (especially inside the soffits to plug in string lights) which can be turned on and off with a switch, dusk to dawn light, dimmable recessed lights and a ceiling fan. The outdoor ceiling fan can be a major expense we learned. We purchased a used 72in Slinger Fanimation from Facebook Market. While the blades are longer than conventional ceiling fans, it does not provide any noticeable air circulation. If you are looking for a breeze, you will need to spend quite some money on a proper ceiling fan with blades >96in, such as from Big Air.
Our builder grade home came with a simple patio concrete slab of 7x10ft. We would have loved stone pavers as our patio flooring but ended up with the cheaper solution by simply adding additional concrete slabs. To give all slabs a more uniform look, we painted the concrete in a light grey by using H&C Heavy Shield Semi-Gloss in HC132 Gull Grey. Sherwin-Williams advised us not to edge the concrete prior application but simply use a primer such as Behr Concrete& Masonry Bonding Primer. So far the paint is holding up great on the concrete, however, the paint started to peel within weeks at the smooth edges of the concrete slab. Thus, we cannot recommend this process.
Windproof Privacy Patio Curtains
The late afternoon sun hits the patio from the side where the roof does not provide much shade. It is also the same side where our neighbors operate a security camera. To protect ourselves from the sun and nosy neighbors, we installed these outdoor curtains. The curtains cover the entire side of the patio. We simply use a few paper clips to prevent any gaps between the curtains during windy conditions.
The curtains come with rustproof grommets at the top and bottom which is critical to attach them to the ground and keep them in place. We did not like to have a rod or wire rope along the ground as it could be a tripping hazard. Instead, we jammed wooden stakes into the ground and drilled holes to screw in bulldog screws so that the curtains can be connected with aluminum carabiner spring clips.
When no privacy is needed, we simply put a knot in each curtain as shown on the picture below. We get a lot of compliments for these curtains as they are stylish, serve a function and simply provide a nice summer atmosphere.
Now that the patio cover is build and set-up, let’s maximize the space for entertainment. Continue reading this post: Best Affordable Patio Entertainment Ideas (Backyard Must-Haves)