If you’re building a new patio and you’re lucky enough to be able to have it facing any direction you like, north is perhaps your best choice. With a north facing patio, providing you have a roof, you’ll get good protection from the high sun in summer, while in the winter, with the sun lower in the sky, some lovely warmth will be able to peek into your outdoor living area.
But, what if you don’t have a choice where your new patio is located? Or you want your patio to be on a non-north facing side because it simply makes sense with your home’s entry points? With smaller block sizes now more common this is becoming more of an issue, so let’s take a look at what you can do to make the most of your patio’s perspective.
The biggest issue with a patio facing west is that it will catch the brunt of the sun in summer, at the hottest time of the day. Even on a warm day, this will make your patio feel a little like an oven.
The key, therefore, is to block the sun as best you can. You can use screening and you can use vegetation, but they’ll also block out the sun in the cooler months. Another, and we think better, alternative is to install outdoor blinds or awnings. That way, you’ll be able to control when to block the sun and when to let it shine in, giving you the best of both worlds!
Another thing to consider for a west facing patio is cooling. It could be as simple as a pedestal fan that you can fetch from inside or a fan installed on your patio’s ceiling. For the ultimate in luxury you can even get outdoor evaporative coolers, air conditioners and misting systems.
There are several issues with a patio on the south side that you should consider.
Obviously, a south facing patio will receive little sun. Not having a roof will help, particularly when the sun is higher in the sky, but then you won’t have any protection from the rain, so a potential solution is to add a roof to part of your patio and leave another part without a roof. This will help a little with the cold, but your south facing patio can still feel rather chilly, particularly in the cooler months. Technology can help overcome this, with a variety of heating options available (or simply bypass technology and use a fire pit or similar). There are gas and electric options you can choose, from the simple and inexpensive up to more expensive gas log fires that are similar to the one you may have inside your home.
The other issue with a south facing patio is a lack of light. This can be alleviated by leaving part of your patio without a roof, using roofing products that let light in (e.g. Laserlite) and incorporating lights into your patio.
For most people, if their patio isn’t located on the north side, then the east is the next best thing. Even on many summer days the cooler morning sun is a welcome visitor and you’ll get protection from the sun in the hotter part of the day.
If you do want protection, the versatility of outdoor blinds will again do a great job.
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