No patio should be an 'island'

By Tanya Miller of South Elgin
Posted6/18/2017 6:00 AM
  • Tanya Miller of South Elgin says she would like to make her yard more of a party space.

    Tanya Miller of South Elgin says she would like to make her yard more of a party space.

My husband and I have lived in our house for two years and we absolutely love entertaining and spending time in our backyard over the summer. However, our current entertaining space isn't much fun. As a teacher, I would love to have a yard we can actually enjoy during the summer months, so we would love to spruce up our party space! We currently have an unfinished patio, mismatched patio furniture, and a small portable fire pit. We would really like to have a more welcoming and inviting space to spend time with family and friends. Our dreams include finishing the seating area, building a real fire pit, and adding some nice lighting so we can keep enjoying the space after dark. We love having fun and would like our backyard to reflect that!

Design by Steinhafels

Expert: Andrea Odishoo,

Budget: $5,000

This small cement patio is an island in the middle of a wide border of mulch. The two areas need be connected visually and functionally.


•Place round or irregular-shaped steppingstones from the two doors leading to the outdoor space.

• To use the small patio most efficiently, a round table and chairs will work best. This set uses eco-friendly materials and offers super easy maintenance.

• Adirondack-style chairs work great on softer surfaces. They're lightweight and easy to clean -- just hose them off. Made from recyclable plastic, these chairs don't fade and have a 20-year limited warranty.

• Add a firepit that can be enjoyed from any seat on the patio.

• Create a sense of intimacy and add tropical flair by adding a tall, yet narrow, trellis to the longer side of the house for visual interest and to soften the exterior wall. On the window wall, use wall-mounted planters in the same finish as the large trellis for continuity.

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