A Foolproof Guide to DIY’ing your own Patio
By Piotr Golinski
I can’t stop talking, thinking, planning, and going to my next patio. I don’t know if it’s the fear of another lockdown or just the simple happiness I feel outside drinking sangrias with my besties. The details don’t matter, but thge point is that I plan to consume alcohol and fried food en plein air all summer long! Okay, maybe some water and salads too! No matter what, I want to enjoy good times outside for as long as the temperature stays over 20 degrees celsius. But how am I going to afford such a lavish lifestyle? you may ask. After all, we all know eating and drinking out is two to three times more expensive than buying or cooking at home. Well, my answer to that question is the same answer I would give when someone asks the benefits of buying a home rather than renting: invest some to save a lot and in this case, the investment is in your own patio at home! Keep on reading if you’re curious to find out how you can also make patio nights a regular part of your summer plans.
Designate a Space
Ideally you’ll want to be outside; that’s the whole point of a patio! So if you have a balcony space, backyard, front yard, terrace, or even a large enough open window, then that’s where you want to set up camp-so to speak. Is there enough room for all the people you might ever invite at the same time? Plan how or where you can move some things around (even temporarily) in case you need the extra space. Ideally, you should make it as easy as possible for you and others to enjoy even if the space is multi-use or shared by others. If none of these options are available where you live, then you’ll want to pay special attention to the next step!
Keep it Simple
Remember, this point of doing this is to SAVE money and not end up redecorating and renovating a whole room. I’ll save that one for a future blog post! Once you’ve planned the space, you’ll know exactly what to add in order to make it more comfortable and functional. Maybe you’ll need a few extra fold out chairs or a small side table? To save some money (and reduce garbage waste!) check out websites like Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace where you can pick up a pre-owned table, some chairs, or even a beach umbrella for some shade; you never know what others are trying to get rid! Use broad search terms for the most results. If you’re not sure what you need or for inspiration on what to look for, use websites like Pinterest or catalogues from furniture stores: even if you don’t plan on buying from them, they’re packed with great ideas you can copy! I likeIkea, Structube , and Article #notsponsored.
If you don’t have space inside your home or on your balcony/yard, you DO have access to local parks which is oftentimes a better view anyway! Make a To-Go picnic basket with all the essentials that you might need such as tissues, cutlery, cups, plates, scissors, blanket, and extra garbage bags. If you have any experience camping, you’ll be familiar with having a kit of essentials and may also be able to use those items for this as well! Keep this kit somewhere accessible so you can simply add some food/drinks and be on your way.
Don’t Forget Lighting!
Lighting often gets forgotten or discounted because it doesn’t seem too important. I mean as long as I can see what’s in front of me, then what difference does it make? A LOT in fact! Photography is an entire art form and business in itself! You may have heard the phrase ‘taking a photograph is like painting with light’ and that’s exactly what you want to do on your patio set up. Create the picture of warmth and joy through soft and warm light even after the sun goes down. If you can, hang some outdoor string lights for the best “Patio” effect but if electricity isn’t available, then use battery powered lanterns or candles (which are safer than flame candles and can also be surprisingly bright and realistic). There are some great remote controlled options available too that have a timer in case you do leave them on by accident.
Patio season is for everyone and I hope that you will be able to experience the simple joy of sitting outside and catching up with friends while drinking a favourite beverage sometime soon. Alternatively, making a patio at home is also a great way to stay in touch with friends and family especially for those in higher risk groups and wish to stay at an appropriate distance from others. Whatever the reason, there’s an option for everyone to get outside and absorb some vitamin D (and maybe a mojito or two). See you around King West!