Designing a great patio really has one key component—enclosure or feeling protected. This can be achieved by building an arbor, planting a tree, or something as simple as adding an umbrella. The feeling of protection from the elements is something primal in all of us. There must also be comfortable seating with welcoming fabrics. We also like to add something that would typically be found in a comfortable indoor room–a lamp or two. It will need to be connected to a GFI (ground fault interrupt) or removed during wet weather. There is nothing like a lamp to give an intimate feeling. One could go further……if the architecture allows consider adding some flowing outdoor draperies of simple fabric. These can be bought ready made these days and are great. (Just make sure the fabric is “sunbrella” or will stand up to the summer sun.). Another feature is planting large pots with something spectacular in each. I really like topical plants for pots. They are typically large and I love the large foliage. Make sure the pot is large enough, as too many small pots just clutter the space. One to three large pots would be much better than dozens of small pots. It’s also easier to maintain.
Hope that helps! Thanks for the question! If you have a question, please email me.