When summer’s in full swing, then there is nothing Europeans like to do more than get out, boil up some sunshine and enjoy some al fresco dining. However little their home may be (and European houses frequently are rather small) you may always find Europeans trying to split a piece of outside space where they can. Whether for a croissant and coffee on a quiet morning or a summertime barbecue with a glass of chilled rosé at the day, outside patios are perfect places for unwinding.
You can claim any outside nook or corner as your patio. Pull together some outside seating, set some planters out with pretty flowers and locate an umbrella to offer just a little colour. Voilà: You’ve the makings of a fantastic outdoor space.
Whether large up onto a rooftop, tucked away into a courtyard or overlooking lush areas or a beautiful ocean view, these European-style outside patios are sure to inspire your summer space.
Sutton Suzuki Architects
French farmhouse. This Northern California setting has a very relaxed, informal French farmhouse feel. Can’t you imagine sitting down to a dinner of crusty French rolls and a fresh salad beneath this shady shrub?
Produce your own French farmhouse–style terrace with the addition of natural wooden furniture with neutral linens and easy white plates. Add finishing touches to your table with a simple vase of wildflowers and a large bowl of oranges or heavy purple figs. Grow baskets of lavender for a heavenly scent, and add complementary aubergine (deep purple) throw pillows to your seating.
Italian apartment. This magnificent Italian terrace feels tasteful and chic, with a simple black and white dining set and a beautiful city view.
If you would like an Italian-style terrace of your own, develop tall shrubs — such as yew or privet — near a fence or a garden trellis to make some privacy from your neighbors. Use black iron, and in the event that possible, splurge on a white marble or stone top table. Accessorize with plain white chair cushions and a white umbrella to keep the look simple and classic. Add some warm terra-cotta planters with glowing flowers like geraniums for colour. Use one color such as pink, white or red so they don’t overwhelm the space. If you would like to add table linens, use crisp whites. Bellissimo!
Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
Spanish-style villa. This traditional Spanish-style villa has lean whitewashed walls, warm terra-cotta tones and a cool, shadowed interior courtyard.
If you’ve got the luxury of a wall you can paint, whitewash it to provide the space a clean, cool background. If you can not add warm terra-cotta tiles to the floor, try using oversize terra-cotta planters and fill them with vibrant-color flowers, such as red geraniums or vivid bougainvillea. Select furniture from dark black or brown and produce contrast with bold red cushions. Insert black iron light fixtures or mix with black metal candle lanterns to add to this Mediterranean feel.
Modern Scandinavian chic. The Scandinavians are masters of both clean and simple design. The appearance here was attained by layering varying soft shades of contemporary grey in various textures, such as bleached timber, easy rock and clean painted lines. The designer has also added some contrasting warmer timber tones for a sudden twist.
To accomplish a contemporary Scandinavian look on your terrace, select uncluttered, easy furniture pieces with clean lines from black or grey wood. Pick a simple palette of a couple of colours — grays or whites will work nicely. If it feels too sterile for you, try adding a little warm, colored timber (for instance, a reclining sun seat) or brightly colored (such as burnt orange or mustard yellow) seat cushions) For a touch of something natural, develop pots of simple green plants in black containers.
Lisa Borgnes Giramonti
English cabin. This garden is reminiscent of the English classic book The Secret Garden. Lush vines, rich colour and quiet nooks for reading and relaxing give it a peaceful feel.
If you’re inspired by the Brits’ beautiful gardens, start with a table and chairs in painted white iron or go for a fun color such as sage green, dusty pink or baby blue. Use floral chintz for your table linens and crockery; mix, match and clash these routines! You’re able to get odd pieces of china tableware and silver cutlery sets at your regional antiques marketplace.
Insert a lot of different herbaceous plants and colorful flowers. Though an English garden looks all natural and romantic, there is a little preparation involved. First work out what flowers and herbs will thrive in your climate (and when they blossom). Then think through different heights you’ll need to get those beautiful layers of colour. Delphiniums and lupines (blues) provide some elevation, then add upright campanulas (white), geraniums (pinks or red), cosmos daisies (pinks and whites) or agapanthas (blues or white). On the last lower layers, think about something such as bedding dahlias and begonias with some trailing plants such as cacopa or verbena. Plant in groups and pack everything in near.
You can also try out climbing plants such as creeping roses to pay for railings or exposed walls, and add a little water feature to make a relaxing sound of running water.
Spanish finca. Tucked through an archway, this rustic warm stone farmhouse feels every inch that the Spanish finca. The large stone creature trough makes a fantastic water feature.
To make your own little patch of Spain, develop pots (or a trough) of desertworthy succulents. If you don’t have beautiful sand-colored stone walls, then paint a surrounding wall at a wealthy mustard yellow or a warm terra-cotta reddish. Use iron or wood garden furniture with olive green cushions. If you have space, then add an additional comfortable seat or two with an ottoman so you can put your feet up and relax. Keep a wicker basket nearby with a handy source of magazines to browse and, clearly, a side table with a wonderful jug of chilled sangria.
Mediterranean-style palazzo. For a Mediterranean feel, even in Texas, add fresh white and blue fabrics to your outside furniture and a bowl of citrus fruit as a colorful table centerpiece. Potted Italian herbs — such as rosemary, oregano and thyme — will produce wafts of fresh Mediterranean scents. Ensure that you use an umbrella to get some colour and add glass storm lanterns for romantic evening lighting.
Spanish revival. Vibrant Spanish tile adds unique colour to this outdoor space.
Try using Spanish tile onto a wall, the floor along with the kickboards of a stairs. You may even locate iron tables with Spanish tile shirts. You may find a similar effect using bold-patterned fabrics on chair cushions, throw pillows, tablecloths and maybe drapery. Play differently scaled prints from the exact same colour palette, such as this fantastic combination of navy, pale blue, white and orange.
More European-style patios