Designing your terrace: 11 mistakes to avoid

Planning to develop your exteriors is not as easy as it seems. Letting your artist’s soul speak, unearthing the genius idea on the internet, wandering for hours in DIY and gardening stores, or even collecting advertising magazines to find the desired atmosphere seem to be part of the rather fun occupations of the sunday. Yes, except that very often, it turns rather into hair pulling with ideas that are difficult to associate. As for the terrace, it is no exception either. If, once well furnished, it can be a nice extension of the stay with a zen, modern, vegetal look, or many others, it can also quickly have the elegance… of a Picasso. To guide you somewhat, in the absence of layout advice that is specific to everyone’s tastes, here are some mistakes that it will be better to avoid when setting up your terrace.

Before the action, a good preparation!

You are in a hurry to start, it is understandable, but as with any successful project, it is important to prepare it well by asking yourself the following essential questions:

  • What use are you going to do your patio? Is it for lunch? to bask in it? to receive people? or all three?
  • Of those surface do you have ? What is its direction? What is its shape? According to these criteria, not everything can necessarily be considered.
  • Quel budget ? Yes, down-to-earth is necessary because budgeting for a project is essential so as not to leave room for the extravagance of our desires and risk burning our wings.

Mistakes to avoid!

Once the project is well defined, it is time to plan more precisely and concretely on your choices. Avoid making isolated choices, because a particular object pleases you in the moment. Instead, try to project yourself on an overview and never lose sight of this common thread. Here are some faux pas tips to avoid for a well-thought-out layout.

Mistake n°1: Opting for garden furniture that is unsuitable for the available volume

This is part of the considerations to have during the preparation phase of your project: what use do you plan to use your terrace? Depending on its size, it may be necessary to make a choice between the garden furniture, the relaxation lounge or the deckchair. The choice of furniture should be measured and well thought out. This type of element is often relatively large. It will be good to favor low furniture, on light colors such as wood/ecru fabrics, and avoid any element at eye level on the terrace to extend the view. Do not load too much and favor sufficient circulation spaces, even if it means considering folding or modular furniture.

Mistake n°2: Thinking of its layout as a space disconnected from your interior

It would be a mistake not to coordinate your terrace layout with that of the room that opens onto it. If your stay is in Mediterranean or Scandinavian tones for example, the terrace must be in keeping with this atmosphere. The more coherence and harmonization you gain, the more you will perceive your terrace as a room in its own right, pleasant and convivial.

Mistake #3: Leaving a bare wall

If your terrace is positioned at the limit of a wall, or if it is a patio, not dressing the walls would amount to having a feeling of imprisonment of the terrace rather than a cozy nest. The walls, even unsightly, can easily be covered with plants or wood cladding for example, or even painted in a color to match your decoration. This brings a cocooning aspect to this space by highlighting the heights.

Mistake #4: Overlooking the importance of plants

A bare terrace without plants or flowers would be bland and lacking in life. On the contrary, prefer them of various sizes, of different colors. Combine plants in pots, hanging plants or climbing plants: it’s all a question of maintenance. If you don’t have a green thumb, plants that don’t require high maintenance will do just fine, such as cypress, palm or laurel.

Mistake #5: Minimizing Lighting

Exit the big round lamp above the opening, outdoor lighting has become a decorative element in its own right. Several wall sconces for the need for light, combined with solar-powered night lights such as lanterns, garlands or light pots. The more the sources of light, even subdued, multiply, the more your terrace will become in the evening a real space of sharing and well-being to receive your friends or to make the meal last until midnight!

Mistake #6: Not providing shade

Relying only on your parasol would be tantamount to depriving yourself of many shading elements existing on the market. From the shade cloth in multiple colors, to the most sophisticated pergola, through the manual or electric awning, to the trees with dense foliage. All styles are possible, all materials can be found to create the ideal space that suits you perfectly.

Mistake #7: Choosing an unsuitable floor covering

It would be a mistake to choose your flooring only for its aesthetic appearance. It is important to also think about it according to the exposure of the terrace. Depending on whether it is exposed due south or due north, the choice of material will have to be considered if, for example, it receives little sunlight and remains too full of humidity. In the case of tiling, it will be necessary to opt for a frost-resistant quality tiling. If you opt for wood, then choose one that is treated accordingly, and be sure to maintain it regularly. As for the PVC, it must be non-slip because it remains slippery during heavy rain.

Mistake n°8: Do not accessorize it with decorative objects

Furnishing your terrace also involves decorating, as you would for your interior. Depending on the desired atmosphere, there are many accessories for exteriors in decoration stores to satisfy your theme, and bring an additional touch of personalization. Whether mirrors to be fixed to the wall, trellises on which to hang small succulents or herbs, outdoor rugs or poufs, atmospheric garlands, etc. Let your imagination be free.

Mistake #9: Overlooking the need for storage

Each garden chair has its seat cushion, each relaxation lounge has its many modular elements. Not providing a storage chest, an outdoor sofa with storage bin, or an outdoor wardrobe will force you to store everything in your shed, garage or closet at the entrance in the fall. Better to think practicality and invest in “self-sufficient” equipment. A tarp over it in October and you’re done to spend the winter under cover.

Mistake #10: Not maintaining it

You will be able to find the most stylish of decorations that will perfectly complement your interior with an opening on a space to your liking, if you do not carry out regular maintenance, it will quickly become the black point of your home. At the beginning of spring, clean it with a brush and the now ultra popular mixture of white vinegar and baking soda: it’s a guaranteed makeover! On a daily basis in the spring and summer seasons, apply a squeegee after a rainy episode where the water stagnates.

Not worrying about regulations: the 11th mistake !

Finally, before considering any development, it is important to ensure that you consult the co-ownership regulations or the town planning rules in force in the municipality, by consulting a PLU (Local Town Planning Plan) or a POS (Land Use Plan). Some developments are subject to authorizations, and others are prohibited. In principle, anything that changes the exterior appearance of the house is subject to authorization by the municipality. Be aware that in the event of non-compliance with these rules, you may be asked purely and simply to remove the adjustments made.

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