What is the difference between a patio and a terrace?
In popular thinking, not much. The terms are used interchangeably. Actually, the patio originated with the Spanish and we have come to associate terra cotta pottery and tiles with it. Usually a patio is partly enclosed, with shrubbery, or glass, or ornamental wooden screening. A terrace is more open without so much shelter.Where should the patio be located?
Immediately outside the living room or dining room, where it is easily accessible and can be seen from indoors. Be sure to plan it and plant it so that it is most attractive from indoors. The use of sliding glass doors adds a picture-window effect.What is the best material for paving a patio?
Depends on your likes and dislikes. It should go well with the house, or its foundation, or the chimney. Tile, gravel, paving stones, bricks, even redwood planks are all possibilities.I want to build a partially enclosed patio. What do you suggest to enclose it with?
If there is a view of merit, be certain to take full advantage of it. Shield it from prevailing winds. A low brick or stone wall with small openings, louvered redwood or redwood to form a "board-on-board" arrangement, glass or plastic, or a hedge or border of shrubbery. There are many possibilities. Consult your lumberyard salesmen. Principal purpose is to give some privacy and shelter from winds.I would like to have some flower beds on my patio. Do they belong?
Certainly, and you might consider raised beds, using walls of brick or stone to raise the planting surface 2 ft. above the ground. If herbs are planted they would be much closer to smell and touch. Weeding such beds is not a backbreaking chore as it might be if the beds were at ground level.How do I provide shade for the patio?
If a large tree is not already there, plant a dogwood, crab apple, magnolia, or some other small tree. Dogwood is ideal because it has horizontal branching and one can sit under it. A larger tree, like a hemlock, pine, oak, or maple, just outside the patio walls, would do the same trick, but place it where one can take fullest advantage of its shade at the right time of day.Is there any special furniture for the patio that is best?
It certainly should be weatherproof. Chairs and tables might be of metal and heavy enough so they would not be blown around. Lounging chairs should be of a type to go well with the architecture of the house and type of patio constructed.Should pots for plants on the patio be large or small?
The larger pots are more decorative and usually in keeping with the patio idea. What is even more important, they do not dry out as fast. Don't eliminate large wooden tubs as possibilities on the patio. Some of these, well planted, make excellent ornaments for display.Is there any reason why a sandbox for our two small children should not be placed in one corner of our patio?
If it is in the shade, and easily seen from the house, it would be an excellent place for the sandbox - if you really want it there!Which flowers will grow on a very windy terrace?
Dwarf phlox, astilbe, dianthus, Gypsophila repens, hemerocallis (day-lilies), evergreen candytuft, lavender, marigolds, geraniums, low-growing zinnias.How should I construct a flag terrace, and the steps down from it to the lawn?
The flagstone, 2 ins. or so thick, can be laid on a bed of cinders or gravel covered with a thin layer of fine sand. No mortar is needed if the flags are heavy enough to stay in place. Slate cannot be used so easily. Brick can be substituted for flag. Steps should have treads with at least 1 in. overhang, and there should be a solid concrete foundation under them. Ramps, parapets, or wing walls should be substantial and have copings with the same overhang as the step treads. Steps and walls should be laid in cement mortar.Will you suggest a plant giving a long period of bloom for the narrow border around my flagged terrace?
Lantana. Purchase young blossoming plants from a florist or garden center and plant 18 ins. apart. They will grow into sturdy shrubs by midsummer; not winter hardy. Try and edging of lobelia on the inside. A more economical substitute for the lantana would be dwarf marigolds.Which plants are suitable for a patio?
In the northeast or north a patio might include a permanent planting of broad-leaved evergreens, an espaliered fruit tree (if there is a sunny wall), and a wisteria vine. Potted foliage plants (monstera, Nephthytis afzellii, dracaena, dieffenbachia, etc.) and potted geraniums, fuchsias, lantanas, begonias, and caladiums; crown-of-thorns and other succulents (such as crassulas) could be set out in warm weather. Patios in warm climates have a wider choice of plants, including such shrubs as oleanders, camellias, and gardenias; also bougainvillea and vines and other semitropical plant material.I would like to have a patio garden. Would this be suitable with a colonial house?
Patio gardens are usually made with a courtyard or similar enclosure. Although they are of Spanish origin and suited to this type of dwelling, the idea can be adapted to any style of architecture today. If you have or can arrange a suitable protected terrace or courtyard adjacent to your colonial house, you can use flat stones or flagging to pave the area, put potted plants in white containers instead of Spanish pottery ones and, by using colonial ornaments and furniture, arrange a fitting outdoor living area which would serve the same purpose as a patio.Are sun decks recent additions to outdoor living?
Actually no, they are adapted from the mid-Victorian porch of past centuries, which was firmly attached to the house. They no are built over slopes, in the trees, over the garage, and many other places, giving opportunity for the sun-loving people of today to enjoy outdoor relaxation. Building a redwood sun deck over the edge of a steep bank makes it possible to have outdoor living where there is no room for the standard patio or terrace. Usually more exposed to the elements, there is opportunity for outdoor entertainment and gardening by growing plants in tubs.I want to screen one side of our patio from the view of the road, but I don't like the idea of a wall. What do you suggest?
Landscape architects have come up with all sorts of beautiful screening ideas - actually walls made of wood but with the boards cut and put together in interesting ways so that the "wall" is actually a thing of beauty when viewed from either side. Cedar, redwood, translucent glass or plastic, louvered slats of redwood, etc. - all have been used effectively. The salesmen in your local lumber yard will have suggestions. Look through general gardening books for specific suggestions.