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While it is lovely having a patio where you can pull up a chair and while away the long summer nights, many people struggle with how to get the best out of that space. The lawn is easy, keep it mowed and watered and it will look after itself, and the borders lend themselves well to shrubs, flowers and trees. But what can you do with the neglected paved area?

These come in all shapes and sizes so you needn’t look far to find one that suits both your budget and your style. Fabulous to look at throughout the day and gorgeous to sit by as the sun goes down, your chiminea will become a much-loved addition to your patio. A good alternative to the chiminea is a fire pit which lends itself well to social gatherings, becoming the veritable camp fire in your garden. Buy slow burning, seasoned logs to get the most out of your outdoor feature.

Picnic Area
Many treasured childhood memories centre around family picnics; those are the moments that you will look back on when you are grown up and feel the pang of nostalgia, or if you a parent, a sense of longing for the days when the kids were young. Dressing your patio with a traditional wooden table and chair set or a more modern bronze set will make it the ideal picnic area. You’ll find yourself looking for an excuse, any excuse, to eat outside for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A picnic table can be dressed for a romantic meal or used to house a spread for a friends and family get together.

Power Wash
To make the most of your patio, you need to keep it looking its very best. You probably don’t need to wash the slabs every year but if it has been a while since you last cleaned them, now is as good a time as any. If you don’t own a power washer, and you don’t know anybody who can lend you one, it is now possible to hire them on a short term basis. Even if you don’t think that your patio is dirty, you will be amazed at how clean it looks after a short blast of powerful cold water.

The quickest and most effective way to add colour, life and instant personality to your patio is with a selection of well-filled plant pots. You can pack them with your favourite flowers such as tulips, dahlias and springtime daffodils and marvel at the riotous display. For minimum fuss and maximum enjoyment, you should try the ‘Balconniere Self Watering Planter’. As the months wear on and different flowers have their day, you can rearrange the pots so that your patio always looks its best.

To add a touch of magic to your garden, invest in some outdoor lighting. Twinkling fairy lights can traverse your pots while strategically placed solar lights can enhance the ambience. Solar technology has really come on in recent years and there is now a huge, fabulous variety of outdoor lighting that is cheap, sustainable and absolutely beautiful. Lighting can add romance to those summer nights and magic to late night BBQs.

Written by Sam Luther, a gardens blogger with several years experience in the gardening industry