While the construction of my room was going on there was scope for a backyard patio, and I wanted to take advantage of that small space of 12 feet by 30 feet, roughly 360 Sq. Feet; so I tried to make it in the lowest budget possible, while getting the most out if it. Let me tell you what I did:
I live in Rajasthan which is hot, we have winters for 3 months and hardly any rains, but when it pours it's usually heavy. So I decided to cover half of my patio, that way I could ensure that in the evening my furniture is not too hot to sit on. The sitting area has been made under the shade. For that I made a rough sketch to plan out the execution, and that is my basic approch whenever I am planning to do something new.
What I’ve done besides other usual things :
Theme is important. There are several ways of doing the same thing. Ive seen my friend’s place which has been created from old unused furniture, somehow that works for him, but it doesn't always work. It's better if we pre plan what goes where and we stick to a theme. I decided to go with the theme "Tropical Jungle" since my first trip with my wife was to the magical land of Bali, and I wanted to create a place to escape similar to the tropics of Bali. There can be numerous themes to choose from but you should should stick to the theme which suits your style, budget and timeframe.
Buy a fire pit, even if you have winters for 2 months, you can enjoy bonfire with your family and friends, it becomes the center of attraction of the party and a great conversation starter. I got it made from Kernig Krafts, I purposely did not paint it in any color to keep it rustic and raw.
Invest in a BBQ. Buy a good quality BBQ that lasts; there is a secret that I want to share, all powder coated barbecue sets are for single use, the powder coat cannot take the heat of the oven so the paint comes off. Buy a ceramic coated barbecue set, it will cost more but will last for years. Barbecues are the best way to bond with other people, specially those who like cooking, it's a stress buster that works like magic. The BBQ I have was gifted to me by Mr. Shikhar, one of my initial clients, who happens to be a manufacturer and exporter of high quality BBQ ovens. This has survived four to five parties without a scratch.
Buy multi use furniture. When your patio is as small as your budget, it's foolish to invest in specific furniture. For example, my centre table is a chest, in which I keep all knick knacks. The chair doubles up as a stair case, I found the design somewhere on Pinterest and got it made. There is a set of three stools, which were lying around from a past project of Mr. Vishal J. From Brown Sugar, Jaipur. These nesting stools are really verstatile, two of them are being used as pot stands for my plants.
Plants are a must. If you think you can pull off styling your patio without plants then you are wrong. I know they require maintenance and daily watering, but they are totally worth it, the time you spend with plants is irreplacable. As I wanted it to be a tropical place, I planted Frangipani, different variety of Philodendrons, varieties of Bromeliads, different types of Ferns, African masks aka alocasia, Arrow heads etc. I am a plant enthusiast and this became my hobby when I started learning about plants for my backyard. Gardening is another stress buster as you can see the result of your hard work in the best way possible, the feeling of elation when they bloom is unparalleled. I’ve made more than 30 trips to the nearby nurseries and can now successfully boast that I know more about plants than the nursery owners.
Lighting is important. First of all lighting should be subtle, there should be lots of lighting options to suit your mood. Secondly, white light or 65000 kelvin is a big no no. Warm white or incandescent is the best and if you are into rice lights popularly known as fairy lights then any color will do. You can see the lights I used in the photos below.
Mosquitoes and bug repellents, the best way to say good bye to mosquitoes is to plant shrubs that repel mosquitoes like - lavender, basil, lemon grass etc. Some rainforest plants attract mosquitoes like bees are attracted to floral plants. The best way is to spray neem oil mixed with water on plants. If you dont want to do all that, buy a mosquito killing machine, keep it switched on all night, and voila.
Furniture. There are lots of options when it comes to furniture, the best option is low sitting. I've decided my place to be chill and relaxed mainly for barbecue and hukka parties. The chest being used as a table was gifted by my dear friend Hiten. Apart from it I have a day bed, folding chair which turns into stairs, a lamp, and two low height chairs, all made by Kernig Krafts. The rice lights were purchased from a local market shop.
The joy of putting all these things together with my own hands is now a story that I narrate to every new visitor.