Summer 2018 has been an unusual one for the UK. Apart from the occasional thunderstorm, it’s been pretty much wall-to-wall sunshine, so what better time could there be to get outside and enjoy what the garden has to offer?
The good weather has inspired many of us to make changes to our garden designs – and there are few more influential features than patio doors. Choose the right set, and you’ll be able to enjoy more of your garden from the inside, and ensure that your home looks the part from the outside. Let’s take a look at a few of the best options when it comes to patio doors, and see how making changes to your garden might help you get even more out of them.
French Door Garden Ideas
While often thought of as being very traditional, French doors to the garden can actually make a great addition to contemporary homes.
A set of French doors leading to the garden make a great match for smaller properties, too. They’re simply constructed, consisting of just two doors attached to opposite sides of the frame, which lock together where they meet in the centre. This means fewer moving parts, which in turn means more glazing.
You’ll want to consider the direction in which your French Doors will open when planning the surrounding space. If you’ve placed a garden table immediately outside the door, then you’ll want to allow a little extra room to avoid collisions.
It’s also worth bearing in wind speed in mind – the last thing you want is for your glass doors to be repeatedly slammed on a blustery day.
You can get around this in several ways.
You might tether your doors to the external wall using a small hook-and-chain, or you might prop them open using a rock or plant pot.
This latter option will require moving heavy objects back and forth every time you want to keep the door open, which will understandably be a little inconvenient.
We should also consider that an isolated pair of plant pots might well appear out of place. It’s therefore worth making a feature out of it and arranging a few dozen pots around the edges of your door.
Another option is to have your doors open internally. This will encroach on the space inside your home, but will mean you don’t need to worry about the wind. What’s more, you’ll be able to incorporate more decorative features around your French doors, like climbing plants and other ornaments. You don’t want to overcrowd the entranceway, as this limits how much light can enter your home; however a few subtle touches can often go a long way.
To emphasise the divide between your home and garden, you might build a set of steps from your French Doors to your patio. You’ll be able to feel like a real Parisian aristocrat as you descend them en-route to your barbeque!
Bifold Door Garden Ideas
Bifold doors leading to your garden can look spectacular. Their folding, sliding concertina-style design allows them to cover wall-spaces of five metres and more. This makes them the perfect match for uninterrupted stretches of wall which adjoin the patio.
Internal bifold doors allow you to open up or divide rooms as desired. With a little ingenuity, you can achieve the same effect in your garden. Match your patio’s tiles with those of your kitchen-diner, and you can create a seamless living space that’s perfect for barbeques.
You might even go one step further and have the floor of your patio and kitchen align perfectly, with the rail of your bi-fold built into the ceiling rather than the floor. This will create the ultimate harmonious living space. This will require you to consider draughts and drainage (you don’t want water leaking beneath your door, after all), but get it right and it’ll look amazing.
If you’ve got wooden decking installed outside, then another option is to raise it to the same level as your internal flooring, and minimise the gap between the levels.
While you’re unlikely to want to match the decking with the sort of hardwood flooring you’re laying in your lounge, wooden decking allows for rainwater to drain through, and if properly cared for will last for several decades.
Bifold doors also make a great addition to conservatories and garages that have been converted into living spaces.
In the latter case, they’re particularly useful. Since garages aren’t built with light dispersal in mind, they will benefit from the glazing that a bifold door provides. If your garage is set behind your property, then installing a large sliding door along the side of it will solve the light problem in a second, and provide you with a fantastic living area.
As with patio doors, you’ll need to think about the direction in which the bi-fold doors in your garden open. Having them extend out from the building is a logical choice, as this will maximise interior living space. It will, however, limit how much decoration you’re able to place immediately outside the door. Why not counteract this by placing potted plants and raised borders on the other side of the patio?
Given the considerable size of a bi-fold door, they can dominate exterior walls; even in larger properties. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that the room beyond is suitably varied and well-decorated, and to divide the patio with regular features. A long dining table that runs parallel to the door will achieve this. It’s a perfect setting for summer parties, and it’ll ensure that the eye isn’t confronted with a large empty space.
For the sake of convenience, you might wish to install a retractable canopy just above your bi-fold doors. This will eliminate the need to clutter up your patio with parasols. You’ll want to consider the angle at which sunlight will meet the door, however; even when retracted, your canopy might well cast a shadow over your bifold doors at certain times of day.