For small homes, a patio can be an important extension to your living space. It makes an excellent place to host parties on warm summer evenings, and during cold weather it can visually create the sensation that you have more space than you have, even if you do not use it often. There are a few ways that you can maximize your outdoor space by increasing the flow from the interior of your home onto your patio.
French patio doors will usually give you a large opening as well as the most control over that opening. During summer nights, you can keep your doors all of the way open, but during the day you can lock one side and use just half of your door.
To maximize your space, you should consider out-swing doors with a 180 degree hinge allowance. When your doors open out, it creates a feeling of moving from the interior of your home to the exterior. Allowing the doors to lay flat against the exterior of your home when they are open will give you the most external space for your use. If the doors do not lay flat, consider extending their visual line by installing windows on either side of the doors.
Minimal Transition Installation
Even a small step can trip you up when you are carrying items in and out of your home during a party. To blur the lines between the interior and exterior of your home you should look for a professional experienced in minimal transition door installation. This involves removing any step between your home and patio while maintaining the integrity of the door seal for weather and security purposes.
While you may want to maximize human traffic between the interior and exterior of your home, you do not want to give flies, mosquitoes, and other insects the same privileges. There are many varieties of cloth, beaded, and mesh curtains that can keep pests out of your home, but they all create a visual barrier between your home and patio. Instead of a physical barrier, you should consider air curtains.
Air curtains involve a fan unit installed above the doors that creates a downward draft that seals the doors. It is commonly used at restaurants and businesses that require open doors or windows.
Create Open Space Around the Doorway
Even if your door swings out, you will want to create an open space around the doorway in the interior of your home. Avoid placing a couch or table directly in front of your doors. Instead, create a path that leads at least six feet into your home. If you have a kitchen island in the direct path of the door, you should make sure that it is free of clutter and is used to support both interior and exterior activities. For example, you can install a cabinet that faces your patio and keep a patio dining set in it.
Create Visual Borders Outside
While you want to extend your home to include your patio, it is still important to have barriers that create a sensation of being enclosed. This is easily done if your doors open to a raised deck or you have a roof over your patio. If you do not have these, you may need to employ creative landscaping or arrange your patio furniture to create a clear border for your space. Alternatively, you can open your home to your entire yard as long as you have an adequate privacy fence creating a border.
Allowing your home to open onto the patio can increase your usable space, making your home more pleasant and better for entertaining.