Homes with outdoor living areas are in high demand, especially in cities where space is at a premium. This is where patios can make a big difference by adding useful, livable space for entertaining or just relaxing.
Many new builds take this into account, such as the J5 condo development in Midtown.
“J5’s entire building design is centered around outdoor living for the homeowners,” says Pauline Miller, founder of Brightstar | Compass, which is handling the sales of J5.
These condos have oversized terraces ranging in size from 100 square feet to 400 square feet, which provide plenty of space for furniture and gardens.
“We are finding our home buyers are coming from other condos where terraces and green space is not available or limited. These terraces and green spaces also appeal to homebuyers that are leaving single-family homes who want the ability to spend time in the garden and have the opportunity to ‘play in the dirt’ during the many beautiful seasons in Atlanta,” Pauline says.
Incorporating natural, living elements can create an oasis away from the fast pace of city life and bring color and style to this private outdoor space. However, knowing the right elements to use is key.
Matthew Klyn is a landscape designer and owner of Garden, a boutique landscape and garden design firm. He is well-known for his designs in and beyond Atlanta and designs beautiful and interesting garden patios of all shapes and sizes.
When planning a patio garden, he stresses that many variables have to be taken into account. The right amounts of sun and water are paramount for maintaining a healthy and vibrant garden, and choosing the right plantings is essential. Since you want the garden to look good year-round, he recommends staying away from annuals and most blooming flowers. These take a lot of work and need to be replaced continually. It’s fine to have some, but he prefers to add colors with textures and containers.
“Lighting is also critical since you don’t just want to enjoy your garden during the day,” Matt says. Evenings are a great time to spend on your patio, especially once the weather gets hot. To enjoy the cooler temperatures and great city views, make sure you have the right illumination.
Gardening is in Matt’s blood. His grandfather owned 600 acres of nursery land in Ohio and had more than 1,600 varieties of plants. As a kid growing up in a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired house (an understudy of Wright’s actually built the house), Matt created an appealing landscape for the front of the house. When he was finished, he knew he had discovered his calling.
1. Know the weight allowance of the patio. Use lighter containers like fiber clay or fiber stone instead of ceramic, terra cotta or concrete. The latter may last longer, but they also add a lot of weight. Cover the base of the planters with gravel for drainage, use packing peanuts for fill and then add soil.
2. The sun dictates everything. When thinking about a patio garden, first figure out if it has an eastern or western exposure in order to calculate how much sun it gets. Evergreens and perennials, such as butterhead black pine and Japanese black pine, work great, as well as boxwoods since these can handle even the strongest sun.
3. The right amount of watering is crucial. Adding moist polymer to the soil helps hold water and prevents overwatering. To keep things simple, have watering systems with automated timers. Built-in planters with irrigation are already integrated into the design of the patios in the J5 building to ensure the sustainability of gardens.