The first thing you need to do before making any purchases is to decide what style or theme is right for you, formal, casual, rustic, southwestern, Japanese, or something else. There are a lot of possibilities. When you’ve made the initial decision, stay with that style and theme so the overall effect does not become confusing. For instance, you wouldn’t necessarily want to combine bronze garden sculptures of saints or cherubs with rustic wooden wagon wheels.
Decide what is going to be the main purpose of your patio. What are you primarily going to use the space for? Do you plan to entertain a lot and cook outdoors regularly? If that is the case, make sure you have ample room to accommodate a barbeque and cooking area for a large amount of guests. Perhaps you want your patio to be more of an intimate, meditative sanctuary for basking in the sun or gazing at the stars, curling up with a good book or just contemplating life and recharging your batteries.
Create paths or walkways that wind their way from one area to the next. Paths can be very soothing and if planned carefully they can be very helpful when gardening. You can construct them from stone, brick, flagstone, gravel, or just mown turf, although be aware that grass paths need more work. Locate benches along the pathway to create some wonderful seating areas from which to enjoy your garden or a piece of beautiful garden sculpture.
Garden structures help create forms and lines, which will give your patio design definition and dimension. This definition will be preserved even during the winter months when most plants are free of foliage. By including a pergola or gazebo, you can create a garden design that will be attractive all year round.
Choose garden and landscaping elements built to withstand the weather, sturdy, yet attractive. You can include wood patio furniture made from treated pine, cedar, teak, or eucalyptus; metal patio furniture made from wrought iron or aluminum; a trellis, an arbor, or some decorative fencing. Another element to consider is a water feature, which can bring beauty and atmosphere to a garden design.
There are many landscaping choices available to you; make your choice carefully, and then stick with that plan. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring or monotonous, just maintain an underlying theme, and remember that an asymmetrical balance is still a balance.