If a patio cannot be sited where there is privacy and natural shelter from winds, it may be necessary to provide walls at both sides and perhaps partly across the front of the feature. Often a selection of trees or shrubs or even a well-trimmed hedge serves the purpose; but artificial protection is more speedily assembled and a greater variety of design can be achieved.
The most versatile material to use is timber. Soft-woods, such as deal and western red cedar wood, are the easiest to work, and the latter is particularly good as it produces a natural oil that combats rot and insect damage. The wood is an attractive reddish-brown colour that weathers to silver-grey unless varnish is used to preserve its original colouring. Cedar wood is more expensive than other soft-woods, but the initial outlay is well worth it. Teak and oak are two very durable timbers, but their hardness makes them difficult to work.
A most attractive patio-framing can be constructed in the form of large open lattice design with the squares or openings about 2 ft. by 2 ft. Cut the timber from 3-in. by 2-in. planed cedar or other softwood. Use halving joints and screw or glue them. The bottom 3 ft. or so can be rilled in with tongued and grooved wood, 4 to 6 in. wide and about ½ to ¾ in. thick. The squares can be left open or filled with marbled or decorated glass.
False rebates, in which the putty and glass rests, can be made from l-in. by 1-½ in. wood strips tacked on to the inside edges of the framing.
Pergola or rustic poles are easy to erect and can be formed into attractive designs. The supporting pieces should be selected from poles having a thickness at the base of at least 3 to 4 in.
To provide shelter from strong sunlight, a simple roof may be erected: arrange lengths of strong timber, on edge and spaced about 2 ft. apart, to run from the wall of the house to the edge of the patio. At the wall end fasten the timber to a strong beam that has been Rawl-bolted into the wall. At the other end support the cross pieces on a similar strong beam. Use posts about 6 ft. apart to support the front beam.
Use substantial timber, about 3 in. by 6 in., for this kind of feature. Secure fastening is important, and it is advisable to use threaded bolts. Trailing plants trained over this type of cover will not only provide additional attraction, but also some shade and privacy. Glass can also be used as a roof cover, and strong glazing bars 3 in. by 2 in. should be used. Green-shaded or marbled glass is ideal.
The screening material of the patio can be let right into the flooring or supported in a low wall, constructed with coloured slabs. If the wall is of cavity design, it can be planted up withwhich will give a bright display at the foot of the screen during the summer months. Trailing and can also be established in the cavities.