If you manage a cafe or restaurant, you might be considering building a patio out the back. An alfresco area will allow you to seat more customers. Plus, some people who are reluctant to dine indoors because of COViD may be more attracted to the outdoors. Patio builders can offer plenty of helpful advice on design options. But consider these ideas to get you started.
The flooring you choose for the patio will set the scene. Typically, alfresco spaces are more casual than indoor areas. However, you can opt for a more formal or breezy look. Large dark grey square pavers laid simply in rows give a classic air. Or else, choose ivory or pink pavers. If you create straight lines and a symmetrical layout, the area will tend to look more formal.
On the other hand, you might want a rustic and free-flowing look. You could opt for crazy paving in tan, blue, and gold. The irregular joins will look organic. Another option is to lay exposed aggregate concrete filled with colourful river pebbles to incorporate nature into your cafe or restaurant patio flooring.
You can pick between natural stone, decorative concrete, and other options for the flooring. Concrete can mimic virtually any other material, including rock. It comes in paver shapes, or it can be poured in place.
The flooring will affect how accessible your patio is, so bear this in mind. Deep grooves can make it harder for wheelchairs and prams to roll over the ground.
You also need to think about how to weatherproof the patio. If you make it more usable in diverse conditions, you'll get a better return on your investment. You could set up multiple umbrellas to form a sun shield so your customers can enjoy the space on hot days. Umbrellas allow you to face them in different directions to counteract the sun's movement in the sky, so they're handy in this way. However, they're not so effective when it's raining, as water trickles over the sides.
For a more widespread cover, you could install sunshades instead. These structures will allow your customers to enjoy the openness of the outdoors, as they're typically set relatively high. You can choose between waterproof or woven materials to keep the rain and glaring sunshine at bay. Weaved fabrics will let the breeze flow around the patio, while PVC can stop the air and the rain.
You can also construct permanent patio roofing. Transparent corrugated polycarbonate roofs help in all weathers. But they can make the patio feel more enclosed. Alternatively, patio contractors could build wooden slats as roofing, along which you could grow vines. Or they could lay polycarbonate roofing over the wooden slats. That way, your cafe patio will maintain a natural feel and be usable all the time.
You'll also need to consider heating and lighting. Fire pits and outdoor heaters will extend the use of the area in the colder seasons. Lighting can also add to a cosy ambience. You could connect string lights for a festive feel. If customers use the patio at night, make sure the paths and flooring are well lit to increase safety. Look into patio contractors near you for more information.