Your patio can serve as another room

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Patio season is a big deal in Shreveport-Bossier. Your patio should be a big deal, too.

If your deck or patio is too small for how you’d like to use it, don’t squeeze into it again this summer. Enlarge it. It’s possible to add on to an existing patio so it’s roomier and more functional. Or, you might want to tear the small, existing patio out so you can start fresh.

Either way, think big. Here are 10 things to keep in mind as you talk to your remodeler about creating an outdoor room behind your house.

1. Think about your deck or patio as a sort of addition to your house. Ask your builder for a design that will mimic what you have inside: a dining room, kitchen and living room. That translates outdoors into a roomy cooking/grilling area, space for a big table where everyone can eat and a section for a comfy couch and chairs where friends can hang out.

 2. Accessorize the grilling area.  Consider adding the comforts of a kitchen so you don’t have to run into the house so often as you cook outdoors. Incorporate stainless steel cabinets, a weather-safe refrigerator and a spacious, granite countertop for food prep.

3. Entertainment factor.  If you want to use your patio for entertaining, build a fire pit into the middle or install a hot tub. Both are party favorites.

4. Make your space your own. Don’t be shy about mixing and matching materials and designs for a patio that really stands out. Combine stone with concrete pavers or wood composites for the patio floor. Choose wood, composites, faux stone or metal for accents like railings, stairways, seating and columns.

5. Add a roof.  Summer days outdoors are far more comfortable on a covered patio than on one that’s exposed to the sun and rain. A pergola, awning or canopy will keep the weather at bay.

6. Build in proportion to the house. A deck whose floor space is almost as large as the home’s is too big. Likewise, you won’t get much use out of a little patch of a patio on the back of a spacious house.

7. Choose low-maintenance materials. If you like a stone patio floor, seal it to fight off stains. If you’ve always wanted a wood deck, consider low-maintenance composite materials.

Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, is president of JEB Design/Build in Shreveport. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting  www.jebdesignbuild.com.