Designing a patio to complement your home is easy, says Anne Halpin, author of "Homescaping: Designing Your Landscape to Match Your Home." For a log cabin or country-style home, she suggests using natural materials like fieldstone, weathered woods and grapevine to capture a rustic feeling for your patio. The materials and accents you choose for your patio can create a down-home, rustic retreat that will suit a country home's aesthetic perfectly.
The patio floor is the base of your patio design and sets the tone for the outdoor space. The material you choose for the patio paving determines the design aesthetic. Natural fieldstone has a rough, rustic feel that immediately calls to mind a country-style setting. Couple gray fieldstone with edging made of split logs or weathered timbers and you've got a great base for a rustic patio design.
Furnish a rustic patio with classic country pieces like Adirondack chairs and a picnic table made of rough-hewn timbers, left natural to weather into a soft, silvery gray. For a slightly more sophisticated look--without abandoning the simplicity of classic country styling--bring a farmhouse-style kitchen table out onto the patio and surround it with ladder-back chairs.
Accents and Additions
Play up the country style by choosing accents that fit into the rustic design scheme. Tuck a water fountain made with an aged whiskey barrel and an old-fashioned pump handle into a corner and surround it with rough log planters overflowing with herbs. Build a trellis made with twining grapevine and plant morning glories to grow over it. Keep the accents simple--terracotta pots and strawberry planters for container gardens, small tables and stools made of tree slices, and split-log baskets overflowing with flowers.
Finish with a Country-style Hearth
Stone hearths and fireplaces are the ultimate rustic accent. An outdoor fireplace built of fieldstone provides a crowning touch that transforms a patio into a true outdoor room. From a simple fire pit to a full-fledged fireplace complete with mantel and chimney, an outdoor fireplace extends your summer lounging spot into an outdoor space that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Rustic Colors for Patio Design
If you decide to bring in color beyond the natural palette of weathered wood and stone, stick with a palette in keeping with a rustic lodge or cabin. Valspar, makers of premium paints, points out that country homes were often painted with natural dyes, so the color values tend toward faded hues--soft greens, earthy browns, sun-washed blues and barn or brick red. The soft palette will create a subtle background for the more vivid, vibrant colors of any plants and flowers that you choose.