22 January 2021

Complete guide to arranging your patio

Pierre Trudeau

As soon as the snow melts, many homeowners start looking for the best tips to arrange their patios. After all, when the warm temperatures return, the patio is the perfect place to relax or entertain family and friends. It is therefore both a place to get away from everyday stress and a place where you can experience memorable moments. It’s not surprising, then, that many people look for advice on how to arrange this space properly.

Whether you want to create a relaxing atmosphere on your patio or turn it into a friendly meeting place for your events, we can help you. Our outdoor layout experts have mastered the art of patio layout.

We understand the challenges and difficulties encountered by homeowners when the time comes to choose the style of your garden shelter or patio awning. We can also give you sound advice to help you choose the right accessories, furniture, and decor for your outdoor space.

Are you wondering where to start? Our advisors let you discover some pro tips and tricks in their complete guide. Here is our advice on arranging your patio.

Arranging your patio : Objectives, budget, and timeline

The layout of a patio is a very personal project. You will never find two patios that are exactly alike, because each patio owner is different. It’s not just a matter of preferences in terms of colours, styles, and decor either. It’s that each owner has a different objective for their patio.


To arrange your patio like a pro, you first have to define your objectives. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to define your objectives:

  • Do I want to be able to cook outside?
  • What needs to be close to the house?
  • How many people do I want to host? (Only your family, or do you need a space for large events that bring many people together?)

Once you’ve established your objectives, it’s time to move on to the budget and your timeline.

Budget and timeline

The best way to make a budget for arranging your patio is to create an Excel file in which you set your approximate budget. If you need help learning how to create an Excel file, here is a practical guide to creating a personal budget on Excel.

We also strongly recommend thinking about keeping a contingency fund in your budget. That way, you will be prepared for any eventuality. In addition to the contingency fund, you should also pay special attention to the cost of the materials. Certain materials are more expensive than others; for example, natural stone is more expensive than rockery.

Your budget can also be spread out over several years. The complete layout of a patio is rarely a job for a single summer. This is why we suggest that your timeline reflects this reality over a few years. Don’t hesitate to put your timeline in a planner. That way, you can refer to it and prepare for the work.

Your timeline should therefore have a list of the work to be performed so that you can have an idea of the time that this will take you in order to have a patio layout that matches your taste and your needs. Investing in a patio is a long-term investment. It also offers undeniable added value to your home if you ever want to sell it.

Planning the layout of your patio

Have you made your budget and already thought about your timeline? It’s time to move on to the planning of your layout. We strongly recommend taking the time to make a plan in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.

To make a professional landscaping plan, start by taking the measurements of your patio. Then, make a design of the area to be arranged, keeping the measurements you’ve taken in mind.

Here are the elements that your patio plan should contain:

  • The place where your outdoor living room will be, if you want one;
  • Your meeting place, if this is different from the living room;
  • The place where your outdoor kitchen will be located;
  • The umbrellas around the pool, your gazebo, or your retractable awning;
  • The greenery, plants, and any other floral arrangement;
  • Your place to make a fire, if you have one;
  • And more, according to your tastes and needs.

We recommend making photocopies of your design, since your project may refine and change as it progresses.

A few tips for your layout plan

Don’t forget to take the quality of your soil into account. Certain types of soils can make it harder to install heavy structures.

Don’t neglect the amount of sunshine either. This is what determines whether you should install shade sails on your awning or consider purchasing a custom awning to protect you from the harmful rays of the sun when you enjoy your patio.

Finally, consider the drainage, especially if you have already had problems with water accumulation in your yard.

Check with your municipality

You can never be too careful when it comes to renovation. The layout of your patio is no exception to the rule. Each municipality has its own unique regulations, which is why we strongly recommend that homeowners who are planning a patio redesign take the time to get informed.

Don’t hesitate to visit your municipality’s website to familiarize yourself with the applicable regulations and avoid unpleasant surprises. If you start work without familiarizing yourself with the regulations, you could end up with a hefty fine and sometimes even have to redo a portion of your work.

If the information is hard to find on your city’s website, contact your borough’s urban planning department. You can also ask an outdoor layout specialist for help answering these questions.

Seek out inspiration for your patio layout

Although the layout of a patio is a unique and personal project, only a select few are born with the talent to be able to arrange a patio perfectly. This is why it’s crucial to seek out inspiration where you can. You can leaf through magazines specializing in outdoor layout or—better yet—check the internet.

Thanks to Google and social media, it will be very easy for you to find images that will inspire the layout of your patio. You just have to type “modern patio layout” or “patio trends” in Google to access an impressive image bank.

You can also use social networks such as Instagram. Browse the site by searching a few popular hashtags such as #landscaping, #moderngarden, or #landscapedesign. You can also find inspiration on the Pinterest sites of outdoor layout companies, such as Groupe Bellon Prestige’s Pinterest!

To arrange your patio according to your tastes, our experts recommend making an image table to which you can refer at all times. Once it’s time to shop for your materials, you can show your table to an expert, and they will help you find what you need for your patio.

In addition, consider the fact that your outdoor space is an extension of your living space. Your outdoor layout should ideally match your home and not be a completely separate entity. If your home has a contemporary style, your exterior should reflect that.

The trends to consider for your patio layout

Plants and greenery for your patio layout

Arranging your patio with plenty of vegetation and plants is certainly beautiful, but it’s also a lot of work, especially if you haven’t done your research and chosen your plants based on their aesthetics instead of their ease of maintenance.

Of course, if you have time to take care of the maintenance of your plants, nothing is stopping you from putting several on your land! We therefore recommend taking the time to choose plants that match your schedule. If you don’t have much time to devote to your plants and greenery, opt for simple plants, such as succulents and grasses.

Home automation to simplify your life

Home automation is the integration of automated systems to simplify your life. In other words, you can automate your patio heater so that it starts automatically at a certain temperature or retract an awning automatically in case of rain or wind. In addition, home automation devices can be controlled from almost all smart devices.

Fire pit or patio heater

There are two ways to keep yourself warm. You can either opt for a fire pit or a patio heater. When it comes to efficiency, the patio heater easily outperforms the fire pit. However, fire pits are very stylish.


Very popular, pergolas offer protection from the sun, rain, and wind. You can decorate them with climbing plants to make them more attractive. At Groupe Bellon Prestige, we offer pergola brands recognized for their quality, such as Mitjavila.

One of the main advantages of a pergola is that it requires very little maintenance compared to an awning.

Natural pools and ponds

Natural pools are constantly increasing in popularity with Quebecers. In addition to being eco-friendly, these pools require little or no maintenance.

Bar and outdoor kitchen

If you’re the type that likes to entertain, building a bar or outdoor kitchen is a must. The advantage of an outdoor countertop is that you won’t have to shuttle back and forth between your indoor kitchen and your barbecue to prepare your ingredients. You can also entertain around this same counter and have a drink!

In addition to the fact that you will save time on going back and forth, you can also take advantage of this time to make small dishes, take care of your BBQ, and spend time with your guests.

Arrange your patio with style according to your preferences


A subject of disagreement for many couples, the style and colours of your patio are important elements of your layout. Since each person is unique, it’s natural for couples not to agree perfectly on the choice of colours.

To help you, here are a few tips to find an arrangement that will make everyone happy and help you match the colours of your patio.

  • Visit the coolors.co website to create a custom palette;
  • For homes with pale colours, we recommend opting for bright colours to create a contrast;
  • Otherwise, more subdued colours will more easily match a house with darker walls.

We’re convinced that you will be able to find a style and colours that will please everyone.

Outdoor furniture

Do you have space around your pool for loungers? Maybe you have a table to which you can add a beautiful centrepiece? Patio layout is more than just placing a table and a few chairs, especially if you plan to make this place a space where you can entertain or relax.

We recommend shopping at specialty stores rather than big box stores. Although your furniture will be less expensive at a big box store, a specialty store will offer you a better selection, which will allow you to personalize your space as much as possible.

In addition, by choosing a specialist, you will have access to advice from experts in the field, which a clerk at a big box store won’t be able to offer you. The quality of the products also differs; specialty stores generally offer higher-quality products that are much more durable.

Finally, it’s important to choose outdoor furniture that is resistant to UV rays. Otherwise, your furniture will be discoloured after a single season. We also recommend choosing products that are resistant to our winters if you don’t have space to store them. Without storage, you can also invest in covers to protect them.

Custom cushions

There’s nothing more pleasant than basking in the sun to relax. That’s why we suggest picking up some custom cushions. You will therefore be able to match the colours of your cushions to your furniture while being very comfortable. Use the colour palette you created earlier and choose a cushion manufacturer.

Groupe Bellon Prestige offers you a range of 500 fabric colours. Our high-quality custom cushions will even last for several decades.

The importance of lighting

Spending the day outside in the sun is nice, but what about the evenings? Provide some outdoor lighting to extend your evenings with your friends or family into the wee hours of the morning. Installing strings of lights lets you take advantage of each moment.

In addition, depending on the size of your patio, you can also create a corner with a fire pit. First, take the time to check your municipality’s regulations before setting fires outside.

Add some shade to your patio layout

The sun warms our hearts as well as our skin. Unfortunately, as pleasant as it is to stay in the sun for hours, the UV rays are harmful. Besides applying sunscreen, adding some shade to your backyard will let you enjoy the outdoors while taking a break from the sun.

We therefore recommend investing in umbrellas, awnings, and shade sails to protect yourself from harmful rays. Children will therefore be able to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest while staying protected from the sun.

Patio umbrellas

Umbrellas are ideal for smaller spaces. You can also choose them in a fixed or mobile version according to your preferences. If you like to change your layout regularly, a mobile model is preferable, since you will be able to move it as you see fit. Otherwise, an awning or a fixed umbrella is a good solution for you.

Shade sails

Do you have a sandbox that you want to protect? A shade sail is an excellent option. Groupe Bellon Prestige offers you sails in triangular, square, rectangular, or any other shapes to adapt to your needs and the shape of your patio. We strongly recommend opting for custom models rather than a sail from a big box store. That way, you can be sure that you will have the best possible anchoring and that your sail will last a long time.

Awnings: an additional living space

Adding a custom awning to your patio is a little like adding a room to your home. In addition to protecting you from UV rays, an awning lets you reduce your electricity consumption related to air conditioning. How? Adding an awning creates a shaded area, which lets you cool down the room inside.

Where to find awnings

You can find awnings at any big box store or at a specialty store. However, one good thing to note is that the quality varies greatly between a big box store and a specialty store. Your awning might only last one or two seasons, while a custom awning will be able to last many years.

In addition, your awning from a big box store probably isn’t suited to your space. You will also have few choices in terms of style and colours.

Finally, although purchasing an awning at a specialty store is more expensive, it’s much more profitable in the long term. In the event of breakage or a tear in the canvas, you will have access to after-sales service. A big box store also doesn’t offer any repair, storage, or cleaning service. It is therefore much more worthwhile to do business with specialists to get a durable awning.

Fixed or retractable?

The difference between a fixed awning and a retractable awning is the way to take care of it once winter arrives. For a retractable model, all you will have to do is retract it. To fully protect it, you can also invest in a box designed for retractable awnings. As for fixed awnings, you will have to remove the canvas and store it during the cold season.

Otherwise, here are a few tips for properly storing your canvas once winter comes:

  • Take the time to clean the canvas properly. Remove dirt, dead leaves, cobwebs, and insects, which could damage the canvas.
  • If you discover mould on your canvas, hot water, a simple mild soap, and a brush are all you need to remove it. Brush the fabric gently to avoid damaging it.
  • Examine your canvas carefully for any signs of deterioration, such as tears or holes. A tiny hole can become a big problem in the following year. Don’t hesitate to entrust your canvas to a canvas repair expert if you detect any tears or holes.
  • Dry your canvas before storing it. Otherwise, your canvas will smell bad and lose its splendour during the next season.

Groupe Bellon Prestige offers you turnkey canvas installation and removal service. We install and remove your canvases, then we subject them to a quality verification process to find holes, tears, or seams that are coming undone. Our experts then clean them in our wind tunnel. Since we take care of everything, you will be able to use all this time saved to enjoy your patio to the fullest.

Don’t overlook the importance of privacy

There’s nothing worse than neighbours talking and looking over the fence. As nice as they are, sometimes, it’s a real invasion of privacy. Fortunately, there are many solutions to enjoy your patio in total privacy.

Summer curtains

Summer curtains complement your patio and protect you from UV rays, wind, rain, insects… and prying eyes. They are available in 3- or 4-season models and in different types, such as mosquito nets, solar fabric, clear vinyl, and opaque acrylic. You will also have to store them with your awnings at the end of the summer.


There’s nothing better than a garden shelter to protect your privacy! With a gazebo, you can protect a spa, your outdoor dining room, or your outdoor living room. We also recommend choosing the colours of your gazebo according to the palette that you created above.

The advantages of a patio heater for your patio layout

Unfortunately, in Quebec, the mild temperatures only last 4 to 6 months—sometimes more if we’re lucky. To enjoy your patio as long as possible, a patio heater is an excellent solution.

You will be able to avoid having to lock up the chairs or take down your gazebo in September and continue entertaining until November if you want.

Where to find a patio heater

We strongly recommend getting a patio heater at a specialist. Why? Because only an expert will be able to help you find a model that will properly heat your space and last several years. A clerk at a big box store won’t be able to give you the necessary advice on properly positioning your patio heater to optimize its use.

You will also have to decide between an electric patio heater or a propane model. Propane patio heaters give off odours, but they are ideal for those who like to rearrange their space frequently. These devices can easily be moved, unlike electric models, which are fixed in place. However, they require a little more maintenance than electric models.

As for electric models, they require very little maintenance. Infrared patio heaters don’t release any toxic odours or fumes and can last up to 5,000 hours, so you can spend many memorable moments on your patio.

Entrust your patio to the outdoor layout experts at Groupe Bellon Prestige

We have been the custom awning and patio layout leaders in Quebec for over 125 years. We take care of your awning and thereby extend its lifespan.

In addition, if you need help with storage, our team can assist you. We can also give a fresh look to awnings that have survived several seasons thanks to our cleaning and waterproofing service.

Besides our services, we also offer many accessories for cleaning your canvas or decorating your outdoor space.

If you have any questions about how to arrange your patio or our custom awnings, contact us. Our experienced members are pleased to provide you with their expertise.

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