Jacksonville is warm for so much of the year that most people use their patio all year long. Many Floridians consider it just another part of the house, an outdoor living room to complement the one inside. Barbecue grills and cushy dining sets are the standard decor, with some potted plants usually rounding out the collection. Since you use it so often, why not give that space an upscale touch? Improving your patio area can add value to your home and give your family and friends a more enjoyable spot to spend time together.

Fire Pit

One of the most popular trends for outdoor living areas are fire pits: enclosed areas for holding small bonfires, surrounded by comfortable seating. If you’re short on space and still want the look of a campfire, create a tabletop fire pit, such as this DIY modeern concrete fire pit. These oversized bowls or containers run on a gel fuel, last for hours just like a wood fire, and can be set on a table or pedestal or simply placed in the middle of any open space.

Here’s how it works: Place a container of gel fuel in the bottom of a ceramic bowl. Fill the bowl with smooth stones that cover the container, and light the gel for a flame that lasts all evening. Use the fire pit as a table centerpiece on your patio. It will look attractive with or without the flames.

Work Space

Work is a part of life, so why not enjoy the benefits of the Jacksonville climate by creating an outdoor work space or retreat? If you work at home, or if you have a hobby that could use a dedicated work space, the patio area in your back yard is the ideal place to construct a private space. While a small building with utilities is a dream space, that’s also a larger, more complex project. A simpler setup will do just as well.

Build a gazebo from a kit and surround it with mosquito netting. The roof will shade the interior, making it a viable space for a laptop. Decorate the inside with a waterproof desk and chair, cushions, and side table. Add little touches such as a cooler or music system to make your workspace more enjoyable. Plant climbing flowers around the gazebo and they’ll cover the building within a season or two, adding coolness and a charming look. Move your laptop and other electronic devices into your workspace, and you can always pop back into the house if you need a battery recharge.

Water Feature

Jacksonville residents spend a lot of time on or near the water, so a trendy water feature fits right in with the local theme. Fountains and ponds add a cool and soothing look and sound to your outdoor patio area and are surprisingly easy to build. If you space is tight, build a disappearing fountain for a constant trickling sound without the square footage.

Dig a hole the size of a galvanized tub and place the tub in the hole. Set a fountain pump in the bottom of the tub and bring the pump tube to the surface. Cover the hole with a grate. Thread the tube through the bottom hole of an urn and use silicone to seal the hole. Place the urn in the center of the grate, pour water through the grate to fill the tub, and cover the grate and surrounding grass with stones. Plug in the pump and the water will pump through the urn and splash over the edges, seemingly onto the rocks below, disappearing into the ground.

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