Transform Your Patio Into An All-Weather Outdoor Living Space

July 19, 2018

It’s easy for Pacific Northwest residents to love where we live. We’re surrounded by beauty and never let a little rain keep us from enjoying the outdoors.

Like many Portlanders, our clients in SW Portland wanted to create an outdoor space they could utilize throughout the year. Since our landscaping experts specialize in designs that add function to exterior spaces, we transformed their patio and deck into a seamless all-weather outdoor living space.

About the project:

The backyard space had a patio on the main level and a deck on the balcony of the second level. The homeowners wanted more room to enjoy the sun on the upstairs deck, and a modern outdoor space in their backyard they could use throughout the year without getting wet.


The existing upper-level deck offered limited space for our clients to enjoy sunny days. It also only partially covered the backyard patio and, when it rained, water dripped through the deck boards. Since decks aren’t impermeable, our Portland landscaping team had to come up with a solution that could catch rainwater, send it to a gutter system, and look attractive.

Because of the deck’s height, special permits from the City of Portland were required. Our clients wanted a finished looking space and not a haphazard add-on. We came up with the following plan to address the needs of our client while making sure all city requirements were met.


  • Replace the upper deck: The new deck was created with Legacy decking from TimberTech. The composite decking looks like lumber, has a hand-scraped surface, and is capped with a polymer shell that makes the material resistant to fading, scratches, stains and the elements. The color of the deck is called “Tigerwood,” which looks very natural because the product has color injected into it in a random pattern. The colors are all in the same family and this, combined with the hand-scraped surface, makes the product look more like hardwood.

Before Photo

After Photo

  • Add warmth: Instead of using a railing made from the same material as the deck, the client chose a custom steel railing. The top of the rails have natural cedar caps that are flat. The combination gives the space a warm feel and the caps provide an extra space to hold plates or drinks for outdoor entertaining.
  • Install an invisible drainage system: While there are several drainage systems that catch water under a deck and send it to a gutter, none are attractive. We created a custom solution that sends water to a gutter that we installed. Because the clients wanted the outdoor living area to look like a finished space and not an add-on, a tongue-in-groove wood ceiling over the patio covers the drainage system, which sends rainwater to a cedar-encased gutter.
  • Improve lighting and sound: The new deck has recessed lighting in the tongue-and-groove ceiling and the seat walls contain lights for added ambiance and increased safety. The deck also has a new speaker system that connects to the home stereo.

After Photo

  • Expand into the backyard over the old patio: To save the client money, our team built over their existing patio to expand the space. Building over the old patio saved the cost of removing it and adding new gravel. We used Lafitt Rustic Slab concrete pavers from the Belgard Natural Collection, which look like natural stone. We used polymeric sand in between the pavers. This product hardens and keeps the sand from being washed away, stops ants, and reduces weed growth.
  • Add decorative seat walls: To create a more cohesive look and transition, the outside ends of the patio have a short retaining wall, or seat walls, made from cultured stone, the same stone used for the new fire pit.

Before Photo

After Photo

  • Create warmth: The main seating area in the patio features a beautiful raised fire pit made from cultured stone and a cast concrete coping. The pit has a steel insert and crushed fire glass for a contemporary look.

After Photo

  • Sufficient fuel: A lot of people have a gas line to their BBQ and they want to run it to their fire pit, but it’s too small to produce a very powerful flame. To make sure things were done right, Landscape East & West hired a gas contractor to install a gas line for the fire pit that was large enough to sustain a significant flame.

Thinking about transforming your outdoor living space? Contact the experienced team at Landscape East & West and schedule a free in-home consultation.