Designing a Secluded North Facing Garden Patio: Tips and Ideas for Ground Floor and Split Level Homes


If you happen to have a garden that faces north, you might think that having a patio is out of the question. North-facing gardens tend to be shadier and cooler compared to gardens facing south. Finding plants that thrive in such conditions can be quite a challenge. Nevertheless, with a touch of creativity and design knowledge, you can design a beautiful and practical patio, providing you with privacy, comfort, and style.

This article presents some of the best ideas and tips for creating a secluded patio in a north-facing garden. Whether you have a ground-floor space or a split-level design, we will explore various aspects, from selecting suitable plants to incorporating innovative privacy solutions. Following these suggestions, you can craft a stunning and functional patio space in your garden.

Creating a Private Patio Space

Ensuring privacy becomes a key consideration when designing a patio in a north-facing garden. The goal is to create a cozy oasis where you can relax without feeling exposed to the prying eyes of neighbors or passersby. Luckily, there are several effective strategies to establish a secluded patio space that balances privacy and aesthetics:

  1. Utilize tall plants or hedges as natural screens: Incorporate towering plants or dense hedges strategically around your patio to act as natural barriers. Evergreen shrubs such as yew, holly, or boxwood are excellent choices as they maintain their foliage year-round, providing a consistent screen while adding a touch of greenery to your outdoor space.
  2. Integrate water features or other sound barriers: Enhance your patio’s privacy by introducing water features that serve as visual focal points and sound barriers. The soothing sounds of a fountain or waterfall can help mask unwanted noise from nearby areas while creating a tranquil ambiance. A tabletop water feature can still contribute to your patio’s overall privacy and serenity if space is limited.
  3. Select furniture and decor with privacy in mind: Opt for patio furniture and decor that offer privacy without compromising style. Consider using a trellis or lattice panel as a partial screen, allowing vines or climbing plants to enhance the secluded feel further. Additionally, invest in outdoor curtains or shades that can be drawn closed whenever you desire an extra layer of privacy. These versatile additions not only shield your patio from prying eyes but also add an element of elegance and customization to your outdoor space.

Incorporating Split-Level Features into Your Patio Design

For those with a north-facing garden, incorporating split-level features into your patio design can be an excellent way to add visual interest and create distinct zones for various activities. While commonly chosen for sloping or uneven terrains, split-level patios can work effectively on flat ground. Here are some design ideas to consider when incorporating split-level features:

  1. Create distinct zones for different activities: Utilize the varying levels to establish separate areas for specific functions. For instance, designate one group for dining and another for lounging, with a set of steps or a low retaining wall as a natural divider. This approach allows you to optimize your patio space by defining different zones based on how you plan to use them.
  2. Use steps or slopes to connect different levels: Embrace the natural contours of your garden by incorporating steps or gentle slopes to combine the different levels of your split-level patio. This adds an organic and harmonious feel to the design and makes navigating between the various areas of your outdoor space easier. It creates a seamless flow and encourages exploration within the patio environment.
  3. Add built-in seating or storage: To maximize functionality and maximize your space, consider integrating built-in seating or storage elements into your patio design. Built-in benches or seating walls provide convenient seating options and serve as boundaries for each level. Additionally, incorporating shelves or storage compartments allows you to keep your patio organized and clutter-free, maximizing the efficiency of your outdoor living space.

Best Plants for North-Facing Garden Patios

When selecting plants for a north-facing garden patio, choosing species that thrive in cooler, shadier conditions is crucial. Here are some plant recommendations to consider:

  1. Ferns, hostas, and shade-loving perennials: These plants are ideal for north-facing patios as they are well-suited to lower light levels. Ferns, such as the Japanese Painted Fern or Maidenhair Fern, bring a graceful elegance to the deck with their delicate fronds. Hostas are another popular choice, known for their attractive foliage in various shades of green. These shade-loving perennials require minimal maintenance and can create a lush and verdant atmosphere on your patio.
  2. Climbing plants: Incorporating climbing plants can add vertical interest and dimension to your north-facing garden patio. Ivy, honeysuckle, and clematis are excellent choices for training to grow up trellises, walls, or pergolas. Their climbing nature brings a sense of height and natural beauty to your patio, providing additional privacy and shade.
  3. Winter-blooming shrubs: To ensure year-round interest in your north-facing patio, consider adding winter-blooming shrubs. With their vibrant flowers and glossy evergreen foliage, Camellias are popular choices. Witch hazel is another option, showcasing fragrant and colorful blooms during winter. These shrubs provide visual appeal and bring color and vitality to your patio, even in the cooler seasons.

Color and Material Ideas for North Facing Garden Patio Designs

When designing your patio in a north-facing garden, carefully selecting colors and materials is crucial to creating a cohesive and inviting atmosphere. Choosing the right combination allows you to establish a space that exudes comfort and welcomes you and your guests. Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Warm or bright hues: Incorporating warm or bright colors can infuse your patio with energy and vibrancy, counteracting a north-facing garden’s cooler and shadier nature. Consider shades like orange, yellow, and red for your furniture, cushions, or accessories. These colors create a sense of warmth and can instantly uplift the ambiance of your patio space.
  2. Natural materials: Opting for raw materials helps establish a cozy and organic feel within your patio. Consider using stone, wood, or rattan in your furniture, flooring, or decor. Stone provides a timeless and elegant look, while wood adds warmth and a rustic charm. Rattan furniture or accents can contribute to a laid-back and tropical atmosphere. These natural materials add texture and depth and blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment of a north-facing garden.
  3. Contrasting textures or patterns: Introducing contrasting textures or patterns can enhance visual interest and create a dynamic patio design. For example, you can mix and match different types of stone or wood to create a varied and eclectic feel. Experiment with patterned tiles or rugs to add a pop of visual excitement to your patio floor. These design elements contribute to a visually stimulating environment that complements the overall aesthetic of your north-facing garden.

Remember, while incorporating colors and materials, ensure they align with your taste and the overall style you wish to achieve. By carefully considering these elements, you can transform your north-facing garden patio into a welcoming haven that embraces its unique characteristics.

Innovative Privacy Solutions for Ground Floor and Split Level Patios

Explore several creative options if

North facing garden patio with wooden furniture and potted plants.
Enjoy the tranquility of a north-facing garden patio adorned with wooden furniture and lush potted plants.

You’re seeking unique and innovative ways to create a private, secluded, north-facing garden patio. These solutions can enhance privacy and add a touch of individuality to your outdoor space. Consider the following ideas:

  1. Retractable canopy or pergola: Install a retractable awning or arbor over your patio area. This addition serves multiple purposes: providing shade and shelter, creating a cozy and intimate atmosphere, and shielding your patio from unwanted views. With adjustable features, you can control the amount of sunlight or shade, allowing you to customize the ambiance based on your preferences.
  2. Hanging planters or trellises: Utilize hanging planters or trellises to create a vertical garden on your patio. This adds a lush and verdant touch and is a natural privacy screen. Choose climbing plants or vines that flourish in shady conditions, such as ivy or jasmine, to create a beautiful green barrier. The combination of greenery and privacy will transform your patio into a serene and secluded oasis.
  3. Outdoor curtains or shades: Incorporate outdoor curtains or shades to infuse your patio with a cozy and intimate atmosphere. These versatile additions offer both privacy and aesthetic appeal. Opt for flowing curtains in light, sheer fabrics to create a soft and romantic ambiance. Pull them closed when desired to create a secluded space, or leave them open to enjoy the view and natural light.

By implementing these innovative privacy solutions, you can transform your ground-floor or split-level patio into a private retreat that reflects your unique style and preferences. These additions offer seclusion and contribute to your north-facing garden patio’s overall charm and ambiance.

In conclusion, designing a secluded north-facing garden patio may present challenges, but it is achievable with the right approach. By implementing the ideas and strategies discussed in this article, you can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful and functional patio where you’ll enjoy spending time. Whether you have a ground-floor patio or a split-level design, incorporating privacy screens, utilizing shade-loving plants, and considering the use of colors and materials effectively can enhance the comfort and appeal of your patio. Additionally, exploring innovative privacy solutions adds a unique touch to your north-facing garden patio, making it a standout home feature. Embrace the possibilities, unleash your creativity, and create a remarkable outdoor space you’ll cherish for years.