Landscape & Hardscape Ideas

Making an Entrance- Patio Doors Aren’t What They Used To Be

As you know, adding a paved patio or outdoor living space is an investment in both time and money; but like any major improvement, the payoff is enormous and lasts for generations to come.

One of the things that shouldn’t be overlooked when you are planning your backyard oasis is the back door.  Remember, no matter how stunning and inviting your patio is, the back door is still going to be one of the focal points.

If you have an older home, you know that not a lot of thought was put into the aesthetics of the back door. It was truly a utilitarian door that was there to allow family members in and out of the home or basement. This was long before we all began adding outdoor living spaces onto our homes, so builders never foresaw that they’d get as much use or have as much visibility as they do today.

Now that homeowners are taking full advantage of the extra living space that a patio can provide, the entrance to the backyard deserves to more than a banged up metal screen door.

Patio Door Options

Glass Sliding Glass:

These insulated glass patio doors come in either wood, corrosion resistant galvanized steel, or vinyl frames.  They are very easy to care for as they are mostly glass and they can easily be fitted with a screen if you want some fresh air but insects are an issue. Relatively lightweight, these doors are opened and slid shut each time someone enters or exits. A secondary window treatment (such as draperies) may be necessary to provide privacy.

Standard width is about 70 inches but only half of the door’s width can be open at any given time. The tracks are somewhat difficult to keep clean and can be a tripping hazard if they are not flush with the floor.  These can also be a security issue as some doors are thought to be easy to “pop off of the track”.


Most often found in glass, these doors are very similar to sliding doors in both maintenance and appearance. Bi-fold doors are a great way to ingrate the indoors to the outdoors as they can be opened to the full width of the doorway. Be aware that when the doors are folded, they will project out from the wall (either onto the patio or into the house) so decide which way works best for your space.

French Doors:

A popular choice for patios, these classic exterior doors actually originated as floor to ceiling windows that led onto a small balcony. These doors can be purchased with either an in-swing or out-swing. Newer doors can be ordered to include built in mini blinds between the panes of glass to provide privacy as needed.

Pocket doors: 

Just as with interior pocket doors, these doors will disappear from view into a pre-constructed wall pocket. This allows the room to “spill out” into the backyard and blurs the interior/exteriors lines. This may be an issue as critters and insects can make themselves right at home when the doors are open.

Dutch doors: Popular with the 18th-century Dutch settlers of New York and New Jersey, Dutch doors are split horizontally in the middle so that just the top can be opened while the bottom remains closed. Besides adding a distinct look to your home, they allow fresh air and light into your house while keeping pets and children safe.

Look around for doors that provide light and air into you home while providing you with the security and privacy level you need. Style, size and color are all options that may help you decide what is best for your backyard space.

PS- Don’t forget about any 4-legged friends you may have. Look for door options that either come with (or can be fitted for) a doggie door.

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