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Make your patio a pleasurable place

By Rebecca Hyde
Rowan Public Library
Connecting house and garden happens with the casual placing of a comfortable chair in front of a window, which frames a view to the outside. It happens when the steps at the back door become a favorite place to sit and catch some sun or feel a breeze. Or we walk into the yard to spend time with a favorite plant.
In “Small Patios: Simple Projects, Contemporary Designs,” Hazel White takes these favorite spots, develops them into outdoor retreats, and calls them “patios.” Planning and building a patio can be “a process of discovery.” White guarantees you’ll have a special attachment to that particular piece of earth and will know exactly where you want to place a chair.The secret is how to design a patio that you will use, that will pull you outdoors. White visited and photographed private patios, from outdoor living rooms to remote stopping places. Some owners wanted a large public outdoor room for entertaining. Others wanted some privacy in an open outdoor space. It could be a shelter from the weather or a place with a pretty view. In a natural garden, a clearing can be scratched from the dirt or extra stones added to create room for people to stand and talk.
Avoid the mistake of overdoing the screening around the patio. It may sound counterintuitive, as White says, but total privacy is undesirable in an outdoor room. Tall walls, even leafy ones, create gloom and isolation, not peace and solitude. Plan a path through the space and look for a view.Pick your paving material carefully. Will changes in the weather from season to season cause a slippery or crumbling surface? Will the surface be too hot or too dazzling with sun?
Decorate a patio as you would decorate a room. Have a plan or you may end up with a cluttered space with no room for you or guests. Landscape architect Thomas Church is quoted: “If the eye sees too many things, it is confused, and the sense of peace is obliterated.” You’ll miss the details of dew on a leaf, and the smell of a single fragrant plant.
The patio as an outside destination or an extension of your house ó you still want the feeling of home.
Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.
Headquarters ó Monday, 7 p.m., Digital Photos 101 with Paint.net; Thursday, 2:30 p.m, Introduction to Free Library Resources.
South ó Feb. 23, 7 p.m. Intermediate Excel.
Children’s Storytime: February-April, weekly story time. For more information, call 704-216-8234.
Headquarters ó Monday or Wednesday, 11 a.m., Tiny Tots and Moms (infants-18 months); Tuesday, 10 a.m., Toddlers and Kinfolks (18-24 months), and 11 a.m., Toddlers and Kinfolks (24-36 months); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Three through Five; 4 p.m., Noodlehead (4-8 years).
South ó Monday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time (3-5 years), 4 p.m. Noodlehead (4-8 years); Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Toddlers and Twos (12-36 months); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Baby Time (0-12 months).East ó Tuesday or Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool (2-5 years); Thursday, 11 a.m., Baby Time (6 months-2 years).
Teen program: South, Tuesday, 3:30-5 p.m.; East, Thursday, 5:30-7 p.m.; Headquarters, Feb. 23, 5:30-7 p.m. Come to Rowan Public Library for a chocolate extravaganza. Learn how to melt and make decorated chocolate lollipops, hand dip some of your favorite foods in chocolate and compete in chocolate trivia.
Tuesday Night at the Movies: All movies are at 6:30 p.m. All movies are rated G, PG or PG 13; some movies are inappropriate for younger audiences. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.Black History Month ó all movies feature predominantly African-American casts.
Tuesday, “Let’s Do It Again”; Feb. 24, “A Piece of the Action.” All movies feature Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby.
Displays: Headquarters ó Rowan Doll Society by Bonnie Hodges and artwork by Fred Young; South ó Southern Piedmont Wood Turners by Barry Russell; East ó scrapbooking by Stacey Shaver.Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.
Web site: For a listing of all library programs at all library locations, www.rowanpubliclibrary.org.

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