Patio designs come in all shapes, sizes, tastes, styles and budgets. Whether you want a simple, grand, expensive or low-cost patio idea, there will always be options. The only problem is choosing the right one for your budget, taste and needs.
Because of this, we have compiled 30 outdoor patio ideas that should meet your needs and wants regarding patio functionality and visual appeal. For the sake of variety, we have included patio ideas ranging from the choice of patio material to design, utility, furnishing and accessories.
Therefore, this article will give you more than enough goodies to choose from. Whether the proposed patio space is small or large, even or sloped, near a garden or lawn; whether your budget is big or small; whether you intend to hire a professional patio installer or go DIY, these patio design ideas will help you make the most of the situation.
Natural patio stone
When you go with natural stone, it is almost ridiculously easy to come up with outstanding patio designs. This material does most of the work for you. It has a unique, timeless and classy appeal. Plus, the aesthetic is perfect for outdoor spaces. A natural stone patio never looks out of place among outdoor structures like gardens, lawns or driveways.
In fact, natural stone is an excellent choice of building material for any outdoor structure. However, it is relatively expensive and difficult to install. Therefore, don’t take on this outdoor patio idea yourself if you don’t have much time and experience. Consider hiring a professional patio installer and just focus on enjoying the result. Natural stones to consider for your patio include slate, sandstone, limestone, basalt, marble, flagstone and dolomite.
Bold colours command attention. They assault the eyes and demand to be acknowledged. Plus, they stand out against the green of a nearby garden or lawn. So, if you want your patio to grab people’s attention, consider building with bold-coloured pavers. Such bold colours include orange, teal, matte black, gold and purple.
The best part is that this patio design idea doesn’t have to cost much. You can achieve it cheaply using imprinted concrete, painted wood, or porcelain pavers. After installing bold-coloured pavers, bring in furniture and accessories with complementary colours as a final touch.
A wooden deck is the only patio idea that comes close to the naturalistic aesthetics of natural stone. Plus, wood is way cheaper, lighter and easier to install than natural stone. That’s one of the reasons timber patios are so common. So consider using wood for your patio design.
There are issues to be aware of. Wood is high maintenance and not very durable. It is prone to rot and wrap. However, you can reduce the risks by choosing high-quality hardwood, taking protective measures like staining and painting, and following these up with proper maintenance.
Apart from hardwood, other options are softwood and pressure-treated wood.
What’s not to like about patterned, mosaic-like flooring? The colours and shapes catch the eye and stand out right away. Patterned flooring is a bold statement that will make your patio unforgettable. The effects are striking when you use this outdoor patio idea beside a garden and lawn. The transition from a soft, green natural landscape to a fascinating, hard landscape is powerful.
Mixed material patio
If you are willing to experiment, this patio idea is perfect. Usually, people choose and stick to one material for their patio design. However, no rule says you must do this. So, why not mix things up?
Plus, there are other reasons, apart from stylistic ones, to consider this patio design idea. Using multiple materials can stop a large patio from becoming boring and make a small one look bigger. It is also an aesthetically pleasing way to divide a patio into zones.
So, this patio idea is both visually interesting and functional. However, you must use it strategically to get the best result and avoid tackiness. Therefore, create a system for choosing and using the materials. Don’t just do it randomly. Finally, let the materials complement each other.
Recycled material patio
If you want to protect the environment and save some money in the process, use recycled materials to build your patio. Kill two birds with one stone. Recycled and reclaimed materials are environmentally friendly and way cheaper than new materials. It is a win-win.
Therefore, If you or someone else has some building materials (from another project) lying around, get to work. If that’s not the case, but you still want to be environmentally friendly, consider using local building materials. The environmental impact is lower than using materials shipped from far away.
Hands down, porcelain is one of the best ways to get high value for money. It’s affordable with lots of design options. You can even choose designs that recreate the aesthetics of materials like wood and natural stone.
Therefore, you get similar aesthetics without the shortcomings of the real material. For example, natural stone is expensive and difficult to install. Porcelain is neither of these. Likewise, timber is high maintenance and not very durable. Porcelain is very durable and low-maintenance. It can withstand abuse from the weather (water, frost, sun) and usage (wear, scratch).
Use your house as inspiration
You could just do this instead of worrying about patio ideas and material choices. Look at your house, driveway and other structures on the property. Look at their design, material, colour, furniture and decorations. Then use those as inspiration for your patio design.
This approach makes your search for the patio design much easier. It also increases the chance that the new patio will fit into the style and aesthetic of your property.
For a sloped and uneven garden, consider this outdoor patio idea. It will save you some stress and money because there is no need to level the entire area. Instead, you create multiple tiers of patio space, using retaining walls to hold them in place. Then, voila! You have an intriguing patio.
Another advantage of this patio idea is that you can treat each tier as a separate zone, assigning different purposes to them. For example, if they are big enough, you can use one tier as a resting area and another as a cooking area etc. If the space is small, use it as raised beds.
A sunken patio is another patio design idea that screams “sloped gardens.” It’s a pretty cost-effective idea too. All you need are some retaining walls. The resulting patio is perfect for private events and intimate evenings.
As for the retaining walls, you can’t just leave them bare. Add paint, murals, wooden panels or climbing plants. Do something to make them look good. The climbing plant idea is great because it will ease the transition from the soft landscape (of a garden or lawn) to the hard one (of the patio). You can also install wall-mounted seats, thus saving money on furniture.
Here is another patio design idea for sloped gardens. This time, we suggest going the opposite route of a sunken patio. Once again, you will need retaining walls. Use them to create the elevated platform where your new patio will stand. You will also need stairs for accessibility. Use this as another design element. Look for some exciting patio stairs ideas.
Use large pavers
They will make your patio space look bigger. It’s a trick that our eyes play on us. When the eyes see large pavers and fewer grout lines, the brain automatically overestimates the size of the space. To make this patio idea even more effective, you can use grout of similar colour as the pavers.
If you are considering a sunken, multi-tiered or raised patio, you will need stairs to ensure access. However, utility is not the only reason to add stairs to your patio. You can add them for aesthetic reasons too.
Imagine a natural stone stairway with colourful borders leading up to your patio. It is a beautiful sight that could be the crowning jewel of any patio. So, don’t forget to look at some interesting patio stairs ideas.
You probably look forward to enjoying beautiful evenings and late nights on your patio. So, you have to consider installing patio lights. However, strive for lighting that will also add beauty and dimension. Like patio stairs, patio lighting should serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. Not just the former. Lighting adds mood, aesthetics and style.
For a romantic atmosphere, go for dim, warm tungsten lights. You can also try ornamental lighting accessories like Christmas lights and Chinese lanterns. Try this outdoor patio idea. Instead of a single powerful light, use smaller lights and position them strategically to create patterns of light and darkness. You can also try solar-powered and energy-saving lights. They keep energy bills down and protect the environment.
A fire pit is one of those ideas that can take any patio to the next level. So, consider installing one. Then, the cold will no longer stop you from enjoying a lovely evening outdoors. You can also use a fire pit as the focal point of your patio, designing and arranging the entire space around it.
If you do decide to try this patio idea, take some time to find the design that will suit your taste and budget. Fire pits may seem like a huge investment, but they are often more affordable than expected.
Add potted plants
In a patio, potted plants serve as ornaments and elements for easing the transition from a soft landscape. In a shaded patio, they can also be an opportunity for indoor planting. Just remember that the growing condition is different from that of a garden. So choose low-maintenance plants that don’t need much root space and pay close attention.
Overall, this patio idea is a versatile and cost-effective way to add aesthetic value and utility. Therefore, choose the plants and planters for their looks, scents, utility etc. Use them as focal points to draw attention to certain parts of the patio.
For example, you can place small planters on tables and grow roses (for their looks and scents) or herbs (for their scent and edibility). On the other hand, you can place a big planter in a corner or the centre of your patio and grow a palm tree. This adds a tropical dimension to your patio
Try climbing plants too
The effect is similar to using potted plants. Climbing plants add aesthetics and ease the transition between soft and hard landscaping. To use this patio idea, grow some creepers and train them to grow up a nearby wall, trellis or even the roof of the patio. The latter is actually another patio design idea that we will discuss soon.
A living wall or canopy will also serve as a wildlife magnet and soundproofing. However, here is the final crowning fact of this patio idea – you can achieve it with minimal patio space, money and effort.
Plant between pavers
Grout lines are one of the biggest cons of using pavers and tiles. They have a knack for making floors look ugly and spaces feel small. We have already talked about hiding and reducing them. For this patio design idea, let’s talk about getting rid of them.
You can do this by simply turning those grout lines into growing grounds. Consider growing some plants between your patio pavers instead of using grout. Try this, and you could have a genuinely outstanding patio. Plus, it will improve drainage. Rainwater will sink between those spaces instead of building up on your patio pavers and causing damage.
Of course, you will need the right soil and plants for this outdoor patio idea. You need loose and fertile soil with a moderate amount of root space. You also need plants that can grow and flourish in such unique conditions. Try chamomile, elfin thyme, moss rose, silver carpet, Irish moss and creeping wire vine.
Grow a pretty patio border
A nice-looking, full, colourful garden border is an excellent addition to any structure. It can add highlights and visual appeal to your patio. It can also ease the transition from soft landscaping. Finally, a good garden border only costs a few bucks and requires minimal effort to grow and maintain.
Mediterranean style patio
There is a bliss, passion, class and visual appeal that comes with Mediterranean aesthetics. This patio design involves adopting that style. Start by building with light-toned natural stone. Then add some dark tones for edging and highlights. Then, bring in some furniture made with wrought iron or textured wood. Finally, add some Mediterranean plants (like olive, lavender, rosemary and agave) with terra cotta planters.
Resort style patio
Another patio design idea is to recreate the aesthetics of a holiday resort. You need an umbrella(s), lounge chairs, sun chairs and small tables. Add anything else that contributes to that theme. Prioritise bright colours and a fun, relaxing atmosphere. A nearby pool would be perfect.
Outdoor dining patio
An outdoor dining space screams “luxury and chic.” Every meal feels like a feast because your mouth and belly are not the only ones getting a treat. Your nose, eyes and ears also get to feast on nature. So, this is one simple yet powerful patio idea.
All you have to do is design, furnish and accessorise your patio to create a dining space. Get dining tables and chairs, shade etc.
Outdoor kitchen patio
Most people will do some barbecuing on their patio. That’s a given. However, you can take things further by turning your patio into a standard kitchen. That includes bringing in cookers, cabinets, taps etc. Add every accessory and equipment that you need to make your meals. Then when your outdoor kitchen is ready, you can cook outdoors on hot summer days or any time you want.
How about building a patio as an extension of your house? Genius, right? That’s the principle behind this patio design idea. It’s simple. Build the patio to lead into and function as part of an indoor space you want to extend. That space could be a kitchen, dining or living room. This patio idea can work flawlessly for any room in the house.
For an extension patio design, you need to connect and ensure easy access between the patio and that indoor space. Do this by installing folding or sliding doors between them. Secondly, consider extending the aesthetics of that indoor space to the patio. You have to recreate or complement the design, flooring, colour, furnishings and accessories of that indoor space.
That’s how you blur the lines between indoor and outdoor space. Thereby turning the patio into an extension of that kitchen or living room.
Use colour design to make your patio stand out
Colour design is a powerful tool for elevating a space, creating mood and generating emotions in people. That’s why interior decorators, painters, and photographers study colour theory. So, create a colour design even if you don’t intend to design, build and decorate the patio yourself.
Start by adopting the following tips for the patio material, furniture and accessories.
- Use bright colours to draw attention to something
- Use muted colours to make if you don’t want something to draw all the attention
- Use a particular colour sparingly to make it more attention-grabbing
- Pay attention to how the colours relate with and complement each other
Whether it’s a pond, fountain or water bowl, a water feature will do wonders for patio design. The aesthetic value alone is enough reason to try this patio idea. However, there are other benefits. It can attract wildlife and present interesting planting opportunities. Finally, the sound of moving water adds a soundproofing and calming effect to your patio.
Furniture is everything
Furniture choice is a crucial patio design decision, second only to the choice of patio material. The furniture plays a big role in a patio’s aesthetics, utility, and style. That’s why you get dining furniture when trying to create an outdoor dining patio area. So, have a long thing about the kind of furniture that you want to add to your patio space.
Get comfy chairs, cushions, centre tables, decorations, fans, etc., to create a comfortable outdoor living area. Just ensure each patio furniture is hard-wearing enough to resist weather damage.
This is an essential patio idea because of how unpredictable the British weather is. A shade is necessary. It will protect you, your loved ones, patio furniture and accessories from the weather. A shade will also add privacy and aesthetic value. Options for this outdoor patio design idea include umbrellas, canopies, trees, aluminium, Taft, sails, pergolas, parasols, and a living canopy.
A living way is a truly creative way to shade a patio. It’s simple and easy too. Just install a frame and then train some creepers to grow over it. That’s all you have to do to achieve this chic patio design. To further improve aesthetics, add flowering creepers. Their colourful bloom will add more dimension to your living canopy.
Like gardens, patios are great for making the most out of your outdoor space. A good patio design is worth every penny. It will reward you with great memories and a higher market value for the property. However, the right patio designs must meet your needs and reflect your personality. Never lose sight of that.