Patio ideas – 24  Patio design ideas to improve any outdoor space

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  • Looking for patio ideas? A garden patio makes for a wonderful and welcoming outdoor living space, throughout the summer months and beyond. Even into winter the right garden design can prove invaluable, with a patio providing a weatherproof space to gather around a fire pit.

    Compared with lawned gardens, patios (paved and gravelled spaces, too) require little maintenance, and therefore become more of a preferred choice. From polished concrete to stone slabs there’s a choice for every style.

    Love your garden and want more patio ideas? Find inspiration on our gardens homepage

    Patio ideas and designs to inspire

    If you’re looking for garden patio ideas that will brighten up your garden space this year, whatever type of home you have and whatever size the outdoor space, there’s plenty to consider in this inspiring collection of patio ideas.

    1. Add personality with pattern

    Image credit: Ca’Pietra/ @design_at_nineteen

    Patterned floor tiles are not just for indoors. The experts at Ca’Pietra say porcelain tiles are one of the unsuspected tile materials that can live outdoors, just as happily as they can do in kitchens and bathrooms. ‘They’re frost-proof, because they don’t absorb water so won’t crack. And they’re super low maintenance so will stay looking as good as new with very little TLC. Plus, you can get patterned porcelain tiles to jazz up sections of your garden rather than classic stone paving.’

    ‘Just make sure that the porcelain tile is suitable for exterior use, you will find that with many of our internal porcelain tiles we offer an external option too, to allow a tile to run from the inside-out.’ This fabulous outdoor space belongs to garden blogger @design_at_nineteen, here patterned tiles add a decorative touch to the dining area of the patio.

    2. Make the patio an extension of your indoor space

    Image credit: Darren Vhung

    Create a patio garden that looks nothing like your traditional idea of a patio garden! Roll back the doors from your kitchen-diner and increase space with a seamlessly adjoining al fresco space beyond; make the tiles match up perfectly to create a fluid dining area. You could move the table and chairs out easily for fuss-free and family friendly weekend meals.

    3. Lay different solutions to zone a garden

    garden patio ideas

    Image credit: Annaick Guitteny

    This multi-zoned garden design uses different materials to give the space clear distinction between its dedicated areas. There’s a decking area for a busy social space, a tiled patio to signify a chill out zone and astroturf lawns for fun and games.

    More insight into how to do this in your own garden: Garden landscaping ideas – how to plan and create your perfect garden

    4. Surround porcelain tiles with gravel for an organic feel

    porcelain patio tiles

    Image credit: Tile Giant

    For a more organic look that feels less set in stone (quite literally) try a more free-form approach to how your patio tiles are laid. These stylish outdoor porcelain tiles can be laid directly onto gravel, grass or sand to create a softer feel for the layout. These robust porcelain tiles are robust and practical, both algae and moss resistant and fade resistant too. Plus they don’t require maintenance , other than a seasonal clean to keep them looking their best. These particular tiles cost from £30 per square metre.

     

    6. Create a seamless flow with matching materials

    concrete patio idea

    Image credit: Richard Gadsby

    Blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoor aesthetics Make the patio feel like an extension of the immediate indoor living space by coordinating the flooring material. Keep the look light with a polished concrete finish paired with contemporary garden furniture.

    7. Add decorative deck tiles to a patio

    deck tile patio idea

    Image credit: Bridget Peirson

    Add interest to the look of a wooden patio by laying deck tiles, rather than the classic deck boards. This style of outdoor flooring is readily available from all good flooring retailers, and it’s no more expensive to the traditional style of decking. Choosing an alternative decking area helps to add character – as the exterior of this house proves with its brown weatherboard cladding. Bifold doors offer a transition rom the indoor wooden floorboards to the alternative wooden patio.

    Read more: Garden decking ideas and designs for plots both large and small

    8. Surround paving with raised flowerbeds

    patio ideas 2

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    If you only have a small garden, swap grass for a patio to create the perfect area for alfresco dining. Raised flower beds surrounding the patio are a clever way to add a splash of colour, that will make you feel like you’re dining in the middle of a meadow. Paint the walls of the planters white to attract the light, helping to make the space feel bigger.

    9. Create a focal point with a warming fire pit

    patio ideas

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    Fire pits are THE garden must-have right now, as we look to use out outside spaces more – whatever the weather. Build your own design incorporated into the patio paving to get the exact size and shape to suit. No matter how big or small your patio, it’s always good to create a focal point to give the space a sense of purpose. Benches either side of a warming fire pit help to create an inviting place to relax and spend some downtime in the garden – no matter how chilly it gets.

    10. Paint the patio

    garden with tiled flooring and garden furniture

    Image credit: Dobbies

    Painting the patio has become a popular trend to give tired-looking paving slabs a modern day makeover. Using specialist outdoor paints and a stencil homeowners are giving their patios a refresh with an injection of colour and pattern. See more here: Homeowner uses Victorian-style tile stencil to paint the patio – and it looks amazing

    11. Elevate a dining area

    patio ideas 1

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Add interest to a raised patio by dressing it as the main social spot within the outdoor space. In this garden a natural wooden table is paired who two contrasting styles of chair – clear glossy acetate chair, sometimes called a ghost chair, contrasted with two stylish green chairs with a matt finish. This mishmash of materials and colours gives the garden a modern and contemporary look.

    12. Extend a small space

    patio garden ideas

    Image credit: David Still

    Make the most of a compact outdoor space that adjoins a flat or house, by creating your very own modern secret garden. Here, the floor tiles run out from the interior space, creating a sense of continuity and implying that outside patio area is merely an extension of the kitchen itself. Clusters of large pots holding lush plants create a tropical feeling and the sense of being in nature, which is only enhanced by the warmth of horizontal wood panelling.

    A vast mirrored panel doubles the space – visually at least – and makes the space feel light and full of energy for a meal or casual drinks at the bistro table and garden bench. Talk about having it all!

    Related: How to make a small garden look and feel bigger in 9 easy steps

    13. Take indoor interiors out with homely accessories

    Image credit: Max Attenborough

    In addition to considering the aesthetics such as wood panelling on walls and floor tiles, think about taking the indoor accessories outside too – to create a more homely feel. Outdoor rugs and cushions are both becoming increasingly more popular, as a great way to inject an artistic flare to garden spaces. There’s no harm in taking your existing accessories outside, permitted the weather stays fair to prevent damage. However you can purchase accessories especially made for outdoor purpose, which is preferable.

    See all of the latest trends: Garden trends 2021 – we reveal the key looks and must-haves for your garden

    14. Make it modern with contemporary colours

    patio ideas

    Image credit: Nick Pope

    Grey is still one of the most popular colours in all aspects of interior design. Take the colour out to the patio by way of polished concrete or grey porcelain tiles. This garden welcomes coordinates the colour scheme with grey shutters and doors. The glass-topped pedestal table and finely woven chairs have an almost weightless feel, and look crisp and fresh against all the garden’s greenery – which is located around the patio’s boundaries. A large white parasol creates the sense of a specific dining zone, while also providing shade on sunny summer days.

    15. Plot a pretty potting area onto the patio

    garden potting bench patio idea

    Image credit: David Brittain

    We love this charming patio idea! A patio needn’t be used solely for summer dining, as this pretty idea proves. Set up your practical plant potting area outside your back door, with a vintage workbench for storing gardening tools and housing the season’s prettiest plants. When not in use for pruning tall trees, a neat stool doubles up as a lovely spot to have a tea break and take in the scene.

    16. Install an enclosed garden room

    patio ideas

    Image credit: Matthew Williams

    Is it a porch? Is it a patio? Maybe it’s both! the space beneath a raised deck makes a lovely shady outdoor living area, that’s ideal for sociable gatherings in summer – or even winter, if you provide a little heating and plenty of blankets!

    17. Plan a designer garden

    patio ideas

    Image credit: Mark Bolton

    Patios don’t have to be a one-level, just-outside-the-door affair; this carefully designed tiered space is a prime example of a patio that has stepped up (forgive the pun) to the next level in garden design.

    18. Keep it functional and family-friendly

    patio ideas

    Image credit: Emma Lewis

    If you’re looking for garden ideas with a more traditional design direction, why not use garden furniture to set your desired atmosphere? Consider teaming wooden benches with relaxed soft furnishing for a patio haven that’s very shabby chic or, by contrast, set out a vintage-style iron bistro set with slatted chairs and patterned seat covers to capture an effortless French farmhouse look for lazy Sunday lunches outdoors. If you have a brand-new kitchen extension, but the garden beyond doesn’t quite match up (yet), a little streamlined modern furniture can work wonders.

    19. Simplify your patio space

    patio ideas

    Image credit: Brent Darby

    Make a cosy nook for yourself in a sprawling country garden with a beautiful courtyard. Richly planted – with climbers creeping up trellises, bedding plants and even a selection of plants potted in aged galvanised steel containers, this patio space has an old-world charm about it.

    20. Opt for a ski-chalet-style garden

    patio ideas

    Image credit: David Brittain

    Patio ideas don’t come much better than this! You don’t have to hit the slopes to enjoy the benefits of an apres-ski style terrace. A fresh take on the functional garden patio, this area takes the outdoor social space into winter…with the help of an outdoor heater, plenty of faux-fur blankets, woven textures and flickering candles housed in glass lanterns. Romantic, super stylish and a little bit Hygge? We think so.

    Love cosy winter gardens? READ: 7 ways to make your garden cosy in winter

    21. Perfect your patio with Shabby-chic furniture

    patio ideas

    Image credit: David Giles

    A paved balcony can make a great garden substitute in flat. Make the most of the extra space and furnish with slimline colourful furniture that won’t overwhelm the patio. Foldable pieces, such as this teak table, are ideal as they can be folded down to create space when not in use/to suit the situation. Use the ledge beneath the balcony to house plants and bring the all-important natural element to your miniature garden.

    22. Create a sunshine vibe with colourful accessories

    patio ideas

    Image credit: Robert Sanderson

    A walled garden, with a herringbone bricked patio, needn’t stick to English country style. Bring a more exotic feel to your space with richly patterned and colourful accessories that are more reminiscent of a Moroccan riad.

    23. Incorporate a garden canopy

    patio ideas

    Image credit: Dan Duchars

    It goes without saying that patios are a go-to spot for alfresco dining, but rain – or sometimes sun – can be a problem when entertaining outside. A simple homemade canopy made of a swathe of flowing fabric can offer a stylish covering, and gives a somewhat nautical vibe to a outdoor area. Looking at other fabric-based garden accessories (or some might say essentials) a hammock is another indulgent option for a relaxed patio. It works for small and large spaces alike, and makes a lovely place to snooze in the shade on long summer days.

    24. Create ambience with lighting and accessories

    Summer garden with chimenea

    Image credit: Jamie Mason

    You may want to dial up your garden’s ambient atmosphere after dark. Consider setting the mood once the sun sets on your patio, with lanterns and cushions scattered on the floor. Lanterns are an easy and instant way to illuminate garden spaces without having to seek assistance from an electrician.

    How can I make my patio look nice?

    Make a patio look nice in a few simple steps. Firstly have a spring clean to ensure the patio surface, whether it be decking or paving slabs, is looking its best. Cleanliness goes a long way when it comes to making a patio look more appealing. Use a jet wash to blast away the algae and moss that may have taken hold during the winter months. But always take care when using a pressure washer, because it can damage the cement foundations.  Dress the space with stylish garden furniture to instantly make the patio an inviting place to relax and enjoy alfresco dining.

    Use potted planst to welcome greenery to the space and soften the look of the hard edge of stones against the softness of a lawn. Just be sure to move the pots from time to time to ensure they don’t leave marks on the patio, from watering etc.

    Related: Easy garden ideas – simple updates to transform your outdoor space

    Even the smallest seasonal refresh can completely update your outdoor space.

    Will you be using any of these patio ideas to update your outdoor space?

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