An outdoor patio space can be a wonderful way to get more fresh air and enjoy nature. Unfortunately, many homes come with a basic concrete space that's less than appealing. If you want to embrace your outdoor area and spend more time there but are dealing with a difficult space, consider these creative patio ideas to develop a custom layout you'll love. Whether you prefer a simple spot or elaborate decor, you can construct a patio that fits your personality and your budget.
Sometimes, less is more. You can create a meditative vibe in almost any space with the careful addition of a few plants and some smooth river rocks. Hang some minimalist art on the vertical surfaces — matching materials to potential weather — to complete the look. If you want to go all out, adding a sandy Zen garden can deliver a peaceful atmosphere no matter where you live.
Picking the right surface for your patio may seem straightforward, but it can be surprisingly complex. If you already have a basic concrete patio, painting it with weather-resistant paint and finish can add a new dimension. Flagstone gives an old-fashioned, earthy look, while tile has a more or Mediterranean modern vibe. Brick is another classic that adds texture but is also durable and easy to maintain.
A splash of color can easily brighten up any outdoor space. Outdoor rugs are an easy and generally affordable way to tie everything together on your patio, or you can hang some vibrant artwork on the walls. Planters are another way to brighten up your space. Consider picking up some Talavera pots or other colorful ceramics to add fun pops of color. Even your patio furniture can incorporate color and pattern.
If you want to create a more vibrant, welcoming space, plants can be one of the easiest ways to manage it. Simple plants suited for your climate are often easy to care for, while still making the area more inviting. Succulents and simple houseplants like a spider plant can thrive outdoors in some areas and seasons, or you can look for perennials that naturally adjust to the temperature changes.
Sometimes smaller spaces make the best patios. If you have a small balcony or outdoor space, consider emphasizing the cozy nature of it. Lots of thick pillows, warm blankets, and plush throw pillows can make even the coldest space seem more inviting. Arrange your furniture so guests can keep snacks and beverages close at hand.
If you live in a colder climate, you may find it uncomfortable to use your patio for much of the year. However, some simple solutions can help. The most popular is a small fire pit, which can be fueled with wood or by gas. Either option tends to be easy to use and gives off plenty of warmth. There are also freestanding outdoor heaters that can help you enjoy the space even on chilly evenings.
While occasionally sitting outside in the dark to stargaze can be lovely, most people enjoy a little more light. Stay away from harsh overhead lighting with your outdoor space for a more natural experience. Instead, string and solar-powered lights can be a great solution. These give enough illumination to see by but create a warm, magical atmosphere.
If your home doesn't have a traditional patio, you can still get creative with your outdoor spaces. Carve out a small spot in your yard for a few chairs and a table, or set up some benches in your garden to get the feel of a patio without having one attached to your home. Strategically placed tiles or bricks can block out the space, setting it apart for this specific purpose.
Andreas von Einsiedel / Getty Images
The sound of trickling water is so soothing — adding a water fixture can instantly enhance the peaceful atmosphere of your outdoor space. If you have a large yard, carving out a spacious koi pond or other elaborate water fixture can do wonders, but you don't need a ton of space. Even with a small patio, you can get a similar feel. A tabletop or corner fountain can create a luxuriousness that remains practical and affordable.
No one wants to talk about it, but insects can be one of the biggest drawbacks of spending time outside. Whether it's ants trying to steal food, bees and wasps attracted to bright colors, or mosquitoes snacking on your skin, pests can ruin your evening. Planning ahead can help minimize the problem. Try placing citronella candles around the perimeter of your patio, or strategically mount some bug zappers a bit away from the main seating area. If you live in an area with a large number of insects, artfully draped netting or a screened-in gazebo can make things much more comfortable and increase the amount of time you can spend in your dedicated outdoor space.