By Holly Crossley published
Want to give your backyard a super-cool edge? You can't go wrong with concrete patio ideas. They offer a sturdy base for your garden furniture or outdoor kitchen, are easy on the wallet, and due to their industrial finish, look effortlessly on-trend.
Concrete is also a winning choice if you're looking for low-maintenance patio ideas. All it needs is a good scrub now and then to get it back to looking its best, whilst a fresh coat of (inexpensive) sealant every few years will help it last longer.
As Lee Dunderdale, Product Manager at Bradstone says, due to concrete's hard-wearing nature, it also makes a perfect choice for patios required for entertaining. So, if you love to host guests alfresco in style, then this may well be the best patio option for you.
Concrete patio ideas: 11 stylish designs
Ready to discover lots of stunning concrete patio ideas to get you inspired for your own backyard? We've rounded up some of our favorite looks below.
1. Match the walls to the floor for an uber-modern vibe
Looking to make a striking impact with your small patio ideas? Then a brilliantly brutalist design like this might be the way forward. It's full of fuss-free urban charm and provides the ideal backdrop for a chic selection of furniture.
Such a stripped-back look allows every detail to be appreciated fully – so pick accessories and foliage with careful consideration. The sculptural vase centerpiece and flourishes of bamboo here make good examples.
In keeping with the pared-down theme, opt for recessed patio lighting ideas. It's subtle by day yet will cast an enticing glow when night falls.
2. Create a seamless flow between indoors and out
When warmer weather comes around, it's lovely to be able to throw your back doors wide open and embrace a sense of indoor-outdoor living. Mirroring the material of your concrete patio ideas either side of the door will help to enhance the sense of flow.
Take this modern home for example, which champions the use of polished concrete all throughout the space for a sleek and cohesive finish. And, as seen here, a jumble of potted plants to adorn garden steps ideas will add an extra dose of character.
3. Combine with plenty of white for a sense of balance
If you're concerned about a large stretch of concrete feeling a little severe, take a cue from the scene above.
This outdoor dining set-up features deep grey concrete throughout – a hard-wearing base that looks great, too. And, because of all the white features that are dotted around the scene, it's harmoniously balanced and brightened. Plenty of foliage will continue to soften the style – whether you have space for a small tree or just a few pots.
As you can see, the result is a striking yet welcoming space. Just remember to keep on top of the light maintenance required for it to continue to impress – our guide on how to clean a patio has all the tips you need.
4. Surround a chic pool
Clean-lined pools complement concrete patio ideas well to evoke a contemporary vibe. Here, the duo allows the statement modular sofa to take center stage.
We also adore how these pavers provide a contrast with the surrounding stone wall for a pleasing effect. Meanwhile, a backdrop of trees provides a boost of verdant color.
You can find non-slip sealants for concrete to give a stable footing – especially useful when using them around backyard pool ideas.
5. Pair a polished style with a luxurious cover
If you're not overly familiar with concrete patios, you may jump to the conclusion that they are anything but luxe. As it turns out, concrete can look really rather gorgeous. And, its subtle patina comes even more into its own once it's been polished.
This set-up highlights the beautiful simplicity of the material – we love how it balances the wooden structure overhead and the regal columns. The soft greys and timber tones are mirrored in the pared-down daybed too, which brings the whole look together effortlessly as well as providing a comfy place to relax.
Our patio cover ideas feature has plenty more inspo if you're looking to shelter your own seating space.
6. Add interest to a narrow spot
Stylish concrete patio ideas can be used in spaces of all shapes and sizes. Take this narrow and shadowy zone, for example.
Concrete pavers have been used as stepping stone ideas alongside textural gravel to provide tons of visual interest. Laid horizontally, they help to widen the space, too.
Playful statues and jolly pots of blooms add extra personality to the scene, whilst a nifty table with fold-out stools provides a place to entertain outdoors. Something like this shouldn't be too expensive to recreate either, so would work well for budget patio ideas.
7. Go for large concrete pavers for an outdoor kitchen
Outdoor kitchen ideas are the new must-have in garden design for ultimate alfresco living. You just can't beat cooking up a storm whilst enjoying a warm summer breeze and views of nature. They're ideal for alfresco dinner parties, too, as will keep the chef in the heart of the social action rather than hidden away indoors.
As concrete patio ideas are so hard-wearing, they make a great base for these types of set-up where footfall will be heavy. These jumbo-sized pavers are modern and fun and complement a wide open space beautifully. We like how they've been offset with plenty of warm tones here too – from the impressive timber surroundings to the copper bar stools.
8. Go sleek and stylish for a porch
Raised concrete patio ideas can double up as stunning porches when covered by a veranda or awning. Polished pale grey will make a striking first impression and can easily be accessorized to channel a theme.
Try white railings, simple wall lamps and giant terracotta planters for a smart look with a hint of Mediterranean-chic. Our front porch ideas feature has lots more stylish scenes to get you inspired.
9. Pair with clean lines for a grown-up vibe
Black and pale grey is always a winning color combo for modern-style plots and will never go out of fashion. This outdoor dining and kitchen set-up demonstrates it to a tee.
It's a simple approach which leads to a light, airy, and very much in-vogue effect. Maintain a touch of play with the addition of subtly textured features – we adore how these chairs draw the eye with their woven finish.
A neatly-clipped hedge nearby can provide a good boost of privacy too. Although, if you're after alternatives, our garden screening ideas feature has lots more options.
10. Mix up the textures
You don't have to stick to traditional designs when it comes to your concrete patio ideas; square concrete pavers provide all kinds of creative opportunity.
Try building them up into geometric blocks for a unique result. Fill the gaps with garden gravel ideas for an attractive contrast that's affordable and easy to install. Alternatively, opt for hardy low-growing foliage for a shot of green.
11. Give a kitchen garden a contemporary lift
Raised garden bed ideas might conjure up whimsical images of cottage-style gardens at first thought. However, they can be given an urban edge with the addition of concrete pavers. These designs make a great juxtaposition against the woven edges of the beds, but would also complement sleeker designs perfectly.
Their flecked appearance offers all the visual appeal of granite but for a more affordable price. And, they also make a practical pick; not only are they hardy but the subtle texture offers extra grip underfoot.
Is it better to use poured concrete or concrete pavers?
Both pavers and concrete make a great choice for patios, but there are some instances where one outweighs the other.
For a smooth and seamless look, you can't beat poured concrete, especially if it's polished. It also tends to be less expensive and quicker to install (although you'll have to wait around three weeks in-between it being freshly laid and polished to allow it time to 'cure').
However, pavers offer an easy opportunity to get creative. For instance, you can intersperse them with gravel or greenery for a unique look. Pavers can also be less susceptible to cracking than large stretches of paved concrete. And if they do, they're much easier to replace, which can save costs in the long run. Our guide on how much does a patio cost has more advice if you're budgeting for a new landscaping look.
What should you put under concrete pavers?
'You need to allow 100mm for a foundation and 30mm for a mortar bed to go under your concrete pavers, and then also ensure you dig out enough depth to factor in the thickness of your slab too,' says Lee Dunderdale, Product Manager at Bradstone.
'If you are laying directly next to a house, then the finished patio should be at least 150mm below the damp proof course. This means you will need to dig the area to a minimum depth of around 300mm below the damp proof course,' he continues.
'To ensure that water does not collect on the paving, the foundation needs to have a fall of 1 in 60, either to suitable drainage or to a run-off area, such as the lawn, which means 1cm of fall for every 60cm. So, a 3m run will need 5cm or 50mm of fall.' This can also be referred to as a gradient or slope.
Lee continues: 'To create the firm foundation, you need to cover the whole area with MOT Type 1 to a minimum depth of 100mm when fully compacted. A compactor plate is essential in order to do this properly.'
'Then, lay the paving slabs on a 30mm thick full mortar bed, which should support the whole slab, not just the corners. Use a mortar mix of four parts sharp sand to one part cement. Mix together with just enough water to make it damp and workable, but not overly wet and runny. It is also advisable to apply a slurry primer on the back of each paver prior to laying on the mortar bed to provide greater adhesion.'
Our guide on how to lay a patio has more tips and tricks should you need them.
Do concrete pavers tend to last longer than other alternatives?
'Being constructed from one of the most durable materials in the world, concrete paving slabs offer superior strength and longevity, making for a very attractive proposition for those seeking a cost-effective and hard-wearing paving solution,' says Lee Dunderdale of Bradstone.
'Plus, today’s options offer myriad design possibilities,' he continues. 'From different colors, textures and styles, through to designs that have been carefully constructed to offer an incredibly realistic imitation of high-end natural slabs, the concrete category offers unparalleled design flexibility.' It also comes in a range to suit all budgets, he adds.
So, if you're looking for new paving ideas, then concrete is definitely a top contender to consider.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day!
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