By Holly Crossley published
These DIY patio ideas are just the ticket if you're looking for a weekend project or love a spot of craft. Or, perhaps you simply prefer to customize your garden features how you see fit, rather than opting for off-the-shelf designs – it's a great way to channel your personality into a plot. What's more, the do-it-yourself route will often save you a few (or sometimes a lot of) pennies. And there are tons of fun things to try.
From giving your furniture a makeover, getting creative with stencils, opting for unique edging or even building your own fire pit, we've rounded up some of our favorite ways to pep up your patio ideas. For the majority, all you need is some basic skills and a few tools – it turns out it's surprisingly simple to upgrade your plot all by yourself. Plus, the results of your hard work are sure to instill a sense of pride.
DIY patio ideas: 12 stylish ways to refresh your garden
Ready to roll up your sleeves and get creative? Give your paved seating space a gorgeous new look with these simple DIY patio ideas.
1. Lay your own patio
Let's start with the most obvious one when it comes to DIY patio ideas: laying your paved space yourself. It's really not too tricky to do once you know how. And, using the space will feel even more satisfying, as you'll know that it was all your hard work that went into it (plus, there's definite bragging rights involved for your next BBQ bash!).
Whether you go for porcelain, brick, stone or even concrete is up to you. You can get creative with it too – whether that be with interesting shapes, or by leaving spaces for trees, soft planting, or even a small pond.
2. Add a summery touch with DIY bunting
Bunting is a lovely way to add a whimsical sense of country charm to small patio ideas. And, making your own is a fun and simple project that everyone can get involved in.
First, choose your fabrics. The possibilities are almost endless, from ditsy patterns to bold, geometric designs – whatever fits your style. Of course you could also up-cycle old scraps that you have around the house – unwanted clothes or bed linen for example.
Then, all you need to do is cut the fabric into neat triangles. Use a template made from cardboard to get a consistent size and pinking shears to prevent the edges from fraying. Equally space out the flags along a length of bias binding tape or ribbon, then sew, leaving space at the end to hang them up along a fence, wall, or from your patio cover ideas as demonstrated above.
3. Get creative with color
A fresh splash of color can do wonders for a tired-looking space, and is so simple to do yourself on a sunny afternoon. So, if your patio is sheltered by a dull wall that's crying out for an update, grab the brushes and a tin of your favorite (outdoor-suitable) hue and get painting. We love how this bright aqua blue transforms the wall and offers so much personality to the zone. Just a feature wall or two can be all it takes to make an impact, and is also a great option if you're after budget patio ideas.
You may need to do a little bit of preparation before you start, for the best results. To do so, thoroughly remove any loose paint and surface dirt using a medium to stiff bristle brush and a scraper, says the team at B&Q. Then, give it a clean by scrubbing it with diluted household detergent, then rinse and leave to dry. Avoid letting the water get into air vents or boiler flue outlets. Small cracks can also be filled in with a suitable external filler.
For fences, remove any algae, lichen, fungi or moss using an appropriate fungicidal wash and allow it to dry before you get painting, says the Cuprinol team. If the wood has been previously stained, painted, or varnished, you'll need to strip it back to bare wood, they add.
4. Stencil on a chic design
Speaking of paint, how about this for a creative idea? It's an easy way to pep up patio paving ideas and is straightforward to do.
All you need is a pre-cut stencil made from a durable material, some hardy exterior paint, and a dry day. The team at The Stencil Studio recommend to use thicker paint as it's less likely to seep behind the stencil, and to use low tack stencil tape or spraymount to keep it in place whilst you work. Use a duo of complementary colors for an elevated look.
5. Build your own fire pit
Fancy your own fire pit patio ideas for your outdoor living area? You'll be amazed at what they bring to a space. That cozy, inviting glow will entice everyone outdoors for longer and before long, you'll wonder why you never had one before.
But, if you don't fancy splashing out on one from the shops, then consider building your own. This circular design made from bricks may be simple, but it's the perfect focal point for the scene and will keep the corner sofa feeling toasty late into the evening.
Our guide on how to build a fire pit has all the advice you'll need.
6. Add a rustic edge
Garden edging ideas might not sound overly exciting, but if you pick the right designs they can really elevate a plot. This rustic red brick style is positively charming and looks gorgeous bordering the vivid lavender plants. Of course, it offers a sense of harmony with the pathways, too.
What's more, garden edging makes maintenance simple, as it helps to keep things like soil, mulch, and gravel in their proper place. A look like this is simple to do yourself, so why not give it a go to neatly define your patio from surrounding flowerbeds or a lawn?
7. Create your own furniture from pallets
Building your own pallet furniture ideas might sound a little ambitious, but if you've got a few DIY skills up your sleeve and a few standard tools in your shed, it really isn't too tricky.
For instance, to make a stylish coffee table like the one above, you'll simply need to remove the pallet's top boards, give them a good clean and sand, and then attach them back onto the frame, positioned side-by-side (you may want to cut off any excess of the frame to size). Attach it to a second pallet and give it all a final sand and coat of paint or varnish and you've got a lovely new feature for your patio. You could even add casters (wheels mounted in swivel frames) for extra versatility.
Once you've completed one simple pallet project, consider moving onto bigger things. From brilliant benches (our guide on how to build a pallet bench has all the details) to stunning sofas – there are tons of ways that you can use this budget-friendly material to update your space.
8. Opt for gravel
If you don't fancy laying your own paving for your DIY patio ideas, then how about going for garden gravel ideas instead? It's affordable, durable, stylish, and easy to do – providing you prepare the ground properly first.
Just ensure that the area is excavated to around five inches deep and weed-free, before compacting it and adding a layer of Type 1 MOT crushed limestone, as suggests the team at Decorative Aggregates on their blog. A weed-suppressing membrane on top of this will keep pesky intruders at bay, before you pour on and level out your gravel of choice.
For additional textural interest, you could add in some paving slabs amongst the gravel – think stepping stone pathways, for instance.
9. Go for glass edging
Here's another solution for DIY patio ideas that doubles up as being super affordable: using glass bottles as edging. It's ideal if you love a more eclectic look for your plot, the recycling aspect is good for sustainable gardens, and glass can be surprisingly hardy – it won't rot over time like wood.
Once you've collected up your bottles (and removed the labels with a good soak and scrub), dig a trench and bury them halfway in. That's all there is to it!
Our free garden ideas feature has more budget-friendly tips if you're looking to save on your plot.
10. Give furniture and plant pots a new lease of life
We've talked about the power of painting a wall or a fence, but don't forget about your furniture or even your garden planter ideas. Whether you have artistic tendencies or not, giving these patio features a fresh lick of color will instantly breathe new life into a space.
Try block shades, stripes, polka dots or something more elaborate on plain terracotta pots – whatever takes your fancy. And even the most uninspiring chair or rickety old table can be transformed with a bold hue. This pink tone has got us swooning – and what's more, comes from a collection which doesn't require waxing or varnishing, can be applied straight over old paint, and can even be scrubbed at afterwards when it's time to give your furniture a clean. As the Rust-Oleum team say, with this paint, ' Renovating or transforming wood, brick, stone, plaster or any suitably-primed rigid surface (such as metal or plastic) is a walk in the park.'
11. Make new raised beds
If you want to bring more patio gardening ideas to your stretch of paving, then why not add in a raised bed or two? They're easy to build yourself from garden sleepers or stretches of timber, plus will add a smart sense of definition to the space.
Fill them with your favorite veggies, flowers, or even a small tree. And, if you build the sides wide enough, they can also double up as somewhere to perch with a morning cuppa as you admire your plants.
Need advice for getting started? Our guide on how to build a raised garden bed has got you covered.
12. Build a bar for alfresco tipples
Bringing a bar into your garden is always a good idea, especially if you love to host guests alfresco. So, if you're looking for DIY patio ideas, why not build your own?
It's straightforward to make a stunning design like this one above – our guide on how to build an outdoor bar will take you through the steps. And the best part? It neatly folds away once the party's over, meaning it won't take up precious space in a smaller plot.
What is the cheapest way to make a patio?
If you're an experienced DIYer and after a slightly more ambitious project, then making a patio yourself may appeal. And, if you're on a budget, then concrete patio ideas are a great approach. Whether you go for poured and sealed, stamped, or pavers, the result will be durable with a surprisingly chic and industrial-inspired edge.
Concrete pavers are one of the most affordable kinds on the market, and there are lots of designs and colors to choose from. If you're going for a poured approach, you'll save even more money if you mix your own, but do ensure you know what you're doing first. There are a few key steps involved, including excavating the site properly and creating sturdy timber forms.
As mentioned, gravel is another affordable approach to laying a patio, and is straightforward to do yourself. Using reclaimed materials is another option – reclaimed red bricks, for instance, offer a lovely rustic look and can be acquired quite cheaply.
More top tips for DIY patio ideas
Looking for more DIY patio ideas? Give the following a go:
- If you're looking to up the ambience of your plot, you can't go wrong with a few extra outdoor lighting ideas. Making tea light holders yourself can be as simple as washing out old glass jars or tins. You can even try securing a length of string from the top to hang them from a trellis or branch, or spray painting them in a bold color. Go for LED candles, to avoid any fire risks.
- Giving your garden table and chairs a good clean and refresh is another rewarding job. Rattan in particular is one of the most popular choices for garden furniture at the moment, and it's easy to get it back to looking its best. Ryan Schwarze, Head of Luxury Rattan explains how rubbing a little olive oil into natural rattan will give it a glossy shine and add a layer of protection. You can always paint it, too. 'To make the process of painting natural rattan as easy as possible it's best to use spray paint,' he says. 'Before you start, I'd suggest making sure that your furniture is clean and dry and that you have prepared a well ventilated area to spray paint on. Don't forget goggles and a face mask too.' Our guide on how to clean outdoor furniture has lots more handy tips.
- Welcome feathered friends into your outdoor seating space with DIY bird feeders – they're great for the environment and watching them flit to and fro will give a boost to everyone's wellbeing. Our guide on how to make bird feeders has simple step-by-step advice.
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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