Patio ideas: 35 inspiring designs for outdoor paved areas

Spruce up your plot with our patio ideas – from fabulous garden furniture and heaters to chic paving and more

patio ideas: poolside patio OKA
(Image credit: OKA UK)

Are you on the lookout for some beautiful new patio ideas? It's always a good time to refresh your space and give it a new look.

A patio is often the epicenter of our garden – a space for alfresco entertaining, dining, lounging, or cooking. But as well as being functional, it needs to look the part. With the right accessories, color schemes, paving choices, and furniture, there are plenty of opportunities to smarten up your space and let it shine.

To help you transform a drab stretch of slabs into a welcoming zone to be proud of, we've rounded up tons of gorgeous patio ideas. Whether you have an extensive sweep of paving or a small balcony, you're bound to find an idea you love below.

35 patio ideas that will totally transform your outdoor space

From luxe looks to classic styles, there is something for gardens great and small in our edit of patio ideas.

1. Soften the scene with ornamental grasses

Maizy sofa from Dobbies on patio with ornamental grasses

The Maizy sofa from Dobbies complements this space beautifully

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Want to give your paved space a contemporary look? Could it do with a bit more texture, a bit more greenery? Ornamental grasses are the solution, even when it comes to small patio ideas

These fuss-free plants will provide height, movement, and an array of verdant tones that look simply stunning when surrounding a seating area. And the best part is, some are evergreen, so they will offer visual interest to the zone all year round.

Plant up in concrete or simple timber containers for a textural contrast that offers an urban edge. Then, take a cue from this scene and pair with modern furniture in a chic gray palette, alongside a statement metal fire pit. Small coffee tables at each end will provide the perfect spot for propping a drink or a good book while you relax.

2. Create a chic drinks station

outdoor bar area from Wayfair

A stylish setup from Wayfair

(Image credit: Wayfair)

What better way to make the most of the sunshine than by hosting an alfresco drinks party with friends? A stylish setup like this is sure to impress and will serve as a practical workstation for whipping up your favorite tipples.

You don't have to buy something new – look around your home or second-hand stores, and you may just find a table or dresser that’s perfect for upcycling with a lick of paint. Then, string outdoor-suitable festoons around the structure and add a tealight or two for a magical glow as dusk falls. It’s sure to elevate your next garden party.

3. Shelter beneath a canopy of leaves

outdoor space with Dobbies furniture and tree canopy

A soothing summer scene from Dobbies

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Parasols, pergolas, awnings – there are plenty of options when it comes to patio cover ideas. But if you prefer a more natural vibe, then perhaps something like this is the solution for you.

Training trees into this tabletop shape, otherwise known as 'parasol topiary', is a beautiful way to provide shade over an elegant seating space. And the view and sound of leaves rustling gently in the breeze are sure to soothe the soul.

Keep the organic vibe going by opting for natural-effect rattan furniture, soft green textiles, and perhaps a small fire table like this one for a cozy ambiance.

4. Cook up a feast in an outdoor kitchen

outdoor kitchen by Grillo

This contemporary kitchen is from Grillo

(Image credit: Grillo)

Outdoor kitchens are becoming increasingly popular as more people find the joy in cooking beneath open skies. The ideal hub for uninterrupted entertaining, there are all kinds of setups to go for – ranging from simple grills to sleek spaces full of all the mod cons.

This sunken space comes complete with everything you could need to cook up a delicious array of treats. And the cover overhead means even a spot of rain won’t get in the way. Fancy transforming your patio to suit? Our outdoor kitchen ideas are full of gorgeous looks to get you inspired.

5. Opt for low-maintenance gravel

100cm Mayfair Round Dining Table and 4 Dining Armchairs

(Image credit: Bridgman)

You may automatically think of paving ideas when planning a patio, but gravel can be a fantastic alternative. Budget-friendly, low-maintenance, and great for drainage, it ticks all the practicality boxes. And from an aesthetics perspective, it can look super smart and complements all types of garden styles.

It works particularly well in this country-classic space, alongside stylish chairs and a wipe-clean, glass-topped table. A climbing rose nearby finishes the scene perfectly and will provide a gorgeous summer scent.

6. Add a feature wall to zone a seating area

modern sunken patio space designed by Consilium Hortus

(Image credit: Consilium Hortus/Michelle Foulser )

This patio space has tons of contemporary appeal. Ample seating space means everyone can gather around – so it's ideal for large families or if you love to entertain (or both). 

That gray backdrop with its subtle texture immediately draws the eye while wall lights will illuminate the zone below come nightfall. Sleek lines and a central fire pit add to the industrial-chic style. And, that brightly-colored cushion adds a splash of vibrancy that pops against the surrounding scheme.

7. Transport your backyard patio to the Med

Levantine collection from John Lewis with garden table and dinnerware on patio

The new Levantine tableware collection from John Lewis is the perfect addition for a summer lunch party

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Why jet off across the world when you can have a slice of the Med in your own backyard? Whitewashed walls, tactile textures, and plenty of potted plants will transform a lacklustre courtyard ready for laid-back outdoor living. 

Bring patterned plates, bowls, and sharing platters into the mix and entertain in style. Don't forget a jug (or two) of sangria!

Although we love this rustic paving, you could style your decking to fit the theme, too. Our Mediterranean garden ideas have more inspiration.

8. Up the party vibes with a bar table

outdoor entertaining area with bar from Dobbies

This space, curated by Dobbies, is ready for hosting friends outdoors

(Image credit: Dobbies)

A bar table like this, complete with a set of stools, is a brilliant option for laid-back entertaining with loved ones. Accessorize with plenty of hot-colored tableware, a patterned outdoor rug, and string lights overhead and you've got a space that’s fit for hosting summer get-togethers effortlessly.

Some designs even have gas fire pits in the center – the ideal focal point for keeping conversations going long into the evening.

9. Or, chill out with your own private sauna

sauna at Ravendere Retreats

A luxurious sauna at Ravendere Retreats

(Image credit: Wayfair/Ravendere Retreats)

Want to give your outdoor space a more Zen-like vibe? Then how about splashing out on a sauna as part of your backyard patio ideas? Sure, it’s luxurious and a bit of an investment. But, these structures are a surefire way to decrease stress and offer plenty of other health benefits, too.

You could even go a step further and add a spa to your space to go alongside. That way, you’ll have the ultimate outdoor relaxation haven right on your very own plot. Our best hot tubs buying guide is a good place to start your search.

10. Illuminate a nearby tree to boost the ambiance

vitra furniture and outdoor lights on modern patio

Combine playful furniture with glowing lights for a magical yet modern scene – this setup features the Eames Plastic Chair Family by Charles & Ray Eames from Vitra

(Image credit: Vitra)

Every garden can benefit from fabulous patio lighting ideas, and this enchanting tree is a perfect example. Covered in twinkling lights, it adds an air of magic to an evening scene.

For smaller spaces, opt for potted trees instead. Outdoor fairy lights woven around the branches of a small bay or olive will look delightful. Flickering candles in oversized lanterns nearby will add to the romance further.

Pair with brightly-colored furniture for a contemporary vibe. This set lifts the gray stone surroundings beautifully.

11. Pair neutral tones with plenty of foliage

leafy patio scene with outdoor furniture from John Lewis

This setup by John Lewis is a gorgeous place to relax on a hot summer's day

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Turn your patio into a shaded sanctuary this summer, to escape the midday heat. Garden parasols can come in handy, but for a cool, jungle-like vibe, opt for tons of large, leafy plants.

Combine with neutral-toned furniture and textiles for a sense of sophisticated calm. Meanwhile, red-brick-style paving underfoot paired with a rattan rug will add a pleasing mix of textures to the scene.

12. Update your patio steps with a fresh new hue

colorful steps painted in Little Greene green paint leading up to patio

This rear wall is painted with Little Greene's intelligent masonry paint 'Royal Navy 257', whilst the side wall is in 'Urbane Grey 225'.
The beams are in 'Scree 227' and the stair risers are in the show-stopping 'Sage & Onions', both of which are intelligent exterior eggshell paints

(Image credit: Little Greene)

If you're looking for patio ideas for garden steps, you don't necessarily need to replace what you have. Try giving them a lick of paint instead. 

This invigorating green hue makes a wonderfully bold statement. Combined with the deep navy wall behind, the look feels totally on-trend.

Accessorizing exterior walls is also a great way to put your stamp on a space. For smaller patios, try a garden mirror to make the area seem bigger.

13. Opt for patio furniture in statement shapes

patio ideas with vitra colorful chairs overlooking lake view

(Image credit: Vitra)

Traditional styles aren't for everyone. So, if you prefer a more modern vibe, then go bold when it comes to your patio furniture. There are plenty of statement options on the market – including these eye-catching designs. 

We love the pleasingly-curved lines for their sculptural effect. Mix and match colors to add to the playful look. Add a geometric-patterned tablecloth and a vase of fresh blooms and you'll have a delightful spot to while away an afternoon.

14. Pick eco-friendly paving

eco patio ideas using bradstone eco paving with family sat on outdoor furniture

Bradstone's Old Town ECO paving in Grey-Green makes a stylish and sustainable choice for this space

(Image credit: Bradstone)

We all try to be more environmentally-friendly in our day-to-day lives. So why not consider more sustainable paving options for your eco landscaping ideas

This could be by opting for natural, local stone, or using reclaimed materials. Or, look for brands which use low-carbon-footprint production methods. This paving above is sturdy, stylish, and eco-friendly – perfect for a family garden.

Fancy a bit of DIY action? You can find out how to lay a patio with our guide.

15. Mix up bright shades for your patio ideas

colourful bistro set on patio

Combine complementary hues for an invigorating look

(Image credit: Robert Sanderson/Future)

Dare to be creative when it comes to the color palette for your backyard patio ideas. A splash of lime green against deep violet and pale sage might sound like an unlikely mix, but the result feels fresh and totally on-trend. 

Paired with fuss-free paving and a sumptuous living wall, this teeny urban courtyard is transformed into a vibrant oasis. Add a vase or two of freshly cut blooms for a final flourish.

16. Or, go for subtle tones for a chic look

pale corner sofa from danetti on patio

(Image credit: Danetti)

If you're after a more subtle approach when it comes to color, then how's this for an inspiring scene? 

There are a few clever design features at play, too. Not only is the plush sofa modular, it also transforms into a sun lounger and back again to suit your mood. And, look close enough and you'll spot the integrated ice bucket in the coffee table, for keeping all your favorite drinks perfectly chilled. 

A couple of soft-hued accessories and an outdoor rug underfoot ramp up the cozy factor and pull the whole look together beautifully. Our buying guide to the best garden rugs will help you find one for your plot.

17. Add a glamorous touch with a decorative parasol

decorative parasol from east london parasol company on patio

The Catherine round bamboo parasol from East London Parasol Company makes a lovely addition to your patio ideas

(Image credit: East London Parasol Company)

Give more traditional patio ideas an eclectic twist with a show-stopping, hand-painted parasol. Not only does this turquoise beauty make a stunning focal point, but it also adds a spot of shelter from the midday sun.

Parasols in blush pinks, vibrant oranges, lime greens and sky blues work wonderfully with spring and summer gardens, says the team at East London Parasol Company. They can be added to a neutral plot to add a pop of color. Or, they can also be used as part of a colorful setting, where different designs, prints and hues are being used to complement each other, they continue.

Our best garden parasol buying guide has more gorgeous designs that we think you'll love.

18. Play with pinks for a boho theme

boho style patio seating

Pile on textures and bright tones for laid-back patio ideas

(Image credit: Robert Sanderson/Future)

A fuchsia-hued gazebo adorned with decorative lanterns, an outdoor table brimming with beautiful accessories, masses of foliage creating a cool green backdrop – this eclectic scene is one we simply adore. 

To recreate the look, layer your patio with tons of bright textiles and playful decorations. By choosing a predominant hue (such as pink) and using other exotic tones as accents, the result will look considered rather than chaotic. It's simply perfect for lovers of bohemian garden ideas.

19. Mix and match textures for a cozy feel

poolside patio seating set-up from OKA

This setup is from OKA, including the Aventine two-seater sofa

(Image credit: OKA UK)

This scene is full of sophistication thanks to a mix of woven materials and soft fabrics. We love how the natural tones are offset with patterned details, which draw the eye around the space. In fact, we think this style would look just as fabulous indoors.

What's more, the romantic glow from the glass hurricane lamps will look stunning as it shimmers across the nearby water – a lovely addition for your pool ideas.

20. Warm up with a stylish heater

patio heater from neo direct

(Image credit: Neo Direct)

The best patio heaters are a great way to warm your outdoor space up. Some models can be a real design feature too, as they look fantastic.

Heights can often be adjusted to suit your requirements and the freestanding ones can be moved around to direct the heat exactly where you need it. And, if space is a little tight, opt for a wall-hung version.

tile giant flooring between indoors and outdoor patio

These tiles are from Tile Giant

(Image credit: Tile Giant)

If you're undertaking a full-blown patio makeover, consider matching the floor tiles with those in your house for a cohesive indoor-outdoor link. 

This is especially key if you've finished a kitchen extension or renovation project that's opened the house out onto the garden. Matching modern paving either side of the doorway extends your space further and creates a seamless flow.

22. Embrace summer living with on-trend accessories

colorful rug on patio

We love this lively setup by The Rug Seller

(Image credit: The Rug Seller)

Outdoor rooms are big news right now, and we love this patio living area idea. 

So for your patio ideas, invest in a comfortable outdoor sofa, add a coffee table (where else are you going to put those cocktails?), and decorate the space with all the usual accessories you'd find in an indoor living room. Think cushions, rugs and throws – the lot. Just make sure they're outdoor-friendly – or be prepared to bring them indoors every evening.

We like the use of potted bamboo in this scene too, for a striking dose of leafy texture.

23. Opt for a sleek white cover

freestanding ikea parasol over patio sofa

(Image credit: Ikea)

As much as we love the sun, spending all day basking in its rays can be harmful. But a sleek parasol such as this will provide protection as well as a chic look for your patio.

It's also perfect for those days where you want to work on your laptop outside without having to squint at the screen. What's more, this one is surprisingly affordable – perfect if you're on the lookout for budget patio ideas.

24. Keep cozy with a cast-iron chiminea

cosy patio with Morsø fire pit

The cast-iron Kamino outdoor fireplace from Morsø makes a modern centerpiece for a patio

(Image credit: Morsø)

Gathering around a fire pit, log burning brazier, chiminea, or outdoor fireplace is fun for all the family and will make your patio feel extra special. Nothing beats the crackle and pop of a real fire. 

As well as warmth, the flickering lights will create magical ambiance in the garden. Fires can also be used for seasonal treats such as cooking sausages on Bonfire Night, making s'mores or warming mulled cider. 

A design like this makes a contemporary statement – a great choice for modern garden ideas.

25. Get creative with patterned tiles

raised patio platform with patterned star tiles

Patterned tiles are great for making a statement – like these from Walls and Floors

(Image credit: Walls and Floors)

We've fallen completely in love with this raised patio area. It uses tiles to add pattern and highlight the different levels of the garden. 

Patterned floor tiles, usually the reserve of a kitchen or bathroom, help make this space feel like a room of its own and give it a slightly European vibe, too. A monochrome theme, set off by lush green foliage, completes the sophisticated scheme. 

Need more flooring inspiration? Our patio paving ideas have got you covered.

26. Create inviting corners with garden lighting and comfy cushions

outdoor lounge area with fairy lights and lanterns

A cozy setup from Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

To make the most of your patio ideas, set up the scene for the evening as well as the day. Invest in some comfortable corner seating that doubles up as a great place to nap, string up some fairy or festoon lights, and add candles and lanterns – real or LED – for cozy mood lighting.

Then, for when the temperature cools, have plenty of cushions and throws to hand to snuggle up into.

27. Dine alfresco in style on your patio

Patio ideas with ochre colored wall and dining table

A colorful scheme from Habitat

(Image credit: Habitat)

Outdoor dining ideas are all the rage right now, and it's a trend that's only going to get bigger. So, for your patio, create a place fit for a feast with a new table and chairs setup. 

And check out that gorgeous ochre-hued wall – it adds an instant dose of sunshine to the scene, whatever the weather. Patio furniture is also a great way to add a splash of color, but if you're feeling a little less brave, channel your inner maximalist through bold patterned dinnerware instead.

28. Stage a stylish setup on a raised patio

pattenered tiles on raised patio with table and chairs

These porcelain tiles from Tile Mountain add an elegant feature

(Image credit: Tile Mountain)

If you're undertaking a landscaping project as part of your patio redesign, consider raising part of the plot to create a feature of the space. 

It could be used for a dining area like in the above image, a lounge area, or for your outdoor kitchen – any kind of outdoor room that would benefit from zoning in this way. Even a small step down to the rest of the garden is enough to make an impact.

29. Bring a holiday vibe to your garden

grey day bed from George Home on patio

A chic setup from George Home

(Image credit: George Home)

Why not theme your patio ideas to your favorite vacation spot? This setup gives us all the Ibiza vibes with its white-washed walls and poolside-worthy lounge chairs. Plenty of greenery (including adorable hanging pots) soften the look.

If you want to recreate the scene as part of your patio ideas, our guide to the best sun loungers is a good place to start.

30. Invest in a permanent patio cover

wooden pergola over patio with John Lewis outdoor seating and terracotta wall behind

A bold terracotta wall looks fabulous against the neutral paving and furniture in this setup from John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

If you prefer relaxing in the shade rather than soaking in the sun, a fully-covered patio could be perfect for you. This one combines a pared-back wooden structure against a terracotta wall, resulting in a stylish, Tuscan-inspired scene. 

Bring shade-loving plants into the scheme for extra foliage. Potted varieties will add to the indoor-outdoor feel.

31. Choose cocoon chairs

hanging egg chair from Beaumonde on patio

Get an on-trend look with this Lot rattan hanging egg chair from Beaumonde 

(Image credit: Beaumonde)

Cocoon-style egg chairs are super snug for chilly evenings and look fantastic. It's no wonder they're so on-trend. 

Alternatively, opt for armchair-style seating that's comfortable, weather-resistant and durable. Check labels thoroughly before buying though as many designs are not built to withstand a winter outdoors. Try synthetic resin as it can be left outside and there's a huge choice of sofas and armchairs, which usually come with deep cushions for added comfort.

32. Use your wall space for vertical styling

patio scene from Rust Collection including wooden fence and modern furniture

A calming scene from Rust Collections

(Image credit: Rust Collection)

If you've seen our vertical garden ideas, you'll know that the wall space surrounding your patio is just as useful as the floor. So, make the most of it by adding screens, trellises or wall planters. They'll make a feature of the space and it means you can fit even more greenery into your plot. 

Wall planters are particularly great for small patios, or for gardens with little or no soil: treat them like hanging baskets with a mix of short and trailing plants.

33. Make a statement with XXL tiles

extra large grey tiles from Topps Tiles in modern patio scene

These sleek tiles are from Topps Tiles

(Image credit: Topps Tiles)

Opt for large-format tiles like these for your patio and you'll create the illusion of more space. Big tiles also add an air of luxury to a garden, and paired with sleek, stylish furniture and considered greenery – think ferns and palms – you can create a scheme that's the height of sophistication.

To keep them looking good, make sure you know how to look after their maintenance with our guide to the best patio cleaners.

34. Choose a decorative fire pit for a focal point

bulb fire pit from Dunelm on patio

The Bulb fire basket from Dunelm adds a striking feature to this space

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Create a talking point with architectural fire pit patio ideas. Think of it like the modern version of telling stories around a campfire – it's the same cozy experience, but with a very stylish upgrade.

35. Add a welcome glow with lights

fairy lights around tree

This magical setup is from Lights4fun

(Image credit: Oliver Perrott/Lights4fun)

Choose the right garden lighting ideas to bring that all-important glow to your patio.

'Warm white LEDs are the perfect way to make your patio feel warm and cozy,' says the team at Lights4fun. 'Add lights at varying heights to your space, making it come alive with a warm, ambient glow. Zig-zag fairy lights overhead and dot stylish hanging solar lanterns around your space to accentuate your twinkling fairy light canopy.

'Place small lanterns and candles on table tops and adorn flowerbeds with solar stake lights nestled between flowers and foliage,' they add.

How do you make a patio feel cozy?

The experts share their top tips for bringing a homely, cozy feel to your patio:

  1. 'Add personality to your garden by using throws and cushions on your benches and seats,' says Kelly Harvey, Buyer for Danetti. 'As well as adding to that homely feeling, it will help add extra color and feel-good factor to your space.' 
  2. 'You can also add texture with an outdoor rug which will help to create a more intimate and cozy feeling,' suggests Kelly.
  3. Use fairy lights to take your garden from day to night, Kelly continues. 'As well as being an extra source of light, it will really set the mood and create a soothing and relaxing setting with the dimly-lit glow.'
  4. Sue Jones, Co-Founder & Creative Director of OKA says, 'Treat your outside space as an extension of your home and choose a color palette for textiles – essential for cozying up but also for creating a welcoming aesthetic.'
  5. 'Twinkling candlelight is crucial for creating atmosphere,' Sue continues. Adorn all the surfaces you have with tea lights and pillar candles, and if the weather turns a little windy, then LEDs make the perfect back-up, she adds.

cosy patio scene with outdoor fire place from garden house design

A toasty scene from Garden House Design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

How should you choose furniture for a patio?

When it comes to your outdoor seating ideas, think about 'sociable shapes', suggests Kelly Harvey, Buyer for Danetti. 'Garden modular benches are great for creating an intimate social setting; modular sets are perfect for taking your garden from day to night,' she says. 'With the lightweight frame they can be moved around easily to ensure you can find the perfect spot in the garden for those lazy days in the sun with a good book, and then configure back together for an evening around the table.'

A garden corner bench is also a great alternative to dining chairs, Kelly continues. 'It can instantly create a cozy seating area in the corner of your garden or patio. It also does the job of an outdoor sofa-set as you can sit back and get unashamedly comfortable just as you would indoors, and really enjoy those long drawn out summer evenings.'

modern seating on patio from danetti

(Image credit: Danetti)
Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

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!