By Ellen Finch
Are you on the lookout for fabulous patio ideas? With spring well and truly on its way, it’s the perfect time to update your space.
A patio is often the epicentre of our garden design ideas – a space for alfresco entertaining, dining, lounging, or cooking. But as well as being functional, it needs to look the part, too. With the right accessories and furniture, there's 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.
From boho vibes to contemporary set-ups, we've got designs suitable for any plot and budget.
1. Mix up bright shades
Dare to be creative when it comes to your patio colour palette. 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.
2. Or, go for subtle tones for a chic look
If you're after a more subtle approach when it comes to colour, then how's this for an inspiring scene?
There's 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 favourite tipples perfectly chilled.
A couple of soft-hued accessories and an outdoor rug underfoot ramp up the cosy factor and pull the whole look together beautifully. Head over to our best garden rugs to find one for your plot.
3. Add a glamorous touch with a decorative parasol
Give a more traditional patio 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 and can be added to a neutral plot to add a pop of colour, says the team at East London Parasol Company. They can also be used as part of a colourful setting, where different designs, prints and hues are being used to complement each other, they continue.
Head over to our best garden parasol buying guide for more gorgeous designs that we think you'll love.
4. Play with pinks for a boho theme
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 a more bohemian style.
And on that note, you might like these 7 boho garden ideas for a stylish outdoor space, too.
5. Mix and match textures for a cosy feel
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 pool. Head over to our backyard pool ideas for plenty more inspiration.
6. Warm up with a stylish heater
The latest patio heaters are another option to warm things 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.
We've selected our favourites in our best patio heater buying guide.
7. Create an indoor-outdoor link
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 flooring either side of the doorway extends your space further and creates a seamless flow. You can find more inspiration in our modern paving ideas feature.
8. Embrace summer living with on-trend accessories
Outdoor rooms are big news right now, and we love this patio living area idea.
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 love the use of potted bamboo in this scene too, for a striking dose of leafy texture.
- Our garden furniture ideas feature is full of gorgeous pieces to elevate a patio space.
9. Opt for a sleek white cover
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 garden ideas.
10. Keep cosy with a cast iron fire
Gathering around a fire pit, log burning brazier, chiminea or outdoor fireplace is fun for all the family and will make any patio scene feel extra special. Nothing beats the crackle and pop of a real fire.
As well as warmth, the flickering lights will create magical ambience 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.
11. Get creative with patterned tiles
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 paving ideas have got you covered.
12. Create inviting corners with garden lighting and comfy cushions
To make the most of your patio, set it up 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 cosy mood lighting.
Then, for when the temperature cools, have plenty of cushions and throws to hand to snuggle up into.
13. Dine alfresco in style
Outdoor dining ideas are all the rage right now, and it's a trend that's only going to get bigger. So, transform your patio into a place fit for a feast with a new table and chairs set-up.
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 colour to a space, but if you're feeling a little less brave, channel your inner maximalist through bold patterned dinnerware instead.
14. Stage a stylish set-up on a raised patio
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 ideas – 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.
15. Bring a holiday vibe to your garden
Why not theme your patio ideas to your favourite vacation spot? This set-up 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.
Fancy recreating the scene as part of your patio ideas? Our guide to the best sun loungers is a good place to start.
16. Invest in a permanent patio cover
If you prefer relaxing in the shade rather than soaking in the sun, a fully-covered patio area 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 of the space.
17. Choose cocoon chairs
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.
Find more outdoor buys in our best garden furniture guide.
18. Use your wall space for vertical styling
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 garden on a vertical scale.
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. Our small garden ideas has lots more tips for making the most of a limited space.
19. Make a statement with XXL 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.
It's a great solution if you're wondering how to make your garden feel modern.
20. Choose a decorative fire pit for a focal point
Create a talking point with an architectural fire pit or fire basket like this one. Think of it like the modern version of telling stories around a campfire – it's the same cosy experience, but with a very stylish upgrade.
21. Add a welcome glow with lights
Choose the right lights to bring that all-important glow to your patio.
'Warm white LEDs are the perfect way to make your patio feel warm and cosy,' 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.
Head over to our patio lighting ideas for even more stunning designs for illuminating your space.
How do you make a patio feel cosy?
The experts share their top tips for bringing a homely, cosy feel to your patio:
- '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 colour and feel-good factor to your space.'
- 'You can also add texture with an outdoor rug which will help to create a more intimate and cosy feeling,' suggests Kelly.
- 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.'
- Sue Jones, Co-Founder & Creative Director of OKA says 'Treat your outside space as an extension of your home and choose a colour palette for textiles – essential for cosying up but also for creating a welcoming aesthetic.'
- '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.
How should you choose furniture for a patio?
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 cosy 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.'
Whatever you choose, make sure it's durable enough to last. And to help keep it in tip-top condition, take a look at our guide on how to clean outdoor furniture.
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