What are the basic steps for preparing an outdoor patio for the summer?

To turn your outdoor patio or garden from sticks and stones winterscape to summer heaven, use the six TALLBOX points STREAM list to start planning. Whether you’re starting fresh, renovating, or adding finishing touches, the STREAM list is designed to help you achieve your perfect summer outdoor living area quickly, with minimum steps and on optimized budget.

STREAM is short for S for surveying your garden, T for transforming by replacing or renovating, R for renovating in planned phases, E for enhancing, A for arranging, and M for maintaining the outdoor space. 

S – Survey

Assess Your Space: Measure dimensions, note existing features (plants, hardscapes) you want to keep, and observe how sunlight moves throughout the day.

T – Transform

Renovate or Replace: Decide what needs fixing (Patio furniture,Outdoor lighting,Patio umbrella,Potted plants, Grill and others) or removal based on your observations and budget.

R – Renovate

Plan in Phases: Break down your project into manageable steps – demolition/hardscaping first, then plants and furniture.

E – Enhance

Budget for New Purchases: Set realistic spending limits for your patio, paths, and furniture.

Design for Function & Style: Choose furniture and decor that matches your taste, fits your space, and serves how you want to use your garden.

A – Arrange

Personalize with Touches: Add plants for beauty and shade, lighting for ambiance, and amenities (fire pit, sound system) for comfort and fun.

M – Maintain

Maintain your summer haven: Keep your garden thriving with regular watering, weeding, mulching, and deadheading. Watch for pests and diseases, addressing issues quickly to protect your plants.

Picture of George Nicola
George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

A modern backyard patio with a pergola, comfortable seating, and a landscaped garden, perfect for summer patio ideas.
A modern backyard patio with a pergola, comfortable seating, and a landscaped garden, perfect for summer patio ideas.

In modern suburban homes, the outdoor patio is often an outdoor area that serves as an extension of the main living space during warm months of the year. With careful planning and design, this area can be transformed into a versatile and inviting space for various activities and gatherings, not only from May to September but throughout all 12 months.

If not planned well, patio spaces can become expensive and a financial burden connected to ongoing maintenance on a yearly basis; creating a well-planned outdoor patio with distinct zones for different purposes is essential, and correct materials and colors are an investment with a good return. This well-defined area can accommodate dining, lounging, cooking, and even a dedicated play area for children with the right layout and features.

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, investing in a well-designed outdoor living space can yield a return on investment of up to 77% of the price of a garden to homeowners when selling the property. Otherwise, buyers can pay 23% more for an identical house with a better garden and patio. However, the value added can depend on factors such as the region, the overall landscape design, and the quality of the materials and craftsmanship employed in the patio’s construction.

This article aims to explore various outdoor patio design ideas that cater to different lifestyles and preferences, providing both practical and visually appealing solutions to enhance one’s outdoor living experience.

To make your existing outdoor patio or garden a delightful summer haven, use first the TALLBOX’s STREAM list and focus on assessing your space and creating a thoughtful renovation plan:

Evaluate Size, Shape, and Existing Features

Carefully measure the dimensions of your garden or patio area. Note the shape – is it rectangular, square, curved or an irregular shape? Take stock of any existing hardscape features like patios, decks, paths, or built-in planters that you plan to keep. Also inventory trees, shrubs, perennials and other plants you want to retain.

Determine Sun Exposure and Shade Patterns

Observe how the sun moves across your space throughout the day. Identify which areas get full sun (6+ hours), part sun (4-6 hours), part shade (2-4 hours) or full shade (less than 2 hours). Take note of shade cast by walls, fences, trees or neighboring structures. Microclimates and sun/shade patterns will guide your plant selections and furniture placement.

Make a List of What to Retain, Renovate and Replace

After evaluating your existing features and conditions, make a list categorizing what you want to keep as-is, what needs renovation, and what should be replaced entirely. For example, you may want to retain a mature shade tree, renovate a worn deck, and replace some overgrown foundation shrubs. Prioritize your list based on condition, function and budget.

Execute Your Plan in Phases

With your prioritized list in hand, start executing your renovation plan in manageable phases. Begin with any demolition and major hardscaping changes. Then move on to key features like patios, decks and paths. Next tackle lawn areas, trees and large shrubs. Finally, fill in garden beds with perennials, annuals, and smaller shrubs. Phasing the work makes the project less overwhelming and spreads out costs

Buying the right patio furniture, materials, fabrics, and outdoor decoration, use first the TALLBOX’s STREAM list and focus on assessing your space and creating a thoughtful renovation plan:

If you plan to buy a new patio and furniture, focus on creating a functional and stylish outdoor space that fits your budget:

Determine Your Budget

Before you start shopping, establish a realistic budget for your patio and furniture. Consider what you can comfortably afford and prioritize your must-haves. Remember to allocate funds for both hardscaping (patio, paths, structures) and furnishings (furniture, cushions, umbrellas, accessories).

Consider Functional Zones

Think about how you want to use the space – dining, lounging, cooking, playing, gardening. Sketch out a rough plan allocating space for different functions. Allow ample room for furniture and circulation. Create destination spaces linked by paths. Establish a focal point to draw the eye.

Select a Style

Choose a style that complements your home’s architecture and reflects your personal taste. Popular outdoor styles include modern, traditional, rustic, coastal, and tropical. Stick to one style for a cohesive look, or mix and match for an eclectic vibe. Use your style as a guide for selecting furniture, materials, colors, and decor.

Choose Durable, Weather-Resistant Materials

Invest in patio furniture made from materials that can withstand the elements. Look for pieces made from weather-resistant woods like teak or eucalyptus, powder-coated aluminum, or resin wicker. Choose fabrics that are fade-resistant, quick-drying, and easy to clean. Opt for hardscaping materials that are slip-resistant and can handle freeze-thaw cycles.

Pick Comfortable, Functional Furniture

Select furniture that is both comfortable and functional. Look for dining chairs with cushioned seats and backs, and chaise lounges with adjustable positions. Choose tables with ample space for food and drinks. Consider multi-functional pieces like storage ottomans or sectionals with built-in side tables. Don’t forget to include some shade with umbrellas or a pergola.

Incorporate Lighting and Accessories

Add ambiance with outdoor lighting like string lights, lanterns, or landscape lighting. Layer in accessories like outdoor rugs, throw pillows, and planters to add color, texture, and personality. A few well-placed decorative elements can make your patio feel like an extension of your home.

By setting a budget, considering function, selecting a style, choosing durable materials and furniture, and incorporating lighting and accessories, you can create a beautiful and inviting outdoor space that maximizes your investment. With some careful planning and smart purchases, you’ll soon be enjoying your new patio and furniture all summer long.

If a garden is not designed by a professional landscape designer or architect, there is chance for it to lack some features or even not that that appealing. New doesn’t now equate to great design, and this applies to all outdoor patio and garden spaces including the furniture, materials, fabrics and others. Make sure to first use TALLBOX’s STREAM list for gardens and outdoor spaces to assess your space and create a solid renovation plan.

If your patio and garden are new but need a bit more to become a true summer haven, focus on adding personal touches and enhancing the space with plants, decor, and amenities:

Assess Your Existing Space

Take a step back and evaluate your new patio and garden. Consider the size, shape, and layout of the space. Identify any areas that feel incomplete or could use some improvement. Take note of existing features like furniture, hardscaping, and plants that you want to work around.

Create a Wishlist

Make a list of the elements you’d like to add to your patio and garden to make it feel more inviting and functional. Consider things like additional seating, shade structures, outdoor cooking equipment, water features, lighting, and decor. Prioritize your wishlist based on your budget and the impact each item will have on the overall space.

Add Greenery and Landscaping

Incorporate plants to soften hardscapes, provide privacy, and add color and texture. Use a mix of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees in beds, borders, containers, and hanging baskets. Choose plants suited to your climate, soil, and sun/shade conditions. Consider adding a vertical garden or green wall for a lush, space-saving option.

Incorporate Shade and Privacy

If your patio feels exposed or lacks shade, consider adding structures like a pergola, shade sail, or retractable awning. These elements can provide relief from the sun and create a sense of enclosure. For added privacy, install a decorative screen, trellis with climbing vines, or tall planters with lush foliage.

Enhance Ambiance with Lighting and Decor

Create a warm and inviting atmosphere with outdoor lighting. String lights overhead, place lanterns on tables, or install landscape lighting to highlight key features. Add decorative elements like outdoor rugs, throw pillows, wall art, and sculptures to personalize the space and make it feel like an extension of your home.

Include Entertainment and Amenities

Make your patio and garden more functional and enjoyable by incorporating entertainment and amenities. Consider adding an outdoor sound system, TV, or projector for movie nights. Include games like cornhole or giant Jenga for family fun. Install an outdoor kitchen, bar, or fire pit for cooking and socializing. Don’t forget to add conveniences like a mini-fridge or storage for blankets and pillows.

By assessing your new patio and garden, creating a wishlist, and incorporating plants, shade, privacy, lighting, decor, and amenities, you can transform your outdoor space into a personalized oasis. With some creative touches and thoughtful additions, you’ll have a patio and garden that feels complete and ready for summer relaxation and entertaining.

HOW TO Plan an outdoor patio?

Plan your outdoor patio after you have decided whether to renovate, buy everything new, or spruce it – establish budget, purpose, location and materials. Below is a full list of all activities

Planning an outdoor patio involves several steps to ensure a functional and inviting space. Here’s a guide on how to plan your outdoor patio:

  • Consult professionals: If needed, consult with landscape designers, contractors, or architects to ensure proper planning, design, and execution of your patio project.
  • Determine the purpose of your patio: Decide how you want to use your patio space, whether it’s for dining, lounging, entertaining, or a combination of activities. A multi-functional patio that combines dining, lounging, and entertaining is more versatile than a patio designed for a single purpose.
  • Consider the location: Choose a spot that is easily accessible from your home, offers privacy, and takes advantage of any desirable views or natural features.
  • Assess the size and shape: Measure the available space and consider the shape that best fits your needs and complements your home’s architecture. A patio with an appropriate size and shape that complements the home’s architecture is more visually appealing than a patio that looks out of place.
  • Plan for amenities: Decide on the features you want to include, such as an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, water feature, or built-in seating.
  • Consider shade and shelter: Incorporate shade solutions like umbrellas, pergolas, or awnings to provide relief from the sun and protect against rain.
  • Create a budget: Determine how much you can afford to spend on your patio project, including materials, furniture, and any professional services needed. A realistic budget that accounts for all necessary materials, furniture, and professional services is more likely to result in a successful patio project than an insufficient budget.

The cost of a 1 square meter patio in the US in 2024 varies depending on the materials and type of patio chosen.

Here are some average costs based on the provided sources:

  • Gravel Patio: Costs an average of $6 – $16 per square foot, which translates to approximately $65 – $172 per square meter.
  • Poured Concrete Patio: Typically costs between $5 – $30 per square foot, which is about $54 – $323 per square meter.
  • Stamped Concrete Patio: Costs range from $12 – $30 per square foot, equating to roughly $129 – $323 per square meter.
  • Paver Patio: Usually runs $8 – $25 per square foot, which means about $86 – $269 per square meter.
  • Brick Patio: Runs $18 – $25 per square foot on average, translating to approximately $194 – $269 per square meter.
  • Flagstone Patio: Costs about $15 – $30 per square foot, which is around $161 – $323 per square meter.

To calculate these figures in square meters, the conversion factor from square feet to square meters (1 square foot = 0.092903 square meters) was used. Keep in mind that these prices can vary based on project specifics, location, and additional features or complexity of the installation.

  • Choose materials: Select materials for your patio surface, such as concrete, pavers, bricks, or natural stone, considering durability, maintenance, and style preferences.
  • Select furniture: Choose comfortable, weather-resistant furniture that fits your patio’s size and purpose, such as dining sets, lounge chairs, or sectionals.
  • Incorporate lighting: Plan for adequate lighting to extend the usability of your patio into the evening hours and create ambiance.
  • Add greenery: Incorporate plants, trees, or container gardens to enhance the natural beauty and create a more inviting atmosphere.
  • Personalize with decor: Add personal touches with outdoor rugs, pillows, art, or other decorative elements that reflect your style.

Remember to check local building codes and obtain any necessary permits before starting your patio project. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can create an outdoor patio that perfectly suits your needs and enhances your home’s outdoor living space.

Where to position the patio in a garden?

Traditionally, Terraced Houses (UK) / Row Houses (US) often have limited space on either side, leading to long, narrow gardens along the back of the property. 

  • Townhouses: Similar to terraced/row houses, townhouses share walls with neighbors and typically have rectangular backyards that can be long and narrow.
  • Older Urban Homes: In cities with historic districts, homes built on small lots often have long, narrow gardens as space was limited.
  • Suburban Homes on Narrow Lots: Some suburban developments feature houses built on narrower lots to maximize dwelling density, resulting in long, skinny gardens.

Below are three examples of the benefits of a patio in a long and narrow/tiny garden if it’s placed closer to the property, in the middle of the garden, or at the far end of the property.

The image presents three different garden layout scenarios for a property, each focusing on the placement and size of the patio area.

Here’s an analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of each scenario:

Infographic comparing three patio scenarios with varying lawn sizes, patio placements, and features for landscaping and entertainment, highlighting summer patio ideas.
Infographic comparing three patio scenarios with varying lawn sizes, patio placements, and features for landscaping and entertainment, highlighting summer patio ideas.

When deciding where to position a patio in a garden, consider the following factors:

  1. Accessibility: Place the patio in a location that is easily accessible from your home, ideally close to the kitchen or living area for convenience when carrying food, drinks, or other items outside.
  2. Privacy: Consider the level of privacy you desire. If you prefer a more secluded space, position the patio away from neighboring properties or use landscaping elements like screens, walls, or plants to create a sense of enclosure.
  3. Sun and shade: Think about the amount of sun and shade you want throughout the day. If you prefer a sunny spot for lounging or dining, choose a location that receives ample sunlight. If you need relief from the heat, consider a partially shaded area or plan for shade structures like pergolas or umbrellas.
  4. View: Position the patio to take advantage of any desirable views, such as a well-landscaped garden, water feature, or distant scenery.
  5. Garden layout: Consider the overall layout of your garden and how the patio will fit into the existing or planned design. Ensure that the patio integrates well with other garden elements, such as lawns, flower beds, pathways, and water features.
  6. Size and shape: Consider the size and shape of your patio in relation to the available space in your garden. Make sure the patio is proportionate to your garden and leaves enough room for other desired features and activities.
  7. Microclimate: Assess the microclimate of different areas in your garden. Some spots may be windier, more exposed, or prone to collecting water. Choose a location that offers a comfortable environment for your desired activities.
  8. Future plans: Think about any future plans you may have for your garden, such as adding a pool, outdoor kitchen, or fire pit. Position your patio in a way that allows for these additions without requiring significant changes to the layout.

What materials are good for a garden patio?

Patio Floors

To choose the best materials for a garden, weather-resistant decking and furniture offer durability and low maintenance. These materials withstand harsh outdoor conditions, unlike non-weather-resistant options that quickly deteriorate and require frequent replacement.

Weather-resistance is generally the top priority for garden materials in most climates. If materials degrade quickly outdoors, both durability and ease of maintenance become less relevant.

Four different types of material samples, including stone and wood, laid out on a white surface to prepare a patio.
Four different types of material samples, including stone and wood, laid out on a white surface to prepare a patio.

The best materials for an outdoor patio provide durability, low maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. Some top choices include:

  1. Concrete: Known for its strength and versatility, concrete patios are long-lasting and require minimal upkeep if sealed properly. However, concrete can lack the visual warmth of other materials.
  2. Natural stone: Flagstone, granite, and slate offer a timeless, elegant look with unique color variations and textures. While more expensive than concrete, natural stone is highly durable if maintained regularly.
  3. Pavers: Available in various materials like brick, concrete, or natural stone, pavers provide a customizable and attractive option. They are easier to repair than solid surfaces if a single paver becomes damaged.
  4. Wood: Although it requires more maintenance than stone or concrete, a wood deck can offer a warm, natural aesthetic. Choose rot-resistant species like cedar or redwood and seal regularly for longevity.
  5. Composite decking: Made from a mix of wood fibers and plastic, composite decking provides the look of wood without the high maintenance. It’s durable and resistant to fading, staining, and insects.

In general, concrete patios are the most affordable at $5 – $15 per square foot. Paver patios have a wider price range of $8 – $50 per square foot installed depending on the type of paver. Natural stone is pricier at $16 – $35 per square foot. And wood decks fall in the middle at $15 – $35 per square foot.

Your specific costs will depend on the size, complexity, site conditions, and local market. It’s best to get detailed quotes from contractors to compare options and find the best fit for your budget and style preferences.

When comparing these materials, consider factors like budget, desired style, and maintenance preferences. Concrete and pavers are often the most cost-effective, while natural stone and wood offer a more premium look. Composite decking strikes a balance between aesthetics and low maintenance.

Patio Shades

Woven shade netting is the cheapest but least durable option, knitted shade mesh provides a good balance of affordability and performance, while woven decorator fabrics are the most expensive and design-focused choice for sun shade fabrics. The right material depends on the specific application, desired longevity, and budget.

Assorted white textile materials with different textures neatly prepared on a patio surface, offering ideas for summer decorations.
Assorted white textile materials with different textures neatly prepared on a patio surface, offering ideas for summer decorations.
  1. Woven shade mesh or netting (cheapest)
    Woven “shade cloth” or netting is an affordable option for short-term use or agricultural applications where longevity, appearance, UV protection and sag resistance are less important. It tends to tear and fray more easily than knitted fabrics but the lower cost can offset those drawbacks.
  2. Knitted shade mesh or netting (mid-range)
    Knitted shade mesh, also called “shade cloth”, is more durable and longer-lasting than woven netting. It has strong, lock-stitched construction that resists tearing, fraying, stretching and sagging. Knitted fabrics provide UV protection factors ranging from 30% to over 90% and allow good air circulation. They typically come with warranties up to 10 years.
  3. Woven decorator fabrics (most expensive)
    High-end woven fabrics encompass a wide range of outdoor decorator fabrics made from solution-dyed acrylic, polyester, or other synthetic fibers. They come in many colors and designs to complement home decor. These tightly woven fabrics can block up to 99% of UV rays and are treated to resist fading, mildew and rot. However, the dense weave limits airflow. Woven decorator fabrics are typically guaranteed for about 5 years.

Patio Fabrics

Polyester is the cheapest but least durable outdoor fabric, olefin/polypropylene offers a good balance of affordability and performance, while solution-dyed acrylic like Sunbrella is the most expensive but also the longest-lasting and most fade resistant. The right choice depends on budget and the level of durability desired for the specific outdoor furniture application.

Stack of neatly folded linen fabric in a range of neutral colors, perfect for summer patio ideas.
Stack of neatly folded linen fabric in a range of neutral colors, perfect for summer patio ideas.
  1. Polyester (cheapest)
    Polyester is one of the most affordable outdoor fabric options. It is lightweight, dries quickly, and can have some liquid repellency if treated with PFC chemicals. However, polyester has the lowest UV resistance (about 1 year or 500 hours on average) compared to other outdoor fabrics. It is also more prone to staining, pilling, and fuzzing over time.
  2. Olefin/Polypropylene (mid-range)
    Olefin, also known as polypropylene, is a durable and stain-resistant outdoor fabric made from refining petroleum byproducts. It has superior UV resistance compared to polyester, typically lasting 1000-1500 light hours. Olefin dries quickly when wet and has no dye sites, making it easier to clean. It provides good performance at a mid-range price point.
  3. Solution-Dyed Acrylic (most expensive)
    Solution-dyed acrylic, such as Sunbrella, is considered the gold standard for outdoor furniture fabric. It has the highest UV resistance with 2+ years of fade protection. Acrylic is soft to the touch, water and stain resistant, mildew resistant, and easy to clean. While more expensive than polyester or olefin, it provides the best durability and long-term performance for outdoor cushions and upholstery exposed to the elements.

Patio Furniture Materials

When choosing outdoor patio furniture, prioritize durability, comfort, and style. Weather-resistant materials are crucial for longevity. Some excellent options include:

Three miniature patio chairs in red, orange, and green, casting shadows in bright light with a blurred plant in the background, embody summer patio ideas.
Three miniature patio chairs in red, orange, and green, casting shadows in bright light with a blurred plant in the background, embody summer patio ideas.
  1. Plastic/Resin (cheapest)
    Plastic and resin furniture, including synthetic resin wicker, is typically the most affordable option. It is lightweight, low-maintenance, and available in many colors and styles. Marine grade polymer (MGP) plastic is a durable, high-quality option resistant to stains, mildew and insects. However, cheap PVC plastics can become brittle and crack over time
  2. Aluminum (mid-range)
    Aluminum patio furniture strikes a good balance between affordability and durability. It is lightweight yet sturdy, does not rust, and requires minimal maintenance. Aluminum can be shaped into various styles but may get hot in direct sun. Mid-range pricing makes it a popular choice for many homeowners
  3. Teak Wood (most expensive)
    Teak is one of the most expensive but also most durable and desirable wood options for outdoor furniture. Its natural oils make it resistant to moisture, rot, and insects with very little maintenance required. Teak is a worthwhile investment as it can last for many years and ages gracefully to a silvery patina. The high cost puts it at the top end of the price range for patio furniture materials.
  4. Wrought iron: Known for its classic look and durability, wrought iron furniture can withstand harsh weather conditions. However, it may require cushions for added comfort and can be heavy to move.
  5. Outdoor fabric: Cushions and upholstery made from weather-resistant fabrics like Sunbrella provide comfort and style while withstanding sun, rain, and mildew. Look for removable, washable covers for easy maintenance.

In addition to the main benefits of durability and comfort, carefully chosen patio furniture can also enhance your outdoor aesthetic, provide versatile seating options for entertaining, and create a welcoming extension of your indoor living space.

What types OF furniture are typical for a patio?

Typical patio furniture includes dining sets, lounge seating, and accent pieces designed for outdoor use.

When comparing patio furniture options, the main difference is the quality of the materials and the size of the furniture sets. Budget-friendly options (under $1400) prioritize affordability over durability, while high-end choices (over $5000) offer superior craftsmanship and materials at a premium price. Mid-range furniture strikes a balance between quality and cost. (between $2000 – $4000).

Regardless of budget, the most important consideration is to choose furniture that fits your space and caters to your primary outdoor activities, whether that’s dining, lounging, or entertaining.

Miniature wooden furniture and small backyard ideas arranged with potted plants on a white background.
Miniature wooden furniture and small backyard ideas arranged with potted plants on a white background.

Small $ (Budget-friendly):

  1. Bistro set (small table and 2 chairs)
  2. Folding chairs and tables
  3. Plastic Adirondack chairs
  4. Hammock or swing chair

Average $$ (Mid-range):

  1. 4-6 person dining set
  2. Outdoor sofa or loveseat with coffee table
  3. Chaise lounges or recliners
  4. Wicker or metal accent furniture

Large $$$ (High-end): Typically found in luxury houses with resort-style backyards, large townhomes, villas or mansions.

  1. 8+ person dining set with premium materials
  2. Complete outdoor living room set (sofa, loveseat, armchairs, coffee table, end tables)
  3. Outdoor daybed or cabana
  4. Built-in seating with storage and premium cushions.

Dining Sets: Great for al fresco meals and entertaining. Includes a table and a variety of chairs.

Dining Tables: Available in a range of sizes and shapes to suit your needs.

Coffee Tables: Centerpieces for your lounge area, great for drinks and snacks.

Side/End Tables: Perfect for placing next to lounge chairs or sofas.

Sofas and Sectionals: Lounge-style seating for luxurious relaxation.

Lounge Chairs: Deep-seated, comfy options for solo relaxation or pairing with a side table.

Adirondack Chairs: Classic, casual chairs with a sloped back for laid-back lounging.

Garden Benches: Add extra seating and can double as a table in a pinch.

Hammocks: The ultimate in relaxation – just make sure you have sturdy points to hang them!

Storage Boxes: Keep cushions, throws, and pool toys tidy and dry.

Umbrellas: Vital for shade on sunny days.

Outdoor Rugs: Define the space and add a touch of softness underfoot.

Things to Consider:

  • Material: Choose materials that suit your climate and maintenance preferences (wood, metal, rattan, resin)
  • Size: Make sure the furniture complements the size of your patio.
  • Style: Pick options that match your home’s aesthetic and your desired vibe.
  • Function: Think about how you’ll primarily use your patio (dining, lounging, etc.)

In contrast to focusing solely on price, investing in higher-quality furniture can provide long-term benefits such as increased durability, comfort, and style. However, budget-friendly options can still offer functionality and value, especially if your patio space is limited or you plan to update your furniture frequently.

In addition to the main benefits of catering to your outdoor lifestyle and fitting your space, carefully chosen patio furniture can also enhance your home’s curb appeal, create a seamless extension of your indoor living area, and provide a welcoming environment for guests.

What types OF Lighting is typical for a patio?

The most important consideration for patio and garden illumination is to choose lighting that complements your patio’s style and layout while providing sufficient illumination for your desired activities, whether that’s dining, socializing, or relaxing.

When comparing these options, the main difference is their function and placement. String lights and lanterns are primarily decorative and create a pleasant atmosphere, while wall sconces and landscape lighting are more functional and focused on specific areas. Ceiling fans with lights combine practicality and ambiance.

A serene outdoor patio setting with soft lighting, featuring string lights, a modern floor lamp, and a glowing candle inside a wire lantern.
A serene outdoor patio setting with soft lighting, featuring string lights, a modern floor lamp, and a glowing candle inside a wire lantern.

When selecting lighting for a patio, the most common options are:

  1. String lights: Versatile and affordable, string lights create a warm, inviting ambiance. They can be hung overhead, wrapped around posts, or draped along walls or fences.
  2. Lanterns: Available in various sizes and styles, lanterns provide a decorative, portable lighting option. They can be placed on tables, hung from hooks, or set along pathways.
  3. Wall sconces: Mounted on exterior walls, sconces provide targeted illumination and can enhance your patio’s architectural features. They are a great option for saving space and creating a polished look.
  4. Landscape lighting: Spotlights, floodlights, and path lights highlight plants, trees, and other features of your outdoor space. They can also improve safety by illuminating walkways and stairs.
  5. Ceiling fans with lights: For covered patios, ceiling fans with built-in lights provide both illumination and air circulation, making your outdoor space more comfortable.

In contrast to relying solely on bright, utilitarian lighting, incorporating decorative and ambient lighting can create a more inviting and enjoyable outdoor experience. However, it’s crucial to balance aesthetics with practicality and safety.

In addition to the main benefits of enhancing ambiance and functionality, well-designed patio lighting can also extend the usability of your outdoor space into the evening hours, highlight key features of your landscaping, and create a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor living areas.

outdoor patio ideas with fireplace / BBQ

To plan a covered patio with a BBQ for a tiny, narrow garden space, you can adapt some of the design elements and principles showcased in the image while keeping in mind the limitations of your smaller area. Instead of positioning the patio at the end of the plot, place it in the middle, with both ends either open or closed by glass or solid wood doors. This layout keeps the proximity of the property closer if your backyard is longer, or it can be attached directly to the house, serving as an extension as visualized below.

Patio shelter

Opt for a narrower, more compact patio cover that fits your garden’s dimensions, rather than the expansive structure shown in the image.


Choose materials that maximize space, such as a sleek steel frame for the patio cover instead of the bulkier wooden structure in the example.


Use elongated, narrow pavers or tiles laid in a linear pattern to create the illusion of a longer, more spacious patio compared to the large, square pavers in the image.


Select scaled-down, space-efficient furniture pieces, such as a compact dining set or built-in bench seating, rather than the generous lounge area.

BBQ / Kitchen

Incorporate a built-in, space-saving BBQ / Kitchen unit along the patio’s edge to maximize floor space, as opposed to a freestanding grill that may consume valuable square footage.

Vertical elements

Emphasize vertical elements, such as tall, narrow planters or a vertical garden wall, to draw the eye upward and create a sense of depth in your small patio, as opposed to the horizontal focus in the example.


While the expansive glass doors in the image beautifully connect the indoor and outdoor spaces, smaller or fewer glass elements may be more appropriate for your tiny garden to maintain a sense of enclosure and privacy.


Incorporate strategic, space-saving lighting solutions, such as string lights or wall-mounted fixtures, to enhance the ambiance without overwhelming the limited area, rather than large, freestanding light features.

By making these adjustments and comparisons to the design elements in the inspirational image, you can create a covered patio with a BBQ that maximizes your tiny, narrow garden space while still capturing the essence of the modern, indoor-outdoor living concept.

outdoor patio ideas with raise deck and zen tea room

When designing an outdoor patio on a raised deck as a tea room enclosed with glass walls, consider the following steps:

  1. Assess the deck structure: Ensure that your existing deck is structurally sound and can support the additional weight of the glass walls and furniture. Consult with a professional to determine if any reinforcements are necessary.
  2. Determine the size and layout: Consider the dimensions of your deck and decide on the size and layout of your tea room. Ensure that there is sufficient space for comfortable seating, tables, and movement within the enclosed area.
  3. Choose the glass wall system: Select a suitable glass wall system that offers both aesthetic appeal and functionality. Options include sliding glass doors, folding glass walls, or fixed glass panels. Consider factors such as insulation, UV protection, and ease of opening and closing.
  4. Plan for roof and ceiling: Decide on the type of roof and ceiling for your tea room. You could opt for a solid roof to provide full protection from the elements or a pergola-style roof to allow some natural light to filter through. Consider the materials, insulation, and design that complement your home’s architecture.
  5. Select flooring: Choose a flooring material that is suitable for outdoor use, easy to maintain, and complements your design style. Options include wood, composite decking, tile, or stone.
  6. Incorporate heating and cooling: To ensure year-round comfort, plan for heating and cooling options. Consider installing a mini-split system, radiant heating, or a fireplace to keep the space warm in cooler months. For summer, include ceiling fans, portable fans, or an air conditioning unit.
  7. Plan for electrical and lighting: Determine the electrical requirements for your tea room, including outlets for appliances, lighting fixtures, and any additional features like fans or heaters. Consider a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
  8. Furnish and decorate: Select furniture that is comfortable, durable, and suitable for outdoor use. Consider pieces that are lightweight and easy to move, such as wicker or rattan. Add cushions, pillows, and throws in colors and patterns that complement your design scheme. Incorporate plants, artwork, or decorative elements to personalize the space.
  9. Add finishing touches: Complete your tea room with finishing touches like sheer curtains for privacy, an outdoor rug for added comfort, and a tea service or bar cart for convenience.
  10. Obtain necessary permits: Check with your local building department to determine if any permits are required for the construction of your tea room on a raised deck. Ensure that your design adheres to local building codes and regulations.

Remember to prioritize safety, functionality, and comfort when designing your outdoor tea room on a raised deck. Consult with professionals, such as architects, engineers, or contractors, to ensure that your design is structurally sound and properly executed.

covered patio ideas for small yards

When designing an outdoor patio attached to your house, consider the following steps:

  1. Determine the location: Identify the best location for your patio based on factors such as accessibility from your home, privacy, sun and shade exposure, and views. Consider how the patio will relate to your home’s architecture and existing landscaping.
  2. Establish the size and shape: Consider the intended use of your patio and the number of people you plan to accommodate. Determine the appropriate size and shape that will suit your needs and fit well with your home and yard. Use a garden hose or spray paint to outline the potential patio area.
  3. Choose materials: Select patio materials that complement your home’s exterior and suit your style and budget. Popular options include concrete, pavers, bricks, natural stone, or wood decking. Consider factors like durability, maintenance, and slip resistance.
  4. Plan for drainage: Ensure proper drainage to prevent water from pooling on your patio or draining towards your home’s foundation. Plan for a slight slope away from your house and consider installing drainage systems if necessary.
  5. Integrate with your home: Design your patio to seamlessly integrate with your home’s architecture. Consider matching or complementary colors, materials, and design elements. If possible, create a smooth transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces.
  6. Incorporate shade and shelter: Plan for shade and shelter options to make your patio comfortable year-round. Consider solutions like pergolas, awnings, umbrellas, or built-in roof structures.
  7. Plan for utilities: Consider the need for electrical outlets, lighting, gas lines, or water supply for your patio. Plan for these utilities early in the design process and hire professionals for installation.
  8. Create privacy: Incorporate elements that provide privacy from neighbors or passersby. Options include fences, walls, screens, or strategically placed landscaping.
  9. Select furniture and accessories: Choose comfortable, weather-resistant furniture that suits your patio’s size and style. Consider accessories like outdoor rugs, cushions, and décor to create a cohesive and inviting space.
  10. Incorporate landscaping: Integrate landscaping elements to enhance your patio’s beauty and create a seamless transition to your yard. Consider planters, flower beds, or container gardens to add color and texture.
  11. Plan for maintenance: Consider the maintenance requirements of your chosen materials and design elements. Plan for regular cleaning, sealing, or repairs to keep your patio looking its best.
  12. Obtain necessary permits: Check with your local building department to determine if any permits are required for your patio construction. Ensure that your design adheres to local building codes and regulations.

Consider working with a landscape designer or architect to help you create a patio design that meets your needs, complements your home, and maximizes your outdoor living experience.

Outdoor patio space for the summer on a budget

Even small changes and additions can make a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your patio, without breaking the bank.

  1. Refresh with paint: Give your patio furniture, fence, or deck a fresh coat of paint in a vibrant, summery color to instantly update the look of your outdoor space.
  2. Add colorful cushions and throws: Replace old cushions or add new, colorful ones to your patio furniture for a quick and inexpensive way to brighten up the area.
  3. Create a vertical garden: Install a trellis or use hanging baskets to create a vertical garden, adding greenery and visual interest without taking up valuable floor space.
  4. Incorporate string lights: Hang string lights or lanterns around your patio to create a warm, inviting ambiance for evening gatherings.
  5. Use stencils for patterned flooring: Update plain concrete patio flooring using stencils and masonry paint to create a patterned, decorative look.
  6. DIY outdoor rugs: Paint a patterned or striped design on a plain, inexpensive outdoor rug to add color and define your patio space.
  7. Repurpose items as planters: Use old buckets, tires, or wooden crates as unique, budget-friendly planters for flowers or herbs.
  8. Create a pallet furniture: Build your own patio furniture, such as a coffee table or seating, using inexpensive wooden pallets.
  9. Install a shade sail: Provide shade on your patio using a relatively inexpensive shade sail, which can be easily installed and removed as needed.
  10. Accessorize with decor: Add budget-friendly decorative elements like outdoor pillows, lanterns, wind chimes, or wall art to enhance your patio’s style and personality.

Outdoor patio space for renters

Outdoor patio space for the summer with a pool / hot tub

Outdoor patio space for the summer for families with kids

Here are some ideas to prepare your outdoor patio space for the summer, specifically tailored for families with kids:

  1. Create a safe play area: Designate a specific section of your patio for a safe, enclosed play area for your children. Use a playpen, baby gates, or a small fence to define the space.
  2. Incorporate kid-friendly furniture: Choose durable, lightweight, and easy-to-clean patio furniture that can withstand the wear and tear of children’s activities. Consider adding a kid-sized table and chairs for outdoor playtime and meals.
  3. Set up a sandbox: Install a covered sandbox on your patio where kids can enjoy sensory play and imaginative fun. Make sure to use a lid to keep the sand clean and dry when not in use.
  4. Add a chalkboard or art wall: Mount a chalkboard or create a dedicated art wall on your patio where children can express their creativity with chalk, paint, or washable markers.
  5. Create shade and shelter: Ensure there are ample shaded areas on your patio to protect children from the sun’s harmful rays. Set up a pergola, shade sail, or large umbrellas for comfort and safety.
  6. Incorporate water play: Set up a small, shallow splash pad, sprinkler, or water table on your patio for kids to enjoy cooling off and engaging in water play during hot summer days.
  7. Include outdoor games: Add outdoor games like giant Jenga, connect four, or a ring toss to your patio for family-friendly entertainment and skill-building fun.
  8. Plant a kid-friendly garden: Create a small, raised garden bed on your patio where children can learn about plants, responsibility, and the joy of growing their own flowers or vegetables.
  9. Prioritize safety: Ensure your patio is free from potential hazards like sharp edges, unstable furniture, or toxic plants. Keep any grilling or fire pit areas well-separated from play spaces.
  10. Set up a movie night: Hang a white sheet or install a retractable projector screen on your patio for fun family movie nights under the stars.

By incorporating these kid-friendly elements into your patio design, you can create a safe, engaging, and enjoyable outdoor space for the entire family to enjoy throughout the summer months.

Outdoor patio space for the summer for senior citizens

How to stage a patio for a party?

A birthday cake with lit candles on a stand, surrounded by cupcakes and balloons, in an outdoor patio setting, with a house in the background.
A birthday cake with lit candles on a stand, surrounded by cupcakes and balloons, in an outdoor patio setting, with a house in the background.

To stage a patio for a party or open house, focus on creating a welcoming, comfortable, and functional space for your guests. Here are some key steps:

  1. Clean and declutter: Start by thoroughly cleaning your patio, removing any debris, and decluttering the space. This will create a fresh, inviting atmosphere and ensure there’s plenty of room for your guests to move around.
  2. Arrange seating areas: Provide ample seating for your guests, creating distinct areas for conversation, dining, and relaxation. Group chairs and sofas around coffee tables, set up a buffet or bar area, and ensure there’s enough space for people to move comfortably.
  3. Add lighting: Ensure your patio is well-lit for evening parties. String lights, lanterns, and candles can create a warm, inviting ambiance while providing necessary illumination. Consider using citronella candles or torches to keep bugs at bay.
  4. Incorporate decorations: Enhance your patio’s atmosphere with decorations that complement your party’s theme. Hang streamers, balloons, or bunting, and add colorful tablecloths, cushions, and throws for a festive touch.
  5. Provide shade: If your party is during the day, ensure there’s adequate shade for your guests. Set up umbrellas, shade sails, or a pop-up canopy to protect people from the sun and keep them comfortable.
  6. Set up food and drink stations: Designate specific areas for food and drinks, making it easy for guests to serve themselves. Use tables, buffet stands, or bar carts to display your refreshments, and ensure there are plenty of plates, utensils, and glasses available.
  7. Create a focal point: Add a focal point to your patio, such as a decorated cake table for a birthday party, a photo booth backdrop for a themed event, or a fire pit for a cozy gathering. This will draw guests’ attention and encourage socializing.
  8. Plan for entertainment: Provide entertainment options suited to your party’s theme and guest list. Set up a music playlist, arrange lawn games, or create a dance floor area to keep guests engaged and having fun.

By focusing on these key elements, you can transform your patio into an inviting, comfortable, and entertaining space for your guests. Remember to tailor your staging to your specific party theme and guest preferences to create a memorable experience.

How to stage a patio for selling a house?

Modern two-story house with a spacious deck and outdoor patio.
Modern two-story house with a spacious deck and outdoor patio.

Patios are the highlight of a garden and the rear side of a house. To stage a patio for selling a house, focus on creating an inviting, well-maintained, and versatile outdoor living space that potential buyers can easily envision themselves enjoying. Here are some key steps:

  1. Deep clean and declutter: Begin by thoroughly cleaning your patio, removing any dirt, stains, or debris. Put away personal items, toys, or clutter that may distract buyers. A clean, uncluttered space will make your patio feel more spacious and inviting.
  2. Make necessary repairs: Fix any damaged or worn elements of your patio, such as cracked pavers, loose railings, or broken light fixtures. Ensuring your patio is in good repair will give buyers confidence in the overall condition of your home.
  3. Create defined spaces: Arrange your patio furniture to create distinct zones for dining, lounging, and entertaining. This will help buyers visualize how they can use the space and showcase its versatility. Use area rugs or outdoor mats to define these spaces further.
  4. Update furniture and accessories: If your outdoor furniture is worn or outdated, consider investing in new, neutral pieces that appeal to a wide range of tastes. Add decorative cushions, throws, and accent pieces in coordinating colors to create a cohesive, stylish look.
  5. Incorporate greenery: Add potted plants, hanging baskets, or container gardens to your patio to bring life and color to the space. Well-maintained greenery will make your patio feel more inviting and create a connection with the surrounding landscape.
  6. Enhance lighting: Ensure your patio is well-lit, highlighting key features and creating a warm, inviting atmosphere. Use a combination of overhead lighting, task lighting, and ambient lighting to showcase your patio’s best features and make it feel like an extension of your home’s interior.
  7. Emphasize privacy: If your patio is overlooked by neighboring properties, consider adding privacy screens, tall plants, or decorative fencing to create a sense of seclusion. This will help potential buyers envision themselves relaxing and entertaining in the space without feeling exposed.
  8. Add special features: If your patio has unique features like a built-in fire pit, water feature, or outdoor kitchen, make sure to highlight these elements. Stage them to demonstrate their functionality and appeal, as they can be significant selling points for your home.

By focusing on creating a clean, well-maintained, and inviting outdoor living space, you can showcase your patio’s potential and make it a valuable selling feature for your home. Remember to keep the staging neutral and appealing to a wide range of tastes, allowing potential buyers to easily envision themselves enjoying the space.