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Patio Ideas & Designs

Outdoor patios are frequently viewed as an extension of indoor living space. Whether they’re comprised of stone, brick or concrete, this paved area is a great spot for entertaining, especially when there’s a grill or fire pit present. Throw in an outdoor dining set and some decor, and it can easily become your favorite eating spot! As you browse outdoor patio ideas, keep in mind the following tips and tricks to get the most out of yours.

Plan a Proper Patio

Planning out your design before your remodel is crucial. When perusing patio ideas, keep in mind that people use them for different things, like entertaining, relaxing or outdoor activities. Because of this, figure out what you want the overall functionality of your space to be. Will you host large groups or intimate gatherings? Do you envision calm fireside chats, fun playtime activities for the kiddos or a little of both? Once you’ve nailed down the desired functionality of your new patio, think about the best way to create zones for each use case — maybe this is just one big seating area, and that’s OK!

Next, put some thought into any structures that you may want or need in your patio design. Do you need protection from the elements? A partial or fully covered space will give you the option to use the patio in varying weather, while adding architectural flair (think pergola, arbor, awning or trellis). Maybe privacy is at the top of your list, in which case you should consider some sort of built-in screen or a wall of plants to create your own oasis. Lastly, determine which major amenities are important to you; is an outdoor fireplace essential, or would a smaller scale fire pit work just as well? Do you want a built-in grilling station or will a smaller barbecue work for you? Is there a hot tub in your vision? All of these large-scale pieces will need to be worked into the initial plan from the get-go.

Choose Functional Materials

As with any space, materials lay the groundwork (no pun intended) for the overall style and feel, so make sure your choices accurately reflect the vibe of your home. When it comes to outdoor spaces, materials are especially important since they are exposed to the elements on a daily basis. Start with the foundation of your patio (the hardscaping) and build from there — different designs call for different materials, some of which may or may not work for your budget and space limitations. As you look through pictures and compile your favorite patio design ideas, note which materials you’re drawn to and ask your designer or contractor how you can best incorporate those into your own design. They may suggest alternatives depending on your budget and area.

Common hardscaping options include:

  • Pavers: Natural stone (terra cotta, flagstone etc) and brick
  • Concrete: Poured slab or interlocking pavers
  • Decking: Wood or manufactured lumber
  • Tile: Decorative ceramic or porcelain

Top It Off with Furniture and Decor

Even though patios can be as simple as a paved slab outside your house, with a few extra touches they can be so much more. Since you’ve already planned for the more permanent fixtures, like fireplaces or outdoor kitchens and bars, the rest is just filling in the layout with necessary furniture and fun decor. The nice part about decorating your patio is that every little thing can double as decor, including the functional stuff like seating and landscaping. Consider using the following items, even if some are on a seasonal basis:

  • Furniture: Chairs, sectionals, sofas, dining sets, coffee tables and side tables. Look for outdoor sets or collections to keep the pieces cohesive.
  • Rugs: Outdoor area or throw rugs that are weatherproof will warm up the space and make it feel more inviting and finished
  • Pillows and Cushions: Soften up the space with comfy cushions and throw pillows to bring the indoors outside.
  • Lighting: Rope and string lights will add a whimsical touch, lanterns and torches will give a soft glow, and candles (real or battery-powered) will set the mood.
  • Decorative Accents: Garden statues, bird feeders and wind chimes will all add personality.
  • Plants and Flowers: Planted directly in the ground or in pots and planters, flowers and foliage will help bring your patio ideas to life.

Whether you want inspiration for planning a patio renovation or are building a designer patio from scratch, Houzz has 437,262 images from the best designers, decorators, and architects in the country, including Gallery Kitchens and Baths and Shore & Country Kitchens. Look through patio photos in different colors and styles and when you find a patio design that inspires you, save it to an Ideabook or contact the Pro who made it happen to see what kind of design ideas they have for your home. Explore the beautiful patio ideas photo gallery and find out exactly why Houzz is the best experience for home renovation and design.