Concrete Patio Ideas for Low Maintenance Outdoor Living

Concrete Patio Ideas

When designing or revamping a patio, there are several key benefits to using concrete as your building material of choice. For one, you have so many options. You can try cement slabs, concrete pavers, concrete molds, or steppingstones and paint, aggregate, or stamp them to your liking. Secondly, if you live in a warm climate, you won’t need to worry too much about maintenance, as concrete is a durable way to jazz up your outdoor space. But if you get freezing snowy winters and use salt to melt snow then a concrete patio would not be my preferred choice, as salt destroys concrete over time. If you never use salt on your patio then it may be low or no maintenance for you as well.

In this article, we’ll explore the advantages of various concrete patio ideas and what makes them a suitable choice for your home. Ready? Let’s dive right in.

 

12 IDEAS and INSTALLATION TYPES

 

1. Go with a Trendy Concrete Patio Idea – Use Grass Concrete Pavers

Before we look at more traditional concrete patios, let’s touch on one of the latest additions to the cement paver market, namely, molded pavers. Whether you’re buying these prefabricated or producing them yourself, they’ve become one of the cheapest and most versatile options out there, with plenty of room for customization. While the design above incorporates wave-form pavers arranged in figure-eight patterns, you are not limited to a specific size or shape but, instead, can opt for a mold that suits your style.

What we really want to emphasize is how these pavers are laid out, with gaps between them for seeding over with grass (thus the name – Grass Concrete Paving Blocks) or filling in with gravel, pea gravel preferably. Not only does this provide a unique aesthetic, but it also eradicates the chance of your concrete cracking or sinking over time. If you fill the voids with gravel you’ll allow rainwater to permeate through, which is great for patio locations that require good drainage.

Molded pavers are also great for building patios in smaller, hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Super easy to DIY, and you can customize your patio to the specifications required for your home. In fact, the hardest part is probably leveling your ground area – but after that, it’s just a case of placing your pavers down and filling in the gaps. You can make your molded paver patio a fun entertainment area with outdoor furniture and complementing plants.

 

2. Beautify Your Backyard with Curvy or Round Concrete Slabs

Concrete slabs have been a class-A building option for decades, and it’s easy to see why. They are exceedingly versatile in shape and layout, with options ranging from sharp, straight edges to gentle curves or organic circles. Ultimately, you can design your patio to best suit the style of your home. To touch on the benefits of concrete slabs, let’s look first at how they’re produced. While professional-looking, you may be surprised to learn that you can throw your own slabs at home, provided you use a frame to keep them shaped. Once your slabs are hardened, no more maintenance is required, and they can withstand a near-endless amount of foot traffic.

Unless you choose to, there is no need to paint or otherwise color your patio. Concrete is also easy to clean, requiring nothing more than a power hose to wash them down every now and then. Slabs are also one of the safest options for incorporating grills or firepits, as its not flammable like wooden decking. Regarding concrete slab patio ideas, you can either start from scratch or extend a new patio from an existing walkway. Whatever you decide, this is one of the most budget-friendly ways to add value to your home.

 

3. Include Aesthetic Inlays with Concrete Patios

One of my all-time favorite concrete patio ideas is using a combination of pavers with inlays made from other materials. This opens a world of possibilities for design. You can intersperse your pavers with ceramic tiles or faux grass (as above) or even build slab panels separated by trenches of pebbles. Of course, the key advantage here is aesthetics. Your design can be uniquely tailored to add a striking look and feel to your home. But concrete being concrete, there are also other benefits – like price-point, practicality, and durability. 

Like mixed media art, composite material patios are definitely more visually striking than run-of-the-mill concrete slabs. However, pulling off these designs will require careful planning and consideration, as you don’t want your patio to overwhelm your landscape either.

 

4. Add Color and Texture with Concrete Molds

We’ve touched briefly on DIY concrete paver molds, but let’s look more closely at just how versatile these clever inventions actually are. Indeed, if the plain grey cement look is not for you, no worries! Concrete can easily be shaped and stained in an endless array of options to suit your preferences. In the example above, the designer has formed a gorgeous patio by molding interlocking floral pavers in a range of colors. This design is so cheap and easy to DIY, but it looks like it’s done professionally. And come on, you must admit the patio complements the spring flowerbeds beautifully, making this the perfect spot for your afternoon tea.

 

5. Use Stamped Concrete to Mimic Pavers

Ever heard of concrete stamping? It’s life-changing. Especially if you want a sleek slate patio (for example) but can’t quite afford it. Or if you’re looking for something more durable than tiles. As the moniker suggests, stamped concrete is simply a regular cement slab with a pressed-in pattern. With the addition of coloring or staining, you can easily produce concrete patio designs that look like other, more pricey building materials. And the advantage of this type of design? It’s very durable and super easy to maintain, with no need for treatments or grouting. Stamped concrete is also an excellent option for blending in seamlessly with the existing design of your home, thereby instantly adding value.

 

6. Color a Concrete Slab

If, for example, your home is painted in warmer tones, you may not want to default to the duller, cooler grey of concrete for your patio. For this purpose, I recommend throwing slabs with embedded color that ties in with your existing palette. Far from complicated, this type of design only requires one additional step, namely, dying your concrete prior to pouring it. Thirty minutes of additional labor goes a long way to making your patio work for your style, and it’s highly beneficial for your home’s value in the long term.

 

7. Create Ultra Modern Concrete Patio Designs

Some of the most modern homes are built from concrete. As the designs above attest, cement patios can also look incredibly modern when well-designed and neatly installed. Sharp edges and perfect lines go a long way. As is the current trend, raw concrete looks gorgeous in a modern landscape, particularly when its dimensions are as angular as your home. And, of course, form follows function, with cement being practically no-maintenance and able to withstand the elements. This is a chic and sophisticated way to revamp your outdoor spaces.

 

8. Enlarge Your Outdoor Living Space with Patio Extensions and Sidewalks

Are you craving just a little more space for entertaining outdoors, but you don’t want our new patio to stand out like a sore thumb? Concrete is the perfect choice for an affordable patio that can seamlessly incorporate into your home design through extended walkways or edging. It’s durable and practical, and you can easily build this yourself! Indeed, instead of having a floating patio, this idea entails extending concrete slabs all around your home (at varying depths) to make them look planned and intentional. Add some flowerpots and furniture, and it will seem like your patio has been around for as long as your house.

 

9. Easily Make Small and Affordable DIY Patios

There’s something so enticing about maximizing the potential of small spaces. One of my favorite ways to do this is by using every inch of surface area to its maximum advantage. So, if you only have a little garden and an even smaller budget to work with, I highly recommend a raised concrete patio. With some effort and careful planning, you can build it yourself and won’t need a ton of materials. This type of design adds height and depth, furthering visual interest in your landscape. Surrounded by a beautiful garden, a tiny concrete patio can be the perfect sunny hideaway or make provision for entertaining guests. You may even want to consider a small retaining wall to keep your flowerbeds separate from your patio deck. Don’t forget those break lines – it’s more forgiving than looking at a large concrete slab. In no time, you’ll be relaxing in the perfect space while simultaneously adding a whole new dimension to your home’s value.

 

10. Increase Durability of Your Patio with Aggregate Concrete

Simply put, aggregate concrete is cement mixed with gravel or other fractured mineral components like rock or stone. It’s the most robust way of forming a patio that will last for decades with no maintenance. And the best part? It’s really gorgeous aesthetically, lending to a textured look and feel. And you can even embed colored gravel to add color to your backyard.

While aggregate concrete feels expensive, it’s not much more costly than throwing regular cement. Instead, it’s just a mixture of two relatively inexpensive materials. While I personally feel it looks best in solid slabs, aggregate can even be formed into pavers or stepping stones, depending on your preference. A step above ordinary cement, you have plenty of design options with aggregate concrete, and it blends well with various home styles. Just look at the examples above for inspiration. You won’t regret investing in this installation type.

 

11. Use Cheap Concrete Stepping Stones for a Quick and Easy DIY Patio

If you’re not particularly inclined to produce your own cement slabs, you can pop over to your local garden center and pick up a few prefabricated stepping stones. In no time, you’ll have your brand-new patio laid out at a minimal cost and with less effort. The advantage of this option is that you are not limited in terms of size – simply purchase as many or as few as you need. Apart from leveling your lawn and adding a layer of landscaping sand, there also isn’t much to do in terms of installation, though some may want to join them with cement grout or outdoor glue. But I don’t find this necessary as these stones are very heavy and will hardly move. Instead, over time, they will settle even more. The only thing that can move them is expanding tree roots so you don’t want to plant trees anywhere near them. They’re good-looking, cheap, and durable, making them the obvious choice for beginner DIY enthusiasts or new homeowners looking to up the value of their property.

 

12. Take Advantage of Concrete Pavers to Build a Patio on a Budget

With so many options for concrete pavers on the market, you can design and build your patio yourself in almost any way you please without worrying about it costing you an arm and a leg. Of course, there will be some hard labor and a good amount of time spent. But if you prefer to do it on a budget, DIY and pavers is the way to go. Size, texture, and colors are available now like never before, from rustic to sleek and chic. Therefore, if you really want that outdoor space but you don’t want to invest in contractors or expensive materials, pavers are worth exploring. They are often able to mimic other, more expensive materials, and it’s amazing what you can do with them at a DIY level.

About Joe Hats 177 Articles
Joe Hats is the founder of FreshPatio.com. Joe has been remodeling homes since 1997 when he bought his first fixer-upper. He has built many pieces of indoor and outdoor furniture with his own hands and has every DIY woodworking tool in his possession. Coming from an engineering background, he has designed and built many patio fixture plans. Following his wife's lead, he is also very passionate about home decor and together they keep track of the latest trends. When he is not remodeling or trying a new woodworking tool, he is busy gardening or designing a new outdoor plan.