Patio Floor Ideas for 22 Different Types of Patios

Patio Floor Ideas for 22 Different Types of Patios

Choosing the best flooring for your patio depends on your preferred aesthetic and whether you’d like to install it on a budget. I’ve researched most of the different types of patios out there, including the cheapest and the easiest to DIY, such as gravel grid flooring, for example. The result is this ultimate list of patio floor ideas.

Building a new backyard patio? In addition to the more expensive floor covering options such as concrete, bricks, and pavers, consider alternative cheap patio floor types such as gravel, mulch, seashells, or even decomposed granite. Undertaking a patio makeover or remodel? I’ve discovered many modern innovative flooring solutions such as plastic, wood, and rubber that are best installed over concrete, over grass, or over dirt. Even with concrete, there are so many different finishing ideas – see the photos below.

 

22 PATIO FLOOR DESIGN IDEAS

 

1. Plain Concrete Slab

Concrete slab patio ideas

A plain concrete slab is an easy and straightforward way of making a patio floor. For small patios, it’s also affordable and simple to DIY. To start, you need to build a form to your required specifications using wood panels or metal sheets (good for round corners). Then, mix your cement with water, pour it into the form, let it dry, and you’re done. For large patios, you’ll need ready-mix concrete delivered by a truck. The pros here are that you can build it in any shape you like. The cons are that it’s very labor intensive.

 

2. Stamped Concrete

Stamped concrete patio ideas

Stamped concrete, also called decorative concrete, is a modern trend that we absolutely love. This method entails using a plastic stamp to imprint a pattern on freshly poured concrete. The patterns can resemble different paver shapes and sizes or even artistic designs like animals. It’s also possible to color your concrete, although you’ll need to seal it after. Decorative concrete can be more costly than regular concrete paving, is more labor-intensive, and involves using specific chemicals to produce the final stamped look. Indeed, it may also be slippery and require occasional resealing as dyes tend to fade over time. That said, I feel it’s worth it, as your finished patio will look like it was paved with pavers or bricks, even though it’s just a solid concrete floor.

 

3. DIY Concrete Molds

Concrete mold form patio ideas

An alternative option to stamped concrete is to build your patio using concrete shapes made in plastic molds. You can achieve this by pouring Quikrete Concrete Mix into prefabricated plastic forms purchased from your local garden center or hardware store. Additionally, you can also apply Liquid Cement Color to the concrete mix to create colored patio pavers. As far as patio floor options go, Quikrete products make application simpler than ever. Leveling out your patio area as efficiently as possible is a must – but from there on, it’s just a case of making your pavers, coloring them as you prefer, and placing them by hand. In less than a week, a gorgeous custom patio can be yours.

Plastic mold for making a concrete paver with holes

You can also DIY concrete pavers that are not solid using plastic molds. Here’s one great example of a mold you can use to build a parking floor for your car or a small utility patio to house your garden machinery. Plastic molds are a great, good-looking choice for a driveway or patio “sidewalk.” You can fill in the holes with stones, sand, or grass. They’re also an easy DIY project. Your molds should be greased with old, recycled oil and filled with a 2:1 ratio of concrete. Once hardened, they can be removed from the form and laid out as required.

 

4. Aggregate Concrete

Exposed aggregate concrete patio ideas Exposed concrete patio made with multi-color gravel

Aggregate concrete is, without a doubt, one of my favorite ideas for a patio floor. In a nutshell, aggregate concrete patios are made by embedding tiny pebbles into the surface of a concrete slab. To create this look, you first cover the pebbles with a very thin layer of concrete, let it dry just a bit, and then expose the stones by gently applying water to wash away the first layer of concrete on top of them. What remains is a rigid surface that looks like exposed rock but has concrete underlining. That is why it’s also called an exposed concrete patio. You can use multi-color gravel, crushed rock, crushed glass, pennies, or any other small particles that are hard and that would lodge well in concrete. Do note that this is a very finesse job and so is not very suitable for a DIY project.

 

5. Stenciled Concrete or Faux Tile Stencils

Stenciled concrete patio ideas

Are you wondering what to cover your patio floor with – decoratively – that won’t cost you too much time or money? Faux tile stencils are the way to go. Basically, this entails covering a concrete tile/concrete slab patio with different patterns using exterior paint and paper or plastic stencils. This is a cheap, quick DIY project that’s fun, creative, and unique to your aesthetic preference. Check out Etsy for more ideas.

 

6. Decorative Concrete

For these outdoor floor design ideas, we gathered some inspiration from The Concrete Protector.

Image credit: Decorative Concrete Kingdom via Creative Commons

A stenciled concrete patio can be created using painterly techniques that give the impression of different types of building materials. This example shows a flagstone imitation patio using an intelligent and creative concrete stenciling design. It looks as if this designer made this concrete paver pattern using molds and then dyed each one a dark reddish-brown. Between each “paver,” a layer of black grout/paint gives a flagstone flooring effect.

Image credit: Decorative Concrete Kingdom via Creative Commons

Here’s another great flagstone-look concrete patio floor that requires quite an artistic touch. Indeed, you may need a little help pulling off these gorgeous textures. You can find more details at theconcreteprotector.com.

Image credit: Decorative Concrete Kingdom via Creative Commons

This has to be one of the most interesting and unique patio floor stencil ideas we’ve seen yet. A wood-look concrete floor is super organic but also incredibly durable.

 

7. Concrete Pavers (Interlocking and Non-Interlocking)

Concrete pavers patio idea with a natural stone appearance

These days, it can be nearly impossible to tell the difference between concrete pavers and natural stone. Concrete pavers have come a long way from simple monotone blocks resembling bricks. Just look at this fantastic idea I’ve recently discovered – see the image above. These are pavers made to look like natural stone.

If you’re a DIY enthusiast and don’t mind putting some time and labor into prepping the base for your future patio, then the Yorkstone Patio-on-a-Pallet 10’x10′ concrete paver kit will seem like a great bargain to you. In terms of planning your project, we know that 70% of the success of any patio project is prepping the ground ahead of laying your pavers. But once you’ve leveled your base with compacted gravel and sand, these heavy pavers can be laid down easily. The final result is a beautiful, perfectly natural appearance.

In the photos above, you can see a finished DIY patio floor constructed using the aforementioned kit. It should be available from a home improvement store in your area, or alternatively, look for it online. That said, if you can’t find the kit, a good alternative is the common concrete interlocking (or non-interlocking) pavers we find almost everywhere for sale.

See the images below for some more simple backyard patio floor ideas using these easy-to-install pavers.

Interlocking pavers, which are made from concrete but look like bricks, are relatively cheap and are easy to lay down. Given their interlocking shape and uniform sizing, you can align them neatly, in a perfect pattern, with minimal effort.

Here’s another example of interlocking pavers, comprising larger square units around small center pieces. This creates a lovely cobblestone feel with none of the hassle of tripping over uneven or jutted stones.

Non-interlocking pavers are just as gorgeous for finishing off your patio. Different shapes and sizes create visual interest and give you a bit of wiggle room in terms of design.

This combination of differently sized pavers in different colors is breathtaking and rustic, especially when accompanied by a fire pit.

Differently shaped pavers can also be used to create interesting patterns that are more modern than uniform layouts and more unique to your personal taste.

 

8. Stepping Stones

Image credit: Jeremy Reding via Creative Commons

If you’re looking for cheap patio paver ideas, I recommend going with the stepping stones. It also saves you from having to pour cement, which can be cumbersome if you’re inexperienced. Square stepping stones, like the ones used in the outdoor floor installation shown above, are available from most hardware stores or garden centers and come in different sizes and colors. The most important part of making a steppingstone patio is getting your surface as level as possible. Then it’s just a case of laying them down.

 

9. Bricks

There are clay bricks and there are concrete pavers. The two are not the same. Some pavers are made to look like bricks, as they are of the same size. So people often get confused about which is which.

If you’re on a budget, you want to DIY, and you’re wondering, “what is the best flooring for my patio?” – look no further than bricks. The images above and below prove how many different layouts you can undertake, from horizontal lines to interlocking patterns.

You can use different types of bricks to add pops of color or edge off your patio with a “frame” to keep it neat, like in the examples above.

If you are laying your floor yourself, it’s highly recommended that your level your surface area first and then throw a layer of concrete to ensure they remain non-slip and don’t lift.

 

10. Natural Stone

Image credit: Tristan Ferne via Creative Commons

Nothing feels more organic than natural materials like stone, which is why I love a flagstone floor covering. Better yet, there are plenty of types of natural stone on the market, giving you a variety of options for your patio. These neatly-cut flagstones are perfect for creating a curved patio, although you’ll need specialized tools to achieve this.

Image credit: Andrew Malone via Creative Commons

As mentioned, I love flagstones and have been covering them a lot. See my articles on flagstone patio designs and flagstone patio ideas with a fire pit. They’re one of the most commonly-used materials for patios and don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, especially if you use raw, unprocessed stones like these.

Image credit: Field Outdoor Spaces via Creative Commons

Slate is another type of natural stone that works beautifully for landscaping your home. It’s rich in color but durable, long-lasting, and modern, too. The example above shows one of my favorite slate tile ideas. Given how heavy this material is, you’ll be pleased with how easy slate pavers are to install.

Image credit: Field Outdoor Spaces via Creative Commons

In this design, a slate tile floor sets the scene for a charming, partially enclosed patio. All in all, it creates a very sleek aesthetic.

Image credit: Patrick Standish via Creative Commons

If you’re using natural materials like flagstones, you may find some foliage springing up in the gaps between them. In fact, many designers plant groundcovers on purpose to create a rustic aesthetic. Blue and purple flowers like Turkish Veronicas and Johnny Jump-Ups strike a beautiful contrast with natural stone. But given their vigorous growth, you may find yourself needing to manage their spread, so they don’t take over.

Image credit: Andrew Hitchcock via Creative Commons

Greystone is a type of natural stone of volcanic origins. It’s my absolute go-to if you’re looking for unique color ideas for your floor covering, primarily because of its vibrant hues.

Image credit: Field Outdoor Spaces via Creative Commons

Bluestone is a type of sandstone with distinctive blue-grey tones – see photo above. It’s particularly impressive alongside homes that are quite modern in their look and feel, as this is considered quite a new option for patio floor design.

Image credit: Caviness Landscape Design via Creative Common

If you have a pool in your yard and want to elevate your home’s aesthetic to resort-like splendor, why settle for bricks when you can have flagstones? This instantly feels more organic, like a natural tide pool.

Image credit: reader of the pack via Creative Commons

Mexican patio stones pictured above are a smooth type of limestone rock. They’re quite textured and therefore look relatively rustic. Nevertheless, they’re a great option for paving and come in various shapes and sizes.

 

11. Gravel

Small gravel patio floor idea

Gravel patios are one of the cheapest types of patio floor and an easy DIY option. Pea gravel (comprising tiny stones) can be used as a paver to fill up a part or the whole of the patio surface. Beneath the gravel, we usually recommend compacted sand and a base layer of crushed limestone or hard clay soil, with the addition of landscape fabric.

Patio gravel floor idea

If you’d like, you can also find more decorative gravel to make a pretty outdoor floor that matches your house exterior or your outdoor furniture.

Image credit: Andrew Malone via Creative Commons

Beautiful, rose-colored gravel looks great alongside all the plants surrounding this partially enclosed patio.

 

12. Gravel or Rocks with Gravel Grid Stabilizers

Plastic Grid Pavers, called Gravel Grids for short, are great for building patios, pathways, parking spots, or shed foundations. While there are different types of grid stabilizers, the concept remains the same. You lay out the grid and then pour gravel or landscaping rocks into the grid’s cells, filling them to the top. And that’s pretty much it – your flooring is done, dusted, and ready to use. The grid keeps the rocks in place and leveled. Some grids are up to 3 inches high. Of course, you would want to compact and level the base floor first and potentially even install landscaping cloth beneath the grid. Best of all, this idea is very inexpensive, and stabilizers can be found even at Walmart.

The example above shows a different but equally effective type of gravel grid. These are interlocking plastic tiles, whereas the previous example is made of foldable plastic tape. Indeed, these interlocking plastic forms work exactly the same in that they create a preamble surface to be filled with gravel. They also have tremendous load-bearing capacity, which is excellent news if you’re building a parking bay for your RV.

To prep for gravel grids, you need to remove all soft soil and plants from your surface area and lay down a gravel base to keep them secure. This is also better for rain absorption and will prevent the grid from lifting due to excess water. With that in mind, remember to leave enough room (1 to 2 inches) to account for the plastic tiles, or else they’ll protrude above the surface of your surrounding yard area. Once your surface is ready, interlock your tiles and fill them with gravel, smoothing them with a spade or rake. Gravel grids should be surrounded or confined within a concrete edging or wall so nothing slips.

 

13. River Rock or Pebbles

I am not suggesting you build your entire patio from river rocks. I am saying consider including them in your patio floor design as decorative edging, to add visual interest, like in the example below. Yet, some people pave their patios with pebbles – see the last image in this section.

Image credit: Field Outdoor Spaces via Creative Commons

Natural stone pavers with river rocks between them look beautiful and organic and are definitely unique to typical patio design.

Image credit: Field Outdoor Spaces via Creative Commons

In this close-up, you can see how the designer used rocks instead of concrete or grouting, which is much nicer to look at. Check out my popular guide to landscaping with river rocks to find more similar ideas.

Image credit: John Loo via Creative Commons

So, while I said I wouldn’t necessarily build an entire patio with river rocks, the exception may be very dry, arid areas without much foliage or rainfall. This combination of concrete, succulents, and medium-sized rocks lends to a lovely desert-like aesthetic appropriate to the overall look and feel of this home.

 

14. Decomposed Granite (or Rock Fines)

There’s something truly breathtaking about this decomposed granite patio landscaped with a dry “riverbed” made with rocks. You can also choose from several colors to suit your personal taste. As a bonus, decomposed granite is a very cheap flooring option – potentially even more affordable than gravel.

Decomposed granite is perfect for hardscapes and is often used in California, especially for no-grass landscaping. I walked on such a patio a few times, and it’s very nice. Feels softer than concrete or bricks but still is very sturdy, when well-compacted. The trick to using this material is to water it once it’s laid down, after which it will harden.

Also called rock fines, stone dust, or crusher fines, decomposed granite flooring is suited to patios, pathways, and driveways and is well-loved for its natural appearance and excellent porosity. With those with a keen eye for design, you’ll be pleased to learn that it’s also available in a ton of colors, from pink to brown, to white, grey, and gold. Home Depot offers a good variety.

Further upping its appeal is the fact that stone dust is affordable, or at the very least comparable to other cheap patio floor materials like gravel or sea shells. It’s easy to install, so no problem if you plan to DIY. But as mentioned, it needs to be well-compacted.

 

15. Outdoor Tiles

We have written extensively on outdoor tile ideas, including flooring for patios, sidewalks, and walkways.

Tiles are, without a doubt, a more suitable option for warm climates like the East and West coasts of the US, as they remain cooler throughout the day than regular pavers.

Top 15 Outdoor tile ideas and trends

Image credit: Chris Bohn via Creative Commons

Ceramic tiles are quite easy to install and, with so many options at your disposal, are well-suited to many aesthetics. Considering its smooth surface and sheltered ceiling, this beautiful, covered lanai can double up as an outdoor yoga floor.

Image credit: Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie ia Creative Commons

Terracotta tiles are a great choice for exposed patios, as they are hardy and have a nice rustic appeal. This material is also slightly cheaper than ceramic tiling.

 

16. Mulch

Mulch is one of the cheapest, low-budget outdoor patio floor solutions available and probably the easiest to install. That said, be warned that it can attract pesky critters, especially when damp, and therefore requires regular maintenance.

 

17. Rubber Pavers

Rubber pavers by Rubber Flooring Inc

The above example shows rubber pavers installed over a concrete patio. These innovative tiles can be purchased from rubberflooringinc.com.

Can you believe it’s rubber? These are called flagstone rubber pavers and are suitable to install over a cracked concrete patio, on a roof terrace, or even over grass. In the image below – they’re installed over a deck!

One thing to note is that rubber pavers work best on flat surfaces and won’t take well over uneven concrete. But as a bonus benefit, they’re removable, so you could relocate your patio floor if needed. They’re soft underfoot and lovely to walk on.

To install these pavers, use an adhesive to bind them to your patio’s perimeter, wait for it to dry, and then lay down the rest. Building your brand-new patio won’t take more than a day or two.

As mentioned, this designer has installed rubber pavers on their deck.

Rubber patio pavers installed over grass

And here, we see them installed over grass to form a makeshift patio entertainment area that can easily be moved at a later stage to a different spot.

 

18. Plastic Pavers

There are several variations of outdoor plastic pavers available on the market. They are very cheap and affordable. Here we see interlocking paving sections with gaps between them to make the patio floor permeable when installed. Most people opt to use plastic pavers on surfaces that are already flat and require little to no prepping. This includes small patios, roof terraces, balcony floors, decks, lanais, or around backyard pools. Often, they are also used to hide old, cracked, pitted, or stained concrete slabs. Some are designed specifically for grass.

 

19. Hardwood Tiles

Image credit: osseous via Creative Commons

Hardwood patio tiles are basically plastic tiles with hardwood tops that work much the same as the plastic tiles we discussed above. However, they seem to be more popular than plain plastic. But this may be because people find it more pleasant to walk on wood. Together with this, they also give old patios a renovated look.

Interlocking clips make at-home installation a breeze, and these tiles are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Plastic netting drains excess water from beneath the tiles, making them easy to maintain. And if you want to store your plastic floor between seasons, it can just as quickly be unsnapped and packed away, which is ideal for regular cleaning too.

In the above, you can see just how easy hardwood patio tiles are to install, quickly covering up unsightly concrete.

This patio design looks like parquet flooring, reminiscent of the architectural trends of the 70s that are making a resurgence today.

 

20. Crushed Shells

Crushed oyster shells patio

Image credit

Crushed shells are great for a coastal vibe, and this aesthetic is particularly popular in states like Florida and Washington. Indeed, it’s certainly unique among patio floor covering ideas.

Shellscapes is a West Coast company that supplies and delivers crushed oyster shells. And this is one of the patios they installed in Seattle. This unusual material may be considered an alternative to gravel and can be used on pathways, driveways, bocce courts, and patios. Shell patio coverings are made from recycled oyster remains that continue to break down over time, becoming ever more level and compact. They also take on a beautiful white sheen in the sun. To install, they recommend a layer of gravel as a base, which will also minimize how much shell crush you need.

 

21. Artificial Grass Tiles

Artificial grass tiles

Consider investing in artificial grass tiles or astroturf for a natural feeling and delightfully soft patio covering. While not the most affordable option, it’s still easy to DIY, provided you follow drainage instructions. The aesthetic of artificial grass is trendy and modern. It’s also great for little humans who love playing outside but don’t do well with natural grass.

 

22. Cobbles or Cobblestones (old-world style)

Image credit: Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie ia Creative Commons

When it comes to old-world patios, there’s nothing better than traditional cobblestones. They’re trickier to install than most of the options on our list but well worth it for a European look and feel. Cobbles comprise natural stones interspersed with concrete. They’re not always level, but that’s part of their appeal.

About Joe Hats 176 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.