If you’re looking for small patio ideas (with pictures) to enhance your backyard, you’ve come to the right place. A small or simple patio makes for a great DIY project, and the benefits are endless, especially when it comes to entertaining. In this article, we’ll be looking at outdoor patio designs that are cheap, easy to build, and achievable on a budget. Ready? Let’s jump right in.
1. An Affordable Clay Brick Patio with an Optional Firepit
Clever planning and hard work go a long way when it comes to home improvement projects. For example, while this small brick patio looks ultra-professional, you’ll be amazed to learn how little it costs, provided you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. For this DIY design, your main material requirement is regular clay bricks, which can be purchased from almost any building supply store at the affordable price of less than a dollar per brick.
Outdoor glue or cement is advisable to keep your bricks settled, though not strictly necessary, depending on where and how you build. To achieve this look, lay your bricks in a circular pattern on a spot of level ground in your backyard. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even include a brick firepit for those chilly winter evenings. Offset by gorgeous flowerbeds and post poles with string lights, this simple but rustic patio looks right at home in the surrounding landscape.
2. A Simple Concrete Slab Patio with Decorative Pebbles
Poured concrete is a great option for a simple backyard patio that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It’s cheap, easy enough to DIY, and incredibly durable – after all, there’s a reason we’ve been using it in masonry for centuries. That said, it may be argued that concrete is not always the most attractive building material to look at. For this reason, we’ve included a design that uses soil and pebbles to enhance its run-of-the-mill plain grey aesthetic. Here, we see a simple square concrete slab surrounded first by ground and then bordered by river stones. Not only does the soil look and feel organic, but it also provides room to grow shrubs or flowers. The pebbles, in turn, finish off the patio nicely and prevent the soil from spilling over onto the lawn. All you need to do for access is lay down a stepping stone or two for guests to walk over.
3. An Easy Gravel Patio with Built-In Seating
Gravel is one of the cheapest building materials out there, and also one of the easiest to work with. This slightly recessed crushed gravel patio is the perfect example of making a tucked-away nook feel cozy but still modern and practical. Leading off slate steps, this design showcases a shallow gravel bed complemented by gorgeous built-in brick and wood seating. You may need some specialist tools to achieve this look (and some elbow grease!), but there is a lot you can do with a lick of paint and existing garden fixtures, like brick retaining walls. And while you’re in the process of revamping your backyard, never underestimate the sleek style of topiary plants or the addition of a statement centerpiece.
4. A Concrete Paver Patio with Branching Pathways
Like bricks, concrete pavers are affordable and easy to get hold of, making them great for small patio ideas on a budget. They also come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, giving you a world of options in terms of how to lay them out. If you’re planning on incorporating pathways into your landscape to separate your lawn from your garden beds, why not add a small, round patio? This easy-to-DIY design comprises both rectangular and square pavers to create a picturesque mini patio that perfectly matches the adjoining pathways. To finish off the look, a light grey paver has been used for the borders. What I love most about the patio above is how it encourages you to pause as you meander through your garden and enjoy the atmosphere with a cup of tea or coffee.
5. A Cheap and Easy Brick and Gravel Patio
If you really don’t have a big budget to burn but love an outdoor entertainment space, you’ll be pleased to discover just how creative you can get with nothing more than bricks, rocks, and gravel, which are the cheapest materials you can use. Best of all, you can knock out this project in a weekend! To start, you’ll need to do a bit of digging to create a square or rectangular area for your patio. Once you have your ground level, you can lay down clay bricks or pavers to make the center island where you’ll be placing your outdoor furniture. Then, it’s time to add visual interest by using different materials, like pavers or rocks, to create a border. A second large border of crushed gravel gives the whole thing a neat finish and edges off the lawn. Finally, including some large flowerpots is a lovely way to add color, depth, and height.
6. A Budget-Friendly Round Patio with a Simple Pergola
We’ve already discussed using budget-friendly bricks for a backyard patio, but why not take it to the next level with a simple wooden pergola? Although this idea is straightforward in design, it’s also intimate and functional and can be jazzed up with details, like the charming, bridged walkway we see in the photo above. Furthermore, a small stone wall acts both as an enclosure and seating, giving the whole thing a rustic feel. Relatively easy to DIY (with the right tools and some assistance), a pergola – even one with an open roof – is an excellent visual focal point in any garden. Indeed, the overhead beams are perfect for vining plants, string lights, or even shading cloth in the hotter months of the year.
7. A Sophisticated Modern Patio with Granite Seating
While this elegant patio falls on the higher end of the costing scale, it’s well worth considering the value it can add to your home. You’ll need someone to prefabricate your granite capstones and potentially your concrete slabs and seating, but once you have all the pieces, it’s just a case of constructing your patio in your chosen area. Planning is everything when it comes to this type of design, and it’s pertinent that you select a spot that is spacious, level, and, therefore, suitable for your ideal layout. Gorgeous landscaping sets the scene for entertaining, and honestly, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a Saturday afternoon cookout in a spot like this?
8. An Elevated Steppingstone and Cinderblock Patio
This is, without a doubt, one of the most genius cheap patio ideas on our list and can be built in less than a day. All you need is two materials, namely stepping stones and cinder blocks, and a bit of cement to keep everything together. The base of this patio, which is slightly raised, is constructed entirely of a layer of cinderblocks (which cost less than $3 per brick). For the level surface, this designer has laid out some square concrete steppingstones, mounted and grouted with cement to keep them stable. The result? A gorgeous, functional back patio that you can decorate with planters and surround with colorful flowerbeds. All that’s left to do is add garden furniture of your choice.
9. A Colorful Backyard Paver Stone Patio
To date, simple circular patios have never gone out of style, and it’s unlikely they ever will. One glance at the design above shows you how timeless they are and how they can fluctuate between nostalgic and modern, depending on how you decorate them. Pavers and bricks, both pretty affordable, are usually available in different sizes and shades, giving you plenty of options for creating pretty patterns. This patio comprises concentric circles burrowed directly into the ground. Your very center circle will require you to cut some of your pavers to size, but with the right tools, you should have no trouble undertaking this as a DIY project. Complete your cozy new patio with elegant wooden benches, a fire pit, and an aesthetic cane or bamboo archway to encourage vining shrubs.
10. Side Patios to Maximize Space
Any homeowner wants to make the most of their existing space, which is why I absolutely adore side patios. The example above boasts not one but two small patio ideas that can both be built without breaking the bank. The first, adjoined to the house, is no more complicated than extending a concrete slab from the entranceway of the house. Modern and inviting, this design immediately makes the home look statelier and more welcoming.
The second side patio we see is the extension of a narrow pathway and is constructed of slate steppingstones expanding out toward the lawn. A concrete retaining wall allows for separation between the garden beds and the entertainment area while also creating a sense of height and depth.
11. A Compact Concrete Backyard Patio
Concrete is the way to go if you don’t have a large backyard, but you’d still love to have some room to relax outside. This slab design is just big enough for a set of outdoor furniture and a grill, and yet somehow looks incredibly cohesive as an extension of the home. As mentioned in the previous example, concrete side patios are the ultimate budget-friendly way to maximize your space. But just because they’re cheap doesn’t mean you can’t make them look fantastic. Indeed, clever staining and curved edges give this DIY patio a personal and modern touch. You may even want to consider tiling your patio with porcelain or ceramics for a slick and sophisticated aesthetic.
12. Clever Patio Extensions
If your current patio is not large enough for your liking, nothing stops you from enhancing it with a concrete extension, especially if you consider affordability. This is one of the cheapest ways to build an outdoor entertainment area, with none of the worries of it standing out like a sore thumb. That is, of course, if you keep your edges neat. All you need to do is plot out your chosen area, directly expanding from your existing slab, and add on a concrete pour. You can also add visually interesting details like brick or tile in-lays.
13. A Small Prefab Patio with a Metal Pergola
Nowadays, almost everything can be prefabricated – but who’s complaining? In fact, this can be an absolute blessing when it comes to home improvement, particularly for tiny spaces. Often, cottages and smaller homes don’t have large landscapes with myriad options for building decks and patios. Alternatively, you may be renting, in which case you don’t really want to add on permanent fixtures. This designer has made the best use of their space by constructing a small patio out of composite wood. But the real focal point is the metal pergola, complete with built-in seating. It’s convenient and pick-up-and-go, and it looks gorgeously modern and can be decorated with lights, plants, or whatever you please. And if you move, just pack it up and take it with you.
14. A Calming Zen Patio
In a chronically busy world, it can only benefit you to stop and take in the scenery every now and then, whether by yourself or with a friend or loved one. And where better to do this than in nature? If you’re hankering after a secluded spot to turn into a zen garden, you don’t need to overthink it or panic about your budget. Wood panels, embedded straight into the ground, with select spots built at different heights, add all the beauty and balance of feng shui to even the simplest spaces. For meditation, consider enclosing your patio (at least on two sides) with wooden fencing, and add some traditional Japanese plants for ambiance.
15. A Simple Steppingstone Patio
Steppingstones are always high on my list of must-have building materials because of their versatility and affordability. These inconsistently sized stones are perfect for a makeshift patio that requires no more effort than removing a bit of lawn and placing some decorative pebbles. That said, this designer has gone the extra mile and turned something quite ordinary into an aesthetic delight by decorating the garden wall with colorful bird boxes and vertical planters. Instead of just being purely practical, this space looks personal and charming. Add some comfy furniture and planters filled with flowers, and you’ve got the perfect spot to relax.
16. A Tiny Observation Point Patio
If you’re lucky enough to live in a landscape surrounded by breathtaking views, you’ll likely want to make the most of your garden by including an observation point patio. From a visual standpoint, materials with an organic feel blend more seamlessly with picturesque views of nature than concrete or cement. Wooden decks are perfect for this purpose, but if you have a bit of overhang, I highly recommend a railing and perhaps the expertise of a contractor. That said, your patio design depends greatly on the size and undulations of your yard. If your patio is set to be flat on level ground, you should have no problem turning it into a DIY project. If it is load-bearing, however, prevent incidents by consulting an expert. Either way, investment into a lookout point patio can only add value to your property.
17. An Intimate Enclosed Patio
What is a patio if not an outdoor living room? This uncomplicated design is cheap, easy, and a great use of space, beautifully sectioned off with an enclosing wall. There is, of course, some cost for materials (wood, fencing) and purchasing the perfect outdoor furniture, but the construction itself is straightforward. And maintenance is a dream. Durable and versatile, enclosed patios open the world of possibilities for landscaping, as you can add anything from flowerpots to rockeries or water features. Add some ambient lighting and a portable heater, and you’ll be set for entertaining day and night throughout the seasons.
18. A Cheap and Easy Backyard DIY Patio (Under $150)
There are loads of options for cheap DIY patios, but this one takes the cake in terms of easy installation. Honestly, you could probably even get away without digging up your lawn. A trip to the building supply store to pick up some square concrete pavers will see you halfway through building a simple but functional outdoor patio. Once your pavers are obtained, all that’s left to do is lay them out neatly and adorn them with your garden furniture. At a low average cost per paver, and depending on the surface area you wish to cover, you can complete this project on a minimal budget in less than an afternoon.
19. A Recessed Patio with Built-In Seating
If you’re in the process of building or paving, this recessed patio idea with DIY wooden seating is both beautifully cozy and perfectly modern. There is, of course, an architectural element to it in terms of the low wall and walkway. These permanent fixtures must be factored into the house’s overall design. Alternatively, add your patio to the lower level beneath your existing verandah or porch. Either way, the fun begins with the addition of seats and decorative details like planters and trellis screens. The combination of wood and greenery feels organic and inviting and can also be relatively low-maintenance with proper treatment.
20. An Easy to DIY Flagstone Patio
More often than not, a sprawling landscape like this one, with exceptional scenery, doesn’t need much to make it look good. And when it comes to patio design, all you really need is a level surface to place your furniture on. The last thing you want is a structure that detracts. For this reason, I love this simple idea of placing down oversized flagstones (or perhaps poured concrete slabs) straight into the lawn. It’s simple to execute, affordable, and looks perfectly rustic among the gorgeous green grass.