A garden patio makes for a wonderful and welcoming living space throughout the summer months – and even into winter, if you get your garden design right. Compared with lawned gardens, patios (and paved and gravelled spaces, too) require little maintenance, so the smallest seasonal refresh can completely update your outdoor space. If you’re looking for ways to brighten up your patio this year, whatever type of home you have and whatever size the outdoor space, there’s plenty to consider in this inspiring collection of patio designs.
It goes without saying that patios are a go-to spot for alfresco dining, but rain – or sometimes sun – can be a problem when entertaining outside. A simple homemade canopy made of a swathe of flowing fabric can offer a stylish covering, and gives a somewhat nautical vibe to a outdoor area. Looking at other fabric-based garden accessories (or some might say essentials) a hammock is another indulgent option for a relaxed patio. It works for small and large spaces alike, and makes a lovely place to snooze in the shade on long summer days.
But if you’re looking for garden ideas with a more traditional design direction, why not use garden furniture to set your desired atmosphere? Consider teaming wooden benches with relaxed soft furnishing for a patio haven that’s very shabby chic or, by contrast, set out a vintage-style iron bistro set with slatted chairs and patterned seat covers to capture an effortless French farmhouse look for lazy Sunday lunches outdoors.
You may want to dial up your garden’s ambient atmosphere after dark, in which case, consider setting the mood on your patio with lanterns and cushions scattered on the floor. But, saying that, don’t be afraid to take a more minimalist approach to your garden design. The most basic patios, whether stone slabs, tiles or gravel, can be given a contemporary overhaul by choosing sculptural ornaments and striking modern furniture.
Be careful not to make it all about the furniture and the stone flooring though; avoid making your garden space too sparse and severe by using vibrant soft accessories, colourful accents and lush potted plants as a foil to the hard lines of garden furniture.
In small gardens be sure to make the most of the space you do have. A simple, small dining table and chairs – with stylish cushions and tableware – is certain to become a much loved, and much used, addition to your garden…. as some of our selection of patio garden ideas highlight.
Make the most of a compact outdoor space that adjoins a flat or house, by creating your very own modern secret garden. Here, the floor tiles run out from the interior space, creating a sense of continuity and implying that outside patio area is merely an extension of the kitchen itself. Clusters of large pots holding lush plants create a tropical feeling and the sense of being in nature, which is only enhanced by the warmth of horizontal wood panelling. A vast mirrored panel doubles the space – visually at least – and makes the space feel light and full of energy for a meal or casual drinks at the bistro table and garden bench. Talk about having it all!
La Maison Bleue
When you have patio tiles or stone underfoot, as opposed to grass, keep the look light with a polished concrete finish paired with contemporary garden furniture. This glass-topped pedestal table and finely woven chairs have an almost weightless feel, and look crisp and fresh against all the garden’s greenery – which is located around the patio’s boundaries. A large white parasol creates the sense of a specific dining zone, while also providing shade on sunny summer days.
Create a patio garden that looks nothing like your traditional idea of a patio garden! Roll back the doors from your kitchen-diner and increase space with a seamlessly adjoining al fresco space beyond; the tiles match up perfectly creating a fluid dining area. You could move the table and chairs out easily for fuss-free and family friendly weekend meals.
A patio needn’t be used solely for summer dining, as this pretty idea proves. Set up your practical plant potting area outside your (brightly painted) back door), with a vintage workbench for storing gardening tools and housing the season’s prettiest plants. When not in use for pruning tall trees, a neat stool doubles up as a lovely spot to have a tea break and take in the scene.
Is it a porch? Is it a patio? Maybe it’s both! the space beneath a raised deck makes a lovely shady outdoor living area, that’s ideal for sociable gatherings in summer – or even winter, if you provide a little heating and plenty of blankets!
An L-shaped bench, with comfortable padded seating, makes an ideal spot to laze, read and chat with friends. Piled with brightly coloured striped cushions, it brings a playful beach-house feel to the wood-clad garden area. Punchy planting, such as a bright pink hydrangea, adds to the fun mood, while a dining set offers a cosy place to eat out.
Patios don’t have to be a one-level, just-outside-the-door affair; this carefully designed tiered space is a prime example of a patio that has stepped up (forgive the pun) to the next level in garden design.
The different levels have separate functions and feels, so the al fresco drinks/ lounging area is close to the house, while a shady seating area is located lower down the paved space. Planting creates a sense of privacy, enhancing the idea of there being multiple – rather than one – outdoor room!
Similar outdoor furniture
If you have a brand-new kitchen extension, but the garden beyond doesn’t quite match up (yet), a little streamlined modern furniture can work wonders.
Spruce up a patio area, and distract the eye from potential crazy paving, with a modern bench and table set combined with rattan chairs for an eclectic look. Woven dining accessories, and a selection of well-placed dramatic pot plants, will complete the look.
Similar bench and table set
Make a cosy nook for yourself in a sprawling country garden with a beautiful courtyard. Richly planted – with climbers creeping up trellises, bedding plants and even a selection of plants potted in aged galvanised steel containers, this patio space has an old-world charm about it.
Add a neat vintage table with a couple of mismatched chairs to the honey-coloured stone paving, and the charming country garden is complete.
You don’t have to hit the slopes to enjoy the benefits of an apres-ski style terrace. A fresh take on the functional garden patio, this area takes the outdoor social space into winter…with the help of an outdoor heater, plenty of faux-fur blankets, woven textures and flickering candles housed in glass lanterns. Romantic, super stylish and a little bit Hygge? We think so.
Similar outdoor fireplace
A paved balcony can make a great garden substitute in flat. Make the most of the extra space and furnish with slimline colourful furniture that won’t overwhelm the patio. Foldable pieces, such as this teak table, are ideal as they can be folded down to create space when not in use/ to suit the situation. Use the ledge beneath the balcony to house plants and bring the all-important natural element to your miniature garden.
Elevate your patio from a simple paved area to a palatial space, by creating the semi-formal structure of a living room out in the garden.
Here, a series of metal panels are fixed at intervals around two sides of the patio to instil a sense of a space within a space. A low, round firepit is the central focal point which two neutral outdoor sofas are directed towards, in this calming all-year-round garden area.
Similar fire pit
A walled garden, with a herringbone bricked patio, needn’t stick to English country style. Bring a more exotic feel to your space with richly patterned and colourful accessories that are more reminiscent of a Moroccan riad.
From benches layered with bolsters and cushions in bold shades, to a woven kilim on the ground beneath a wooden dining table – which can be set with bright table linen and accessories – this corner is packed with ideas for a fresh take on the patio space. A decorative mirror, hung on a garden wall, adds a finishing touch and maximises sunlight in a shady corner.