10 Patio Design Ideas to Improve Your Backyard

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Many homeowners take pride in their houses – from the shingles on the roof to the bathroom decor to the front entranceway – but it can be easy to forget about what you don’t use on a daily basis: the backyard. And, more specifically, the patio.

And it’s no wonder families don’t spend a lot of time on their back patio when it looks like discarded leftovers. An unfinished, splinter-laden deck, a couple of rusty lawn chairs, and an abandoned bicycle graveyard  –  who wants to relax with a cup of hot cocoa or a refreshing cold beer on that thing?

If you’ve been putting off improving your patio because you assume that it’s a big project, think again! This list of patio design ideas contains simple and affordable projects, many of which you can complete in an afternoon.

So pick one or two of these items and transform your deserted deck furniture burial ground into a cozy, relaxing garden of eden for the whole family!   

White Christmas Lights

Why limit beautiful Christmas lights to one month of the year? Adorn your backyard patio with a string of white lights for mood lighting and decoration. Hang them them overhead, around the perimeter, or wrapped around trees.

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Exotic Flavor 

Why stick to basic, boring design elements when you can add an exotic flavor from the Southwest (like Arizona or New Mexico), Greece (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, anyone?) or Morocco (think Casablanca)? Add a couple potted cacti, Navajo-style throw pillows or relaxing hammocks. Whatever style suits you best, try to add a splash of color and mixed materials to instantly transform your patio.


Vintage Patio Set

Restore your old cast iron patio furniture and add a splash of paint to create a cozy, European-themed backyard for a glass of wine or cup of tea on a summer eve. Flea markets or antique shops are great places to pick up some vintage patio furniture, like this French-styled outdoor Bistro set.

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Vary the Furniture

Who says you have to stick to a relaxing chaise lounge or a table for dining? If you have the space, segment your backyard for both activities.

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Trellis or Pergola

A trellis, a simple wooden frame with climbing plants like ivy, is a great way to transform your backyard – and provide some privacy, as well. Use a simple ladder-like trellis to showcase the rich greenery such as vines, or install a more elaborate trellis that is meant to be part of the decor (like the one in the picture below). You can also use climbing plants that bloom to add more texture and color. A pergola is a freestanding trellis in the shape of an arch or square canopy.


Hanging Lanterns

Hanging paper lanterns are a great way to beautify your back patio by adding soft lighting, color and texture. Cluster them on tree branches, string them overhead, set them on tables. Use large, colorful lanterns sparingly or several smaller ones all around the space.

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Fireplace/Fire Pit

Depending on your budget and the space you have, you can install a simple fire pit or a sturdier outdoor fireplace. Especially during a chilly autumn night, a warm fire makes the backyard a cozy place to snuggle with your loved one or engage in conversation with a group of friends and a cup of hot cocoa.


Brick or Stone Floor

Rather than sticking with finished or unfinished wood for your backyard patio, lay a brick or paver floor for a beautiful makeover. This picture also shows how a fire pit goes nicely with a stone floor.

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Patio Umbrella

A patio umbrella can be a portable, standalone umbrella or a larger canopy that stretches from house to frame support on the outer edge of the patio or yard. A patio umbrella can keep you cool and shaded on a hot summer day or dry on a drizzling spring afternoon. Keep a small table and chairs underneath the umbrella or set it off to the side of your chaise lounge. If you use a canopy to cover the whole patio, you can hang Christmas lights or paper lanterns from it.

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Backyard Fountain

Incorporating a water element in your backyard is not only soothing but visually appealing, too. A fountain can be small and self-contained or large and more elaborate, it can be inconspicuous in the background or a work of art in its own right.

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