160 Backyard Patio Ideas on a Budget 

If you are like many people across the nation, you may average about 14 hours each week in your backyard. Therefore, if you intend to spend this kind of time in your outdoor living space, you should begin a patio makeover. And if you already have one, you can renovate it or spruce it up to make your outdoor area an enjoyable place for you and your loved ones.

Patio installation costs vary widely, depending on the materials you use, the preparation work you need to do, and whether you have to deal with an existing patio. So, expect to pay an average of $8 to $20 per square foot for patio installation.

But building permits, grading, electrical works and plumbing, professional labor, and landscaping, may significantly increase your final backyard makeover costs.

However, even on a tight budget, you can use a bit of creativity to do a backyard makeover. Whether you have a large backyard or small patio, a bit of creativity can make a big impact at a low cost.

DIY Backyard Patio Ideas on a Budget

You may want to put some sweat equity into transforming your patio space into something you like. Most cheap patio ideas tend to involve some DIY projects because they have low costs since you will not have to spend much on professional labor.

Apply A Fresh Coat of Paint

Sometimes, a fresh coat of paint is all you need to spruce up your existing plain concrete slab patio. It costs $2 to $5 per square foot to paint a patio, and $3 to $9 per square foot for the prep work, repairs, and cleaning.

But the best part about this inexpensive idea is that you can do the work on your own once you buy the right materials. For example, you can use the power washer you already have to clean up your patio and make it ready for painting. However, if you don’t have a power washer, you can rent or borrow it from someone in your social circle.

Also, you can buy a filler to repair the cracks or fill in the joints on the patio and then sand down the surface. After that, you can prime the surface and paint at least two coats using the appropriate outdoor paints. So long as you are willing to do most of the work, you can revamp your existing patio on a budget.

Use a stencil or painter’s tape to create a unique design to fit your style.

Repurpose Old Furniture

Repurposing old furniture as patio furnishings is one of the easiest DIY projects. You can repaint your old indoor furniture using outdoor paints to turn it into backyard outdoor furniture.

You can repurpose old coffee tables in a lounge area to add some personal style. Just remember, a wood table or furniture piece will need to be painted or have a clear sealant to make it weatherproof.

Another great option would be to visit yard sales to find old patio furniture and give it a facelift to make it usable for your outdoor area. For example, you could buy rustic metallic seating, remove any rust damage, repaint the old furniture patio set using your favorite color, and place it outdoors.

Small Backyard Patio Ideas on a Budget

A standard backyard patio should be 16 feet by 18 feet, with a three-foot clearance around your patio furniture. But not everyone has a large backyard. And some people don’t have a lot of money to install a large patio within their outdoor living space. Therefore, if you have a small space, you need to be more creative than those with large outdoor areas.

Embrace Potted Plants

You can create a small garden using potted plants. It’s one of the most straightforward DIY ideas to implement.

One of the small backyard ideas you can implement is placing potted plants along the edges of your patio to enhance its look and separate it from the rest of your small yard. Another way is to hang them on support structures placed strategically on various parts of your patio. And you can even place several of them at the center of your outdoor area to be the main point of attraction.

Potted plants are an inexpensive way to enhance the overall look of your patio and yard. A typical flower pot costs $15 to $100, depending on the quality and design. And the cost of flowers or plants is minimal.

Light Up Your Small Patio

String lights are another affordable option if you want to transform and make it more attractive, especially at night. And you can select them in your favorite color.

Expect to pay $100 to $200 to install each of your 50-foot string lights.

It is worth noting that the outdoor lighting you install will do more than improve the ambiance of your patio. The lights will also make it easier for you to maneuver in the dark and improve security in your yard. So, it is one of those easy DIY ideas that have a low cost but a big impact.

Backyard Concrete Patio Ideas on a Budget

Concrete is one of the most popular materials homeowners use for their patio surfaces. It is easy to install, durable, relatively easy to maintain, and pretty versatile regarding how one can decorate it.

However, it tends to crack, is slippery when wet, and reacts to changes in temperature. Therefore, you need to implement concrete patio ideas with a budget in mind.

Use Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs are a great way to improve your patio area’s style, ambiance, and flair. For example, you can place a big outdoor rug at the center and place outdoor seating all around it. Alternatively, you can use smaller outdoor rugs to create different sections within your outdoor patio.

And the best part about having outdoor rugs is that they are an affordable way for anyone looking to buy outdoor decor on a tight budget. An indoor-outdoor carpet costs $3.50 per square foot. So, even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can still spruce up your patio surface.

However, you need to ensure the rug you select is waterproof or moisture-resistant. And it must also be slip-resistant to prevent slips and falls.

Install a Water Feature

A water feature is always a great addition to any small patio or backyard. It makes for an attractive and soothing outdoor space after a long day of hard work.

If you have a concrete patio, you could install a matching water feature, such as a waterfall, birdbath, or water fountain. Alternatively, you could combine those three things into one. Doing so would work well in a large backyard that lacks a focal point.

To save money when buying a water fountain, birdbath, or waterfall feature, you may want to visit the yard sales in your locale or even out of town. It’s surprising how much you can save when you buy from people who desperately want to get rid of their old stuff.

You can also get around your budget restrictions by implementing one of the cheap backyard ideas you find online to make a water feature. And then, you hire a professional plumber and electrician to finish the project.

Alternatively, you can purchase a small water feature and strategically place it on your patio or backyard. A simple concrete water fountain can cost $250, while a small DIY kit for a 12-foot pool waterfall will cost $450. These are reasonable prices for anyone with budget restrictions.

Some more elaborate hardscape water features can be expensive but are well worth the investment for creating a tranquil backyard space.

Backyard Patio Design Ideas on a Budget

Your backyard patio can serve multiple functions. You have to determine what works for you.

Create An Outdoor Kitchen

Research shows that 90 percent of Americans don’t like cooking. As a result, the average family spends about $3,000 each year dining out. That is pretty costly.

So, converting your patio into an outdoor kitchen where you can prepare meals while enjoying Mother Nature’s beauty is a great way to embrace a love of cooking. It is also one of the easy backyard ideas you could implement if the backyard is already in decent shape.

Portable grills can be as cheap as $20 to $60. However, a budget of $100 to $400 is reasonable for backyard grills powered by propane gas. On the other hand, you will spend $275 to $350 to build a concrete or clay pizza oven yourself and about $950 for a DIY brick version. The latter is an excellent option for a brick patio.

A coffee table designed for outdoor use would also be a great addition to your outdoor living area. But ensure there is enough space for it. Here are some outdoor kitchen ideas to consider.

Designate A Relaxation Haven with a Hot Tub

Everyone wants a calm, soothing place to unwind after a long day of work? So, why not install a hot tub on your patio?

A hot tub is a great idea if you find the right place for it in your backyard. The position you choose should not interfere with your outdoor movement. It should also safeguard your privacy. And it would be best if you could utilize a patio area that is also hidden from the rest of your outdoor space.

With a budget of $2,000 to $4,000, you can get a decent tub. But if you agree to invest sweat equity into the installation process, you will likely save money. And it helps if you already have concrete pavers or a slab surface already in place.

Alternatively, you can opt for an inflatable or portable hot tub whose cost ranges from $400 to $2,000, making them an inexpensive idea worth implementing.

Backyard Covered Patio Ideas on a Budget

Privacy is always an essential factor to consider. So, it helps to implement beautiful backyard patio ideas that enhance the patio space while guaranteeing some privacy.

Grow A Vertical Garden

One way to increase your privacy is by growing a vertical garden. It could consist of plants that grow upwards or that you place on a vertical supporting structure. You can also install a metal trellis on an exterior wall.

Using colorful creepers, such as sweet autumn clematis, climbing hydrangea, purple passionflower, and trumpet vines, can help you create the perfect backyard space that safeguards your privacy without compromising its natural look.

You can use your existing pergola, or install a trellis or lattice for support. Alternatively, you can use wooden boards as privacy screens and add hooks for your creepers.

Use Garden Beds

Raised garden beds offer you a better way of planting because they prevent soil compaction and warm earlier in springtime. But they are also a better way of enhancing privacy while dividing your backyard into various functional sections. And you can make them attractive by opting for tiered garden beds or more practical by using them as herb gardens.

If you opt to use garden beds to cover your patio space, you will spend about $145.48 for a raised garden bed kit. Or you could purchase wooden planks and make them yourself.

Adapt Your Outdoor Seating

When you place your outdoor seating area in the right place, it could help you cover your patio from prying eyes while enabling you to have an outdoor dining area. But it would help if you opted for outdoor furniture with solid or lattice back support for privacy purposes. You can either make one, find one in yard sales, or buy a cheap product from your local stores.

Install Patio Covers

You could buy and install patio covers to cover your patio from above. When money is an issue, consider a shade sail or cloth, which costs as little as $25 or less on e-commerce sites like Amazon.

Backyard Patio Ideas with Pavers

Paver patios vary in terms of materials, colors, and designs. For example, you could have concrete pavers in your dream backyard or those made from large stones. But while pavers make the patio enjoyable, the last thing you want is a boring backyard. So, put what you already have to good use and make your space more attractive.

Pave a Pathway to the Patio

You could choose to create paved pathways or create gravel paths leading to your patio to make it a focal point for the backyard. It will cost you $1900 to $2800. But that covers the materials and labor costs. However, if you put in sweat equity, you could significantly cut down the costs of such an outdoor project by $3 to $4 per square foot.

Plant Palm Trees

You can plant palm trees along your patio and the paved pathway leading to it, turning your paved patio into a focal point of the backyard space. In addition, it will enhance the natural look of your boring backyard and make it more attractive. It’s also an easy DIY project.

When you don’t have much space, palm trees offer an affordable way of enhancing your paved patio. You could buy a palm tree for as little as $15. It depends on the type and size.

Backyard Pea Gravel Patio Ideas

Pea gravel refers to small weathered stones commonly found near water bodies. They make excellent backyard patio materials because they are affordable, easy to install, multifunctional, and help to improve drainage while preventing soil erosion and weeds simultaneously. So, when enhancing pea gravel patios, you must consider their stony nature.

Bring In More Rock

The best backyard ideas are sometimes the most obvious ones. So, you could opt for a rock garden to complement your pea gravel inexpensive patio.

By using a combination of different-sized stones and rocks, you can create an outdoor dining table and seating. And you can also create free-standing abstract structures as focal points in your backyard.

Expect to pay $250 to $1,500 for a rock project.

Install a Backyard Fire Pit

Creating and installing backyard fire pits are among the DIY patio ideas that are easy to carry out if you know what to do. Also, they work well on pea gravel patios. You could purchase a basic metal portable fire pit at an affordable price of $100 or less.

Alternatively, you can hire a professional to install one if you have $700 to spare. An outdoor fireplace will cost more if you’re looking for a more modern outdoor space.

Sloped Backyard Ideas on a Budget

Patios on sloped backyards may be challenging to work with, especially on a budget. But you can still transform them into something beautiful.

Build Multifunctional Stairs

You can build multifunctional stairs that act as additional outdoor seating on a patio located in a sloped backyard.

The added stairs would make it easier for you and everyone else in the yard to move around with minimal hassles. In addition, the stairs would make your patio more attractive. And you can also place potted plants along the stair edges or plant a creeper.

Build a Deck

You can implement backyard deck ideas on a slope because of the differences in ground level. Building a deck can help expand your patio while enabling you to enjoy the beautiful views on the horizon and in your garden below.

However, decks can cost as much as $30 to $60 per square foot. But if you are willing to put in a lot of work in the construction, you can save as much as half of the cost.

Use Retaining Walls as Borders

Retaining walls help to stabilize sloped backyards. But you can also use them to create borders for your patio to improve privacy and divide the outdoor spaces into sections meant for different uses. In addition, they can act as extra seating for guests.

But that is not all. Retaining walls will come in handy for gardening. Instead of letting the banked soil go to waste, you can plant various flowers and food crops on different levels, thus enhancing the overall look of your patio.

And depending on how you design and build retaining walls, they may also act as pathways that allow access to various levels of your backyard.

It would be best to involve your loved ones to help you do most of the work to cut costs. But you should consult an expert while doing so.

Photo of author

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
DISCLAIMER: The content published on HomeInspectionInsider.com is not professional advice. You should consult with a licensed professional and check local permit requirements before starting any project.
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