Ideas for Building a Small Backyard Patio

Backyard Design: Simple Patio Ideas

Building a small backyard patio by using simple patio design ideas is much easier than you think. It doesn’t matter the size of your yard; you can create a small corner sitting area that is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Creating an outdoor space is a very economical and cost-effective way to enjoy a “staycation.” If you are not familiar with the term “staycation,” it basically means taking your vacation at home locally, and that can be as local as your own backyard! Relaxing in your outdoor oasis eliminates the stress of traveling to other locations. There are no planes, trains, or automobiles to drive or catch.

We tend to spend our precious vacation time in transit, and it is also costly. Don’t forget about all the stress of preparation; there are no bags to pack when you relax at home and no stress thinking about what you may have forgotten to pack either!

How do you create this oasis? A first step is to investigate the many cheap patio ideas that are outlined in this article. Deciding on the material you would like for your patio is key, and it is as easy as a trip to your local home improvement center.

There are many methods for laying the various types of stone that are not beyond the capabilities of the average homeowner. This article will focus mainly on stone patios; however, you can click on the link at the end of this article if you are interested in “loose materials.” These are very easy to do yourself and include mulch and pea gravel, for example.

Simple Patio Design: The Supplies

There are tools and basic materials that you will need to complete most patio projects. For example:

  1. Measuring tape
  2. String or twine and wooden stakes
  3. Leveling sand
  4. Crushed stone or pea gravel
  5. Paver stones
  6. Mallet
  7. Garden hose
  8. Shovel
  9. Tamper
  10. Broom
  11. Diamond blade saw (depends on the project)

A blade saw is used to cut stones to specific dimensions and is not a necessary purchase, but if you have decided on a patio style with precise shapes, you can easily rent one of these from your local home improvement center.

Safety Is First and Foremost

Remember before digging to always check with the city for locations of any underground cables. Be safe!

A Small Backyard Patio: The Simple Design Steps

  1. Decide where you want your patio. This is important because you don’t want to be baking in the sun if you would rather be cooling in the shade! So remember placement is important. Think about the time of day you will use it the most and where the sun will be at that time. You may want to place it under some trees for shade. It all depends on your personal preference; after all, this is your little getaway spot.
  2. Measure off the length and width of your patio. Decide how much room you need. Do you only want enough room for two chairs and a small table, or do you want to seat your entire family? Mark off the area with some stakes and twine or even with an outline of flour on the grass. Place your intended furniture inside your marked off area to ensure you have the space you require.
  3. Visit your local home improvement center to buy paving stones. Paving stones come in a large variety of shapes and colors. The staff at the center can help you decide how many you need, depending on the measurements you have provided them. You will also need to purchase sand as a filler and some crushed stone or pea gravel as a base. Staff at the store can advise you on quantities, but it is always best to buy a little extra.
  4. Dig out the area! You must dig to the depth of the pavers plus the sand and the base filler (pea gravel or crushed stone). It is best to go just a little deeper than your estimate; you can always level it off with the fillers. Dig out allowing for one inch of sand and crushed stone + the depth of your stone paver. (Remember before digging to always check with the city for locations of any underground cables—be safe!)
  5. Compact the soil with a tamper and fill the area. Fill with your crushed stone or pea gravel—try to keep a slight grade away from your house for water runoff. A good rule of thumb is about 1/2 inch for every four feet
  6. Fill the area with leveling sand. Compact the sand with the tamper, use a wood 2×4 to level it off. Place a level on the 2×4 to ensure as you push it across you are holding it level. You will need a second set of hands to help you with this part.
  7. Lay your pavers! If they are irregular shapes, start from the center and work to the outer edges. If they are square or rectangular shapes, start by laying them around the four sides and work inwards. Tap them down with your mallet as you go. Adjust your plan and placement of stones to avoid having to cut them. If you need to cut for any reason, you will need to use a diamond blade saw.
  8. Spread sand or the pea gravel (crushed stone) over the finished area. Sweep it off into the spaces between the pavers.
  9. Hose down the patio with water to clean and encourage settling. Hey, you are done. Stand back and admire your work!

Need Some Inspiration?

There are many materials you can use and many ways you can design a backyard patio area. Just scroll through the many photos below of unique yet simple outdoor spaces.

A little Corner Is All You Need

The Smallest Corner: So Cozy

It doesn’t matter the size of your yard as all yards have corners. This corner involves the installment of a few slabs of concrete enough for a solid area to put a table and two chairs.

When choosing your corner remember to take into consideration the whereabouts of the sun during the day. The southeast corner will be pretty sunny and hot. If the purpose is to sit in the sun then that’s fine, but if it is the shade you are looking for, then a northwest corner may be a better choice.

Also, of note is what time of day you will use it most and if there are any shade trees nearby. If you have large mature trees, remember the roots may make digging difficult, and your patio stones may not lie smooth.

Backyard Design: Create a Focal Point

Greenery as a Focal Point

You can do a lot with shrubs and flowers. This design is very simple but looks like it took a lot of planning with the plantings. Digging out a focal point in the center of your patio can be great for many uses. It could serve as a water feature or a fire pit. You could plant your favourite flowers in the centre. Perhaps even a hot tub? Use your imagination.

The rectangular garden bed around the patio could be planted with shrubs. Keep in mind the height of the shrubs; you don’t want them growing very high and obstructing your view, or you may want large shrubs as a privacy wall.

Irregular Shapes Serve a Dual Purpose

Patio Rooms

This patio is created on the diagonal with twists and turns creating different outdoor “rooms.” One room is for sitting, one for flower displays. You could create a different look by changing the flower display or the furniture in your room.

A barrel would be a nice feature here with different plantings for each season depending on the climate you live in. This is a very small patio, but it creates the illusion of much more space because there is much for the eye to see.

Surrounded by Nature

Escape to the forest in your own backyard. Use the trees and landscape that you already have and incorporate a sitting area. We need to get back to a natural environment, especially if we live in an urban area. A sitting area in your own backyard amongst the trees and bushes can function as a great stress reliever.

The pictured patio is made up of flagstone which is a natural material that is very durable. It may be a little more expensive, but in the long run, very cost effective as it is virtually maintenance free.

As you can see, the stones are just randomly placed around a dirt area where the grass has been dug up. The flagstone is put down, and the area is then tamped down and watered and tamped again to make it solid. This creates a very natural look that blends into the environment.


Blog Source: Den Garden | How to Build a Small Backyard Patio




I’m Joseph, and I started this blog as a way to share ideas with others. I wanted to create a space where people could share their thoughts and feelings, and where we could all have a good laugh. Since then, the blog has grown into something much larger than I ever imagined. We have posts on everything from humorous essays to comics to interviews. And our weekly columns cover sports, video games, college life, and software.
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