Whether you’re replacing a patio that’s seen better days, or need a speedy patio fix before summer BBQ season starts, we’ve got you covered for garden patio ideas on a budget. Be inspired to create useable living space in your garden without breaking the bank or compromising on style.
Best budget patio tip – shop second hand
The best cheap garden paving idea is to use second-hand paving slabs, bricks or stone. By choosing to re-use and recycle, you’ll be able to keep costs down while also saving building materials from going to landfill – so it’s a more environmentally friendly option too.
Laying a reclaimed brick patio can be particularly time-consuming – bricks will need to have old concrete removed from them before you start. However, it can be an achievable DIY option with the right materials and research. It’s also incredibly hardwearing and will last for years to come.
Check Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and salvage yards for cheap or free materials, or ask your neighbours if they have any paving or bricks that they need to get rid of. Even broken-up concrete pavers can be re-purposed into crazy paving with a little creativity.
Choose a budget-friendly gravel patio
Laying a gravel patio is a cheap and easy DIY task and the finish is easy to maintain. All you need to do is rake it over and refresh with a few new bags of gravel if it starts to look a bit bare. It’s a good quick-fix if you need to instantly improve a patio area – for example if you’re getting ready to sell your property.
Before you lay a gravel patio, start by clearing weeds and debris from the area, cover it with a weed membrane and weigh it down with the edging you want to use (eg larger stones). Then simply tip out the gravel. Aim for a depth of about 5cm, rake evenly and hose down with water.
If you have a large area to cover, you can break it up with flower beds, railway sleepers or stepping-stone paving slabs leading to different areas of the garden or in quirky patterns, like spirals or concentric circles.
It’s worth bearing in mind that gravel patios may not be as child friendly as other options. Even rounded pea-shingle can be uncomfortable on little bare feet, and loose gravel isn’t ideal for scooters and ride-on patio toys.
As an alternative, you could consider wood chips – they provide a softer surface and can look great with a camp-fire seating and woodland planting. Be aware that wood chips will break down and will be prone to fungus and weeds but they can be raked over and it is cheap to keep topped up.
Refresh your existing patio for less
Did you know you can paint your patio? Painting an existing patio could give your garden paving a new lease of life, and using large-format stencil designs can help to disguise cracks and bumps.
Before you start, make sure you jet-wash the area thoroughly, repair any cracks then use a primer suitable for outdoor surfaces followed by masonry paint. Ideally, buy a specialist patio paint product, or use a hardwearing floor paint rather than masonry paint. Contrary to much of the advice on the internet, masonry paint is not the best choice for patios as it’s not designed for the wear and tear of being walked on and is not waterproof on horizontal surfaces.
If you can’t commit to touching up the paintwork every year, invest in an outdoor rug or two. Treat your patio like your living room and lay a weatherproof outdoor rug – take a tip from interior designers and go for one big enough to go underneath patio furniture to help ground the space and pull the look together. Outdoor rugs can be left down in all seasons but remember to clean underneath to avoid mould and mildew.
Click-together paving from retailers like Ikea can also be a great option to update an existing patio area and can be laid directly on top of an existing patio or decking. Often in trendy tile patterns, click-together systems are quick to install in an hour or two, so you can be BBQ-ready in under a day.
Small patios ideas on a budget
If you only have a small area to cover, your budget might spread a little further and you can easily make your small patio seem much larger with a few simple tricks.
Go for larger format paving stones to create the illusion of space. It’s also all about how you lay your pavers. Laying slabs vertically or diagonally draws the eye and can make your patio appear longer. Equally, laying rectangular slabs horizontally across your patio will make it appear wider.
Keep clutter to a minimum and make more space for seating – keep plants off the floor and use your vertical space with trellis and hanging planters. And do you really need that huge gas fired barbeque? Why not swap to a space-saving pizza oven?
Large patio ideas on a budget
Having a large area to cover means more money spent on patio paving. Save money by cutting down on materials and cover less of the area with paving. For example, you could break up the patio space with grass or planting, which is also better for both drainage and the ecosystem of your garden.
Just as you would with a large interior space, you could also create zones with cheaper gravel, saving more expensive stone paving for high-use areas – for example a dining space under a pergola.
When to bring in the professionals
If you decide to invest in a long-term solution to revamp your patio, or want to include landscaping as part of a home renovation or extension project, you can find a Master Builder that specialises in landscaping using our Find a Builder search.
Get in touch with local builders you can trust and get ready to relax and enjoy your new garden this summer!
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