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Ideas for an Elegant Patio

Updated on October 27, 2016

Simple Beauty

Just adding a few chairs, table, umbrella, and BBQ made all the difference on this backyard deck.
Just adding a few chairs, table, umbrella, and BBQ made all the difference on this backyard deck. | Source


One idea is a picnic table that seats as many as 8 people without taking up too much room. My husband and I purchased one for under a hundred dollars, unfinished. We decided to stain it with rich redwood, then coated it with a protective high gloss clear covering. It took two days, and it turned out beautiful, and adds to the outdoor feel.

Folding chairs, chaise lounges, and wooden TV trays, with a couple of Sago Palms, or Areca Palm (usually an indoor plant), can make a patio feel elegant. The Areca Palm needs to be kept out of direct sun, but thrives in moderate temperatures on a covered patio.

Clear resin or glass tables are a good accent, with or without an umbrella. Depending on the area, an umbrella could mean the difference between a comfortable experience or a disaster if the sun is too hot. Umbrella's of a variety of sizes can be purchased at a moderate cost online.

Clear plastic is good, as long as it is out of the sunlight. Plastic tends to go milky when exposed to strong sun rays or intense heat. Depending on how thick it is, it could also become soft and develop a distorted surface. Here in the Nevada summer sun, we experienced a clear plastic table top melting, and warming into a sad upside down U shape. Conversation piece maybe?

Another good idea is to check local donation stores. Many exceptional finds have been located at a fraction of the cost. All kinds of items are possible to find, including artificial plants, outdoor tables, chairs, lounges, even a patio bar! Weekend yard sales are another resource to look for used items that would otherwise be costly. Why not take a little time to walk around, get some fresh air, and maybe locate items that would enhance the patio effect, and save money!

Following are a photo and video of optional tables, including making your own.


DIY Outdoor Serving Table

Plants - Accessories

Plants add warmth, color, vibrancies, and accent any type of tables or chairs. There are many varieties to choose from including pre-potted hanging plants and ferns, vegetation of almost any kind that will thrive.

Trees should be small and slow growing, or bushes might work better such as Desert Bird of Paradise (keep trimmed back). Mock orange, Lemon, grow fairly slow, and if plants are kept in pots, easy moving can be done with a dolly. There are many plants that work as fillers without the height, such as ferns, and some types of palms. Cactus is a good accent in areas with warmer weather, and adding a wind chime, or two adds to the feel of the décor.

Patio Design Ideas, by Lisa Hallett Taylor (Pool and Patio Expert) offers some visual ideas for patios that can be put together at a minimal cost, or just provide inspiration for a basis to designs. The portion of her Website that provides Small Garden Simplicity, can be found at:, just to get some ideas, or motivation to create something new.

At the moment our seedlings of Mimosa Trees, Apple Trees, Lemons, Desert Bird of Paradise, and Tomatoes are reaching a size that can be left outside. The plan is to obtain huge decorative pots, strategically placed on the patio that they can be transplanted into. It is fun to watch them grow, and protected from the hot afternoon sun during the summer (our patio is covered).

Plants can be hung from an awning, or patio cover in decorative hanging bowls, or other ideas include artificial hanging birds, bird feeders, Hummingbird feeders, and lots of colorful flowers to draw the fascinating birds.

Plants always dress up a patio with greens, or a variety of colors with blossoms or even plastic, and silk plants that never need watering. If the patio is covered the artificial plants will last a long time, not fading from the direct rays from the sun.

Suggestions for Trees: Japanese Maple/Dwarf Citrus/Flowering Plum or Cherry/Fullmoon Maple- Meyer Lemon/Benjamin Fichus.


Cactus is great for warmer temperature areas, and most of them bloom with vibrant blossoms.
Cactus is great for warmer temperature areas, and most of them bloom with vibrant blossoms. | Source


Benjamin Ficus stays small for 3 to 4 years. The idea is to keep it potted for easy moving. If it gets to tall, move just off the patio out from under the awning.
Benjamin Ficus stays small for 3 to 4 years. The idea is to keep it potted for easy moving. If it gets to tall, move just off the patio out from under the awning. | Source


Bricks of different colors, sizes and shapes can be used to construct low retaining walls around the patio, planters, benches, or other decorative additions. A table base can be constructed with brick, adding a flat surface on the top (be sure it is well supported so it does not topple when items such as drink glasses, or dinner ware are placed on it). Thick plastic can be found at hardware stores, and most will also cut to the shape desired. The idea here is to keep the cost down, while dressing up the sitting area of the patio.

Do it yourself ideas cut cost, and provide satisfaction when finished. There is no limit to the imagination when it comes to decorating a patio area. Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, most any store that has a garden department will also carry a few pieces of lumber, and bricks.

How To Build A Garden Bench (Allan Block, 2009)


Hanging bird designs add color, or make colorful potted vine plants (or artificial silk plants) vibrant with colorful butterflies. Many can be purchased at discount prices online, or local stores, including ivy, and vines.

Hang a large bird swing from the awning, and wire an artificial Parrot or other exotic bird to it, or even add some artificial flowers or vines onto the bird swing, it makes a great accent and conversation piece!

Bamboo makes a good divider, or corner accent, as does palms, ferns, or small trees/bushes. Just do not add too much to avoid a cluttered look.


Bamboo can be used as a separator, or decorative addition to a bare wall.
Bamboo can be used as a separator, or decorative addition to a bare wall. | Source

More Ideas

Water fountains are popular giving a sense of peace, and harmony, not to mention the added beauty. Fountains can be expensive to buy, but an alternative is to make one, purchasing parts from a local store, or, check with donation stores for parts, sometimes fountains are donated. It is worth a look.

I found several video's on YouTube by searching How to Make a Water Fountain.

How To Make a Terra Cotta Water Fountain-Menards (2012)

How To Build an Outdoor Zen Garden Water Fountain - Lowe's Home Improvement (2012) -


Another idea is to place whiskey half barrels around the patio, plant veggies, tomatoes, grapes, and run drip lines for easy maintenance. They are decorative, add greenery, and one can reap a harvest for the dinner table.

It's amazing how many vegetables you can grow in the back yard, while making it look inviting!

DIY Question

How willing would you be to Do It Yourself (DIY) to make fountains or build items for your patio?

See results


Dressing up a patio can be expensive purchasing furniture, or hiring someone else to do the work. There are ways to save money and still add beauty to a patio area. A variety of ideas that are inexpensive include plants, tables (look for used, or donated items to save more money), or make your own. Trees, cactus and other plants add color and warmth to a patio sitting area, and adding a home made water fountain brings peace and tranquility, especially if wind chimes are a hung.

Speaking of hanging, there are ready made items to hang from the awning if the patio is covered. Birds perched on a swing, hanging plants, artificial vines, and artificial butterflies can dress up the plants with a splash of color.

The choices are endless that add to the aesthetics of a patio, or garden area to make it an appealing place to relax, bar-b-que, or entertain guests. I hope this information serves to promote inspiration and motivation to be creative. Feel free to share any crafty things you have added to your patio.


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    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Nevada

      I appreciate everyone taking interest in these ideas, and sharing them. Now that the weather is warming up here in the west, I am enjoying getting outdoors to do more improvements in the yard, and patio. I hope everyone in the North and East thaws out soon.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image


      3 years ago from Florida


      I am glad I saw this information as my nephew and I are planning to build a patio for the summer under our Cedar Trees.

      Your videos were helpful as well as the information in your well written hub.


      Bobbi Purvis

      I will share this with Twitter and pin it on my re-pin board on Pinterest.

    • tammyswallow profile image


      3 years ago from North Carolina

      Great suggestions! I think you covered everything. I can't wait till spring to try these ideas!

    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Nevada

      Hi DDE, spacious patios have advantages with more space to be creative, like adding a fountain, swing, garden, or other items to enjoy. If we did not already have a Jacuzzi with our pool, we would consider putting a small one on the patio surrounded by ferns, or other plants. It seems ideas are endless when considering options for a patio.

    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Nevada

      Thank you Rachel. Isn't is wonderful to have a covered patio to sit and enjoy the outdoors, yet be protected from the rain? Though it was chilly during our last rain storms, I sat on the patio to watch the rain come down. I think it always makes the patio more enjoyable when there is a good layout, and decorations. I'm still working on mine, making some changes and adding some artificial plants.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I like spacious patios and a nice out lay. These ideas are perfect.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 

      3 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      We have a patio with a roof on the back of our house. We enjoy it a lot. I love some of the pictures of the plants you show and other things. We have a swing that hangs from the ceiling and we love that too. I like seeing other ideas for patios. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Nevada

      Thank you Sergio, I hope it helped instigate some creative thinking! I like how you and your wife are working together to compromise and find a solution both of you will be satisfied with, and affordable too. Wood decking with that cobblestone walkway certainly does create a beautiful picture in my mind.

    • profile image

      Sergio Freddson 

      3 years ago

      These are some fantastic ideas! We are getting ready to remodel our patio and have been trying to find out which options to consider. I think brick is beautiful but my wife loves wood decking. I think we may end up doing wood decking with a cobblestone walkway that leads around the side of the house as a compromise. This is a great hub—voted up and across!

    • Marilyn Fritz profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Nevada

      I did a little research and found several stores locally that have garden shops, and have some zen style items that just need to be attached to a water source. Another idea is to have someone else do it, or...not...if it seems too much work. Some people simply buy a ready made fountain (small made from rocks) that only require a cup of water and plugged in.

      I have one in my kitchen.

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      I love the idea of a zen garden but I don't necessarily want to do the work required to accomplish it.


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