A garden can be enjoyed all year round if the design is right, and sometimes just the smallest of changes to your outdoor space can give you the freedom to enjoy it more.
So, whether your goal is to sip your morning coffee al fresco or fire up the barbecue on a Sunday afternoon, take a look at these budget patio ideas.
Create an aspirational outdoor space without breaking the bank, and you’ll be able to make the most of your patio, whatever the weather.
15 garden patio ideas on a budget
If you’re wanting to create your dream garden patio without breaking the bank, our garden design experts are here to help. We’ve pulled together 15 of the best budget patio ideas to help transform your outdoor living space.
1. Secret spaces
What could be better than whiling away a morning with a book or podcast in your very own secret space?
Arbours and arches are increasingly popular, and for good reason. Cosy and romantic, they provide an excellent focal point without breaking the bank. They look their best covered with climbing roses or honeysuckle with a deep-scented bloom and can be decked out with a bench and outdoor cushions to make a great hideaway.
2. Add a pop of colour
Perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to boost your patio is to add new flowers to your potted plants for a pop of colour. They can look especially great against buff paving slabs or natural, brown paving slabs.
Whether you go for pansies or opt for swathes of violet lobelia, good old-fashioned begonias, prolific geraniums with their distinctive scent, or sweet busy lizzies, you’ll enjoy a blast of vibrant colour to freshen up your patio.
If you're looking for a cheaper paving option that could potentially be installed as a DIY job, Saxon would fit the bill, and contrast beautifully with your new florals.
3. Make a feature
An easy DIY makeover for your garden is to update the garden walls. It’s quick and surprisingly cost-effective to achieve a wide range of different looks by doing this, meaning it’s a great option for a whole host of design schemes.Croft stone walling is a popular choice with people looking for at DIY garden wall ideas; you don't need to use mortar to build the wall with this product, which makes the overall cost of the project much lower than other options.
Planting succulents in gaps between bricks can be a great way to create a living green wall that attracts wildlife and brings more greenery to your garden.
Another great way to update a garden wall is to use outdoor veneer walling such as Stoneface® Drystack Veneer Walling and create a feature garden wall. The pack comes complete with adhesive and primer. You simply stick the veneer over the existing walling to create a new, fresh surface.
4. Keep it neutral
Natural stone paving remains one of the most popular choices for garden patios, and it's not hard to see why. Neutral paving is a classic that will stand the test of time and stay looking good for years to come, meaning it’s an incredibly worthwhile investment.
Keep it current and stylish with accessories such as plant pots and outdoor cushions in on-trend colours and patterns. Natural stone paving options such as Towngate Sawn Sandstone Paving and Limestone Aluri are at the lower end of the budget range but are still ethically sourced and meet the Stone Standard.
5. Mix and match
This energetic trend provides plenty to catch the eye. Planting at different levels and using a mix of paving sizes and colours in a clever composition with creative flair provides an impressive and affordable outdoor space.
Choose paving that’s available in various sizes and/or colours to create extra interest and contrast. Firedstone is one affordable option that can be used to great effect in a mixed-media patio.
6. Pots of inspiration
When it comes to budget paving ideas, taking a simple approach can still deliver excellent impact.
This elegant patio uses plant pots to punctuate the space in a way that’s flexible, versatile and easy to update as the seasons or trends change. Swap out blooming pink camellias for space-filling ferns, or formal topiary, as your preferences shift from one year to the next.
7. Sitting pretty
The right set of table and chairs can do wonders when you want to update your patio on a budget. Whether you go for ornate wrought iron for an Italian terrace feel, understated modern furniture for a parred-back look, or something chunky and bold with lots of cushions for laidback evenings, the choice is yours.
8. Make use of reclaimed materials
Using reclaimed materials like bricks and wood pallets is a great way to cut costs. If you don’t have spare materials hanging around, check out reclamation yards or online marketplaces for cheap deals.
Use a series of old bricks to build a wall or paving edging, or make use of reclaimed flagstones to create a winding garden path.
By using reclaimed or recycled materials, you’ll also be making sure that your patio is as environmentally friendly as possible. If you can’t source enough reclaimed materials to complete your garden patio, there’s also the option of combining new paving stones with reclaimed ones in a crazy paving or mix-and-match style.
9. Cosy up with a toasty fire pit
With plenty of fire pits and chimineas available at a low cost, they can make a cosy and welcoming addition when upgrading your patio. A fire pit will tempt you to use your outdoor space throughout the year and keep you toasty when socialising with loved ones during the colder months.
Fire pits look especially effective when installed in the centre of a paving circle as the entire area will instantly become the focal point of your entire garden. Add a pergola, string lights and outdoor patio furniture, and you have yourself the perfect outdoor area for the whole year round.
10. Layer up on textiles
Another way to create a cosy and colourful patio space is to implement different textures and fabrics to create an outdoor living room.
Adding soft furnishings like cushions and blankets are trendy and low-budget options for upgrading your outdoor space. Mix and match the designs for an eclectic and exciting look, or stick to one colour scheme for a refined style. Cushions can be placed on coping stones that sit on top of retaining walls to maximise the potential of the available space.
Whatever you choose, adding soft furnishings to an outdoor space will no doubt make your patio more inviting and comfortable for both you and your guests.
11. Set the mood with outdoor lights
Set the scene by adding some twinkling outdoor lights to your patio space. Both contemporary and elegant, outdoor lights are an inexpensive accessory for any patio.
And with various ways to incorporate outdoor lighting into your patio space, you’ll be spoilt for choice on ways to create some ambience when the night closes in.
From suspending festoons over a pergola for functional and effective bistro lighting to installing downlights in elevated areas to create ‘moon lighting’, there are plenty of ways to create a cosy atmosphere at a reasonable price.
12. Assemble a stunning hanging basket
What better way to bring colour and beauty into your outdoor space than by assembling your own hanging basket?
Purchase summer bedding plants in late spring (to avoid any risk of frost) to have a beautiful floral display ready for the summer months. Incorporate both upright and trailing flowers and plants, including petunias, fuchsias, and marigolds.
Make sure to deadhead any fading flowers to encourage blooming throughout the summer.
13. Make a splash with paint
Spruce up tired, lacklustre fences, planters, walls and plant pots with a splash of colour. Rather than sticking with safe neutrals, choose a bold and bright colour to create a lasting impact.
Creating a feature wall as a backdrop to your patio is one way to make your outdoor space stand out. Choose a colour theme and paint existing pots and planters to complement your wall.
Injecting colour into your outdoor space doesn’t have to be difficult or costly - all you will need is a paintbrush, a tin of paint and a few spare hours.
14. Create a vertical garden
It’s easy to get hold of pallets, trellising, empty cans or an old ladder. These are just some of the interesting and unique ways to add flora to your garden. Creating a vertical garden is a quick and simple way to bring colour and interest to your outdoor space for a small cost.
As with a DIY hanging basket, it’s best to choose a variety of trailing and upright plants to make a bigger impact.
15. DIY your own furniture
If you’re looking for a project, DIY-ing your own furniture can be a budget-friendly way to enhance your patio. Using recycled materials like reclaimed timber, wooden pallets or scaffolding boards will prevent waste and keep costs low, and you can enhance the materials with wood stains or paint.
Create a seating area, coffee table, shelving, an outdoor mirror, or even an outdoor kitchen.
Tips on how to create a patio on a budget
If you’re looking to enhance your outdoor space on a budget, creating a patio is one of the best ways to do it. But you might be wondering how this is possible without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on how to create a patio on a budget.
Installing the patio yourself is one way to keep costs down, but only if you have good basic skills and the land is fairly flat and even. As a general rule, it’s more straight-forward to replace an existing patio like for like than it is to dig and install an entirely new space. If you’re up for a project, revamping your outdoor space can be a rewarding DIY task that you can benefit from for years to come! Use online resources like this guide - How to lay a patio or step-by-step video instructions from professionals.
2. Research budget paving options
There are plenty of high-quality budget options available that won’t break the bank but will still create the dream patio you’re looking for.
Standard Indian sandstone from Marshalls provides a good quality natural stone for a most cost-effective price and comes in three colourways. If you're looking for paving to provide a functional walkway, pathway or house a shed base, we have a range of utility options to choose from. These include Pendle and Richmond.
When it comes to natural stone we’d recommend being extra vigilant about any prices which appear to be too good to be true. We have a guide about how to know if you’re buying good quality Indian sandstone, which is a useful read, and includes making sure any overseas paving is sourced ethically.
Other budget paving options include reclaimed brick, gravel and pebbles.
3. Opt for a smaller paved area
Naturally, the larger the patio is, the more it will cost you to create. Carefully consider what size patio will be practical and suitable for your space but also fits within your budget.
If your dream patio doesn’t fit the budget, try using less garden paving and create a border of rocks and stones around the perimeter.
Create your dream patio on a budget with Marshalls
These budget patio ideas are simply a starting point for anyone hoping to upgrade or update their garden this year. Whether you’re looking for practical guidance like how to cut paving slabs or expert tips on how to prepare your garden for winter, we’ve got it covered.
At Marshalls, we have a fantastic selection of garden paving to help create your dream patio on a budget. From white garden paving to concrete paving, you’ll be able to enjoy life to its fullest in your outdoor spaces without breaking the bank.
What is the cheapest option for a patio?
Gravel is the cheapest option when looking to create a patio on a budget. Otherwise, pebbles or reclaimed materials are also good options.
If you’re set on laying paving slabs, concrete is one of the cheapest materials, and when installed and maintained correctly, it can hold up well and last for years.
How can I make an inexpensive patio?
The best way of making a patio on a budget is by installing it yourself. It’s also wise to choose budget materials or make reclaimed choices where possible.
Take a look at marketplace sites and scrap yards to find old bricks, wood, and paving slabs. Not only is this a budget-friendly choice, but using second-hand materials is also kinder to the environment. It’s important to ensure that you find a trusted installer for your patio, and the best way to ensure that your patio is installed correctly is to use a Marshalls registered installer.
What can I use instead of patio slabs?
Gravel, block paving, resin and wooden decking are other options if you’re looking to install a patio without slabs at a budget-friendly price.