A concrete patio can be an unimportant addition to a home’s property or nothing short of an awesome entertaining space, depending on one’s creative insight and eye for potential, of course.
More than just a catchall for mismatched lawn furniture, children’s toys, and the odd barbecue, a concrete patio can set the stage for entertaining and bonding with loved ones, as well as taking some much-needed R&R time.
Landscapers and exterior designers alike, as well as savvy homeowners, have been taking an interest in the concrete patio’s potential in recent decades, and the results have been truly awe-inspiring. A survey provided by the National Association of Home Builders stated that concrete was the most popular choice for patio material in 2012, with poured concrete being the most oft-used outdoor component in upscale home construction. With more design versatility than ever before, the concrete patio continues to attract the eye of homeowners and elite outdoor planners.
Durability and adaptability are the key qualities that make a concrete patio so desirable, and upgrading your outdoor space with a well-crafted concrete patio is more than just an investment but a lifetime’s worth of luxurious enjoyment. No matter the weather or terrain, these concrete patio ideas ensure years of lounging, dining, and entertaining with minimal upkeep.
We’ve put together 10 categories of concrete patio design ideas for you to take a look at. Whether you need the inspiration to start a project or just want to spruce up the patio you already have, you’ll find a touch or two that you can take with you.
1. Small Concrete Patio Ideas
Not everyone has the space to create a backyard that looks like it’s lifted from a magazine page. If you only have a small backyard to create an outdoor living space, pouring concrete can be an attractive and affordable option.
One of the great things about concrete patios is that you can pour one just about anywhere in your yard, steep grades aside. If you only have a small space that you can use for a patio, you can even mix the cement bags on-site and pour the patio by the wheelbarrow full.
Small concrete patios can be an awesome way to make use of an otherwise empty or awkward space. Check out these images to get an idea of how you can make a small patio work for you in your yard.
2. Concrete and Wood Patio Ideas
While concrete is a great material for creating outdoor living spaces and walkways, it tends to lack an inviting nature. Whether it’s due to the rough material or the cold color, sometimes these patios just lack something.
Bringing some warmth into a concrete patio space with some wood materials, fencing, benches, or other accents is a great way to make a cold concrete space feel a little more relaxing and casual. A stained wooden bench can provide contrast against a gray patio, making the chair pop while also toning down the frigid personality concrete often has.
There are a lot of ways to integrate some wood into your patio design. You can create built-in benches, buy wooden furniture, build pergolas overhead, or butt the patio up to a wooden structure like a house or fence. Consider some of the ideas below while keeping your patio area in mind, and see if a wooden accent would be possible for you.
3. Concrete Garden Patio Ideas
One of the best ways to liven up a concrete patio is by using plants and garden beds. These green spaces not only contrast the concrete but also provide a relaxing environment for you to take in the fresh air. There are few better ways to burn some daylight than with a good book in the garden.
Concrete is especially ideal for garden spaces as it can be poured to take nearly any shape. This means that you can create winding pathways, garden beds, and other shapes that fit into the garden aesthetic. While the material itself may not feel natural, it can adapt to fit the space, so it doesn’t have to be a distraction either.
Whether you have a traditional garden space, a winding backyard pathway through the trees, or a small patio that you’d like to brighten up, mixing plants and concrete might be the right idea. If you’re looking to create some privacy for your patio, look for tall potted shrubs that you can situate around the edges. You’ll be able to enjoy some fresh air with friends without your neighbors peering over the fence at you.
The pictures below will show you how tranquil and relaxing you can make your backyard patio space feel.
4. Seating and Dining Areas
Not everyone has a deck in their backyard for entertaining and dining, and they may feel the ordeal of building one is over their head. The great thing about concrete patios is that they just take a little planning and sweat equity to pull off. Pouring a concrete patio in your empty backyard might be the easiest way to create a dry, level space for a table and chairs set or some lounge chairs.
You can make these slabs as simple or as complex as you’d like. The main goal is to have a designated space in your yard for outdoor furniture without sinking into the mud or tearing up the grass. Some simple carpentry skills, a wheelbarrow, a garden hose, and some basic tools will have you well on your way to creating a perfect spot to enjoy some barbecue with friends.
5. Concrete Patios with Firepits
There’s hardly a more enjoyable way to spend a summer night than with good friends around an open fire. You don’t have to pack the car with your tent and sleeping bag to enjoy the heat of a fire pit. Making a fire pit in the center of your patio is a great way to gather everyone around for a toast and a laugh.
There are several ways to build fire pits, but you need to choose one that compliments your concrete patio design. You can do this with cinderblocks, bricks, or by using forms and pouring concrete. Whatever your choice of fire pit material, this can be a great addition to a patio.
There are a few things to keep in mind when building a fire pit. Paver base makes a great foundation for fire pits, as it can become very hard and stable when packed but will drain during rainy weather. Gravel may seem like a good material for a fire pit base, but you should know some stones may have water trapped inside of them that may expand when heated. This can cause chunks of rock to take flight and hurt you.
Using a metal barrier like this Garden Treasures 36″ Galvanized Fire Ring is ideal for keeping your fire stable and safe. They can be dug into the ground and filled with paver base before the remaining structure of the fire pit is built. Grab some inspiration from the pictures below.
6. Tiered Concrete Patio Ideas
If your backyard space is sloped, you might be frustrated into thinking your options are limited. The truth is that you can use a tiered concrete patio design to make several levels in your backyard that each serve a different function.
There are many ways to make a tiered concrete patio area look amazing. By creating a tier for cooking, a tier for dining, and a tier for lounging, you’ve created options. Your guests can now choose from 3 distinct spaces to enjoy, and you’ve avoided pouring one large patio that can feel more like a parking lot than your backyard getaway.
While you can connect the tiers with a narrow set of stairs, consider full-width steps. Steps the entire width of the patio look like waterfalls and break the spaces up without separating them. If you would like to use the stairs idea, consider flanking either side with a raised garden bed or accent feature that will pull the look together but still define the patio tiers from one another.
If you need some ideas to pull a few styling cues from, the images below contain some great examples of perfectly executed tiered patios.
7. Ideas for Concrete Pavers and Individual Pads
Not all concrete patios are poured as one large slab. There are other options that can make a project easier and more affordable. Concrete pavers and small, individual pads can provide a more unique style than a large slab stretched out across the yard.
There are some really cool ways of pulling this look off, and you should check out the ideas below to develop a plan as to what you’d like your patio to look like. Individual pads can be poured separately, anywhere from a few inches to a few feet apart. What this does is allow you to use stones, gravel, or grass to create borders around the pads and frame them in place. These pads provide flat surfaces for chairs and tables to sit on without rocking, but also create some visual interest between the pads to help your patio stand out.
Aside from pouring individual pads, you can also use concrete pavers to accomplish something similar. Pavers come in various shapes and sizes, so you should be able to find something that works for your design idea. The downside is that large pavers can be very heavy, so line up some help or throw on your back brace before you dig in.
8. Concrete Pool Patio Ideas
A backyard patio and pool are meant for parties, barbecues, and hot-day hangouts. Being able to take a dip in the pool is a great way to cool off and keep the party going when the sun’s beating down. By creating a backyard pool and concrete patio space, you and your guests will be able to enjoy the ideal summer oasis.
No one wants to stand and bake like a worm in the hot sun. The key to a great concrete pool patio is having plenty of seating for your guests. Consider a few matching table-and-chair sets, complete with umbrellas. Not everyone will want to swim, so providing all the necessary seats and tables with shade is paramount to ensuring your friends’ enjoyment.
Take a look through these concrete pool patio ideas before you try to pull off the ultimate backyard bash. A few styling cues from these awesome patios and you’ll have the inspiration you need to throw an awesome summer banger.
9. Covered Patio Ideas
Providing some refuge from the sun and other elements may be the best way to get the most out of your patio. By creating a covered or shady space to hang out under, you can enjoy the patio year-round and in nearly any weather condition.
Gazebos and covered porches will protect your outdoor living space the most from the elements. They’re expensive to build, but they’re perfect if you’re trying to create an outdoor space with a living-room personality. There are several ideas in the photos below that you can rob an idea or two from.
Pergolas are only really effective at shading the sun for a few hours a day, but they’re still worth considering for several reasons. You can usually construct a pergola for less money than a gazebo, which will allow you to spend a little more of your budget on furniture or lighting. Also, you might not want to block out the sun completely, so you can design and orient a pergola to allow sun during particular hours of the day during the summer months. You can also outfit a pergola with a sunshade if you’re looking to get a little more protection from the sun than the bare frame offers.
10. Stamped Concrete Patios
If you like the idea of a concrete patio but don’t really enjoy the look of a plain slab, there’s a great option available that you should check into. A stamped concrete patio is built using solid slabs with patterns literally stamped into the wet concrete to provide a particular look. A pattern can look like natural stone, paver, brick, or a combination of patterns to create the desired look.
If you’re planning a large patio, but you’re concerned that it will look more like a parking lot than the perfectly planned party space you had in mind, a stamped patio might be just the ticket for you. The stamped patterns break up wide-open patio designs, create flow, and can accent a sitting or fire pit area.
Look through the pictures below to see what type of effect a stamped pattern can do for a patio. Try picturing these spaces as plain slabs to really appreciate how much interest the patterns create underfoot.
Concrete Patio FAQs
How do I maintain my concrete patio?
Concrete is super strong and durable but does require a little bit of maintenance. Due to its porous nature, concrete should be cleaned and sealed every one to three years. If you maintain it properly, a concrete patio can last up to 30 years.
Is it okay if it rains after I pour my concrete?
When concrete cures, it’s actually the end of a chemical reaction, not the evaporation of the water. If concrete dries too quickly, it can actually weaken the reaction and bond. What you don’t want is excess water in the mixture as that will affect the chemical reaction as well. Rain will not penetrate into poured concrete, so yes, it’s okay if it rains after you pour your slab.