So you’re wondering how to make a patio on a budget. We’re not surprised; a patio is a fantastic addition to almost any garden.
For young families and families with children, a patio can double as an inexpensive summer playroom. It can be a venue for the paddling pool or sand tray, as well as a warm, dry area for catching sun. On summer evenings it can become a place for you to relax; somewhere you can sit to enjoying a drink, chill, and chit-chat with friends or family as the sun goes down.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this might sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of options for smaller gardens and more modest budgets. In fact, with a bit of imagination you can design and build your patio at very little cost.
How to make a patio on a budget
Plan and budget your design
When wondering how to make a patio on a budget, a mosaic can be an excellent choice. Coloured mosaics have been a popular way of decorating stonework for over 2,000 years and can certainly make an artsy addition to any patio. Mosaic pieces are simply coloured pieces of tile, ceramic or glass arranged in a pattern and set into cement. They’re easy to make. All you need is a little patience.
Mosaics are particularly appropriate for the riser on a step. Not only do they add to the appearance of what is often a very plain feature, but they also differentiate the colours of the step making it safer to use.
Minster Tip: Assemble the pieces into a suitable pattern on a flat dry surface, then take a photograph to remind you where they go, before taking each piece and pressing it into your wet cement.
Your choice of patio material
The material from which you create your patio is probably the biggest cost. See why we recommend using locally sourced stone. Whatever you choose, it will need to be laid onto a firm sub-base of stone chippings, and mortared in for stability.
Some of the most imaginative patios are also the cheapest, using a combination of different stones in uneven patterns. You may be able to find a few slabs from salvage, thus cutting down the amount you need to buy.
Minster Tip: Arrange them in unusual patterns to create a rustic effect.
How to decorate a patio on a budget
Plants and vegetation
One of the quickest and easiest ways of bringing life to a patio is with plants. A selection of pretty, coloured flowers that attract bees and butterflies is a great idea – you can arrange the plants around the patio in pots and planters.
Another possibility is to remove a few of the paving slabs at random, digging out the foundation to a few inches depth, and adding topsoil to form a square of garden that can then be used for ground cover or even vegetables.
Minster Tip: If you’re looking for something quirkier, there are all sorts of odd items that can make good planters on a patio. How about an old wheelbarrow for trailing plants, or maybe a watering can full of carrots?
Bring your patio to life at night. Well-planned lighting can make a huge difference to the look of a patio after dark. Custom-made lighting systems are available, but they can be expensive and it can be more satisfying to design your own.
Solar lighting is another great option. Ready-made solar lights are not expensive and come in a dizzying array of styles. They also cost nothing to run; they just soak up the sunshine all day and provide a couple of hours of illumination once the sun goes down.
One of the most effective ways of doing this is by using strings of Christmas lights out of season and hanging them from trees or wooden fence panels around the patio. Perfect for hosting that after-hours garden BBQ!
We’ve been advising our customers on how to make a patio on a budget for many years. We stock a comprehensive range of locally sourced stone paving from Oxford and the surrounding areas, together with plenty of ideas for making a pleasing and individual patio to suit your needs. We’ve handpicked some patio articles and content perfect for you. Find our everything you need to know about planning and creating your patio.