18 DIY Patio Ideas and Pathway Improvement Projects
1. Build a Fire Pit Patio
This fire pit, made from massive salvaged blocks of granite, anchors the patio design and keeps the festivities going after the sun goes down. Here’s how to construct a bluestone patio around a centerpiece fire pit. And don’t forget about fire pit safety.
2. Laying a Gravel Path
Sure, you could spend several days and many dollars putting in a walkway made of cobbles or bluestone, but a simple gravel trail won’t break your back—or your budget. Gravel (as well as crushed brick or crushed shell) is a traditional path material found in formal gardens throughout Europe and Asia, and takes little skill to install. An afternoon to get it down (as described here), and you’ll soon have a natural-looking, foliage-free way to walk through your perfect landscape.
3. Make a Circular Fire Pit
Outdoor fires are so hot right now. Seriously. Mankind has called the hearth home for the centuries, it’s true, but these days people are going ultra-retro and getting their heat from stone-walled pits set into the earth. And, why not? On cool summer nights, you can melt marshmallows and nibble s’mores while you lounge in an Adirondack chair, feet propped up on the rock ledge. So if you really want to light up right, do it in style. Use our step-by-step guide and take a few days to build your very own ring of fire.Follow along with TOH landscaper Roger Cook as he builds a circular fire pit and surrounding patio.
4. Install a Permeable-Paver Driveway
The best way to green up a driveway is to install permeable pavers, which allow water to drain down through the gaps between them and into a bed of crushed stone. From there, it seeps gently into the soil. Contrast that with a typical driveway, where water picks up oil and other chemicals as it washes into the street, overloading storm drains, polluting waterways, and increasing the chances of flooding from runoff.
5. Install a Built-in Barbecue Pit
While you could buy a simple portable kettle grill to heed the call of the charcoal, there’s something alluring about a built-in masonry grill. These structures not only accent the patio, providing a focal point and creating a gathering spot, but also are ideal for feeding a crowd because they typically have more grilling space than your standard-size rollaway. Plus, they’re durable and weather resistant, don’t need to be stored, and have a warmer feel than outdoor kitchens glinting with stainless-steel surfaces.Building a simple barbecue pit is a relatively easy DIY patio project and likely to cost less than a fancy new gas grill. With the right tools, materials, and a little skill, you can put together a basic brick barbecue in a weekend.
6. Lay a Stone Patio
With all the beauty of a well-manicured lawn but without the maintenance, a stone patio makes an elegant addition to any home. A variety of flat stones will do—smooth squares of slate or rough flags of limestone—as long as they can withstand foot traffic and the local climate. Here’s how you can DIY a stone patio.For most of his patio design ideas, This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook favors 1 ½- to 2-inch-thick bluestone, a tough sandstone quarried in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.Prefer brick? Watch along here as Roger walks you through constructing a brick patio.
7. Pick the Perfect Patio Building Blocks
Creating a new living area outdoors is a whole lot easier than adding one indoors. Sure, you’ve got to furnish both. But in the backyard, there’s no fussing with walls, ceilings, doors, or windows. All you really need is a floor.That’s why one of the first steps in planning a new patio design idea is deciding which material to put underfoot, typically brick, concrete, stone, or gravel. The surface you choose plays a huge role in establishing not only the style of your patio but also its cost, whether you can build it yourself, and how you’ll care for it over the long term.Read more learn which patio material is right for you, get guidance on coming up with a design, and find installation tips for cost-conscious DIYers.
8. Explore Design Options to Inspire New DIY Patio Ideas
For a patio worth the view, let a fence, hedge, or facade serve as a wall, and a pergola, tree canopy, or wide umbrella as a roof. Then furnish your outdoor room for dining, entertaining, or gathering around a fire.Gather inspiration from your own by perusing these 14 DIY patio designs.
9. Set the Pavers
A DIY pathway made of stone pavers is a great way to save your lawn from being trampled and compacted by foot traffic. And it certainly is an easy, one-day project for most weekend warriors. The hardest parts of the process are the labor of mixing the wet stone dust that serves as the pavers’ base and then lifting and moving the stones. Take some tips from TOH landscaper Roger Cook in our stepping stone path step-by-step guide.
10. How to Build a Flagstone Walkway
Instead of wearing a path into the grass, connect spaces purposefully with a stone walkway. Watch TOH landscaper Roger Cook work with a homeowner to make a flagstone walkway in a day’s time.
11. How to Lay a Bluestone Walkway
For a beautiful natural-stone walk, try this DIY guide showing you how to build a bluestone path.
12. Design a Brick Walkway
Choosing the right pattern to suit the shape of your walkway (and your skill level) can drastically reduce your work time. See which brick patterns are easy to arrange, how many cuts you’ll make, and what will—or won’t—work with a curve.
Here’s How to Build a Perfect Path
Learn how to DIY and design brick walkway.
13. How to Lay a Brick Paver Walkway
Create a long-lasting walkway with brick pavers. Watch along as Roger Cook shares his best tips for successful construction.
14. Create a Pebble Mosaic
With myriad options for stone colors and sizes—not to mention endless variations in layout—the design of a pebble mosaic for your yard or garden is limited only by your imagination. If this outdoor project is on your to-do list this summer but you’re looking for inspiration, here are a few fun examples of pebble patterns to get you started. We hope the hardest part of the project is picking your favorite.
15. Build Steps with Landscape Timbers
Create a durable outdoor staircase out of timbers after you follow along with Roger Cook in this how-to video.
16. Install Pavers
One trick to making a richly planted—or even shaggy—yard feel more manicured is to add a smartly defined piece of hardscaping. Patios and paths or an upgraded driveway not only define space but also provide the kind of contrast that makes a flower bed or lush lawn pop.
How to Set Stone Slabs
But if traditional surfacing materials leave you feeling as flat as poured concrete, consider pavers—concrete pavers. More affordable than stone, more colorful than brick, and more durable than asphalt, concrete pavers are a practical yet attractive option anywhere on the property. And because they’re modular, they’re easy to install and fix, even for DIYers.
17. Choose a Paver Material and Style
Concrete pavers can be used for driveways, patios, or walkways and are durable and good looking. Knowing which style to choose for your particular job is crucial, so check out our overview of styles, and our other materials guide.
How to Install Pavers
18. Install a Gorgeous Waterfront Patio
The best outdoor spaces are a seamless blend between the man-made and the existing landscape. That’s why This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook chose native Goshen stone for this patio, nestled along the craggy Massachusetts coast in Manchester-by-the-Sea. For this project, Roger designed and built a 15-by-25-foot waterfront patio, plus a flight of stone steps leading up to an existing brick landing. Close enough to dip a toe in at high tide, the seaside perch offers panoramic views of the inlet and boulder-strewn cliffs.
What is the easiest DIY patio? ›
PAVERS are the best option
For a do-it-yourself patio, a simple square design with one size of pavers is a lot easier to install than one with various sizes and curves because you will not have to cut the pavers, which takes time and skill. Pavers are strong, inexpensive, and easy to install.
Gravel is one of the most inexpensive patio material options. You'll pay approximately $6-$10 per square foot. It is also easy to install so you can save on the cost of labor if you want to do it yourself. All you have to do is wheelbarrow it in and spread it around.How do you make a simple paver patio? ›
- Prepare the Patio Area. Laying pavers is a DIY project that takes about one weekend to complete. ...
- Clear Out Grass and Soil. ...
- Add Paver Base. ...
- Add and Level the Paver Sand. ...
- Place the Paver Stones. ...
- Cut Pavers. ...
- Add Edging Stones or Paver Edging. ...
- Finish the Patio.
- Remove the Grass (if Necessary)
- Dig Down Three Inches.
- Compact the Soil and Lay Landscaping Fabric.
- Install Gravel Patio Edging.
- Add retaining wall for garden bed (optional)
- Fill Patio with Pea Gravel.
- Add Fire Pit and Benches.
- Enjoy Your New Pea Gravel Patio!
Concrete is one of the most common and the cheapest materials for building a patio. Concrete is a piece of aggregates and paste – stone , sand, grave, or even shells may be crushed in the concrete; water and cement are a paste.How much does it cost to build a 12x12 patio? ›
Most patios are built on the backyard lawn. A ground patio will cost anything between $750 and $7,200 for a 12-by-12-foot area. You'll also have to factor in the cost to level the ground before you build, if necessary.Can you lay a patio on dirt? ›
Lots of questions come up regarding how to lay pavers on dirt, however, it is not recommended to lay pavers directly on dirt or any unprepared ground. In order for pavers to look and perform their best in a permanent situation, the ground needs to be levelled, excavated and hard compacted.How much does a 20x20 patio cost? ›
A 20-foot by 20-foot concrete patio runs between $2,000 to $6,000, including labor and materials. Adding decorative finishes and colors could make the price even higher. But on larger projects many contractors will offer a better price per square foot.Is it cheaper to lay concrete or pavers? ›
As far as installation costs and concrete costs go, poured concrete is technically the most affordable per square foot. However, even though the upfront cost of pavers is higher, concrete pavers offer greater value and durability than poured concrete and stamped concrete.Do I need gravel or sand under pavers? ›
A GRAVEL BASE LAYER BEFORE SAND IS A MUST! Using sand alone to set pavers is not enough. The best and recommended paver base is 3/8-inch crushed gravel. The gravel provides a flexible base that absorbs ground tension to prevent frost heaves.
What is the easiest paver pattern? ›
Paver Type: Modular Pavers
Ready-made layouts include a fixed range of different paver sizes. Because of this, modular, or interlocking, concrete pavers are often considered the easiest pavers to install.
If you're not confident about making a concrete bed, don't worry – sharp sand is easier, and works just as well. It holds just as firm as cement and still allows water to escape beneath.What should I use as a base for a patio? ›
A sand-set paver base is the traditional way to install pavers. This method uses a layer of sand as a bed between the base and pavers. After installing sand, the pavers are laid on top and pressed into place.
If you love a great patio and want to embrace low-maintenance outdoor living … you'll be thrilled to know a paver patio is a low-maintenance structure! Pair it with a composite or synthetic deck and you'll have the ultimate low-maintenance outdoor living space combination.What is the coolest patio material? ›
The best material for patios is paver. The different types of pavers are concrete, clay brick, and natural stone. It's the best patio material due to its strength, ease of repair, and material options.What can you use instead of concrete for a patio? ›
There are many more opportunities for customization than with concrete. Paver patios are more costly than concrete but less expensive than natural stone patios, so they make a nice mid-price-point option. Plus, as we mentioned, pavers are easy to fix should one crack or chip.
How Much Does a 20x20 Paver Patio Cost? According to data from Lawnstarter, a 20-foot by 20-foot paver patio runs from about $3,500 to $8,900 (CAD 4,550 to CAD 11,600), including labor and materials such as clay brick, natural stone or concrete pavers.Is a 10x10 patio too small? ›
Fit Function to Footage
For a dining area for four people, you'll need about 10x10 feet. For six to eight, make it 12x12 feet. To accommodate a typical round table with six chairs, provide a circular area with a diameter of at least 9 feet.
The average size for a living room patio is approximately 16 by 18 feet. To accommodate your guests, be sure to provide ample room for traffic flow. A good rule of thumb is to allow a 3-foot clearance around furniture.Do you need drainage when laying a patio? ›
Whether you're making changes to your roof, building a new driveway, or having a patio installed, drainage should always be in the forefront of your mind. Poor drainage can lead to interior damp and mould, it can cause sitting water on exterior surfaces, and it can cause damage to exterior structures.
Do you need a foundation for a patio? ›
Yes! A strong gravel base is required when building a concrete patio in order to prevent the concrete from shifting or cracking. Adding gravel under the concrete also provides a level surface for your foundation and adds proper drainage when there is pooling water.Can you just lay pavers on grass? ›
Installation – Over Grass
Porcelain pavers can be laid directly over existing grass or lawn as 'stepping stones' or to create a pathway, but for better stability of the pavers, the grass beneath the pavers should first be removed, together with a shallow layer of the topsoil.
Cost of a Patio
You can expect to pay between $1,000 and $5,000 for a new ground-level patio. This range of cost is due to the multiplicity of design factors, including the size, materials used, labor fees and accessories.
It's cheaper to build a concrete patio in terms of both the initial cost to lay a concrete patio, as well as its cost of maintenance over time. A concrete patio costs only $4 per square foot, while a deck costs roughly $6 per square foot for lower-cost pressure treated lumber.How much does it cost to install 1000 sq ft of pavers? ›
Paver Installation Costs
$2 to $5 per square foot. Average installation: $6 to $10 per S.F.
Typically, it is not recommended to directly lay down pavers over dirt. For pavers to look and perform well in a permanent installation setting, the ground/dirt floor must be excavated, leveled, and hard compacted.What lasts longer pavers or concrete? ›
Paving stones are more durable than concrete and can withstand more pressure per square inch. Whether you use cement pavers or want stone driveway paving, paving bricks and stones are typically stronger than concrete and can hold more weight on the surface before a crack shows up.Do you need concrete under pavers? ›
You Can Usually Put Pavers Over Concrete
While mortar is preferable when installing pavers, it's possible to put in the pavers without mortar (although it puts you at risk of drainage issues and cracking).
If you use dirt as your backfill or base, your pavers will sink, rotate, and separate. Instead of having a smooth surface, you'll have a bumpy, uneven surface.What happens if you don't put sand under pavers? ›
Do I need sand under pavers? Installing driveway or patio pavers without sand is not a good idea because the sand base serves as the main stabilizing material for your pavers. Without sand, the pavers are likely to shift and sink over time, resulting in an uneven and messy surface.
What is best to put under pavers? ›
Materials to put under pavers might include mortar, sand, bituminous material or pedestals. Should I Lay Pavers on Sand or Mortar? Again, it will depend on several factors. The mortar set method is most popular and is typically used in pedestrian or vehicular areas where a rigid system is required.How much does a 10x10 paver patio cost? ›
|Square Footage||Average Range||High Cost|
|10x10 (100 sq. ft.)||$800 – $2,500||~$5,000|
|10x16 (160 sq. ft.)||$1,280 – $4,000||~$8,000|
What are the cheapest paving materials? Gravel and slate chippings are a cost-effective landscaping idea and an easy way to cover a large area. Creating an attractive and tactile surface it works with most gardening styles. It's also easy to cover any less-than-lovely features such as tired concrete or crazy paving.What is best thickness for patio pavers? ›
Most concrete pavers used at residential locations are 2 3/8″ (60mm) thick. Commercial pavers, especially for use on streets, are usually 3 1/8″ (80mm) thick. You could use either thickness at your home. 2 3/8″ pavers are thick enough and strong enough to be used as residential driveways.What to put down before laying pavers? ›
Before laying the pavers, a layer of bedding sand is placed over the compacted base material. This layer provides a bed into which the pavers are set. The sand bedding also helps to protect the sand joints from being eroded away.
Driveway Paver Laying Pattern Options
The strongest and most traditional option is a herringbone pattern set at a 45-degree angle to the garage. This laying pattern provides the best interlock to prevent the pavers from shifting, especially for higher traffic areas.
A: The simple answer is that you need to use a ground stabilisation membrane whenever you are installing patios, driveways, paths and other hard surfaces.Is it better to lay a patio on sand or cement? ›
Sand is popular because it holds just as firmly as cement, while still allowing for the easy escape of water through your patio slabs. When spreading your sand, you need to make sure that you are adding enough so that your paving slabs come level with the turf once they've been set.How deep should a patio base be? ›
The recommended depth you'll want to dig to is about 150mm or 6 inches from the finished patio level. You can use a tape measure to check your depth is correct and once you're happy you can compact the soil using a Vibrating Plate compactor, also known as a Wacker Plate.Can I use quikrete as paver base? ›
QUIKRETE® Patio Paver Base Sand (#1150-49) is used as an underlayment to provide a firm, stable base for interlocking pavers, flagstone, brick and patio block.
What is sprayed on gravel to keep dust down? ›
For gravel to be effective over time, new gravel should be anchored with aggregate mixes or geotextile fabrics, and be frequently maintained. A popular method of dust control is using chlorides such as magnesium chloride or calcium chloride.What is the easiest patio furniture to keep clean? ›
Search for easy-care patio furniture to minimize the need for upkeep. Most metal, teak, cedar, and all-weather wicker pieces can stand up to whatever nature throws their way. With a bit of regular cleaning, furniture made using these forgiving materials will look wonderful for years.How do you build a patio without digging? ›
Spread 1/2 inch-thick mortar over the surface of the concrete, starting in one corner. Cover enough surface to add several pavers at a time. Place them in a row along one edge, leaving a 1/2-inch gap for mortar. Continue adding mortar and pavers to cover the surface.What can I use instead of a patio? ›
- Block Paving.
- Resin Bound Gravel.
- Timber Decking.
- Composite Decking.
- Back chippings.
- Artificial Grass.
However, even though the upfront cost of pavers is higher, concrete pavers offer greater value and durability than poured concrete and stamped concrete. This ultimately means that concrete pavers are the most cost-effective option overall.Can I put pavers directly on grass? ›
Can I lay pavers on top of grass? Yes, but it's best to kill off the grass with solarization and remove the dead plant matter before laying down the pavers. This helps limit the chance of your pavers shifting as the dead plant matter decomposes.How do you make a homemade patio? ›
- Outline Your DIY Patio and Remove Sod. Lay a garden hose on the ground or use stakes and mason line to define the shape of your patio. ...
- Add Landscape Fabric to Patio Base. ...
- Build a Patio Base of Gravel and Sand. ...
- Place Your Stones or Pavers. ...
- Top Your Patio with Sand. ...
- Maintain Your DIY Stone Patio.
Gravel is a terrific choice for affordability and ease of installation. Start by marking the area for the patio and digging out the grass. Make sure the base is level and compact using a tamper. To keep grass from encroaching on the patio, you can use landscape edging, treated wood or bricks as a border.
Asphalt is a durable and long-lasting material that can withstand heavy traffic and weather conditions. It's relatively easy to install and doesn't require much maintenance. Thus, asphalt is an excellent option if you're looking for a cheap and efficient way to pave your driveway.What are cheap alternatives for paving? ›
Gravel is one of the cheapest and easiest alternatives to paving slabs. Most often used for footpaths and driveways, aggregates used for gravel are available in a wide variety of sizes and colours for a range of different finishes. Whilst cost-effective, gravel is by no means a low maintenance option.
What is the cheapest option for paving? ›
As one of the cheapest paving options on the market, Limestone is a great choice if you are looking to create a bold finish to your patio without breaking the bank!