Inexpensive Outdoor Living: Tips For Designing A DIY Patio

As a homeowner, you probably understand the importance of periodic updates. From added space and appeal to an increased value for your home, the benefits of certain updates are easy to see. Unfortunately, you may not be placing enough time and effort into your outdoor living space. Considering that a deck, patio, or porch addition offers a 90.3 percent return if you sell your house, it can be a great investment. Of course, completing the addition on your own helps maximize your investment. Using these tips, you can create a simple patio for your outdoor space.

Getting Started

To get started, designate an area of your backyard for the patio. Use spray paint to mark your preferred shape. Fortunately, there is no right or wrong shape for your patio, but choose a layout that you will be happy with in the future, as this is a semi-permanent addition. A rounded patio adds style and whimsy to your backyard, while still remaining functional. For a more traditional look, designate a squared-area right off your deck for your patio.

Consider renting a bobcat to excavate the grass and dirt. While you will need to pay a fee, the bobcat rental cost will be a worthwhile expense to save you time and physical stress.

After removing the grass and soil, use the bobcat to level out the plot of land. Move the bobcat into position to shave off higher areas of dirt using the bucket as a leveler. Use the bucket to add fill dirt to the patio plot. Once the fill dirt covers the patio plot, move the bucket so it is parallel to the ground. Ease the bobcat's bucket over the fill dirt to pack in the plot for your patio.

Patio Materials

Concrete, stone, or brick patios are beautiful options for your backyard, but the materials and installation can be costly. Thankfully, more affordable options are available. These materials are not only inexpensive to purchase, but easy for more homeowners to install. Consider the following options for your DIY patio:

  • Pea Gravel – Available in a variety of color choices, pea gravel is a versatile option for your backyard style. Pea gravel also prevents erosion since water soaks through the gravel and into the ground instead of running off the surface. If you plan to place chairs and a fire pit on the patio, you may worry that the pea gravel is not sturdy. To combat this problem, opt for smaller stones for a more compact installation. In addition, install a layer honeycomb stabilization over the weed barrier fabric before pouring your gravel.
  • Mulch – Purchase a few bags of mulch for your patio. Pour the mulch directly into your designated patio plot and pack down using a shovel or garden hoe.
  • Old Pallets – Protecting and conserving the environment through upcycling has become a popular trend, so using old pallets for your DIY patio is an excellent option. Ask local businesses or visit landfills for pallets. The number you will need depend on the size of your patio. Ensure the depth of your patio plot is sufficient for laying the pallets in place. The top of each pallet should be level with the dirt and grass surrounding your patio plot. Paint or stain the pallets using your preferred color.


Your new patio will most likely become a favorite spot for friends and family to relax and socialize, so you will need a few furniture and accent pieces to complete your outdoor space.

Purchase a few lounging chairs from your local discount retailer to surround your patio. Then, build a simple fire pit to place in the center of your chairs. Create a fire pit out of landscaping stones or brick. Arrange in a circular shape on your patio surface. If using mulch or pallets for your patio surface, place a fire-resistant material underneath your pit.

Arrange potted plants in each corner of your patio for added color and style. Lastly, consider hanging a few battery-operated paper lanterns over your outdoor space for an appealing glow when entertaining at night.

Investing in an outdoor living space is smart. However, you do not have to spend thousands of dollars. Using these tips, you can create a functional, valuable, and appealing patio on your own.