You want to create an inviting backyard patio, yet you need more of a budget. Beyond throwing in the towel and thinking that you’ll have to wait for years to create the outdoor space you want, take a look at these budget ideas that will get you excited about a backyard that doesn’t break the bank but looks beautiful at the same time. We’ll take you through cheap concrete patio ideas that will make your space look fabulous and a lot more expensive than your neighbors will think.
Concrete is one of the most popular building materials for patios because of its budget-friendly nature. It is the most inexpensive building material for a hard surface patio, yet it is also one of the most versatile. Because it begins as a paste made of aggregates, including crushed stone, sand, gravel, pebbles, cement, and water, which then hardens, you can pour it into many unique shapes.
Whether you want a simple square with a smooth surface or one with unique borders and surface designs, concrete lends itself well to both.
Concrete is long-lasting, too. With annual cleaning and proper sealing, your concrete patio can last for up to 30 years.
The rest of this article is split into two main sections. Firstly we will take you through some cheap ideas to invigorate your actual concrete patio, you have more options than just a plain concrete slab. Secondly, once you’ve installed your concrete base we give you design ideas and tips to bring your backyard concrete patio to life while keeping expenses down.
LOW-COST CONCRETE PATIO IDEAS TO ADD INTEREST
Several low-cost options will add interest to your patio without spending the proverbial arm and leg. Regular poured concrete is the least expensive option at $6 to $13 per square foot, but you can also add one or multiple colors to your project, as this option will only increase the cost to about $8 to $17 per square foot.
Brushing the surface instead of a smooth trowel finish will add virtually no cost as it involves the same amount of work. Other ideas you can try are stamped concrete, with various patterns available at $9 to $13, although some projects may be as much as $20 per square foot, and concrete pavers at $8 to $15. If you or someone in your family is artistic, you can even paint your concrete patio surface with the cost only involving what you sent for paint and supplies.
Related Reading: Concrete Pavers Vs Stamped Concrete
STAMPED CONCRETE PATIO IDEAS
In terms of cost, stamped concrete adds little to the overall price but adds much when it comes to the look of your patio project. Stamped concrete can give you the look of natural stone without the price tag. It is less expensive than pavers as each tile requires an individual purchase. You can also get incredibly creative with stamped concrete, as many contractors have various patterns that will give your patio a unique look.
ADDING COLOR TO CONCRETE
Whether you want a flat surface, pavers or stamped concrete, adding color integrally to the concrete will give your surface even more interest.
The most common color additions involve earth tones like brown, grey, charcoal, tan, Spanish clay, and natural. When combined with various geometric shapes, you can use color to create patterns or help mimic the look of natural stone.
Alternately, if you are artistic, Get a paintbrush and create your own patterns on the surface in any color or design you desire. Concrete surfaces take paint well.
INSTALL CHEAP PATIO PAVERS
Pavers will add interest to your backyard as, unlike poured concrete, pavers are segmental. Concrete pavers flex under heavy loads and are stronger on weak soils. They also provide you with diverse design opportunities that belie the idea of being inexpensive. They also give you the look of natural stone without the price tag.
When appropriately installed, concrete pavers will last a lifetime, just like smooth concrete. However, you should note that pavers often require additional landscaping maintenance as weeds tend to pop up between the seams after several years.
Related Reading: Paver Maintenance
ADD TILES OR PEBBLES AS DECORATIVE ACCENTS
A complete tile patio can increase the cost considerably. Nevertheless, you can dress up sections with tile accents. Tiles work well near pools and other water features or as a general border. Set pebbles into the concrete near the edges of your patio for a unique look that no one else will have.
SAVE MONEY BY DOING YOUR OWN PREP WORK
Most concrete backyard patio ideas require a professional to pour the concrete and finish it, as that part of the project takes more skills than most homeowners have for something of this magnitude. You can still save money by performing prep work.
Identify the site and determine its dimensions, including the proper depth. Excavate the site, if needed, and then dampen the area. Lay down your chosen base and then compact it. Build a wooden formwork into which your contractor will pour the concrete. You’ll save several hours in labor costs.
USE LESS EXPENSIVE CONCRETE
It may not reduce your cost by much, but if you are on a really tight budget, ask your contractor whether you can install a less expensive type. Concrete comes in many different formulations and strengths. You won’t need high-tensile strength concrete for your patio. Chances are, you may be able to install a lightweight concrete mixture without any significant difference to the patio’s look or quality.
BUILD YOUR PATIO IN STAGES
Let’s say you only have a budget large enough to build a small 10’x10′ patio but have a much larger backyard. Start with one small space near your back door, then add another space a few months later and connect them via a walkway.
Such simple concrete patio ideas also work well for sloping yards as you can slowly level an area to create an interesting yet inexpensive backyard oasis. Each separate area can have its own purpose, such as a dining area, outdoor kitchen, cozy conversation niche, etc.
SIMPLE CONCRETE PATIO DESIGN IDEAS
Small and inexpensive means something other than boring. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to dress up your space. Many big box stores, hardware chains and discount stores have inexpensive yet sturdy patio furniture that will last several years. A gorgeous patio is about more than just the furniture. Consider the following to make your patio look like a million bucks.
CREATE A DINING AREA
Nothing says summer like al fresco dining. Look for multi-functional furniture like benches, sectionals, and stools that have varied uses and can be used for dining, chatting or simply relaxation. Don’t forget an appropriate table, plus one or two loungers that can be placed a short distance from your dining set.
Add cushions for color, along with an outdoor rug underneath everything, to make the area feel indoorsy while also providing comfort for feet. Make sure the rug is made of weatherproof materials that will withstand your climate. Or do you have the budget for a covered patio?
ADD GARDEN PLANTS AND BEDS
Nothing adds color and charm to an area like garden plants and beds. Whether you edge your patio with flowers, put potted plants on the surface itself, or combine green and flowering plants will make your space much more inviting. Plants create a discernable contrast with concrete and make it look much more relaxed. Including plants in your relaxation area will help reduce stress and anxiety in addition to beautifying it. Tall potted shrubs can help improve privacy, while bedding plants serve an ornamental purpose.
CONSTRUCT A FIRE PIT
Fire pits are one of the most popular options for backyard concrete patio ideas in climates that experience chilly evenings. Nothing is better than spending time around a fire pit with your friends. You can build fire pits in several ways, including kits that will complement your patio, using a paver base, or other hardscape options.
BUILD A PATIO COVER
Few things feel better than relaxing in the shade on a hot day. You have several options here, depending on your budget. The easiest involves getting a patio umbrella that will shade your table and eating area from excessive sun, allowing you to enjoy using the patio on hot days.
However, you may want more decoration or protection. Consider add-ons like a pergola with a removable cover that will allow you to have some protection from the elements without spending exorbitant amounts of money. Gazebos are another option, but they are generally much more expensive.
CREATE ATMOSPHERE WITH LIGHTING
What are you seeking, fun, romance or something else? Lighting can create that mood. Never mind the look you see at your favorite outdoor restaurant. You can still create an intimate dinner or conversation spot in your backyard with the right lighting.
You’ve already bought your bistro or dinner set, so concentrate on finding lights to string that will create the perfect mood. Hanging lights come in various options to place over tables, around the perimeter, or over a table.
USE STYLISH MOSQUITO REPELLENTS
Low cost concrete patio ideas don’t require fancy ways to eliminate mosquitos. To repel these pests, place a lot of candles with citronella around our seating area. Other essential oils that can help repel mosquitos include lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, cat nip tea tree and clary sage. Buy ready-made candles to set out or create your own mixture at home.