From compact city gardens to sprawling country spaces, patios and terraces are the cornerstones of outdoor areas. Creating a focal point and, more often than not, a connection between the outside and the indoors, these spaces are the garden’s social centre, producing a designated space to relax, entertain and enjoy the summer weather. If yours is in need of some love, let us help you with this guide to simple garden patio ideas – from low-maintenance updates to quick fixes, we hope these tips will help you jazz up an existing patio or provide inspiration for a completely new design.

A paved garden patio with outdoor lounge furniture.

Invest in an Outdoor Rug

If your decking or paving stones are looking a little tired, but you’re not quite ready for a complete garden overhaul, an indoor/outdoor rug is your design saviour. When it comes to interiors, a rug has the power to alter the aesthetic of a room in an instant, changing the mood, colour and pattern of the space in one fell swoop. Al fresco areas are no different; if your space is in need of an uplift, look for a garden rug for an easy fix. For example, if you’d like to inject a little colour into a space that is predominantly neutral in tone, seek a rug that can add a touch of vibrancy; our Collina design has a beautiful green-and-white palette that will add a gentle-yet-effective pop of colour to outdoor areas, while complementing any greenery you may have in the space. Alternatively, if it’s texture you’re in need of, a jute-style design, such as our Skala, is the perfect solution. Lay it down on your patio or terrace and watch the space transform.

Create Zones

If you have a little more room to play with, zoning your patio or terrace can really help to maximise on space. For example, designating one area of the patio to dining and another to lounging will give the impression of multiple ‘rooms’, which you can move between depending on the time of day or activity. Indoor/outdoor rugs can again help in this instance, creating a central point for each area. Alternatively, grouping your lounge furniture in a circle, with the largest piece turned away from your dining table, will make the spaces feel separate. You could also place decorative pots, planters or hurricane lamps between the two, to produce a physical line that separates them from one another.

Choose Multi-Functional Furniture

When it comes to small garden patio ideas, seeking furniture pieces that can provide more than one function will save you valuable patio room when your square footage is minimal. An upholstered ottoman, for example, can provide a space on which to sit, rest your feet or place a tray of drinks, while a ceramic stool can be both a side table and a seat. If you only have room for a dining table, why not opt for dining chairs that you can also lounge in? A design with arms and upholstered seats, for example, will be suitable for both sunbathing and al fresco feasting. You could even look to inside spaces for inspiration; our range of indoor/outdoor dining tables bridges the gap between the interior and the exterior, allowing you to move your dinners outdoors on warmer days, and back inside when the weather cools down.

A paved garden patio with a rattan 3-seater garden sofa.
An striped indoor/outdoor rug and wireless lamp sit next to a swimming pool.

Draw the Eye Upwards with Greenery

When it comes to designing interiors, one trick that’s often used to maximise on space is to look to new heights for design opportunities – hanging a pendant lamp from the ceiling, adding decorative objects to shelving or placing artwork on walls are easy ways to bring personality to a room. The al fresco alternative to this is to use greenery – think tall, towering plants, evergreen climbing plants or even a living wall. The key is to take your foliage above eye level, to draw the eye upwards and away from the patio – giving the illusion that the space is larger than it is.

Add Mirrors for a Spacious Effect

If you’re looking for small garden patio design ideas, may we suggest the versatile mirror? This simple piece is a key feature in an interior designer’s toolkit, giving indoor spaces the illusion that they’re larger and brighter – and patios can certainly benefit from the same design wizardry. If your patio or terrace is particularly petite or dark, hang a large mirror on one of your walls or fences to create a spacious and open effect.

Embrace the Smaller Size

How do you make a small patio look good? One of the best ways is to simply embrace its size – using plants, accessories and lighting, you can make compact spaces feel cosy and inviting, the perfect enclave in which to curl up on a summer’s evening. Start with potted plants and trees and line them along the wall or fence to provide a pop of greenery (and additional privacy) to your terrace or patio, and then place a comfortable garden sofa or a pair of armchairs in the centre. Add plenty of showerproof cushions and a throw (or two) for those chillier nights, and finish the look with a few candles, LED lamps or fairy lights strung along your fence. This will make a cosy patio area that feels like your own private oasis away from the rest of the world. Just add sunshine.