How to decorate a patio
To start with, recognise what your patio is for. If it’s only small, your aims should be more modest — a nice seating area, with a few decorative features. If it’s on the larger side and you’re prepared to shell out a little, you could build a really richly furnished and decorated patio.
Really, it’s best to start with furniture. You’ll need a few chairs and a table at a bare minimum, but whether you buy these new or secondhand depends on your budget and personal preferences. A classic patio furniture choice is a nice garden bench — again, you can pick up plenty of these secondhand or even try your hand at making one yourself!
Once you’ve sorted out your furniture, it’s time to fill in the gaps.
Plants are a reliable go-to — after all, one of the drawbacks of large patios is their tendency to feel like micro-deserts in the middle of a garden.
Here, again, you have to take a step back and feel out your preferences. It’s all well and good to plan a grand horticultural design, but it may be better to play it safe. Berry bushes, evergreen plants like bay laurel, palm or Leylandii and long-lived perennials like rhubarb and strawberries are hardy, good-looking and require only minimal care. All of these plants are comfortable in containers, making them perfect for lining the bare edges of your patio.
Sometimes it seems to rain for weeks, and summer showers can scupper a garden party — but this doesn’t have to mean you can’t enjoy your patio. Wooden garden shelters, gazebos or moveable parasols for the summer months keep the rain or sun off in a pinch, as well as satisfying our animal urge for a nook to curl up in. Why not wind fairy lights around the frame for a whimsical feel?
Finally, you might add a fire or heat source like a brazier, chiminea or patio heater — and then any final personal touches that make the space yours.
On a budget?
If you’re not looking to spend a whole lot of money on your patio, that shouldn’t be a problem. Almost all of the ideas given above are either affordable to start with or can be made so. Garden furniture can be found secondhand at your local charity furniture shop, for instance, while perfectly serviceable garden plants can be bought cheaply from garden centre sales or department stores like Wilko or B&Q.
Small touches can add interest without you having to make any big purchases. Painting a garden wall or fence your favourite colour, hanging fairy lights or propagating cuttings borrowed from friends are all cheap and cheerful ways to spice up a patio without breaking the bank.