Outdoor Concrete Patio Ideas + Backyard Design

Use these outdoor concrete patio ideas to add color and functionality to your backyard design. Includes seating ideas, container plants, and how to provide shade.

concrete patio ideas potting bench with herbs chairs pillows plants

Our tiny patio is open for the season!

Creating a cozy and inviting outdoor space doesn’t necessarily require sprawling grounds or large budgets. Small concrete patios can transform even the tiniest areas into relaxing outdoor rooms.

The ideas I’m sharing today will inspire you to unlock the hidden potential of your outdoor area, no matter how big or small, and create a backyard oasis of your own.

small concrete patio with table and navy umbrella
blue patterned melamine plates on outdoor table with flowers

Good Things About Concrete Patios

  • Small & easy to manage: We had a very small patio space at our house on Sutton Place, and when we found our current home, I was very happy to find almost the same set-up. The existing concrete patio we have now is smaller, but that’s OK with me. The concrete slab has ample space for extra seating during the summer months, yet is small enough to manage with very little effort.  
  • Low maintenance: In my experience, no outdoor space is maintenance free…but a poured concrete patio comes very close. Our current outdoor patio is just six years old, and it’s in great shape. 
  • Easy to clean: Nothing could be easier to clean and keep clean that a poured concrete patio. Before we were ready to get the patio set up, I cleaned it off with the jet setting on my garden hose. Personal tip: after the initial deep clean, the best way to keep a small outdoor space tidy is to use a small cordless blower
outdoor table set with plates and flowers in front of picket fence

Quick Stats

  • Patio dimensions: 16 ft. x 12 ft.
  • Table dimensions: 39 in. x 75 in.
  • Potting bench dimensions: 42 in. long x 24 in. wide x 32 in. high.
  • Planters are 16 in. square by 16 in. tall.
  • Fence: 4 ft. tall, pickets spaced 3 in. apart.
  • Space between fence and patio filled with rocks: 32 inches.
planters lined up in front of white picket fence
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planters with annuals on stones with st. francis statue

Where We Started

The first thing we did was install a fence. We did not opt for a privacy fence, and instead chose a 4 ft. high white picket fence to keep Millie safe and corralled. It completely changed the overall look of our backyard, and immediately became one of the focal points. We chose the design in order to avoid a closed-in feeling, and to give our yard a classic and timeless look.

flowers and melamine plates on outdoor table

Decor Ideas

Since I was working with a plain, hard surface, I knew I needed to provide seating, coziness, and add our own personal style. I began with what I already had:

  • Patio furniture: another focal point of our outdoor area is a white Polywood table and chairs set. This is our third summer using the set, and it is still in excellent shape. It has a very classic look, looks amazing with the fence, and is a great place to hang out and have lunch.
  • Faux galvanized planters: I purchased two of these planters a few years ago, and used them on the Sutton Place porch. Last summer I added one more, but the area felt unfinished. The space in the rocks needed more than 3 planters, so I splurged and bought two more!
stainless steel potting bench with herb pots on patio

I then added:

  • A potting bench under an out-of-the-way window, and I have to say that I absolutely love it! I’ve wanted one for a very long time, but never had the perfect spot. It’s a great way to lift my herbs up off the ground, and it adds interest and coziness to the small space.
  • Decorative pillows and cushions: It’s easy to dress up your seating area with colorful and comfortable pillows and cushions. This can add pops of color and make the space more inviting.
  • Container Garden: Using planters I already had, plus a few new ones, I added color and life to our patio by planting annuals. It’s best to choose plants that thrive in containers, and complement your personal style.
concrete patio ideas white picket fence table chairs umbrella

Patio Cover Ideas

Providing shade to our backyard patio was very important because it sits in full sun. I recently researched the installation and cost of retractable awnings. Although they are easy to use and beautiful, I felt the cost was high, so I opted instead for a simple patio table umbrella.

I chose dark navy blue in a 3-tier design to provide shade and color. The 3-tiers provide a little more wind control than an umbrella with just two tiers. It also has LED lights included on the underside of the umbrella, which will be a nice touch at night. Patio umbrellas are a portable and affordable way to cast shade on a sunny patio. Although I would still love to have a professionally installed awning, right now I have better ways to spend my money!

sun loving annuals in faux galvanized planter

Sun Container Garden Ideas

When I was choosing the plants for the containers in our small backyard, I did something I’ve never done before. I simply chose the prettiest plants I could find, in fun and bright colors. I was careful to select plants that would thrive in full sun, and I coordinated the colors to provide visual interest. Five plants were added to each container:

  • In the middle: ‘Lollie’s White Chocolate’ Argyranthemum (basically little white daisies)
  • In the four corners:
    • ‘Lime Heart’ Sweet Potato Vine
    • ‘Shamrock Rose’ Lantana
    • ‘Margarita Cool Purple’ Osteospermum (African Daisy)
    • ‘Deep Lavender STREAM’ Lobularia (Alyssum)

By filling in the unused space between the fence and patio with decorative rocks, I was able to make a spot to set the containers that was out of the way. They don’t take up valuable space on the patio, and I don’t have to worry about them leaving marks on the concrete. I can’t wait for the plants to grow and fill in the containers. If all goes well, I’ll be back in mid to late summer with an update!

Container Tip

To save on potting soil, and decrease the weight of the containers, fill the bottom third with plastic water bottles or other items from your recycling bin. See these easy planters for more information.

purple allyssum spilling over side of container

More Budget-Friendly Ideas for Patio Decor

Remember to consider your personal style, the amount of space available, and any specific functional requirements when choosing decor items for your small concrete patio.

  • Fire Pit Area: If room allows, a small fire pit adds coziness and light in cooler weather. Solo Stoves are perfect for small patios.
  • Outdoor Rug: Lay down an outdoor rug to soften the concrete surface and add a cozy feel. Select a rug that complements your patio furniture and overall design theme.
  • Hanging Plants: Utilize vertical space by hanging planters or baskets from railings or hooks. Cascading plants like ivy or trailing flowers can add visual interest and create a beautiful atmosphere.
  • String Lights: Install string lights above the patio area to create a warm and inviting ambiance. They can be hung between walls or posts, or draped across the space.
  • Privacy Screens: If your patio lacks privacy, consider adding screens or trellises adorned with climbing plants. This will create a secluded and intimate space.
  • Outdoor Art: Hang weather-resistant artwork or sculptures to add personality and style to your patio.
  • Small Water Features: Install a small water feature like a tabletop fountain or a mini pond to introduce soothing sounds and a sense of tranquility to your patio.
  • Outdoor Curtains: Install outdoor curtains on a pergola or railing to provide shade, privacy, and an elegant touch to your patio. Choose lightweight and weather-resistant fabrics.
concrete patio ideas sitting area with navy pillows

What We Gave Up

The one thing that’s missing from our patio is a grill or outdoor kitchen. A grill would have been a great addition to the dining area, but there just wasn’t ample space. This would be a game-changer for some people, but it wasn’t for us. We keep our grill in the front corner of our garage, and pull it out onto the driveway when we want to use it…which isn’t very often! I felt that taking up precious space with a seldom-used grill wasn’t a good decision, so we opted for the next best thing. 

garden tools in wood bowl with garden gloves pot of basil

The most important thing about our backyard is that it fits the season of life we’re in right now. It’s a small space, with an inviting atmosphere, and it’s easy to maintain. There is functionality, color, and a variety of natural elements. It’s right out our back door, and it’s the perfect spot for Millie and I to hang out! 

millie drake miniature schnauzer

Shop + Source

*I used things I already had for this backyard design, and many of them have been around a while! Some of the items are no longer available, so I’ve tried to find similar options.

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faux galvanized pots planted with herbs

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22 Comments

  1. Your backyard is lovely.The picket fence makes the area cozy.I like the containers on the stone base.That would work well here in Florida.I might have to try that.Enjoy your outdoor space.

  2. Thank you! Great ideas and so beautiful and welcoming. Is your statue St. Francis? We have had one for years but he is getting very dirty looking, how do you keep him so clean?

    Have a nice weekend.

    1. Hi Mary Ann…yes, the statue is St. Francis. I don’t leave him outside over the winter months. In the fall, I bring him into the garage, and then put him back outside when I plant the flowers in the pots. So he stays pretty clean. Thanks!

  3. Sioux Falls Concrete Contractor says:

    This information serves as an excellent resource for individuals seeking a harmonious balance between concrete design and decorative elements to elevate their patio aesthetics.

  4. Concrete Pros Bend says:

    Great Inspiration! The blog provides fantastic inspiration for those looking to enhance their outdoor space with a poured concrete patio.

  5. Ann…you always inspire me in one way or another. Thank you! Also, do you have a source for the beautiful St. Francis of Assisi statue in your garden?

  6. Marcia Simpson says:

    Did you get a new dog? Love your patio ideas since I have a large patio that runs the width of the house. I bought a French flower cart which can hold small pots but provides color.

  7. Diane Smith says:

    Hello!
    A lovely outdoor space to relax. Where did you find your Kelly statue? We lost our little Mocha back in 2016 – she is very much missed!

  8. Kathy Lux says:

    Love these ideas so much. We have a huge deck and I can see how I can improve what I’ve already got out there. Thank you! I look forward to your posts!

  9. Stephanie says:

    Ann, your back patio is lovely! Thanks for sharing it.

  10. Looks great! I bought the purple osteo daisies this year and they really add a pop of color amongst the greenery. They bloom all summer. Your pot combo is so pretty!
    We too have a small backyard and are creating a cozy space for just us and the 2 pups. Just wish we didn’t have such close neighbors some days..ha!

  11. Love those tumblers and your planters are beautiful.

  12. I love your yard! You have done an excellent job with it. The St Anthony and Kelly statue are just the added touch. Thank you!

  13. Rynn Ziller says:

    How did you fill up your big galvanized planters? It wasn’t potting soil from bottom to top was it? I love the look of yours. Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. Hi Rynn! I put plastic water bottles in the bottom of each planter. I should have mentioned that in the post. I will add it now!

  14. Beth Birchwel says:

    Very beautiful!! Thanks for the inspiration!! I would love to see a wide open photo of how everything is laid out too.

  15. Patricia Ritchie says:

    Really enjoyed reading what you did and the rationale for your choices.

  16. Ann,
    Your backyard looks so inviting and fresh. I love the galvanized planters and the white furniture. I’m looking forward to a sunny spring and summer.
    Karen B.

  17. Lynn Turner says:

    What a lovely space!

  18. Your patio and backyard are absolutely beautiful, Ann! I have been anxiously waiting to see what you did in those spaces – as usual, you find ways to elevate simple and small to inviting and lovely. My patio and backyard spaces are somewhat similar – you’ve given me some new ideas!

  19. Sue Daugherty says:

    Millie is adorable. Your post is so timely. We have moved into our new home and I am settled in enough to start thinking about decorating. My sun is here visiting and just asked me what I was going to do with our patio area. Your potting bench is exactly what I need and this post has given me lots of ideas. Thank you for all the inspiration.