So, you’re looking to build your dream patio, but you don’t want to spend a fortune doing it. We hear you! In this article, we’ll show you simple patio ideas and how to lay a patio on the cheap, without sacrificing quality or style.

There are a few different ways to approach building a cheap patio. You can either use cheaper materials or opt for a more simple design.

The cheapest way to lay a patio is to build one made out of concrete. This is because concrete is a very inexpensive material that is very easy to work with. In addition, the aggregates of concrete are stone, gravel, sand, and mixed with water to form a paste that can be poured into molds, or spread onto a surface to harden.

No matter what size the area is that you need to cover or budget, concrete can be easily mixed and poured into any shape. It is also very durable and will last for many years with proper care.

Cheap Ways to Lay a Patio (low cost and budget friendly)

Lay it yourself (a diy job)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that laying a patio is an easy task. However, the cheapest way to do it is by doing it yourself. If you have some basic carpentry and DIY skills, you can easily save a lot of money by laying your patio yourself.

an old man with a cap fitting Composite Decking
Laying a composite patio

There are a few things that you will need to take into account when planning a DIY patio. First, you need to decide on the shape and size of the patio. You also need to determine what type of surface you want your patio to be made out of (concrete, paving slabs, etc.), as well as what type of edging you would like.

Once you have decided on all of these things, you can get started on building your patio. Be sure to check out our article on laying a patio for more information.

Related: Patio Laying Guide (In Just A Weekend)

A mix of concrete and greenery

Now, we have already established that concrete is the best material to use when you are trying to build a cheap patio. However, that doesn’t mean that your patio has to look like it was made out of concrete!

You can actually leave some grassed areas and use concrete to create walkways or borders. This will add a touch of class and elegance to your patio, while keeping the costs down.

You can also inject some personality to your patio by adding in some greenery. This can be done by either planting some flowers around the edge of the patio or by adding in some potted plants.

Related: What Kind of Base Should You Use for Patio Pavers?

Use concrete block paving and create patterns

It doesn’t necessarily need to be one big mass of concrete. If you put enough thought into the design, you can add a bit of flair and personality to your cheap patio.

One way to do this is by using concrete block paving. This is a material that is made up of small, square blocks that are laid in a pattern. There are many different patterns that you can use, so you can really let your creativity run wild!

Related: A Few Ways To Clean A Concrete Patio Without Killing Your Grass

Space out garden paths with stepping stones

If you have a large garden with several paths, you could try being more creative with your patio material. This can be done by using stepping stones to create a path.

This is a really cheap and easy way to add some character to your garden, and it will also make it more inviting for guests. You can find stepping stones in all different shapes and sizes, so you are sure to find one that will fit your style.

You will find it much cheaper to lay steeping stones like this, than laying large sections of concrete or block paving. Plus, it is a lot more fun!

Related: How Do I Dispose Of Patio Pavers? (Quick And Easy)

Use recycled materials to build a cheap patio

One of the best ways to build a cheap patio is by using recycled materials. This could include using old bricks, stone pavers or even wood. If you have some old lumber lying around, you could use that to create a wooden deck or patio.

Old bricks can be used to create a rustic look, or you could paint them and use them to create a more contemporary design. Stone pavers are also great for creating a natural look, and they can be found very cheaply at most home improvement stores.

Whatever material you choose, make sure that it is durable and will last for many years.

Related: What Is Cheaper, Poured Concrete Or Pavers?

Discarded bricks

Even though buying brand new bricks is still an affordable option, recycled bricks can be even cheaper. You can find these at your local demolition yard or building site, and they are usually free to take away.

Just make sure that the bricks are in good condition and have been cleaned of all mortar and dust. The last thing you want is for your new patio to start crumbling a few months after it is laid!

Related: How To Clean A Patio (WITHOUT CHEMICALS)

Branch out a little with Yorkstone for smaller patios

If you are on a budget, but lucky enough to have a small patio, you can opt for a more luxurious material like Yorkstone. This is a type of limestone that is quarried in North Yorkshire, England.

It has a unique appearance that can make your patio really stand out. In addition, it is very affordable when compared to other types of stone.

Related: How Many Patio Heaters Do I Need? (ARE THEY WORTH IT?)

Make a gravel patio if you are on a budget

The only thing cheaper than concrete slabs is gravel! And, it can actually look really good. All you need to do is lay down a layer of weed fabric membrane and then fill it in with gravel.

You can use any type of gravel that you like, but we recommend using something that is relatively small in size. This will make it easier to walk on and will also prevent the gravel from being tracked into your home.

Two chairs on a gravel patio

Another advantage of using gravel is that it is very easy to maintain. You will just need to rake it every now and then to keep it looking its best.

Related: How To Lay A Patio (WITHOUT CEMENT)

Pebbles or Pea Gravel Patios

Similar to laying gravel, you can also lay pebbles or pea gravels to create a cheap patio. Pebbles should be your first choice as they are very smooth and have a more polished look.

They come in all different colors, so you can really get creative with your design. Pea gravel is also an option, but it is not as smooth as pebbles and can be a bit difficult to walk on.

Both of these options are very cheap and easy to install, so they are perfect for those on a budget.

Mix Up your pavers with stamped concrete pavers

Of course, we have already mentioned laying paving slabs as a low cost option for your patio. But, did you know that you can actually get stamped concrete pavers?

These are a lot cheaper than traditional stone pavers, and they come in all sorts of different designs. You can find them that look like stone, brick or even wood.

So, if you want the look of a more expensive patio without the price tag, then stamped concrete pavers are the way to go.

Crushed Stone

Crushed stone is normally used as part of the foundation for a patio, but it can also be used to create the finished patio surface. This is a very cheap option and is perfect for those on a tight budget.

Just make sure that the crushed stone is compacted well and that there are no large stones or debris present. You will also need to use a weed fabric membrane to prevent any unwanted plants from growing through your patio.

Purchase Materials in the Winter

The benefits of purchasing patio materials in the winter are numerous.

First, merchants are more likely to negotiate prices, given that business is slower in the winter. This means that buyers can get better deals on materials. Additionally, there is less competition for the best materials, since many people postpone construction projects until the spring and summer.

This can mean better selection and lower prices for buyers.

Finally, buying patio materials in the winter often means cheaper prices due to lower demand. All of these factors combine to make winter a great time to buy patio materials.

Related: Can You Lay a Patio in the Winter? (8 Tips for Gardeners)

How To Decorate A Patio On A Budget

Now you know how to lay a cheap patio, you need to know how to decorate it! Here are some great ideas for doing just that:

Add Some Lights

One of the best ways to decorate a patio on a budget is to add some lights. You can find all sorts of different lights these days, from solar-powered fairy lights to LED lanterns.

Not only will they make your patio look great, but they will also provide you with some much-needed light when the sun goes down.

Create ambiance with cafe lights

Have you ever heard of cafe lights? They are a type of string light that has a vintage look to them.

They are perfect for creating ambiance on a patio and can really make it feel special. You can find them in all sorts of different colors, so you can match them with your décor.

Hang Some Curtains

If you have a pergola or gazebo, then hanging some curtains is a great way to add some privacy and style to your patio. You can find all sorts of different curtains these days, from plain white to brightly colored.

Just make sure that you choose a fabric that is weather-resistant so that you can leave them up all year round.

Related: Can Gazebos Go On Your Decking?

Add Some Greenery

Another great way to decorate your patio on a budget is to add some greenery. This could be in the form of potted plants, hanging baskets or even just some simple green plants.

Not only will they look great, but they will also help to freshen up the air.

Install A Water Feature

If you really want to make your patio stand out, then installing a water feature is a great way to do it. You can find all sorts of different water features these days, from small fountains to larger ponds.

Make some cozy and cute pillows

Did you know that for next to nothing you purchase outdoor fabric and make your own pillows? This is a great way to add some color and style to your patio on a budget.

Just make sure that you choose a fabric that is weather-resistant so that you can leave them out all year round.

Re-cover the patio furniture that you already have

How old is your current patio furniture and could it do with a refresh? Sometimes all you need to do is buy some new fabric and re-cover the cushions to give your patio furniture a whole new look.

This is a great way to save money and it’s also a great way to add some new style to your patio.

Patio Costs

Patio installation cost

So, we have looked at the cheapest way to lay a patio if you were doing it yourself. However, I understand that there are some of you out there who may not have the time or the inclination to do it yourself.

So, how much does it cost to have a patio installed?

Patio Costs in the UK

The price of laying a patio is typically between £900 and 2,500. This includes the cost for excavating an area, installing foundations as well as purchasing and placing slabs on them!

The cost to build your patio will depend on the materials you choose, with concrete and brick slabs typically starting at £15 per square meter while premium patios are made from slate which can range in price up to 3-5k.

Cost of laying paving slabs per square metre labour only (UK)

Installing a 10-square meter tiny patio would take roughly two days and cost £400 in labor. Installing one that’s 20 square meters? That could require three skilled tradesmen to successfully complete, with an estimated price tag of around £600!

If you have a 40-square-metre or larger patio, this project will take about four days to finish and should cost around £800. These costs may differ based on the material utilized, as well as the tradesmen’s prices for deep digging.

Patio costs in the US

The most popular materials for patios are brick and red or grey brick pavers, which range from $1.75 to $2.15 per brick depending on size. This is in the region of 56 square feet, which is why it costs around $700 per pallet.

The cost of dry-laid brick, which is composed of concrete, natural stone or brick pavers fixed with dry sand, ranges from $4 to $8 per square foot.

The most costly and utilizes mortar or cement instead of sand, resulting in a permanent connection. The price for wet-laid brick ranges from $6 to $12 per square foot.

Cost of laying paving slabs per square metre labor only (US)

A new ground-level patio will set you back around $1,000 to $5,000. This pricing range is due to the many design variables, such as size, materials used, labor costs and add-ons.

If any preparation needs to be done before installation, such as grading or leveling the site, this cost will also be factored into the overall price.

If you ask a contractor for a free quote on your project, most of them will provide one.

Labor expenses for a patio will run you anywhere from $40 to $80 per hour, or $4 to $12 per square foot.

FAQs

What are some cheap alternatives to patio decking?

There are several alternatives to decking from, gravel, rubber mats, and poured concrete to bark chippings. It all depends on whether you are on a budget and need cheap, low-cost alternatives or whether you have a bit more money to spend and want a quick and easy fix.

What are some cheap alternatives to paving slabs?

Gravel is a low-cost and simple alternative to concrete slabs. Gravel made from aggregate, the most frequent type of gravel used for footpaths and driveways, comes in a variety of sizes and colors and can be applied in a number of ways.

What is the easiest DIY patio?

Laying bricks or pavers in straight or gently curving patterns is one of the easiest ways to create a patio. This type of DIY patio project can be completed over a weekend by an experienced do-it-yourselfer, and it only requires basic skills, such as mixing mortar and using a level.

What is the most expensive way to build a patio?

The most expensive way to build a patio is by using natural stone. This involves hiring a professional mason.

Is it cheaper to build a deck or paver patio?

Pavers are cheaper than decks, but the cost of the project depends on the materials used and the size of the patio. If you are building a small patio, then gravel or concrete might be the cheapest option. If you are building a large patio, then decking might be cheaper. It all depends on your specific project.

What is the cheapest way to build a deck?

Untreated wood is the cheapest way to build a deck. Just remember that you will need to treat the wood to extend its life. Treated wood is more expensive, but it will last longer. Composite decking is also a good option if you want a low-maintenance deck. It is more expensive than wood, but it doesn’t require as much upkeep.

What is the cheapest way to build a patio cover?

The cheapest way to build a patio cover is by using a tarp or PVC pipe. This method is not as durable as other options, but it will be much less expensive. If you want a more durable option, then you can use aluminum or steel framing with polycarbonate panels. This option will be more expensive, but it will last longer and provide better protection from the elements.

How deep should a patio base be?

The ideal depth to dig is around 150mm or 6 inches from the finished patio level. You can verify that your depth is correct and compact the soil with a vibrating plate compactor, also known as a Wacker Plate, after you’re satisfied.

Summary

There are many ways to build a patio, and they all have their pros and cons. Some of the more expensive options include natural stone or aluminum framing with polycarbonate panels, while some of the cheapest options include gravel or PVC pipe.

Did you find this article helpful?

Have you found other cheaper solutions not mentioned here?

Please share your tips in the comments section below!

Some other useful articles:

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Pressure Wash Your Patio And Driveway?

How To Remove Moss From Patio And Driveway Block Paving

Patio Laying Guide (In Just a Weekend)

The Patio Guide: (Everything You Needed to Know)

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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