20 Super Simple Back Patio Ideas

by balconyboss
Balcony Boss is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you. For additional information, please view our policies.


Do you have a back patio that’s looking a bit worse for wear? Perhaps you’re in the mood to upgrade it but don’t have a massive budget or the time to make big changes. Either way, it sounds like you need some easy ways to revive your space.

What do we mean by this? In short, we’re defining “simple” ideas as low effort, low maintenance changes that don’t cost much. Ideally, they’ll make a noticeable difference to your back patio and shouldn’t take more than a day or so to set up.

So, on that note, here are 20 simple back patio ideas.

1. Painting the Floor

Painting your patio’s paving slabs is a quick and easy way to inject color into your patio. Make sure you use exterior-rated paint (such as this). We’ve got a separate article that discusses painting floors in more detail, so check that out.

2. Add Trellises or Lattices

A trellis or lattice is primarily used to support climbing plants. However, they’re ideal for bordering a space like a back patio. Whether your patio is walled in, bordered by a lawn, or something else, you can set up trellises around the perimeter to create a defined edge.

3. Add Some DIY Furniture

This is a bit of a broad option, but that’s part of the fun. You can get surprisingly creative with some waste lumber, such as wood pallets. We’ve got an article listing all kinds of DIY furniture, but some options for a back patio include:

  • Pallet sofa
  • Drink stand/bar
  • Shelving units
  • DIY planters

While these ideas are arguably some of the most high-effort ones, they can easily transform a back patio for almost no money.

4. Set Up an Umbrella

An umbrella is a quick and easy way to add extra shade to your back patio. You can check out our umbrella guide for some tips on the available options, but for a patio you’d want either a freestanding umbrella or one attached to a wall.

Adding shade to your patio can completely change the vibe. If the umbrella is big enough, your patio will feel cozy and shady, even in the hottest weather.

5. Add Grass

Patios are generally paved in some form or another. Adding a patch of grass is an easy way to make it feel greener and more natural. You can grow real grass in small spaces with minimal effort.

Failing that, you could use artificial grass instead because this requires even less effort. Bear in mind that fake grass gets very hot in sunlight, so be careful if you have kids or pets.

6. Set Up a Water Feature

Depending on what you buy and from where, a water feature can be a bit pricey. You can get small water fountains (such as this) or wall-mounted options (such as this).

The main purpose is to add sound more than anything, so it doesn’t matter how big the fountain is. The sound of water trickling is very relaxing and can easily drown out background noise.

7. Build a Vertical Garden

If your back patio is the only outdoor space you have, you can still set up a decent vegetable garden. Simply use the walls and set up a vertical garden! There are plenty of ways to do this and it doesn’t have to cost loads of money. Check out our beginner’s guide for some tips.

8. Lay Down New Flooring

A patio can be a good foundation for other flooring ideas that you can lay directly onto the existing slabs. Wood deck tiles are ideal for this as they take almost no effort to set up: you lay them down and click them together. Just make sure the floor is level if you plan to put furniture on them!

9. Hang String Lights

An enclosed back patio is almost perfectly designed for string lights. There are so many kinds available that are rated for outdoor use – spend some time shopping around to find sets that suit your aesthetic. You could string them from poles, drape them over walls, or hide them in planters.

10. Add Color Using Planters

This is another very general tip for decorating a back patio. Add planters of different sizes and colors to add pops of color, texture and interest. This is an easy way to overhaul a space without doing anything drastic – making it ideal for renters.

Better yet, use things that aren’t traditionally planters. For example, watering cans, buckets and other items can add a boho vibe.

11. Make a Privacy Screen

A privacy screen would be helpful on a back patio if it’s a shared space or your neighbors can see in. There are loads of ways to approach this depending on whether you want something temporary or permanent and how much money you want to spend.

We’ve got plenty of inspiration for privacy screens, so take a look at some options.

12. Throw Down a Rug

An outdoor rug might not be your first idea for brightening up a back patio. However, it’s a low-effort and fairly low-cost way to add color and pattern to the space. There are plenty of options for outdoor rugs, or you could use an indoor rug if you bring it inside when it rains.

13. Hang a Hammock

Hammocks are great for relaxing, reading a book, or even having a nap! A back patio is an ideal space for one because you should have two walls to suspend it from or enough room for a hammock frame.

If a traditional hammock isn’t your vibe, consider hanging a hammock chair instead. It offers all the benefits of a hammock and takes up much less space.

14. Grow Tall Plants

Tall plants can create a more private space while adding interest, color and texture. Ornamental grass is good for this, as it’s dense, tall, and makes noise when the wind blows through it. Of course, you could also use any kind of hedge or bush.

You’ll have more options if you have flowerbeds rather than planters. Tall plants need a lot of root space – keeping them in planters is possible but it might restrict their growth a bit.

15. Mix Up Your Seating

Patios are ideal spaces for seating, dining, relaxing and more. Having the right seating for all these purposes can be challenging in a small area. Collapsible or fold-out furniture is a good option, as is furniture made from wood pallets.

Failing that, visit some flea markets or secondhand stores and put together some mismatched furniture. Give it a fresh coat of paint and you’ll have an interesting space for entertaining your friends.

16. Install a Shade Sail

A shade sail (such as this) is an interesting alternative to an umbrella. In short, it’s a rectangle of heavy fabric that creates shade over your back patio. A shade sail does take a bit more effort to install than an umbrella, but it shouldn’t be more than an hour or so.

But if you want to take the project a step further, consider making your own DIY shade. All you need to do is hang some fabric from something, so it’s still not really high effort.

17. Build a Bar

A DIY bar can be as simple as some stacks of breeze blocks with planks on top. Alternatively, you can make one out of wood pallets. Either way, a patio bar can be a great addition if you regularly host parties and need some serving space.

18. Add a Firepit

Provided you’ve got enough space, a firepit can be a cozy addition to your patio. There are loads of options depending on your budget and the amount of effort you want to put in.

For example, you could buy an incinerator can (such as this). If you’ve got some DIY skills, you could build an actual firepit that could double as a BBQ.

19. Paint the Walls

If your back patio is walled in, painting them is a quick way to add some color. As with the floor, make sure you use masonry paint so it doesn’t wear off too quickly.

20. Plant Cheap Perennials

Perennials are plants that come back every year, as opposed to annuals that flower once and then die. Filling your raised beds with perennials is an easy, low-cost landscaping solution that requires almost no maintenance.

For best results, you’ll want to choose a range of plants that cover the whole growing season, perhaps combined with some trees or shrubs so there’s still some life in the winter.

Final Thoughts

There’s so much you can do with a back patio that doesn’t require a lot of time, money, or energy. Hopefully, these tips have given you some inspiration for how to use your outdoor space and make it look its best with minimal involvement.

Before you start overhauling your patio, put together a small plan to see which ideas work within your budgets and time constraints. Ideally, you’ll want to combine a few to address different aspects of your back patio.