17 Deck and Patio Ideas to Create the Backyard of Your Dreams

Kristin Salaky
Written by Kristin Salaky
Updated December 21, 2021
Family eating outside at a table on their back patio
Photo: Monkey Business / Adobe Stock

Create your new favorite hangout just outside your door

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Craving an escape from the day-to-day? Make your backyard deck or patio a true extension of your home's interior. Whether you're ready for a full-on design overhaul, or you're just giving it a simple style refresh for the summer, you can make this area into a sanctuary where you and your loved ones can unwind.

Get inspired by these 17 deck and patio ideas and turn your outdoor living space into your new favorite hangout.

Consider Materials to Use and Landscape Design

Your deck or patio should be a natural extension of your home. To ensure that your outdoor oasis complements your home, think carefully about the deck material you choose to use and the design of your landscaping.

1. Update Your Deck With Modern Materials

Three kids sitting on a modern outdoor patio made of composite decking materials
Photo: Olesia Bilkei / Adobe Stock

An essential part of making your backyard dreams come true is deciding on the types of deck and patio materials that’ll fit your needs, aesthetic, and budget. 

There are a variety of decking and patio options including composite, plastic, and aluminum you can choose from. If you’re looking for a fun project, complete your deck with DIY outdoor furniture and colorful accessories to make it more inviting.

2. Go For a Classic Look With a Wooden Deck

Wood deck with simple outdoor furniture
Photo: Ruth P. Peterkin / Adobe Stock

If you’re more of a traditionalist, then opt for wood when selecting your deck material. Today, there are different types of wood to choose from that’ll fit any budget, style, or maintenance preference. To let the beauty of the wood stand out, keep the outdoor furniture and accessories simple.

3. Luxury Poolside Patio

Pool and hot tub in the backyard of a house
Photo: Ursula Page / Adobe Stock

There’s nothing like a dip in a pool on a hot summer day or a long soak in a hot tub, especially when it’s outside. To create a seamless (and beautiful!) look, incorporate your hot tub and pool into the design of your patio. You can also kick up the ambiance a notch by incorporating a waterfall hot tub, which will create the vibe of a luxurious spa retreat. 

4. Update Your Outdoor Oasis With Landscaping

Backyard patio surrounded by a beautiful landscape design with layers of different plants
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Patios and decks look best when they’re seamlessly integrated with the landscaping of your backyard space. You can include landscaping that’ll hug the curves of your structure, that’ll help to create the illusion of a frame of greenery. Or, you can use layers of different types of plants in the landscaping to give the space a lush, textured feel.

Luxury Add-Ons

Whether you’re building your deck or patio for the first time or you’re upgrading it, decide how you'd like to use the space. Would you like to use it for entertaining (all year long!), for outdoor dining, or as a relaxing place to hang by your pool? Once you have a vision for its purpose and function, you can plan for a special addition more easily.

5. Take Your Love of Cooking Alfresco With an Outdoor Kitchen

Woman cooking on a grill in her outside kitchen
Photo: TDMuldoon / Adobe Stock

Cooking and eating a meal outside is a wonderful way to gather with loved ones in warm weather. If you’ve got the space and you’re looking to make a major upgrade to your patio or deck, take your love of cooking outdoors with a kitchen space.

For a beautiful kitchen that’ll make you want to cook outdoors all year long go for a stone backdrop and concrete counters, complete with a built-in grill, dishwasher, sink and fridge. Before you buy any appliances make sure they’re built to weather the elements.

6. Make a Personal Watering Hole With a Deck Bar

Wooden bar on an outside patio
Photo: Holley / Adobe Stock

To create the ultimate outdoor entertaining area, build a bar on your patio or deck. For a natural look, use reclaimed wood to create a rustic centerpiece. If you’re making one yourself, just be sure to use waterproof paint or stain.

7. Build a Classic Pergola to Add Shade to Your Outdoor Oasis

Pergola on a stone patio with string lights
Photo: Randy Fath / Unsplash

Whether you have a large open deck or a small patio nook, you can add some character to your space with a simply styled pergola. For a cozy and secluded feel, hang sheer white curtains and romantic string lights from the beams.

8. Create a Private Garden Patio With Outdoor Curtains

Deck with pergola that has white curtains and outdoor furniture
Photo: lukszczepanski / Adobe Stock

Curtains are a great way to add some privacy and shade to your outdoor space. In addition to their practical benefits, curtains are a great and inexpensive way to upgrade the look of your outdoor retreat. To make it feel like you’re sipping on a frozen cocktail under a bungalow on a tropical island, opt for flowy, sheer white curtains.

9. Make a Cozy Spot With a Fire Pit

People sitting around a fire pit on a deck outside at dusk
Photo: Mat Hayward / Adobe Stock

Keep your patio or deck cozy all year long by adding a firepit. They come in a variety of types that can fit any outdoor space, style, or budget. To create a spot that you can easily move around, get a simple and smokeless freestanding fire pit, with chairs to match. This way, you can always add more chairs so there’s a spot for all of your loved ones. 

10. Create a Soothing Space With a Water Fountain

Backyard patio with a white water fountain
Photo: thebigland45 / Adobe Stock

Turn your backyard into a truly soothing paradise with the relaxing sounds of cascading water from a water fountain. Just use the proportions of your space as a guide when selecting the size of your fountain. For the look of an English garden, add a stone water fountain with a built-in statue.

Add Stylish Furnishings and Décor

If you’re not looking to give your deck or patio a major overhaul, you can still create a beautiful and comfortable outdoor retreat with the right furniture and décor. If you have no clue how to get started, look at the interior of your home for patterns, colors, and details that you can replicate.

11. Make a Chill Happy Hour Spot With the Right Furniture

Young adults sitting on patio drinking wine and eating snacks
Photo: Monkey Business / Adobe Stock

Nothing’s better than hanging with loved ones on a warm summer day for a chill happy hour and BBQ. Create your perfect outdoor hosting spot in your own backyard and get a table with a set of matching chairs. For a more relaxed vibe, opt for a couch with a chair or two.

12. Create a Spot to Relax in All Summer With a Porch Swing

Family sitting together on a white porch swing
Photo: IdeaBug, Inc. / Adobe Stock

Standard outdoor furniture like a table and chairs are great, but there’s nothing like lounging in a porch swing. Not only is a swing relaxing and comfortable, but it can also serve as a nice visual element, especially if you have fun with the scale and proportion. To make the look more homey, incorporate throw pillows to match the color palette of your patio.

13. Add Some Personality With Pops of Color

Outdoor furniture with a table, couch and seat with green cushions and red pillows
Photo: Wutthikrai / Adobe Stock

To add a splash of personality to your patio, incorporate a pop of color. Consider adding a few throw pillows, cushions, and an outdoor area rug to your patio space in your favorite hue to add contrast and energy to the space.

14. Embrace Your Inner Plant Parent and Add Potted Plants

Woman sitting on her deck surrounded by potted plants
Photo: Halfpoint / Adobe Stock

If you don’t have a ton of space or don’t want to have to worry about the upkeep of landscaping, then fill your patio or deck with potted plants. Earthy terracotta pots can give your outdoor space a warm feel. To add an interesting vertical element to your outdoor patio, consider hanging or wall planters.

15. Set the Mood With String Lights

Patio with outdoor furniture, fire pit, and string lights
Photo: Jason / Adobe Stock

Lighting fixtures can greatly enhance a patio's design aesthetic. For a soft glow, hang string lights above your patio or deck to help light the night.

16. Mix Up Your Lighting Fixtures

Patio with a table and chairs surrounded by white paper lanterns and tea candles
Photo: Photographee.eu / Adobe Stock

While twinkly string lights are always a nice option, it’s far from your only choice. If you’re having a hard time deciding then mix it up. Think tea lights and vintage lanterns. As long as you match certain elements like colors or materials, it’ll look cohesive.

17. Warm Up With an Outdoor Heat Lamp

Stone patio with a table, chairs and heat lamp
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Colder weather doesn’t mean that you have to stop using your deck or patio. To keep it open all year long, invest in a heat lamp for your patio so you can keep your outdoor dining season going. Make it feel like you’re at a private restaurant patio and get some mushroom-shaped heat lamps to place next to your outdoor furniture.

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