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Designing Your Patio Plans: Tips, Tricks, Tools & Things To Consider

Key Considerations When Creating Your Patio Plans

Your patio should be a little slice of paradise; a home destination when you're not traveling. In the past year of the pandemic, we’ve all been feeling the need to get some fresh air outside and patios have been in more use than ever.


A versatile patio space should allow you to work from home, cook on the grill, entertain friends, and simply sit and enjoy a cup of coffee as you breathe in the sights and smells of nature.

There are lots of considerations to keep in mind when creating your patio plans, so let’s get started with the basics of designing a patio layout!

Conceptual Planning: Different Types and Sizes of Patios

Small Patio

If you have a very small space, you can still build a peaceful new patio that you will love. You may not be able to have a large table and bar area, but you can certainly set up a few chairs around a portable fire bowl that can be moved when not in use. To maximize space, you might consider planting a vertical herb or vegetable garden that will add greenery and yield delicious produce.

Large Patio

So, you have lots of space to play with patio design? Lucky you! There are endless ways to create your dream terrace, so first consider how you will most likely use the space on a regular basis. For example, if you know you will be grilling and eating outside often, look into building a paver patio with a kitchen or large stove and dining table area.

With a large patio, you can accommodate a fire table along with modular seating. You can also experiment with landscape design to create an eye-catching aesthetic.

Our selection

Granville Fire Table

Featuring award-winning design, this propane-powered fire table is a perfect combination of functionality and elegance – bringing people together.
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Enclosed Patio

Enclosing your patio beneath a pergola is a beautiful way of finishing the space and creating a shade from the sun. If you have an enclosed patio and are planning to use a fire table, be sure to check your safety manual to make sure you are the proper distance away from the walls and ceiling.

Multi-Level Patio

A multi-level patio deck can be used to delineate specific spaces for different outdoor activities. Treat each of the layers of the patio as its own room. For example, you can have a pool on one level and a fire pit and seating on another. Keep your dining area close to the home as you won't want to walk far with plates and food.

patio plans

Architectural Trends in Patio Design Plans

Since the pandemic began, many homeowners have prioritized creating a sense of cohesion between their indoor and outdoor spaces. A sense of flow in your patio design plans can be achieved by using shared design ideas indoors and outdoors. From lush plants to fabric, lighting fixtures, and color schemes, you can integrate design details that will link your spaces together.


Relaxing design accents like warm wood and fireplaces have been rising in popularity, as have experiential features like outdoor kitchens and bars. With many gyms and yoga studios closed, personal outdoor exercise spaces on patios have also been trending.

Structural Planning and Permits

For the structural planning of your patio, you will need to refer to local building codes. For example, when it comes to using a fire pit, you may or may not need to get a permit depending on the size and type of fire pit. Some areas won't allow DIY fire pits at all or during dry times of the year, so keep this in mind. OUTLAND fire pits are generally safe to use on an outdoor patio as they are tested and certified by the CSA for safety.

You typically will not need a permit for an open burn fire in a fire pit, but if you have any doubts about installation, you can call your local fire department to double-check. If you are planning to use your fire pit in an enclosed space or pergola, you will need to follow the recommended distance guidelines from the wall or ceiling.

Tools To Help You Design Your Patio Space

If you are tackling the project of constructing your own patio, it helps to create a rough design of the layout. There are several reliable software tools and apps where you can draft a visual of your ideas, including Sketchup Free, iScape, and Roomsketcher.

However, if you'd prefer not to create the design yourself, we'd recommend hiring an online designer from Decorilla to create designs for you to choose from. Of course, if you only have a small space and feel comfortable putting it together with the basics, you can always just put pen to paper and draft a design yourself!

Our selection

Robson Fire Table

Featuring award-winning design, this propane-powered fire table is a perfect combination of functionality and elegance – bringing people together.
View Product

Material Planning: What Materials Do You Recommend?

There are plenty of materials to choose from when designing a patio layout depending on the look you want to achieve. Here are a few to consider:

  • Concrete Pavers
  • Slate
  • Bluestone
  • Flagstone
  • Brick
  • Tile
  • Cut stone
  • Cedar Mulch
  • Gravel

patio plans

Functional Planning: What Can You Use a Patio For?


Your patio should be an extension of your living room, designed to give you the most enjoyment outside without ever having to leave your home. A patio can be used for outdoor entertainment for yourself and when entertaining others. Placing a fire pit or a fire table in the center can serve as the perfect focal point for a party or small gathering. Having modular furniture that you can arrange as a sofa or break down into chairs will allow you to create a party setup or relax with just a few people.


Many people use their patios for outdoor dining, with a patio table and stove as the focal point. From grilling fish to having a family BBQ or eating breakfast in your private outdoor space, there are numerous backyard patio ideas that revolve around dining.


You can also use your patio for container gardening. Try building a vertical garden that will grow herbs and veggies without taking up a lot of space!

Our selection

Terrace Vertical Garden

This convenient space-saving solution provides maintenance-free gardening, consisting of a steel frame with food-safe bins.
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Top 3 Patio Design Mistakes

Don’t fall prey to the mistakes of patio planning! Here are the most common errors we see and how to avoid them.

Furniture Choices: When your furniture is too large or small, your seating areas will look out of proportion. Your furniture might also be spread too far apart, which will make socializing difficult. To avoid these common problems, try using modular furniture where each piece can be added onto another to create comfortable seating in any space.

Lack of Plants: Adding greenery to the exterior of your home will bring it to life and create the feeling of an oasis. Even if you don’t have a huge patio, you can use a vertical garden to display beautiful flowers and brighten up your space.

Lack of Decor: Without enough decor, your patio will appear bare and unfinished. Add decor like string lights, torches, cushions, pottery, an outdoor rug, lanterns, and windchimes to your outdoor living space. These details can also help create cohesion between your inside and outside decor.

Our selection

20lb Tank Tonga Torch

This torch will set the scene for any evening get-together. Features tri-pod base and includes 10' hose + regulator suitable for a standard 20 lb (5 gallon) propane tank.
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Essential Patio Furniture & Accessories

For a list of coolest backyard accessories and ideas for ambiance and outdoor entertaining, check out our full guide to transforming your outdoors into the perfect spot to relax. To get started, let’s take a look at some things to put in your backyard that improve the overall look and feel of your yard:

  • Fire Pits: Whether you prefer a portable Propane Fire Pit, or a more permanent Fire Table, adding a cozy outdoor fireplace will wow guests and bring romance to your patio.
  • Summerland Stove: With three burners and two sturdy prep surfaces, this portable stove is ideal for grilling out!
  • Furniture Sets: A modular concept for patio furniture is highly versatile. You can change it by season or add extra seating if you want to later! OUTLAND furniture sets made of outdoor resin wicker are popular for withstanding rain, or can you cover your furniture after use with soft covers to protect them from the elements.
  • Tonga Torch: Create a glowing ambiance with torches that light up your patio. Easy to use, OUTLAND torches are sturdy, yet lightweight. They can serve many functions as they are easy to move around wherever you need them.
  • Vertical Garden: Grow your veggies up, not out on your patio with a vertical garden that uses space wisely and adds a fresh aesthetic.
  • Accessories: Don't forget accessories that will make your life easier! For example, you might like a Glass Wind Guard for your fire table to shield the flames from the wind in a sleek and unobtrusive way. When your fire table is not in use, it is recommended to put a Durable Cover over it to protect it.

Common questions

How do you style a large patio?
A large patio will require more furniture and accessories to create a finished look. Modular furniture is ideal for a large space as you can move it around for different occasions. Use a large rug or landscaping to bring cohesion and warmth to a large concrete patio.
How do I plan a small patio?
Maximize space on a small patio by choosing a cafe table and chairs alongside a vertical garden. Bring in portable elements like a fire bowl that you can remove after you are done using it.
How can I make my old patio look better?
Small architecture and decor upgrades can elevate the look of your patio. For example, you can add a pergola feature, grow a vertical garden, or bring in contemporary modular furniture that can be arranged in different ways.
How do you spice up a patio?
Add entertainment elements to make your patio more exciting. These may include a fire pit, outdoor bar, hot tub, television, portable propane torches, or string lighting.
How can I decorate my patio on a budget?
Add in modular furniture that can be bought piece by piece. This way, you don't have to invest in furniture all at one time, but can slowly build out your dream patio.