15 budget-friendly paver patio ideas from the pros — perfect for stylish small spaces

Dive into smart paver patio ideas including using walls as seating, solo-dining features, and portable focal points

White metal slatted chair and matching table plus black and wooden planters
(Image credit:  Staghorn NYC Landscape Design)

If wondering what to do your small outdoor space, these paver patio ideas should get you out of your design rut. A paver patio may be all you have room for, but that doesn't mean it has to be a dull gray square.

Make the most of your compact space with these clever 15 paver patio ideas from from our garden design pros. Some delve into the look, whilst others are small tweak tips for existing designs using gravel, grass, zoning, portable focal features and more.

These paver patio ideas will no doubt get your creative juices flowing, and to help you shop the guide, our expert shoppers have curated matching picks wherever possible.

15 paver patio ideas to spruce up your space

These budget small garden ideas are just the ticket to help you make way for spring no matter how small your space, and include tips for homeowners and those renting their abode.

Prices were correct at the time this article was published.

1. Use pavers and grass

Patio at night with pavers mixed with artificial grass, a seating area and lights

(Image credit: System Pavers)

A paver patio doesn't exclude you from the fun of having greenery into your space. 

"One style that's very popular is a checkerboard pattern with grass interspersed," says Rafi Friedman, president of Coastal Luxury Outdoors

You can learn how to seed a lawn with tips from gardening pros.

"This works best on flat, level ground, and with pavers that are sunk into the earth a little bit, since it makes for easier mowing," Rafi explains.

Rafi Friedman headshot, white man with dark hair in a grey top
Rafi Friedman

Rafi is the CEO of a pool building, construction and cleaning company in Florida. It services over 1,000 clients and builds over 100 pools annually. Since its founding in 1983, Coastal Luxury Outdoors has dedicated itself to building high-quality custom backyard experiences.

Talking of mowing a lawn, if you want to avoid the task altogether, then using artificial grass lawn alternatives are a sound option. 

Aaron Brundage, director of operations at System Pavers explains a mix of pavers and artificial turf, much like the image above, "brings a fresh look to the space, one that's easy to maintain and has natural appeal."

Try Wayfair's e-Joy 12-pack of 20 inch artificial grass turf panels or check out Walmart's SUNOYAR artificial interlocking turf squares for easy installation.

Aaron Brundage headshot - white man with dark hair and a blue shirt
Aaron Brundage

As director of operations at System Pavers, the nation’s leading outdoor remodeling company, Aaron has 15+ years of leadership and sales experience in the construction industry. He attended State University of New York at Oswego and currently lives in Syracuse, New York with his family.

2. Intersperse with gravel

Gray patio pavers interspersed with gravel with black patio dining table and chair, with sage green chair accents and a large built in bbq

(Image credit: Belgard)

If you don't want to go for grass between your pavers, Kat Aul Cervoni, landscape designer and founder of Staghorn NYC and The Cultivation by Kat has another idea. 

She says, "A great way to create an aesthetic and budget-friendly patio is to use large pavers, such as 2x2 feet squares in a grid with large margins between them – think two to three inches of space. Then backfill the margins with pea gravel (such as a bag of pea gravel from The Home Depot) or small river stones," she says.

K-Cervoni-Headshot-white woman with blonde hair in front of some greenery
Kat Aul Cervoni

Katherine (or Kat) is the founder and principal of the landscape design firm, Staghorn NYC, as well as the blog, The Cultivation. Her passion for all things outdoor living is driven by her desire to help people reconnect to nature wherever they can. 

3. Create patterns

Modular patio pavers, gray pavers in a row

(Image credit: Belgard)

Patterned paving is another way to add something extra to your patio. 

"Using modular pavers — which fit together easily — allows you to create a variety of patterns for more visual interest, bringing more to a small space," says Joe Raboine, vice president of design at Oldcastle APG, which owns hardscapes brand Belgard.

Consider The Home Depot's Yorkstone multi-color concrete weave paver patio slabs, or grab their sample box to try different colors. 

For renters, interlocking deck tiles available on Amazon can bring a damage-free cover-up for a paver patio you're hoping to experiment with.

Joe Raboine headshot -white man in white polo shirt outdoors
Joe Raboine

Joe oversees the Belgard Residential Program and believes outdoor living is not only a good investment for homeowners but can also fundamentally change lives for the better by bringing people together. Joe started his career as a contractor over 25 years ago.

4. Choose rectangular


(Image credit: Staghorn NYC Landscape Design)

Even in small spaces, you should have a few options available to you for the overall layout of your paver patio.

"The layout you select should be based on your space and also what kind of furnishings you envision or already have on hand," says Kat.  "In general, a rectangular patio layout can allow for more furniture to be added such as by having a small lounge area on one end and a dining area on the other." 

If you're not sure what will work in your space, Kat has a tip. She says, "I always recommend using tape, string or chalk to do a mock up of the patios dimensions and furnishings ahead of installation to ensure it feels right and everything fits properly." 

If your patio has already been laid, consider zoning your space with modular turf tiles (such as the six-pack XLX TURF interlocking artificial grass tiles from Amazon), or an outdoor rug. We love the cheap and hardwearing Lowe's outdoor Ranya rug.

5. Go big

White metal outdoor dining table and 6 matching chairs in a narrow paver patio with planters around the edge

(Image credit:  Staghorn NYC Landscape Design)

Just because you're working in a small space, that doesn't necessarily mean you should only use small items. 

"Even though it may seem counterintuitive, don’t use overly small plants, furniture or accessories on your small patio, as this can actually make it feel even smaller. Instead, use fewer items that are larger," says Kat. 

This will mean the furniture you do add to your paver patio is functional and the best use of space, even if it takes up most of it. 

The two-piece set of Adirondack rocking chairs from Wayfair is available in 14 colorways and can make a big impact, bringing style and comfort to your patio paver ideas.

6. Use walls as seating

Patio with stone planter in the middle and low walls that double as seating

(Image credit: System Pavers)

When space is tight, you need to make the most of every inch so don't overlook existing features. 

"Low walls can double as seating to create a cozy enclosed space for getting together with friends and enjoying the outdoors," says Aaron.

For extra comfort, line the walls with cushions (such as this outdoor seating group seat cushion set from Wayfair). Our guide on how to clean outdoor cushions will help you keep yours nice and fresh in all seasons.

7. Think movable

Two small rooftop chairs with a table in between, New York skyline rooftop garden

(Image credit:  Staghorn NYC Landscape Design)

In a small space, you probably won't want to have your dining table out all the time, so having a the best small patio furniture for your purposes, which you can move around is key. 

"Flexible seating using folding chairs (such as Walmart's Mainstays Greyson steel and sling folding outdoor patio armchair set ) is the way to go. This will let you use the patio as part of the broader yard space when you aren't having smaller gatherings," says Rafi.

"If your space is especially small, my go-to is to use a small café table and chairs as they are spacy-savvy, easy to move and tend to have the broadest use," says Kat. "An alternative to this is to select two space-savvy lounge chairs with a small side table in between," she adds. 

8. Pick a shape

Patio design with wooden chairs and a table with umbrella in the centre and a bbq

(Image credit:  Staghorn NYC Landscape Design)

What shaped patio dining table should you go for in a small space? Kat has a few suggestions. "The first is a round dining table with chairs as round tables tend to feel comfortable in tight spaces."

We recommend the Eilaf eucalyptus round folding outdoor dining table from Bed Bath and Beyond, with it's handy leaf-drop top so you can increase or decrease the size in use at any time.

Kat continues, "The second option if the space allows and more people need to be accommodated is a narrow rectangular table (such as the industrial rectangular Ebern Designs outdoor table in 12 colors from Wayfair). With the rectangular dining table you can also use built-in bench seating for one side for small-space friendly approach. Bonus points for incorporating storage into the bench!" 

9. Create atmosphere with lighting

Patio with lights hanging as well as built in lights in the steps

(Image credit: System Pavers)

Fairy lights or garden lighting ideas of any kind can really enhance a space, and make it much more suitable for outdoor socialising after dark.

"Incorporating catenary lighting overhead can really pull the whole patio space together," says Cate Singleton, Tilly's director of design. 

Sets of string lights such as these outdoor LED lights from Pottery Barn are easy to install and can elevate a space without breaking the bank. "Be sure they’re mounted at least 8" overhead or else it'll feel too low," advises Kat.

If you can afford it, then built-in lights like the ones pictured above, "add both safety and ambiance", according to Aaron.

Cate Singleton, white woman with brown hair against greenery
Cate Singleton

Cate is director of design at Tilly, a landscape design company that serves homeowners nationwide. Homeowners are matched with a professional designer to create a custom plan for their yard based on their geography, goals and needs. 

10. Make a fire pit a focal point

Fire pit on paver patio next to bench seating with yellow cushions

(Image credit: Belgard)

"A fire pit is a great way to add a focal point to a patio. You can find affordable DIY paver fire pit kits at many home retail stores, which allow you to easily construct a classic fire pit," says Joe.

The Home Depot's Grand 48 in. Fire Pit Kit is rated 4.5 stars by hundreds of shoppers and comes in three colors.

Rafi agrees. "If you're thinking about having a fire pit on your small patio, it's definitely a good idea to opt for a portable one. This will make the space much more flexible," he says. 

Rafi recommends the Winnerwell flat pack model from Amazon. "It's large enough to get a respectable fire going or even to use for grilling, but it also folds up completely for easy storage."

If you want a more permanent structure, then Kat recommends gas fire pits (such as the Kinzie concrete propane fire pit from Wayfair) for areas with high wind and fire risk. 

She adds, "If your property allows it and has a generous noncombustible patio such as stone or concrete, then a wood burning fire pit is a good option and will provide more warmth."

We recommend the budget-friendly OutVue wood burning fire pit with grill and lid from Amazon for it's great price point and multi-functional features.

11. Use side space

Patio that goes down the side of a house with planters on the edges

(Image credit: System Pavers)

To squeeze every inch out of your patio, you may want to consider adding pavers down the side of your house or apartment, if there's room. 

"This paver patio (above) turns a nearly unused side yard into a welcoming space that maximizes the way these homeowners can enjoy their outdoors," says Aaron.

12. Add an outdoor rug

White chairs and a big taupe rug on a small patio with planting and surrounded by trees

(Image credit: Staghorn NYC Landscape Design)

"Outdoor rugs can bring a sense of warmth and help to define the space," says Cate.

You can purchase one of the best outdoor rugs on offer, or if you've got an old one lying around that's looking a bit shabby, see our guide to how to paint an outdoor rug to give it a new lease of life.

Kat adds, "Outdoor rugs are a great way to add color and character to a paver patio and can help tie in interior colorways with the outside for a cohesive feel.

13. Vary your plant pots

Garden-matching-black round planters with lots of different pots on a paver patio

(Image credit: Staghorn NYC Landscape Design)

Matching or pretty planters filled with the best outdoor potted plants will add a green feel to your space whilst breaking up slabs of grey or brown paving.

"Incorporating seasonal plants in container groupings brings a softness and adds color to a patio space," says Cate.

"For pots and planters, I like using round shapes for smaller spaces and recommend doing groupings of two and three, or, if layout allows, larger groups of odd numbers throughout the space. Use a variety of sizes and heights to achieve a layered look that feels more intentional," says Kat. 

Our DIY alternative planter ideas include some brilliant budget-friendly options.

14. Get the right plants

Paver patio with rectangular table and a variety of pots around the sides

(Image credit:  Staghorn NYC Landscape Design)

The plants you incorporate into your patio paver ideas will make a difference to the overall feel of your compact outdoor space.

Kat says, "Use boxwood or ilex glabra (especially 'shamrock' or 'compacta'). These evergreens give beautiful all-season color, perform well in containers and give a bit of structure against looser, lusher plantings.

"If you’ve got an extra sunny patio, definitely treat yourself to lavender plants, available on Amazon, which will thrive in a container with freely-draining soil. Other herbs do well in pots as well." 

For a shadier patio, Kat recommends ornamental grasses such as hakonechloa, while chartreuse cultivars like 'all gold' are great for brightening up shade. 

If you’re looking to add a tree in a pot, "I love using a Japanese maple or Mugo pine," says Kat.

15. Create a solo space

Geometric pavers with white chair with blue cushion on and a bit of planting

(Image credit: Belgard)

A paver patio doesn't have to be all about socialising and the compact nature of them makes them the perfect spot to create a cozy corner for one.

 "Small outdoor patios are great secluded places for quiet time by yourself," says Rafi. "We usually think of patios as entertaining spaces, but there's a lot to love about spending time by yourself in nature."

With that in mind, you can create a spot for one with a single chair (who doesn't love a comfortable rollable patio lounger like this from Amazon, some plants and a small table (such as the bestselling Pottery Barn Abbotts outdoor side table) to rest a book or a drink.

A paver patio can be an oasis of calm, whatever its size. If you're now in the mood for some serious DIY, you can learn how to install a patio door.

Rosie Hilder

I'm deputy editor on Real Homes' sister site, Creative Bloq, which covers all things art and design. In a former life, I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I was deputy editor on Time Out Buenos Aires magazine. Reviewing hotels, restaurants and shops, I developed a love of quirky and stylish interiors. 

Since moving back to the UK, I've worked for a variety of titles, including Woman & Home, graphic design title Computer Arts and traditional art magazine Paint & Draw. 

I've recently moved in to a townhouse in Bristol, where I am slowly but surely redecorating and restyling every room.