You’ll want to consider multiple options when you think of your patio flooring, no matter if you’re planning to redesign your current one or create a new design. Lucky for you, there are dozens of creative and stunning options other than plain concrete. You can even DIY if you’re confident enough in your abilities or willing to experiment and learn.
However, there are a few things you should know about outdoor flooring before we jump into our patio flooring recommendations. Knowing these points will help ensure you pick out a material or design that is durable enough to stand up to the elements and look nice for years to come.
Important Points About Patio Flooring to Keep in Mind
Before you start listing out the features and tiny details that you want to incorporate into your patio flooring, take note of the basics. For example, it’s a good idea to go outside and get a good idea of the area you plan to apply the patio flooring to. Look for anything that could present challenges along the way, including anything that needs to be removed before your new floors go in, like your old floor. Maybe you need to reorganize things or find temporary storage for items on your current patio like your benches. Additionally, some materials like artificial turf require more prep work than others.
Note any previous issues you may have had with the area you want to put your patio flooring down on. Maybe you have a sloped terrain to contend with, or you had animals that dug a huge amount of holes. The type of soil you have can also impact how your project goes.
Finally, take the weather and climate into consideration, along with your location. If you’re currently living in a place that gets a huge amount of sun, you will want to consider adding a roof. However, any patio flooring you put down will have to be able to withstand scorching temperatures and humidity, so you have to pick out a material that doesn’t crack or fade easily. Getting a large amount of rain isn’t great for more flooring options either, and you have to account for this to ensure you manage to create a solid foundation that can survive for years.
Once you have all of these things in mind, you can look at the patio flooring options below and see which ones work best and fit your design aesthetic.
Designing and implementing a flagstone-style floor on your patio can give it a huge boost. This type of patio flooring is also a fantastic way to create an impact on your guests if you plan on entertaining outdoors. It offers a very natural look that blends well with the outdoor space, and flagstone pieces tend to be larger. So, they can cover more area with less materials without you worrying about running out midway through. You can fit them together like a puzzle to create a nice look, and you have several colors to choose from to bring neutral or warm tones to your patio.
Flagstone is a type of patio flooring that you get flexibility with too. You can choose the colors of the cement that goes between the stones, and they come in different sizes and shapes that are relatively easy to fit together. Stone is also very durable, and it won’t crack, peel, or fade when the weather gets hot. It can withstand large amounts of moisture without shifting too. Once it sets, you can easily set up your patio furniture and enjoy the warmer weather outdoors with it. As a bonus, it’s low-maintenance once you get it installed.
2. Pea Gravel
If you’re looking at landscaping rocks for your patio flooring and you’re on a tighter budget, pea gravel is a great choice. Pea gravel won’t take nearly as much time or energy as other choices, and you can easily level it out with a rake. To make it neater, you could put up a small border around your patio area to fence it off and fill in the interior with pea gravel. The border will help stop the gravel from spilling out into your yard, and this makes it look like an overall neater project that looks much longer than it actually did.
You should also consider installing some type of layer under the pea gravel to help stabilize this patio flooring idea. It could be something as simple as thicker plastic sheeting that slips under the rocks and gets pinned in place by the metal or plastic edging. Another option is to mix epoxy into the pea gravel to help lock them into place. You do have to work quickly with this option, and you want to make sure that it’s level before it sits. Loose gravel works too, and it’s all a matter of how much work you want to put in.
Maybe you’re someone who wants to add a little classic charm to your patio flooring. If so, brick is the way to go. Brick stands up very well to wear and tear, and it does well in different weather conditions without cracking. However, it can chip and eventually crack if you don’t take time to upkeep it once you install it. Also, the installation process is more time-consuming. You have to get your ground as level as possible before you add the brick, and you have to lay them piece by piece, ensuring that you put enough mortar between each one to lock them into place.
However, this look can be well worth it. Once everything sets, you’ll get a very durable and lasting patio flooring option. It’s heavy-duty, and it’ll withstand moisture or heat that the environment can throw at it. You shouldn’t have to seal it, and it doesn’t require painting. However, if you want to paint it, you have several options available to help switch up the look. You can also bring your hose out and spray it off to clean away debris and keep it looking nice. Just make sure that you work quickly and have a plan in place before you start to ensure the project goes smoothly.
4. Stamped Concrete
A stamped concrete patio is a wonderful idea if you like the look of certain patio flooring ideas but you can’t realistically have them due to your environment. As the name suggests, you’ll have a contractor come in and lay out the area of your patio before pouring a slab of concrete. Before the concrete cures, the contractor comes through and stamps the top and sides of the slab with whatever pattern you want. You can easily get a stamped concrete patio to look like bricks, stone, and much more. They can also swirl colors in to make it look more realistic.
This is a nice choice for patio flooring if you want a lasting option that is almost impossible to tell from the real thing. Concrete can survive harsh weather conditions like snow, ice, or extremely heat, humidity, and a lot of rain without failing. It will eventually crack or chip, but this is typically years down the road. Make sure you have an exact idea of what you want the product to look like so you can relay this to the contractors. It’s also possible to DIY, but you have to work quickly and have all of the molds on-hand to get it to look right.
5. Painted Wood
For some people, they already have a wooden floor installed as their patio flooring. They may not have the budget or desire to tear it out and start over from scratch, but they want to update how it looks and how it makes the space feel. Luckily, there are ways to do this, and one of the easiest ways is to paint it. You should sand the existing floor down to bare boards to give yourself a clean slate before you paint it. This can help the paint adhere better to the wood flooring, and it can also ensure that you get an even color when you finish with it.
You could paint your patio flooring all one color, or you could have fun with it and create patterns. One way to do this is to set out squares on your patio and mimic the look of tiles by painting every other square with one color and the remaining squares with a second color. Make sure you allow everything to dry between coats, and consider putting at least two coats on. You’ll also have to seal your patio flooring when you finish painting it to make it last longer and withstand wear and tear.
6. Interlocking Wood Squares
Did you know that you can get the look of a traditional wood floor for your patio flooring without having to go out and actually purchase real wood panels? Instead, you can buy faux interlocking wood panels that slide together to form a wood floor. Since they’re not real wood, you don’t have to worry about getting ones that will swell or warp due to exposure to water and humidity. What’s even better, these tiles come in a huge range of colors and styles, so you can find a design that matches the look you want without going way over your budget and spending too much.
You’ll want to measure the area where you want to put your patio flooring to start this project. This will give you a rough idea on how many wood squares you need to fill the area. Most of them come in packs of four to six, so you’ll most likely have some left over. They work best on a totally flat area because they only use small plastic clips to attach to each other. If you want to remove them, all you have to do is unhook them and pick them up one by one.
7. Recycle Rubber
If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly option for your patio flooring, try recycled rubber tiles. Although they’ve only been around for a few years, they’re massively popular with the green movement and people have them all over their patios and decks. They come designed to survive all seasons, including snow and sleet or harsh temperatures with a lot of rain and humidity. Also, many of these tiles have different looks to them with the most popular ones being ones that mimic the look of concrete pavers. They’re very portable and lightweight, and they lock together so you can install them on your own without a problem.
Since you can DIY for the installation, this can help save you money because you won’t have to hire someone to do it for you. You can put this patio flooring option directly on the top of your existing floor or flat surface for an instant style upgrade. They’re thicker and more durable, so you can walk on them for years without them showing any wear and tear. It’s nice for heavily-trafficked areas, and they work very well on both large and small patios. You don’t have to adhere them to the floor below them to keep them in place either as the rubber tends to stick to whatever surface you put it on.
Chances are, you’ve most likely seen wooden pallets lying around or even alongside the road. They’re very versatile, and you can create a host of pallet projects with them. One such project is using them to create a cheap, easy DIY patio flooring. They’re also dimensional and easily accessible, and this makes them very popular with people who want the look of a more traditional wooden floor but don’t want to install a wood floor in a place that will have exposure to the elements. Most pallets are also already weathered, so this can add a worn and rustic look to your patio.
You will want to ensure that the area for your patio flooring is level so the edges of the pallets line up and don’t create tripping hazards. It’s possible to lay them all in one direction to create a continuous pattern, or you can flip them around to get a fun mosaic pattern. If you want to add another layer of protection for your flooring, seal it with paint or stain, ensuring that it dries very well between coats. It’s also a good idea to attach each pallet to the other one to make it more stable and secure.
It’s possible to install tile outside, but it does better when it’s installed on a patio or deck with a roof to help shield it from the heat and rain because it tends to fade or crack. To get a very elegant look, consider applying black and white tile. You can do traditional squares or create a geometric pattern. It’s possible to paint tile too, or you can get it in other patterns like stone, mosaic, or something very colorful. Tile also comes in a large range of sizes and shapes, so you can customize it to fit your style.
For tile, you do want to have a completely flat surface to apply it on to ensure that it doesn’t stick up and give you something to trip over. Also, you may have to cut the tile to fit your space, so you’ll need to get a tile saw. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can hire in a contractor to fill in your patio flooring with the tile of your choice. Yes, this will drive your total costs up, but it can prevent you from wasting materials and making expensive mistakes that take away from the final look.
Laminate flooring is very popular in homes, but it’s also an extremely durable option that works well for patio flooring, and many people are starting to take advantage of this fact. Laminate is actually a very thin material that rolls out and adheres to the floor below it, and it comes in several thicknesses, sheens, colors, and style. One nice thing about laminate is that you can choose whatever you like to have printed on it. So, it could easily mimic the look of wood, tile, or stone flooring while costing a fraction of the normal price and being much more durable.
Since laminate has a clear sealant on it, it will stop the water from getting in and causing issues. You can also get it with a UV coating on it to prevent it from fading due to sunlight exposure. It’s a cost-effective option to quickly and easily cover your entire patio flooring area without breaking the bank. What’s even better, you can install it yourself or choose to bring in a contractor. The flooring should be even, but it can go on uneven or sloped surfaces too. It can get slippery when it gets wet, so keep this in mind.
11. Pavers with Pea Gravel
If you want to mix and match with your patio flooring, you don’t have to go with one material. Instead, you can pick one or two different mediums and incorporate them into a single patio floor. For example, you could place slightly larger pavers in a pattern without putting them right tight against one another. Once you get them situated, you can come back later and fill in around them with pea gravel. This creates a two-toned look that is very eye-catching, and it reduces the chances of anyone slipping as they walk over it because the pea gravel gives you a little more traction in humid or wet weather.
The pea gravel will eventually spill over onto your pavers, so you do have to sweep this patio flooring occasionally to keep it looking nice. Also, you’ll want to put a metal or plastic border in to fence off the area and keep the pea gravel from spilling out into your yard. However, this is a cost-effective way to cover a relatively large area, and you can choose the ratio of pavers to gravel you have. So, it’s a totally custom option that works well for big and small areas.
12. Mixed Tiles
When most people think of tile, they think of one color or style. This is especially true when you’re installing a tile floor in your home. But, if you’re looking for a very unique, colorful, and fun way to decorate your patio and make it more eye-catching, consider mixing different tile designs, styles, and colors. You could even pick up leftover tile pieces from thrift stores or big box stores. These discarded pieces are typically smaller, so you’ll have to be able to creatively fit them together to fill your space. You could also go to carpet and tile stores and see if they have any leftover pieces they’d be willing to sell you.
It works especially well for your patio flooring if you have a white or neutral-colored exterior for your home. The colors will really pop. You don’t have to worry about it being neat and tidy either. Instead, stick bright yellow or orange patterned tile next to blue, and consider tossing in a little white or grey to offset it and make it stand out more. Just make sure you can securely attach them to your surface without any gaps. This can take time, depending on the size of your patio. However, it’s a unique deal that is well worth it.
13. Wood Square and Gravel
Again, half the fun of creating patio flooring is to be able to decide if you want to go with one material, two, or even three. Of course, this can make it more complicated to maintain. However, it’s also possible to complete it by yourself without the help of a contractor. To start, decide on the ratio of tiles to rocks you want to have. You could put together a pattern with the tile and rocks, or you could do something random. Once you decide this, measure out how large the area is to get an idea of how many tiles you need. Make sure to subtract the number of squares for the rocks you’re going to put in.
Make sure your area is level for your patio flooring and lay your interlocking tiles down. Decide on the color of the rocks. If you choose a darker wooden design for the tile, a white or light grey rock would look nice and stand out well from the surrounding tiles. Larger rocks tend to work better than pea gravel, but you can do whatever you like. Get your tiles down before you fill in the rock to ensure none slips until the tiles and makes them uneven.
14. Painted Concrete
Concrete is a very popular patio flooring idea, even plain concrete. You can choose how thick you want your concrete slab to be, and you have the option of swirling in colors for a more unique look. However, this can also drive up the price from traditionally-colored concrete. You can also pour the concrete by yourself as long as you can work quickly to ensure you have time to smooth it out before it starts to set. You’ll need warmer, dry weather for the concrete to set as it doesn’t do well in wet or damp areas.
Once you get your patio flooring poured and set, you’re ready to go. Instead of settling for plain concrete, go out and buy concrete paint. You can apply it with a roller to give your patio an updated look. Concrete-specific paint is more durable to a lot of foot traffic. It takes a lot for it to fade and peel, and it comes in a huge range of colors. You can paint it all one color, or it’s possible to paint it a pretty pattern. As a bonus, it’s also easy to repaint it if you want to switch up the color or pattern.
These 14 patio flooring ideas can inspire you to revive and update your current patio. Most of them are easy to do by yourself without involving a contractor, and this can help save you money. You should set aside a few days to tackle this project and see how well you like the finished design. So, go out, get inspired, and create a fun area to relax or entertain all summer long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.