The Most Affordable Materials To Create A Beautiful Backyard Patio

If you're dreaming of designing your perfect patio but are worried about budget, fear not. You can create a stunning patio for under $800, but you'll need to start with the correct materials. Before buying the perfect outdoor furniture or considering which trendy design ideas best match your style, you'll want to select the right foundation for your build. Of course, durability and style will be key, but those don't have to cost a fortune. While the average price of a backyard patio is around $3,910, you can bring that down considerably by selecting an affordable building material.

If you're looking to choose the cheapest option available, gravel tops the list. It's quick and easy to install (it even makes for a good DIY) and can create a beautiful patio, as it drains well and looks prettily rustic. A 10-by-10-foot patio, for example, will require about 21 cubic feet of pea gravel, which would cost just over $230 at Lowe's. If you do the installation yourself, it's a truly bargain-friendly option. However, it's important to note there are downsides. Gravel won't create a smooth surface, so you may have trouble stabilizing furniture. It's also difficult to walk on, especially barefoot, and it's easy to displace the small stones around your yard. That's where concrete, flagstone, and pavers come in.

What is the cheapest patio build?

The final pricing of a new backyard patio will depend on size, design, and various labor considerations (like whether or not you need to remove an old patio), but picking the right materials can help keep costs in check. Your second most affordable option after gravel is poured concrete. It's quick to install and a basic design starts around $5 per square foot, going up to about $15. However, it isn't the most durable. Slabs can crack due to numerous factors, like growing tree roots and freezing temperatures.

Next up is flagstone, which ranges from $15 to $27 per square foot with professional installation. These large, flat slabs of sedimentary stone are available in a limited color palette (red, blue, and brown), but can be cut into practically any shape you like. Best of all, they're durable and can be easily cleaned with soapy water.

Last, but not least are paving stones, also called pavers, which allow for ultimate design flexibility. They come in a variety of materials, shapes, colors, and sizes and usually cost between $4 and $6 per square foot. With installation, though, that price rises to an average of $20 to $50 per square foot. However, it's an investment that pays off. Pavers are durable, resistant to temperature changes, and easy to clean with a homemade mix of dish soap and warm water.

The one affordable patio material you should avoid

While researching on the best materials for your new dream patio, you may also come across one more affordable option: brick or brick pavers. Indeed, the cost of building with this material averages between $10 and $20 per square foot, but while the price may be appealing, there are several cons you'll need to consider.

For one, bricks are quite fragile. They're greatly affected by weather and natural wear and tear and are prone to flake, crack, and even break apart under too much pressure. This may result in a frequent need to replace faulty bricks, which will drive the overall cost up. What's more, they are difficult to install and come with limited design options when it comes to shape, size, and color. As for maintenance, a brick patio has to be pressure washed at least once a year (if not twice). You'll also need to sand joints and apply a fresh coat of sealant after each wash to stop weeds growing in between the bricks and prevent erosion of the mortar keeping them together.