The Cheapest Way To Make A Patio

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

A patio area can completely transform your outdoor space. It can turn a boring backyard that you hardly use into a hub of activity. Maybe you really want to build a patio but are on a very strict budget. If this is the case, then you will want to know the least expensive way you can make your patio dream come true.

The cheapest way to make a patio is by using pea gravel and hiring no outside labor. Pea gravel patios, however, require maintenance and have some downsides. Other cheap DIY options include concrete paver patios and poured concrete patios. There are often free or very cheap materials you can find locally to build your patio to save on costs.

The cheapest price for a patio varies on where you live, and exactly what you are trying to accomplish with the outdoor space. There are, however, several averages that can help guide you. These averages will help you understand how much a cheap patio will likely end up costing you.

What Is The Cheapest Price For A Patio

The cheapest patio, which involves the least expensive materials and using no outside labor, will cost around 50 cents to one dollar per square foot. There are, of course, many variables that factor into the square footage price. Most low-cost patios cost slightly more, around six dollars a square foot. These patios also involve sourcing all the materials yourself and doing all the labor. If you require professional help to install your patio, the rule of thumb is that the price will be close to double.

Building Your Own Patio vs. Hiring A Professional

When it comes to making a patio, labor is one of the biggest costs you can control. If you are looking for the cheapest possible patio then you will need to do all the work yourself.

It is completely manageable for most people to build their own patio. It is important to know what you are getting yourself into though. Know your limitations before you start the project. If, for example, you have never mixed concrete before, then perhaps you should not make a large patio project your first attempt at this.

If you require a professional for some of the work make sure you get itemized quotes. See if you can do some of the work yourself.

Also keep in mind that while hiring a professional may cost more at first, the work may last much longer. Professional work may also yield a much better final product. You may even be able to increase your property value if you build a lasting outdoor patio.

The Cheapest Types Of Patios You Can Build

When you are looking to build a cheap patio there are a few things to consider. First, you must understand if you can do the project yourself or if you will need the (often expensive) help of a professional.

Next, you need to consider the cost of building materials, which may vary based on your location. Lastly, consider the longevity of your patio. A patio may cost very little initially, but if it requires costly annual upkeep then it isn’t so cheap after all. Here are the most common affordable types of patios.

Gravel Patio

Often the cheapest type of patio you can make is a pea gravel or pebble patio. This type of patio, if done using the least expensive materials and doing all the work yourself, can be as cheap as 50 cents per square foot. This is by far the cheapest option. It is important you know the pros and cons to this type of patio before you go all-in on a gravel patio.

The first and most obvious pro to pea gravel or pebble patio is price. These patios are cheap and cost-effective -it’s as simple as that. Another pro is that they are relatively easy to install. There is some digging, lifting and smoothing involved. You do not, however, need to mix or pour concrete or anything that complex.

While these patios are cheap, they do have several drawbacks, some of which can end up being quite costly. For one, gravel patios often need upkeep. Heavy rains and everyday wear and tear can displace and shift the gravel. This will cost money over time.

These pebbles and this gravel can also get into your lawn. This can be. Very dangerous as it can get caught in your lawn mower and other landscaping equipment. It can shoot out rapidly and hurt a person or your property, or damage your mower.

Concrete Pavers Patio

The next cheapest option for building your own patio is using concrete pavers. Concrete pavers are pre-formed concrete blocks. This means since they are already formed you do not need to mix and lay concrete. They are, however, made of concrete. This means they will last a long time, and create a smooth flat surface.

Concrete pavers can be purchased as low as one dollar per square foot, but often closer to three dollars per square foot. While it is a bit pricier than gravel, it will last longer and have a more usable flat finish.

Poured or Stamped Concrete Patio

Poured and stamped concrete is the next cheapest option after concrete pavers. If you are comfortable working with concrete this is a great DIY option. If you pour the concrete properly this kind of patio can last for a long time. You can even mix in local rocks or shells to give the patio a nice aesthetic.

Poured concrete can be much pricier than the other two options. It often costs at least 6 dollars a square foot and up to 13 dollars per square foot. Still, it has a professional look and will likely last much longer than a gravel patio.

Brick or Stone Patios

Brick and stone patios are another option. Both of these types of patios look fantastic, and can last for generations. The only issue is that these patios can be very costly.

The brick and stones used for patios can cost a pretty penny. If, however, you are able to come across highly discounted or even discarded stones or brick, you can build a very cheap patio. This may seem like wishful thinking, but discarded brick and stone is more common than you might think.

Other Tips To Help Keep Your Patio Costs Down

Building one of these lesser expensive patios can help save you lots of money. If you are looking for even further savings, you have more options. Try some of these tips below if you are looking to find even more ways to build the cheapest patio possible.

Look For Free Materials

In the age of the internet, it seems you can find all sorts of building materials for free if you search hard enough. There are websites dedicated to “free stuff.” Craigslist and other sites like it often have postings for materials like brick, tiles, gravel and concrete slab.

You can also visit building or demolition sites and ask if they have any materials you can use to build a patio. This might seem like a strange thing to do, but finding free materials for your patio is not uncommon. The key is having a truck and the strength to haul them away. Anyone who is giving you free materials is unlikely to also pack and deliver them as well.

Ask Home Improvement Store For Broken Tile Or Concrete

Stores like Home Depot often have broken brick, tile, and concrete in their stores. These products are often put off to the side and available for purchase for those looking to build on a budget.

You can try calling customer service at your local home improvement store. You may, however, want to show up in person so you can get a good look at the goods.

Find Out What Materials Are Native To Your Area

The Earth is a plentiful source for building materials. The natural planet has no shortage of materials you can possibly use to build a patio. Do your research to learn what kind of natural resources your area is plentiful.

You may find certain materials like dried coral, sea shells, lava rock, or even types of granite are in abundance where you live. You might be able to buy these otherwise costly materials for next to nothing. In addition to saving money, this will also put a personal and localized touch to your patio. It will give it a sense of place, and is certainly a sustainable way to build as well.

Hire Help, But Only For Installation

If you are building a type of patio that requires professional help you should find out exactly what you need a professional for. You may be able to do a lot of the work on your own to save on costs. You can often dig your own holes, clear areas, and even purchase most of the materials without the help of a professional. This can save you lots of labor hours and can help you avoid premium pricing.

Concluding Thoughts On Cheap Patios

You should work with gravel if you are looking to build the absolute cheapest patio possible. If your budget allows, you might want to consider using concrete pavers or poured concrete if you are comfortable. These patios have a more professional look and last much longer than pea gravel patios.

Before you start your patio project you should ask around and search for free materials. Find out what natural resources are plentiful in your area. You may just be able to find great patio building materials for next to nothing.

Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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