A patio is, first and foremost, and extension of the home. Therefore, try and make it as homey as possible by giving it your personal stamp.
- Select good furniture that can withstand the elements. Yard sales typically have outdoor furniture at inexpensive prices that need only a sprucing-up to be serviceable.
- Add color when you can.
- Leave a section of the patio open for chalk art if you have kids, or mount a section of plywood nearby on a fence or wall, and paint it with chalkboard paint as an impromptu art area
- Use empty picture frames hung from branches, or on posts, to "frame" a particular plant or view.
- Add a wind chime made from something you're interested in. If you cook, for example, make it from old kitchen utensils and hammered-flat flatware.
- Make a garden hose fountain with plantings around it.
- Hide surprises in the area, like ceramic frogs picked up for cheap, older Christmas ornament hung from trees, or a garden gnome hidden in the bushes.
The general idea is to make your patio space your own. This is, hopefully, a place you'll use for most of the year, and it should be comfortable for you, your family and your friends.
Patios may take a lot of work, but they don't have to be expensive. Take the time to make them right, and they'll last a lifetime.