You’ve just moved into an apartment with a patio and want to make use of it, or, more likely, you’ve had this cute little patio forever, and you want to actually do something with it. Start by clearing out whatever junk you have stored in it, and we’ll help you design a beautiful patio. Here are our Apartment Patio Ideas.
1) Decorative Rug
A rug probably sounds like a bad idea for an outdoor space, but we found an outdoor rug from Amazon that’s designed to withstand the elements. If you have a dull concrete patio that’s identical to ten other concrete patios nearby, you can make it look unique with a rug like this one from Amazon. This rug comes in a variety of patterns so that you can pick whatever colors you like to make it stand out.
2) Premade Greenhouse
If you love gardening, you might be hoping for a garden someday, but you can have one now, even though you live in an apartment. Don’t let your location hinder you; you can get a small greenhouse like this one from Amazon that’ll fit on your patio. This way, you can grow the plants you love and maybe have enough room for a small sitting area or planting table on the patio. If your patio is a balcony, look for an awning or half umbrella that’ll keep water from flowing onto it when it rains.
3) DIY Compact Bar
Usually, when you think of patio bars, you probably picture a breezy lanai or other ample outdoor space, but a patio bar is a lovely addition to any patio. You can set one up as a side bar, or if you have enough space, design one that you can stand behind to serve drinks. We found this tutorial video for an unbelievable outdoor patio bar that we think you’ll love, but you can always modify it to fit your style better.
4) Pop-Up Greenhouse
If you have a fair-sized apartment patio, you might have room for a larger greenhouse. For plant lovers, growing a garden in an apartment is a dream-come-true, but if you’re not planning to stay in the same apartment for a long time, you don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on something permanent. We’d suggest a pop-up greenhouse like this one from Amazon. It fits best if your patio’s primary use is growing plants.
5) Electric Grill
One of the things apartment renters and owners have to consider is that they live close to a lot of other people. You might like the idea of grilling, but are neighbors going to complain about the smoke right next to their own patio? An electric grill like this one from Amazon should reduce the need for these kinds of things and lower the amount of storage space you need since you won’t have to worry about charcoal. You can get a small one like this so that it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
6) Tabletop Fountain
Landscaping is a lovely addition to any house, but of course, you don’t live in a house and probably aren’t allowed to modify the lawn area. There are ways to imitate landscaping, and we’ve found the next best thing to having a backyard fountain; a tabletop one. You can set a tabletop fountain like this adorable black bear one on a table and create a more elegant and outdoorsy look for your patio. It’s even self-contained so that you don’t need to do any plumbing or worry about drainage.
7) DIY Small Fire Pit Bowl
Fire pits heat patios and create warm and secure atmospheres, making them one of the greatest luxuries of outdoor spaces. The problem is that most fire pits are dug into the ground, and they tend to be pretty large, which can be a problem if you have a small patio that you’re not allowed to alter. A small fire pit bowl is a decent compromise that’ll still create that cozy feeling without violating a rental agreement. Try using this tutorial from The Owner Builder Network to make a small fire pit bowl.
8) Locking Outdoor Storage
Since you live close to many other people, anything you put outside will probably be visible, and you run the risk of having things stolen. You’ll want to have some method of securing things, like a locking storage container, for anything you keep out on your patio. Obviously, it’s more challenging to secure furniture, but for the smaller items, at least, you can get a box like this for added security. This might be more or less necessary, depending on what your neighborhood’s crime rates are and how nice your stuff is.
9) Artificial Grass
If you don’t have much of a lawn but love the look of bright green grass in the spring and summer, artificial grass is one way you can create that look without unauthorized landscaping. This is a creative solution for people who live on a high floor and don’t get to go down and enjoy the lawn easily. Look for other ways to make the patio feel more like a lawn, along with the grass.
10) DIY Small Bench
Benches are an excellent way to optimize space in a small area since they don’t have clunky backs that can take up room. Instead of looking for seats with backs, we suggest getting or building a small bench like the one Amy from the Happy Scraps built in this article and placing it next to a wall. That way, you’ll still be able to lean on something comfortably without wasting the room a larger seat would take up.
11) Contained Raised Garden Bed
Raised garden beds are something you probably can’t have for your apartment since the lawn is probably a shared property cared for by an apartment manager. There are ways you can have a small garden on your patio, though. We found these raised garden beds on Amazon that are self-contained like large planters. They’re big enough to plant vegetables or flowers in, depending on what size you get, of course. You can pick the smallest one to plant just a few things or get a big one and turn the whole space into a raised garden.
12) Plastic Interlocking Tiles
If you have a concrete patio, it might not be the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but you’re probably not allowed to do any major renovation, so what can you do about it? We’ve found this video by There She Goes to show you how one apartment renter tackled that problem. She was trying to find a way to renovate a patio balcony that wouldn’t damage anything, and that wasn’t permanent, and settled on plastic interlocking tiles. You can see how she set them up and how they transformed the space in the video.
13) Freestanding Swing Glider
Swing gliders are so much fun, and they’re endlessly comfortable, but most of them attach to a porch roof, which probably doesn’t work for you for a number of reasons. You can still have a swing glider, though, if you get a freestanding one like this piece from Amazon. You don’t need to attach it to anything or make any permanent changes, and this one is small enough to fit on almost any patio. It comes with a cover, so if your patio isn’t covered, the built-in canopy will still keep the worst of the rain off it.
14) Floating Outdoor Curtains
One of the main downfalls of living in an apartment is the lack of privacy since you have so many neighbors so close by, but there are ways to get a little visual privacy on your patio. You probably can’t plant trees and make natural barriers if you’re renting, so the next best thing is privacy curtains. You can take a look at this article from Southern Heather to learn how to set up outdoor curtains around an open patio or find a way to install them based on your unique patio design.
15) Pop-Up Canopy
If you have a ground-floor patio without any awning or protection from rain, you’re probably finding that you don’t get as much use out of it as you’d like, but you aren’t allowed to build modifications. A pop-up canopy like this one from Amazon is one way to get cover without building anything permanent that a landlord might object to. This way, you can have a covered patio, even if it’s not the most glamorous.
16) Artificial Lawn Plus Interlocking Tiles
On a concrete balcony patio, interlocking tiles are probably the best way to decorate the floor that doesn’t require renovations that your landlord might object to. There are a lot of creative ways you can use them, though. We loved this idea from Lia Lavon, who made her outdoor patio look like a patio and lawn by adding interlocking tiles on one half and artificial grass on the other. This makes the patio feel like a miniature paradise, and it’s perfect if you live on a high floor away from the green grass below.
17) Sun Shade Sail
If you can’t do renovations because you rent, but you don’t have any sort of rain shelter on your patio, you’ll have to get creative with options that are non-intrusive so that your landlord won’t object. Sun shade sails are one way to cover up a patio, and you can attach one side to the house with minimal damage if you’re allowed to. Otherwise, you can set up poles to hold the sail with just 2x4s.
Privacy is probably the most precious and sought-after commodity in an apartment complex, and a pergola is a beautiful way to get it. You might be thinking that you can’t have something that permanent in an apartment, but you can build one on top of your patio in a couple days using these directions. It might cost a bit more money than a cheap canopy, but you’ll have a beautiful building that doesn’t require any digging or modifications your landlord is likely to complain about. You can hang curtains and covers to add rain protection and privacy to it.
19) Gazebo with Netting
If you don’t have a lot of time or the skill to build your own pergola, or if this is a temporary apartment, you’ll need something unobtrusive that your landlord won’t mind, but that still protects your patio from rain and gives you some feeling of privacy. A gazebo like this one from Amazon is ideal because it’ll protect you from rain, and it has netting that’ll give you some protection from prying eyes. It even comes in a variety of sizes if your patio is small.
20) Pavers on Artificial Grass
Artificial grass is great if you have a concrete patio two floors above the real grass, but want to feel like you have a lawn of some sort. There are so many different ways to use it, though, so which is best for you? We found a neat artificial grass idea by Amy from Home Goods that makes the patio feel like it’s on a real lawn. Just put down artificial grass to make your patio into a fake lawn, and then add pavers so that you’ll have a colorful and slightly more natural look.
21) Outdoor String Lights
If your apartment area has strict curfews or rules about noise and lights at night, you might be worried about your patio lighting, but you can actually use light as a decoration while interfering less with others. Outdoor string lights like these ones from Amazon are less bright than most light sources, so neighbors will have less reason to complain, but they’re also pretty and decorative so that you’ll have more reason to love them. You might need a lamp if you’re reading outside, but we’ll let you be the judge of what brightness you prefer.
What kind of situation are you in? We know that there’s a lot of variety in apartment patios, and we’d like to hear whether we’ve helped you with yours. Tell us what you’re thinking in the comments below.