Patios are versatile outdoor areas perfect for socializing, entertaining, and landscaping. You can cover them, connect them to your house, or create a freestanding courtyard.
No matter what type of patio you have, you might find the square footage isn’t enough to contain your growing collection of outdoor furniture, potted plants, and friends.
Luckily, there are several methods and materials you can use to extend your living space. This article will provide step-by-step instructions for your DIY patio extension project.
- Extending your patio with concrete
- Building a patio with pavers and bricks
- Patio ideas for less handy homeowners
- Tips to decorate your patio
How Can I Extend an Existing Patio?
You can extend an existing patio with the original material, a new material, or a combination of both. For example, if you have a concrete patio that goes into your backyard from your door, you can extend the area using bricks or wood.
Before you start your patio extension project, there are a few important steps to take:
- Plan – Use a measuring tape to decide on the layout of your patio extension. Mark the outline of the extension using string, chalk, or spray paint.
- Select a material – Consider your climate when selecting a material for your patio extension. Materials like concrete and brick are generally durable but can develop cracks in areas of frequent freezing temperatures. Wood patios may become slippery and soggy in climates with regular rainfall.
- Remove grass – Mow down your grass or use a sod cutter to clear the turf area. You can use a shovel to remove grass and dirt from smaller work areas.
- Build a retaining wall – If your yard is uneven, you’ll need to construct a short wall to ensure a smooth transition from the original patio to the new one. You can build the border of your patio with pavers or bricks.
How to Extend a Patio with Concrete
You can extend an existing concrete patio with ready-mix concrete. Most home improvement stores sell bags of concrete mix for under $10.
Once you’ve determined the area for your patio extension, you can buy the amount of concrete mix you need per square footage.
For this project, you’ll need:
- Plate compactor or manual tamper
- Bag(s) of concrete mix
- All-purpose gravel
- Wooden boards and nails
- Concrete release agent
- Tub, wheelbarrow, or bucket
- Rake, hoe, or concrete mixing paddle
- Watering hose
Compact the Soil
A critical step in extending a patio with concrete is to compact your soil. If you lay a concrete slab on shaky, loose ground, the material is more likely to crack and shift.
You can efficiently increase the soil’s density using a mechanical compactor. Mechanical soil compactors are best for large areas, while a manual soil tamper can work for smaller spaces. You can rent either of these tools from your local home improvement store.
Lay a Form and Base
Use two-by-four boards to outline the patio area, driving them into the ground with nails. This part of the process is crucial because it creates a mold for the concrete to dry in.
Coat the inside edges of the boards in a concrete release agent to easily remove them once the concrete has cured.
After you’ve established a solid form for your patio, coat the area with a layer of gravel. Once the gravel is in place, go over it again with a tamper to compact the rocks into the soil.
Mix and Pour the Concrete
Now that you’ve compacted the soil, laid a base, and ensured the area is level, you’re ready to mix and pour the concrete.
Follow the instructions on your concrete mix package to add the right amount of water. We recommend buying an extra-strength or crack-resistant concrete mix if you don’t want to install rebars in the patio for reinforcement.
You can mix your concrete in a large tub or wheelbarrow, using the handle of a hoe or rake to mix in water. If possible, use a water hose to have a readily available, steady water supply.
Once the water is thoroughly combined with the concrete, pour the mixture into the form.
Use another two-by-four or straight-edged tool to screed the top of the concrete slab. Screeding is essentially smoothing the top of the concrete surface to make it flat. You can do this by pushing the board over the top of the form and removing excess concrete.
Let It Cure
The curing – or drying – process for concrete typically takes around two days. Cover the form with a plastic tarp to prevent particles or moisture from getting into the mix. You’ll want to wait at least a week before putting heavy furniture on the slab.
How to Extend a Patio with Pavers
If mixing and pouring concrete isn’t your forte, paver stones are another excellent way to extend your patio area.
Pavers are slabs of durable material that come in various shapes, sizes, and textures. Pavers can be made from brick, cement, or stone, giving you options for the look and feel of your new patio space.
You’ll need the following materials for this project:
- Soil compactor or manual tamper
- All-purpose gravel
- Paver sand
- Paving stones
- Edging strips and nails
Prepare Your Work Area
The first steps of creating your paver patio extension are similar to building a concrete slab.
Start by measuring the area you’d like the patio to cover. Use a measuring tape for exact sizing and mark the perimeter with paint or string. Then, remove grass and dirt clods to have a flatter workspace.
Create a Paver Base
Once you’ve determined and cleared the patio area, you can start laying the base. Before applying any gravel or sand, you’ll need to tamp the soil with a machine or manual tool.
After compacting the soil, cover the area with gravel and then go over it with the compactor again. The solid, dense layer of gravel serves as a base for paver sand.
Selecting the proper sand base for your patio is key.
Fine sands with tiny granules will allow your stones to shift and erode. Paver sand is a polymeric substance made of large molecules that keeps your pavers from moving. You can buy paver sand at hardware and home improvement stores – just look for polymeric sand or paver joint sand.
Spread out a layer of paver sand, level it off with a board, and tamp the area again.
Lay Your Pavers
Now you’re ready to lay your paver stones. Start at the corner of your patio space and work outward, placing the pavers straight down into the sand. Continue filling in the pavers as snuggly as you can until you’ve covered the entire area.
If you need to fill in excess space with smaller stones, you can use a masonry saw to cut your pavers to shape.
Lastly, install paver edging around the patio’s perimeter. Paver edging comes in strips of construction-grade vinyl that hold your exterior pavers in place. You’ll line the strips tightly around the patio perimeter and anchor them with spikes.
The last step in extending your patio with pavers is to fill in the cracks between stones. You’ll cover the patio with paver sand, sweep off the excess, and go over the area again with the compactor.
Note: You can follow the steps above to build a brick patio. Simply use bricks of your choice instead of concrete pavers.
Other Ways To Expand an Outdoor Patio
Here are a couple more patio extension methods you can try if you want to do it yourself but avoid getting down and dirty.
- Interlocking tiles are a fantastic way to extend your outdoor living space. This option is an excellent alternative for homeowners with no masonry experience and few landscaping tools. The tiles are available online from various retailers, giving you countless options for materials, sizes, prices, and aesthetics.
- Gravel is an easy and cost-effective way to spruce up your backyard patio. Simply spread the gravel in a marked-off area, packing it down and leveling it. Then, decorate the space with cozy outdoor furniture, lighting, or a fire pit.
How Can I Decorate My Patio?
Here are some patio ideas that will transform your backyard into a welcoming extension of your home:
- Pick out patio furniture that you love. With the right set of chairs, tables, and cushions, you’ll never want to leave your outdoor living room.
- Add an outdoor rug to your patio for a low-effort burst of color or pattern.
- Construct a pergola over your patio. These eye-catching structures offer shade while providing you with a way to hang plant baskets and lighting.
- Place a fire pit in the middle of your patio for a cozy touch. Fire pits are perfect for entertaining guests during any season.
We hope this article helps you understand how to extend your patio. With the right tools and careful planning, you can build the perfect outdoor space for your family and friends to enjoy.
After your DIY patio is complete, you can add personal touches through decor, lighting, plants, and furniture. You’ll have a beautifully curated space that you and your guests never want to leave.
Frequently Asked Questions About Extending Patios
How Do I Extend My Patio on a Budget?
Concrete and gravel are the cheapest materials you can use to extend your patio.
Concrete typically costs around $5 per bag. One 60-pound bag makes enough concrete for 1.5 square feet of a 4-inch-deep patio. You’d need approximately 67 bags to produce enough concrete for a 100-square-foot patio, bringing your total cost to $333.
All-purpose gravel also costs about $5 per bag. You’d need approximately 55 bags to cover a 3-inch-deep, 100-square-foot area, bringing your total cost to around $275.
We also suggest renting as many pieces of equipment as you can. Most home improvement stores rent out tools like compactors, tampers, oscillating saws, and more, which can help you save hundreds of dollars on equipment.
For example, you can rent a plate compactor for four hours for around $60. You’d pay $500-$1,500 to buy a new one. You can rent a concrete saw for $45 for a 4-hour timeframe, or buy one for over $500.
Renting these products is far more cost-effective than buying them – especially if you plan to use the tools for only a couple of home improvement projects.
How Do I Know if My Patio Slab Is Level?
You can use a line level and bubble level to ensure your patio is even.
To create a line level, drive nails or stakes into each corner of your work area. Tie a string to each nailhead to surround your project space with a “fence” of string.
Then, use a bubble level to ensure each string is at a consistent height from the ground.
Can I Refresh My Old Concrete Patio?
You can easily refresh your existing concrete patio to get it looking good as new.
Use a recoat primer or concrete stain to add a glossy finish to the worn-out surface. Depending on your preference and needs, you can select an acid-based or water-based solution for your patio refresh project.
- Acid-based stain bonds with the concrete to create a longer-lasting, fade-resistant finish. This option is less likely to fade or chip away as time passes.
- Water-based stains fill in the pores of old concrete, adding color and dimension to the worn-out surface. Water-based products typically come in a wider variety of colors and dry more quickly once applied.
Check out our guide on how to stain wood if you need tips for refreshing your wooden patio or deck.
What Are the Benefits of Extending a Patio?
The main benefit of extending your patio is that it gives you more space to enjoy your home and yard. Along with boosting your curb appeal, a more extensive patio provides ample room to entertain guests, serve meals, and socialize outdoors.