Fall patio ideas – 10 seasonal ways to cozy up your outdoor living space

From twinkling lights and pretty planters to autumnal color palettes, there are plenty of ways to create an inviting backyard as temperatures cool

fall patio ideas
(Image credit: (From left to right) Wayfair / Wayfair / Jacky Hobbs)

With the end of summer in sight, it's time to think ahead to fall. And although you're less likely to spend long, leisurely hours sunbathing in your yard, it's still a wonderful season to make the most of an outdoor living space, just before temperatures really drop.

Fall may bring crisper air and darker evenings, but it also brings a fiery spectrum of hues to our gardens. Many flowers are still standing strong, too, resulting in a beautiful backdrop for entertaining and relaxing alfresco. All it takes is a few extra details to cozy up your patio, and you'll be ready to embrace the season in both comfort and style.

10 cozy looks for your backyard patio

Create a gorgeous outdoor space with these seasonal looks.

1. Keep warm with a fire pit

patio with chiminea and outdoor seating

This cozy scheme is from Wayfair

(Image credit: Wayfair)

'Having a fire feature makes your patio more functional, as it provides both a light and heat source on chilly fall nights,' says landscaping expert Joe Raboine. Plus, they're perfect for making s'mores with the family, he adds.

There are lots of options available, including sleek fire tables with additional lids, built-in fireplaces, simple fire bowls, and classic chimineas. Choose one that fits with the look and size of your space.

And if you have an outdoor fireplace but it's not quite cool enough to light it, you could take a leaf out of stylist Lisa Fontanarosa's book by filling the hearth with candles, instead. It adds the imagery of a roaring fire, she says.

Terrain Square Bowl Firepit | $498 from Anthropologie

Terrain Square Bowl Firepit | $498 from Anthropologie
Made from sturdy iron, this beautiful fire bowl adds a sophisticated touch to any outdoor living area, and includes storage space for logs.

Joe Raboine
Joe Raboine

Joe Raboine is the Vice President of Design at Oldcastle APG, the parent company of Belgard. He collaborates with both sales and marketing to ensure that Belgard’s contractors and dealers are receiving best-in-class service, products and experiences. To that end, he often hosts webinars, assists with training events and trade shows, and presents at Belgard Universities and other industry events on current topics such as design trends, product innovations and industry best practices. As part of his role, he also oversees the Belgard Design Studio team.

Lisa Fontanarosa
Lisa Fontanarose

Lisa is a stylist, gardener, floral creator, and creative consultant who has traveled all over the world working with A-list style makers and collecting beautiful objects for her shop and home. She creates luxurious spaces for private clients and works with designers who create custom pieces for some of the biggest names in the business, including Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Colette, and Bon Marche.

2. Plant fall-blooming containers around your patio space

potted heather in fall garden

A colorful container display from Dobbies

(Image credit: Dobbies)

The start of fall is the perfect time to refresh those patio containers. Remove old and tired-looking summer bedding plants and replace them with jewel-hued varieties that will see you through to the first frost (and in some cases – beyond).

Lisa favors urn-style planters with trailing ivy and autumnal foliage for her patio, as well as lots of potted mums – a gorgeous fall flower for pots. Winter heath, as shown above, can also make a dramatic impact when planted en masse. Ornamental grasses offer a contemporary look, while dainty violas and pansies are perfect for fall planters on window sills.

Barnacle Urn planter | $248 from Terrain

Barnacle Urn planter | $248 from Terrain
This 13" clay planter is finished with a textural glaze that gives it a charmingly worn look – perfect for adding a touch of whimsical romance to a patio or deck.

3. Mix and match details for an artsy and eclectic look

fall patio with dining area and festoon lights

A sophisticated color palette is combined with contemporary festoon lights in this inspiring space

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs)

This outdoor living space is fresh, functional, and full of eye-catching details. 

Don't be afraid of a bit of mix and matching if you want to recreate a similarly eclectic scene – but try to stick to a considered color palette to maintain an overall sense of cohesion. For instance, here, teal green is used across the chairs, table, and numbered pots, while the orange chair is mirrored by the vibrant flowers.

Such opulent colors marry beautifully with bold backdrops. Now could be the time to paint a patio fence or wall midnight blue or black for an extra cozy feel.

Meanwhile, garden shelving provides the perfect opportunity for vertical displays of potted plants and fall decor.

4. Illuminate the darker evenings with plenty of outdoor lights

cozy patio with lighting by Lights4fun

Turn up the ambiance with lighting – as demonstrated in this cozy scene from Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

We get fewer daylight hours in the fall, but that’s no reason to spend less time outside, points out Joe. 'Depending on your budget and style, you have a variety of lighting options to illuminate your patio. 

'For a simple solution, opt for string lights around your space,' he says. 'If you want to invest a bit more, you can install hardscape and landscape lights that highlight your outdoor features.'

For maximum impact, layer your patio lighting across levels, but stick to soft glows to keep the ambiance soft and inviting.

Blue Diamond Concrete Lantern | $78 from Terrain

Blue Diamond Concrete Lantern | $78 from Terrain
Create an atmospheric glow on your patio with these rustic lanterns, handmade from concrete. Simply pair with real or LED candles.

5. Embrace natural textures and neutral tones

Dobbies patio furniture in fall scheme

This rattan set is from Dobbies

(Image credit: Dobbies)

For that effortlessly chic and organic look, weave plenty of natural materials into your patio this fall. 

If you're looking for a patio furniture update, consider opting for outdoor rattan in neutral hues. This durable material looks stylish no matter the season, but it's particularly complementary to pillows and other accessories in tones of rust, parchment, and brown.

'Mixing a variety of textures really keeps a neutral backdrop from looking too flat,' says Kriss Swint, an outdoor living expert from Westlake Royal Building Products. 'Consider incorporating basket-weave flower containers, metallic-painted pumpkins or faux fur blankets.' Wooden and clay features can also be used for an earthy, tactile aesthetic.

6. Layer up outdoor textiles in autumnal colors

outdoor sofa with cushions from Wayfair

A cozy corner from Wayfair

(Image credit: Wayfair)

You can never go wrong with warm hues when accessorizing a fall patio. Just a couple of orange pillows can be all it takes to give your space a quick refresh, perhaps combined with a plaid blanket for cuddling up in when the sun sets.

If you have a covered patio, you could also create a garden screen with fabrics to provide more shelter and privacy. Lisa Fontanarosa, for instance, hangs red stripy curtains in her space for fall. These complement her end-of-summer flowers in nearby borders – including dahlias and astilbe.

7. Decorate a patio wall with a fall-inspired wreath

outdoor sheltered dining area

An autumnal wreath can make the perfect finishing touch to a fall-inspired seating area, as shown in this setup from Garden Trading

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Fall wreaths are a simple yet effective way to transform a porch for the season, and they can be used to decorate a patio, too. 

Although there are plenty of pre-made designs available to buy, you can also spend a few hours making your own. It's the perfect activity to celebrate the start of fall, alongside a spiced pumpkin latte, of course.

Whether you go for something extravagant or simple is up to you. Kriss Swint suggests adding burlap ribbon (this one from Ribbli at Amazon comes in multiple color options) which will give a rustic look, or you could use velvet for a touch more opulence. Faux berries and leaves make another seasonal (and long-lasting) addition if you don't have any to harvest in your own backyard.

Preserved flax, daisy, strawflower, and amaranthus wreath | $138 from Anthropologie

Preserved flax, daisy, strawflower, and amaranthus wreath | $138 from Anthropologie
This handcrafted wreath features dried flowers and grasses in sumptuous hues – a gorgeous way to brighten up a covered outdoor seating space.

8. Use fall flowers for outdoor table displays

autumn flowers on outdoor tablescape

These floral arrangements were created by Arthur Parkinson

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs)

From dazzling dahlias and yellow rudbeckias to ornamental grasses topped with delicate seedheads, there is plenty to enjoy from the cut flower garden in fall. If you're planning a get-together, arrange some in a large vase to decorate your outdoor table – it's an easy way to elevate any occasion.

You can use faux flowers and greenery, too, for an extra boost. 'Pop in an artificial sunflower to enliven any plant arrangement,' recommends Kriss. 'It’s hard to beat as a no-maintenance accent you can reuse every year.'

9. Decorate your outdoor space with pumpkins

pumpkins and checked blanket

Make the most of this season's harvest – this scene is from Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Nothing says fall like pumpkins – so why not bring some of these colorful veggies into your seasonal patio scheme? They're certainly not restricted to Halloween decor.

Position a mixture of gourds in all shapes and sizes in vintage crates or baskets, placed around your outdoor seating space. A large painted pumpkin can be used in a seasonal centerpiece for your alfresco table, or place one or two beside your backdoor. You could even hollow one out to make a pumpkin planter for your cut flowers.

10. Cozy up your patio with an outdoor rug

outdoor living with rug, fire pit and lights

The furniture in this chic space is from Danetti

(Image credit: Danetti)

If you haven't invested in an outdoor rug yet, fall is the perfect time to do so. They'll provide soft comfort underfoot, as well as extra texture and color to your patio's aesthetic. They also provide more definition to a space. 

They are easily one of the most stylish ways to extend the use of your patio as the temperatures drop. Try one in warm or neutral tones for an extra autumnal feel, making sure it complements the rest of your patio accessories.

Davies Indoor/Outdoor Rug | $434 from Lulu & Georgia

Davies Indoor/Outdoor Rug | $434 from Lulu & Georgia
This handwoven, durable rug will add warmth and style to your patio this fall and beyond. It's available in five different sizes, and as well as an earthy tan and black, there is also a gray and black colorway that would suit cooler color schemes.

Once you've given your patio a seasonal refresh, consider turning your attention to the rest of your backyard. There are lots of ways to create a gorgeous fall garden, so that you can have the best view possible from your outdoor seating area. 

Plus, there are some gardening jobs to tick off the list at this time of year, too – from fall lawn care to preparing your trees for the even cooler temperatures ahead.

Holly Crossley
Contributing Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then; over the years, she's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator. Having worked for Gardeningetc.com for two years, Holly now regularly writes about plants and outdoor living for Homes & Gardens.