Christmas patio ideas – 10 ways to make your outdoor space festive

Dress your patio for Christmas and, even if it's too chilly to spend time outdoors, you can enjoy them from inside

Christmas patio ideas, in three separate homes
(Image credit: KING Living / Cox & Cox / David Brittan)

We know it's niche but we love Christmas patio ideas. Perfect if your main living or dining space overlooks your backyard, they can extend the festivities outside and make your whole home feel more dressed for the celebrations. And, they're not all for large spaces – they can be used to make your balcony, back and even front porch feel festive, too. 

So if you're looking to create a mix of outdoor Christmas decorations and patio ideas, search no further.

Christmas patio ideas

For Christmas patios, choose Christmas decor ideas that will endure the conditions, whether wind, rain... or snow. And bear in mind that not all your ideas will be decorations – some additions will be about setting the scene. These are our favorites.

2. Enjoy festive patio evenings with a chiminea

Christmas porch decor ideas with white shiplap walls, a black chiminea, wooden skis and fur and wool blankets on seats

(Image credit: David Brittain)

'As long as there's heat and glasses of eggnog during the holiday season we're happy, right? A chiminea is an excellent investment for this busy festive period – and beyond, so dress up your patio with a sled for placing lanterns, Christmas foliage and some cozy blankets,' says Andrea Childs, editor, Country Homes & Interiors.

Wayfair has a selection of black chimineas like this one.

2. Add charm with tree shaped string lights 

Christmas tree lights on side of house, crate with logs in underneath

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

If your backyard's sightline is towards a blank wall, why not indulge in one of the best alternative Christmas tree ideas known to mankind: the string light tree? So easy to create with tiny tacks or Command Strips, or you can buy one ready-made, it is a fantastic space-saving Christmas wall decor idea for those that don't have a ton of outdoor space, and it's great to look out on.

'Designed to capture the charm of a traditional star-topped tree, the Indoor Outdoor Magical String Light Tree is perfect for those who love Christmas but are short on space, or for those seeking something a little different. Crafted with shaped metal boughs, and easy to hang from a hook on your wall, this magical tree can be displayed either inside or outside the home to striking effect. Stand it alone in the entrance hall or patio to welcome guests, or as the main attraction teamed with an array of decorations,' says Dani Taylor, product &  director at Cox & Cox.

3. Take the inside out with lanterns and mini trees

exterior of house with Christmas decorations, lanterns, presents on a shelf, wood and wire bench, basket with logs, mini trees

(Image credit: Layered Lounge)

Who says Christmas dining room ideas have to be indoors? They could easily be the decoration your Christmas patio needs, especially if the weather is mild.

'Sometimes an outdoor patio style space can be extremely useful during the festive season when the home is filled with friends and family. We like to create a little inviting entertaining space outside so that people can enjoy some fresh air whilst not missing out on the fun. We hang up bistro lights and dot around lots of small faux Christmas trees and lanterns filled with pillar candles. 

'We also usually set up a little bar area on a table so that people can help themselves to a drink, this takes the pressure off the busy hosts and of course the drinks will keep chilled. I’d advise layering up chairs or benches with blankets and a few pillows so people feel comfortable and cozy,' says Suzy Humphreys, founder of Layered Lounge.

4. Create a festive welcome with a decorated front patio

porch/patio with Christmas wreath on door, bench with presents and sacks, garland, sleigh with presents

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Looking for Christmas porch decor ideas that are easily translatable to a patio? 

'Nothing beats decorating your home for Christmas and the front patio is one of the most important parts. Give your family and guests the most joyful holiday welcome with fresh Christmas garlands, a large Christmas wreath and sacks of gifts,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens.

5. Give your patio's windows a festive spruce

exterior window sill with Christmas foliage garland

(Image credit: Bee's Knees Interior Design/)

'Windows are so useful as you can use them all year round to add color and texture to the exterior of your home. In summer, it might be a display of flowers. In winter, Christmas window decor ideas such as garlands can create a festive feel that can be enjoyed indoors and out. These fir tree stems, berries and pine cones look fabulous on this window,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens.

6. Give your patio a Christmas makeover with mini trees, stars and lights

Christmas outdoor patio decorations, trees, fairy lights, lanterns

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

‘For the get-together season, create a show-stopping welcome for guests with a warm and cozy atmosphere, using plenty of festive foliage and twinkling lights. 

'By combining drapes of hanging lights with pre-lit trees and garlands, the end result is dramatic and uplifting. If you want to go all out, decorate the walls with striking stars, and add layers of cozy throws and sheepskins to transform the space into a warm and magical winter wonderland – the more the merrier I say!' says Dani Taylor, product & creative director of Cox & Cox.

7.  A bench with a few cozy accessories will do the trick 

Christmas exterior with black painted door, wreath, wellies on steps, bench with red velvet cushion and throw, lanterns, basket with fresh foliage

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Whatever the size of your patio, Christmas door decor ideas take up no space, but can still be enjoyed (and from indoors if your door is glazed.

'If you don't have a patio as such but more of a backyard space then make the most of it by using a bench for those moments of peace and relaxation during the busy holiday weeks. A cozy cushion, blanket and lanterns are all you need – plus a steaming mug of hot chocolate of course!' says Lucy Searle, Global Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens.

8. Match your door wreath to your garland 

Blue door and archway with Christmas garland and wreath, presents in baskets on step

(Image credit: Pooky)

'If you have some beautiful architectural detailing like an archway then give it some love with a festive garland. You can dry orange slices to display (which will last longer than fresh slices). A door wreath is a must – make it match for cohesion, and use paper decorations for added appeal,' says Melanie Griffiths, editor, Period Living.

9. Invest in a super cozy armchair and blanket 

Christmas exterior patio with armchair, blocks of wood with candles, fir tree and candles, house in background

(Image credit: The White Company)

'The secret to holiday season al fresco dining is comfort. Really great quality seat pads such as sheepskin which make sitting on any hard wood or metal furniture far more inviting. Add soft throws to warm and soften the backs of metal chairs and cuddle up in,' says Mark Winstanley, chief creative officer at The White Company

10. If you live in a warmer climate, dine on your patio

Christmas patio/porch with dining table, Christmas tree, garland, white table and chairs, gray and white tiled floor

(Image credit: KING Living)

'Depending on where in the world you live, Christmas Day may be spent sat outside on your patio or porch. This is the time to go overboard with Christmas tree decor ideas. Adorn your patio with a full-sized decorated tree, white paper stars and a fresh foliage garland,' says Andrea Childs, editor, Country Homes & Interiors.

How do I decorate my front patio for Christmas?

At night, Christmas lighting ideas are everything, not only illuminating the outside of your home prettily, but also creating a display that neighbors can enjoy from their homes. Think: string lights hung from gables and lanterns dotted around the patio, porch and front door, at the very least. For day time, choose colors that will stand out: if you tend to get a ton of snow every winter, choose bright festive shades, such as red, green or gold (or all three); if you live in warmer climes, white decorations can look elegant.

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.