If you find it a little more difficult, for economic reasons, to take a vacation this summer you may be looking to spend time with friends and family at home. A nice evening with those you love in the backyard is a nice alternative provided your patio is updated with this summer’s trends.

Some on a budget are choosing to downsize the patio, ordering shorter seat walls which use less stone, choosing more cost-effective barbecues and other materials. Here are some other ideas to give life to your patio:

Substitute an outdoor fireplace or barbecue with a prefab option that will give you a look just as nice as a custom-built model, but much more cost- and time-effective (installation can be as short as two hours for some models).

Attend to scratches, cracks, and stains in your patio floor by using overlay pavers, which will save you the trouble of ripping your old floor out.

You could opt for a barbecue bought from a store (the portable kind) instead of a built-in model. With the wide variety of options, from charcoal fired to gas with double burners, you will be sure to find one that fits your budget.

LED’s are a much better option than incandescent and halogen for outdoor lighting. Although LED’s cost a bit more, they are a smart investment because of how long they last, they use less electricity, and they come in a wide range of colors that will add to a pleasurable ambiance.

For some folks, tending to a large garden is cumbersome, or perhaps you do not even have the yard space. By planting in containers, you will not have to worry about these issues and you can still tend to a nice assortment of annuals and vegetables on the patio. To build your containers, choose materials that match your outdoor decor.