It's possible to design and build an outdoor patio as a do-it-yourself project by laying down stone or brick as the base and then adding accent pieces and furniture for a finished product. When designing a patio, plan out the seating, which can include anything from picnic tables, benches or lawn furniture, as well as decorative patio plants or ultra dwarf fruit trees.
Designing and building a patio is a moderately complex project that can take several days to complete. First, choose a site that receives shade and allows for good drainage. Next, dig a 10-inch hole in the spot, and layer it with landscape fabric. Fill the bottom 6 inches of the hole with gravel in two 3-inch layers, pressing the gravel down each time. Top the gravel with sand, tamp it down, and make sure that it is sloped from the center to the sides to aid water drainage.
Level the sand, and place the border stones first followed by the inner stones or bricks. Fill the cracks between the stones with more sand, and line the outside stones with packed dirt. Run a compactor over the stones to create a smooth, even surface, and surround the new patio with edging or a cement lip.