Choose an outdoor friendly futon. Many futons are made from materials that do not hold up well in an outdoor environment. For a patio design, choose a futon that has a metal, wrought iron, wicker or natural wood frame.
Select weather-resistant fabrics. Most futon cushions do not have weather resistant fabrics and fade over time, so a sheet, blanket or slipcover can be used to protect the original materials. Fabrics in light colors tend to fare better in an outdoor world, but black is always a friendly outdoor option.
Add pillows and blankets. An outdoor futon design requires the use of throw blankets and pillows to make the outdoors warm and friendly. Lightweight blankets and throws add color and texture to a futon. Use blue and white china colors, or black and red floral prints for a dramatic appeal.
Complement the area with a wood or wicker tray table placed next to the patio futon. Place a potted plant and a carafe of water on the tray. A couple of fine pieces of stemware bring luxury and elegance to the space. Place a lightweight linen cloth or hand towel over the arm of the tray.