Consider Your Privacy
Apartment living is often cramped, but a private patio is your chance to escape your neighbors and enjoy the sunshine in peace. If you don't like the idea of an open patio where others can easily see what you're doing, look for apartments that offer patios enclosed by tall fences. This will give you the privacy you crave even if your neighbor's patio is right next to yours.
Make Your Patio Comfortable
Whether it's open or private, plan to add patio furniture, potted plants or a fire pit to create a comfortable environment. You can even turn your patio into a vegetable garden if you enjoy container gardening. There are also some hanging planters that will allow you to grow tomatoes or strawberries without taking up floor space.
One of the advantages to finding an apartment with a patio rather than a balcony is the ability to use a fire pit or grill. Balconies are made from wood and are connected to the apartment building, so any source of fire is typically forbidden. Most patios have concrete or stone floors and allow you to grill out or enjoy a safe fire pit placed away from the apartment building. You may still want to check with your apartment management to ensure that you understand the rules regarding these heat sources.
Ask for a Patio Unit
Tempe apartments with patio access are in high demand, so make sure that you express your preference to the landlord or property management team right from the start. They can tell you how likely they are to have a patio unit available on your move-in date. If the patios aren't enclosed, you may want to look at multiple apartments to select the one with the best scenic view from the patio.