Budget-friendly Patio Makeover

If you've been following along with us for a few years, you know we've been working on renovating the interior of our home. This year though, our goal was to tackle some outdoor projects to increase the curb appeal.

Our back patio has been an eye sore since we moved in. There was a large tree here initially, but we had to take it down because it was too close to our house. We lived with this space below for about 8 months and it just felt like wasted space...not to mention it was an eyesore. Here's a glimpse of the before. 

Most of the exterior of our home is Bedford Stone, but this new addition was added by the previous owners a few years ago. I knew we needed to tie this space in with the rest of our home so over the winter I kept running ideas by my husband. He's my sounding board and since he always does most of the work, I was trying to come up with something budget-friendly that wouldn't take a lot of time.

We settled on an idea to turn this into a French-inspired sitting area. Of course, I dreamed of a concrete patio complete with an custom iron pergola, wisteria and outdoor fireplace... I mean, a girl's gotta dream, right? ;) Once I had the vision I got busy researching and looking for ways to DIY to get the look I was going for on a budget.

Before we could get started, we ended up transplanting these small shrubs and leveling out the area for a clean slate. 

There were 5 key updates we made that truly made all the difference in this space. 

1. Pergola 

I searched high and low for a quality pergola that resembled the iron ones in France. I was surprised to find this one from Walmart. It's the Better Homes & Gardens brand so you know it has to be good :) My husband was able to install it himself and the 10'x12' fit our space perfectly. It came with a sunshade, but we left that off.  

2. New Rock 

Once we had the new pergola installed, we added a bit of fresh pea gravel from a local supplier. It freshened things up and made all the difference. This was probably our girls' favorite part of the makeover. They love to play in the rocks and imagine building castles :)

At this point we were starting to see the vision come to life, but I was still debating what to do about our large stump. Originally, we thought we would make it a fire pit.  It ended up being too close to the pergola though and we agreed it was probably a fire hazard so close to our house.  

3. DIY French Shutters 

In the photo above, you can see the French-inspired shutters starting to take shape. We used 4 sets of 4 - 1x3's which were approximately 8' tall. I wanted to add a bit of pizzazz to the large plain windows and I have always been drawn to the French shutters in Provence. This DIY really helped to tie the space together and I knew we could accent the top with some metal architectural pieces I found on clearance at Pier One (I believe these are now discontinued). Before, this area of felt so disconnected from the rest of the home. The shutters truly helped tie everything together. 

I used my HomeRight finishing sprayer to quickly paint the shutters and the color was actually an accident.


I thought it was the same color as our other exterior accents, but it ended up being a bit more blue. This "accident" ended up working out perfectly and I love that the shutters now stand out on their own! 

Once we had the shutters put together and installed, we also added hardware. I felt like this added a touch of charm and complemented the French-inspired look. 

We already had this vintage wrought iron patio set on our back deck and moving it to this space worked out perfect! 

4. New Accents (Lighting & Storm Door) 

A few other updates we knew we needed to make was outdoor lighting and replacing the broken storm door.  We partnered with Lamps Plus to update our exterior lighting and I selected the Bellagio 20 1/2" High Black Downbridge Outdoor Wall Light. We had already replaced our front door lighting with this light last Fall and I loved its classic European design and how it added instant curb appeal to our home.

We also partnered with LARSON to replace our storm door. To read all about the installation and process, see my recent blog post.

With these additions, our makeover was nearly complete!!


5. DIY Flower Bed 

Rather than spend lots of time and resources removing the large tree stump, I came up with the idea to turn it into a raised flower bed. This was one of the final DIY's we completed in this space and it turned out even better than I envisioned! We found the stone at Home Depot and added a small lilac bush, daffodils and boxwoods. 
We were thrilled with the results of this budget-friendly makeover project. It took some time and hard work, but by being able to DIY most of my ideas we were able to achieve the French-inspired look we were going for initially.
I'm so glad we have this patio to enjoy as a family now. What was once wasted space is now an inviting entry to our home and a new area to entertain guests. 

Are you ready to tackle your own outdoor project? I would love to hear what you are working on in the comments below!

As always, thanks for stopping by and following along on our renovation journey.




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