I know quarantine was a stressful time for all of us, but one good thing that came out of being locked in the house was finally having the time to take on home projects. The first project I tackled was painting our trim and crown molding. For any of you who have also done your own painting you know that was not a fun project. But you know what was fun? Creating our very own backyard oasis.
This year we had a beautiful spring; almost every day was perfect weather. Unfortunately, that was when quarantine started and we were stuck at home. Since we have two dogs we did get to take them on walks most days but that usually only took up 30 minutes to an hour at best. Some days I would lay a blanket in the yard and lay outside to read just so I could get out of the house and enjoy the weather. My husband and I kept talking about how nice it would be if we had a better outdoor living area or a more welcoming set up in our backyard. Finally one day we asked ourselves “why don’t we just do it?”
Once we finally decided to stop talking and start doing, the first thing we did was set a budget. I had already been looking at patio furniture, so I had an idea what that might cost. And my husband had a good idea what it would cost to have someone lay concrete. Since those two things were going to be our biggest expenses we were able to set our budget from there. We ultimately agreed that our maximum budget would be $5000.
Now that our budget was set we scheduled to have concrete poured to extend our patio. Because our existing patio was so small, we would not have been able to fit the patio furniture we wanted. We both agreed we wanted our patio furniture to consist of a couch, two chairs and a fire pit. On top of that, we wanted to make sure there was still enough space for our grill when we cook out. To make sure we could accommodate all of our needs we extended the concrete out 6 feet and down 16 feet. Having the concrete put down was actually super quick. The first day they prepared the designated area by digging up the dirt and setting up posts to mark off where the cement would go. The following day they came back and poured the cement and after only a few hours we were able to walk on it. We then waited five days and applied a sealer to protect it from any damage, such as staining or corrosion.
Up next was finding the perfect patio furniture. This is probably where I put in the most research. After many hours comparing hundreds of furniture sets online, I knew exactly what I wanted: a three-person couch, two chairs with ottomans, and a fire pit table. The only problem was I couldn’t find a set that included everything. I found one furniture set that was close but the table that came with it wasn’t a fire pit and it cost around $1700. Ultimately I had to purchase the furniture and fire pit separately but doing so ended up saving me money. I purchased this patio set on Amazon and this fire pit from Wayfair. The furniture set did have to be fully assembled which took around three hours to complete but it wasn’t too difficult. The last piece of furniture I added was this mosaic side table from Amazon. The way I arranged the furniture allows the two ottomans to act as extra seating or we can turn the chairs and use the ottomans as foot rest when we watch TV.
While we waited for the furniture to come in, we had some electrical work done and added a TV and fan to our patio. I was really concerned about how well a TV would hold up being outside, especially since we do get some bad storms in Oklahoma. I talked to as many friends as I could who have an outdoor TV, and they all said that theirs have held up fine so that helped put me at ease. We didn’t want to spend a large part of our budget on a TV, so luckily we found this TCL 50″ TV at Best Buy that included Roku TV. Next we got this ceiling fan from Lowe’s and had someone come over to install it and add more outlets outside. Before, we only had one outlet and the placement didn’t accommodate the plans we had. We added one outlet next to the TV and one up closer to the ceiling to plug in these string lights. I would not have spent this much money on lights, but these were given to us. There are plenty of other options available that are similar and more affordable.
Pinterest became my go-to site to try and find inspiration on how to put up the string lights. This post is where I got the idea to use wine barrels and wood posts to string up the lights and the barrels also doubled as planters. However, I did make a few of my own adjustments. I first lined the barrel with a large trash bag so the cement mix wouldn’t leak through the sides. I then used corner brackets to hold the cedar posts in place, attached a small PVC pipe and added lava rocks for better drainage before adding in the cement mix. After allowing the cement 24 hours to dry, I was able to cut the PVC pipe level with the cement. I added a few more lava rocks over the hole and then added my potting soil. To string the lights I used these small hooks and attached one hook to each post and three hooks along my house to hang the lights up in a W formation. My friend suggested adding these post caps to help prevent the posts from splitting. I would have never thought of adding this touch, and it really does add a more finished look.
|Patio Furniture: $799|
|Fire pit: $489.99|
|Side table: $57.99|
|50″ TV: $269.99|
|Ceiling Fan: $99.98|
|Electrical work: $350|
|Barrels: 35.47 x2|
|Cedar posts: $27.28 x2|
|Cement mix: $5.48|
|Hooks and Brackets: $10.98|
|Post caps: $23.94|
Although there are a few more additions to be made (rug and pillows), we finished our back patio over $1000 under budget, and we could not be happier with the results. This was not a quick project but it was fun and now what was once a small, drab little patio is a welcoming entertaining space.