After living in this house for three years and going through a kitchen remodel, two bathroom remodels, and lots and lots of cans of paint, I figured it was time to do something about our backyard. For those who know me, it is no secret I like to get things done in a frugal manner. That means I enlist the help of friends and usually have my hubby do everything else I can’t do (don’t let him fool you, he loves it)!
Living in West Texas, it gets HOT! Luckily we have two big oak trees shading our back patio which keeps it somewhat cooler but the downside are the doves that like to leave their droppings everywhere. Yuck! My goal is to to make the backyard patio a little more inviting using my garage sale finds, and to stay under $100 dollars.
I’m a little embarrassed to show the BEFORE photos because it is just so darn bad but hopefully you’ll enjoy the AFTER photos. Here we go, yikes!
As you can see from the photos, (again I’m super embarrassed by these) with the combination of three kids, a dog, and our West Texas wind, the back patio is in disarray. I recently sold that door you see leaning against the fence for $5 and the bbq pit my husband made out of an old diesel tank for $80. You can bet this is going towards my $100 budget!!
WHAT I NEED
Ideally, I would like to find a rug to make a dedicated seating area on the back patio. Currently the back patio is so large that there is no clear spot to take a seat. Chairs end up everywhere and it always ends up looking like a hot mess! Next, I would like for the current cushions on the chairs and love seats to actually stay put and upright. I bought these last summer and since then the dog uses them as a current lounge and the cushion to support your back keeps folding down onto the seat. For color and coziness, I want to find a couple of outdoor plants to frame the area as well as a couple of plants known to keep those darn mosquitoes away. And finally, the piece that is going to bring everything together, outdoor patio string lights!!!! I LOVE these and think they look beautiful with any decor for an easy, laid-back vibe. These will be hung over the seating area to frame that space out once more.
Becoming a recent part-time stay at home mom, I am discovering so many interesting things and I’m loving it!! For example, this past Thursday I was driving around and saw a sign for an estate sale! It took me about two blocks to get over the idea that I was going to be buying something from the house of someone recently deceased but like I said, that was just two blocks before I turned around and headed over there! I’m so glad I did because I found an outdoor rug just big enough for my patio. I would’ve spent more time in there if I didn’t have the kids with me but I think I just found a new hobby.
Next I headed over to our local garden center. The kids loved exploring all the different plants and spent the majority of the time pretending they were tigers roaming through the jungle. This definitely allowed me time to speak to the staff about mosquito repelling plants.
For my patio string lights, I could not find any heavy-duty brands locally that would hold up to our hot Texas heat and the intense sun exposure. All the wiring looked to be for indoor use. I went onto Amazon and found 48 ” of heavy-duty, string patio lights for under $60 which included all of the bulbs. My husband helped me hang the lights just where I wanted them!
These are great because they are thick enough to hold up to the elements and the light bulbs are big enough to make a nice statement. The part of the bulb that is exposed is about 2 1/2″ long by 1 1/2″ wide and each bulb hangs about every 3 feet on the cord. The cord is black allowing it to match any decor and even though they look more commercial grade, they work well in a residential setting. I have been wanting to try out these types of string lights for a long time! Here is a link to the brand I purchased.
Tell me what you think of the patio so far? My ears are wide open for comments and suggestions!
Now that the seating area is taken care, the rest of the patio and the entire backyard is still in need of some major TLC. Here is what we have planned in the next few upcoming months.
Tree Trimming: To help with our dove problem, and the overall health of the trees, we are going to have a tree trimming service come out and groom our trees. I guess you’re supposed to do this every 4 to 6 years and it looks like ours haven’t been done in a long, long time. With all the dead branches cleaned out, and an overall trim, the doves will no longer have a place that’s as comfortable to hang out. We’re hoping they leave!
Concrete Cutting: Another issue I have with this backyard is the size of the patio. It is huge! The photos I posted are just a third, maybe half, of what is out here. Not only is it long, it is wide. And when they poured the patio, they did it to go around the trees in sort of a zig-zag pattern instead of a straight line. Well, we live in a ranch style, mid-century modern home. In my opinion, the edge of the patio should have been poured straight to match the style of the house. We are going to narrow and straighten up the edges of this patio.
Backyard Leveling: Several months ago we had to replace the sewer line that heads out to the alley which required us to dig up the backyard and on the other side of the yard we decided to make our trampoline an in-ground trampoline. Long story short, our backyard has a lot of little highs and lows that need to be evened out.
Planters: I am lucky enough to have a husband that not only knows how to build things out of wood, he is also a great welder! My dream is to eventually have some metal planters placed around the patio that will fit the mid-century modern style of this house.
Obviously there is still A LOT that needs to be done. Check back every so often if you’re interested in watching our progress and how we get things done the frugal way.