Pretty Up Your Patio on a Budget With These 10 Projects
Get your patio ready for guests with these easy, wallet-friendly DIYs.
With outdoor entertaining season upon us, a patio spruce-up is probably on your to-do list. Before you spend a fortune on brand-new furniture and decorations, think about saving money (and keeping stuff out of a landfill) by using what you already have. Got some old outdoor furniture that’s looking worse for wear? Give it a makeover! Have wine bottles, beer cans or extra T-shirts lying around? Upcycle them into lanterns or planters! We've rounded up 10 clever DIYs to help you dress up your patio for less.
Macramé Lawn Chair
Even if they're looking a little dated, don't throw away those old folding lawn chairs. Instead, give them a budget-friendly makeover with colorful craft cord.
Make This: Macramé a Vintage Lawn Chair
Mobile Crate Table
If you don't already have wooden crates lying around, you can pick them up for cheap at a big box store. Then, transform them into this storage-packed table on wheels.
Make This: Mobile Crate Coffee Table
Beach Towel Slipcovers
If your outdoor cushions are looking dingy, you don't have to buy all new ones. Just cover them with easy-sew slipcovers made from inexpensive beach towels, and throw them in the wash when they get dirty.
Make This: Outdoor Slipcovers From Beach Towels
Start With a Rug
Just as an area rug can create a conversation area inside, it can do the same thing for a patio. Outdoor rugs come in tons of styles, colors and sizes. But, if you do not have a pool leading to wet feet on rugs you can use almost any type of rug outside. See how to turn a canvas drop cloth into an outdoor rug >>
Plants make everything more homey. Take a look at what type of plant will work best for your patio. If you are decorating a covered area you want plants that take shade and indirect light. Hanging baskets are a great option for west-facing patios and porches because they’ll provide extra shade in the late afternoon. This plant hanger was made inexpensively from upcycled t-shirts. Get the step-by-step instructions >>
Use Beach Towels for Seat Cushions
Sure you can buy ready-made outdoor sofa cushions, but you can also fairly easily make your own. Why not make them slipcovers so you can easily wash away popsicle drips and pina colada spills? On top of that, wouldn’t it be even better if the slipcover fabric was made from beach towels? Learn how to make beach-towel slipcovers >>
Wood is not the only material on your porch that needs protecting. If you have metal furniture consider painting with rust-resistant paint. Many aerosol protective sprays will also work on plastic outdoor furniture such as fiberglass. Learn how to refinish metal furniture >>
Bring an Old Chair Back to Life
Don’t send those old-school folding lawn chairs to the landfill just yet. Use nylon craft cord to macrame them with a bold pattern or colorful design. Learn how to do it >>
Give your flower pots personality with words. Use stick-on letters to create your message, paint over the pots then peel off the letters to reveal your saying. See the detailed instructions >>
Give your patio a little tropical flare by growing a pineapple plant in a planter that looks like a pineapple. Pineapples are in the bromeliad family, so they’re quite hardy and will take root rather quickly. For the planter, a plain yellow pot was crisscrossed with black-patterned washi tape to make it look like a pineapple. Take a look at the step-by-step instructions >>
Make a Place to Set Your Drink Down
Make sure to have plenty of tables in your outdoor living area so your guests will have a place for snacks and drinks. You can buy furniture specific for the outdoors or you can take most indoor furniture outside with the right preventative measures. See how we refinished this rattan set so it can stand up to the elements >>
Hula Hoop Chandelier
Make a Hula-Hoop Chandelier 00:58
All you need is a hula hoop, ribbon and string lights to make this fun outdoor light fixture that'll cast a soft glow on your outdoor space.
Photography by Mike Faulkner
Illuminate your patio and ward off mosquitoes with these DIY citronella torches. No need to buy new containers — just use empty glass bottles.
Make This: Citronella Torches in Upcycled Glass Bottles
Beer Can Lanterns
DIY Beer Can Lanterns 00:41
With a little spray paint and some votive candles, you can turn empty beer cans into cute little lanterns for your next outdoor shindig.
ADD GREEN WHILE SAVING GREEN
You can often score free wood pallets from small businesses or Craigslist. Paint the wood in pretty hues that match your outdoor decor, and make these rustic planter boxes.
Make This: Colorful Planter Boxes From Upcycled Pallets
Hanging T-Shirt Planter
Who doesn't have too many T-shirts? Put the extras to good use by making this cute hanging planter, perfect for small plants.
Make This: Upcycled T-Shirt Planter
EASY FLOOR UPDATES
Painted Canvas Rug
Outdoor rugs are expensive, but canvas drop cloths aren't. Transform one into a colorful area rug with basic painting supplies.
Make This: Painted Canvas Area Rug
Or, use garage paint to give tired concrete floors a bold update.
Open-Air Herb Garden
Joanna Gaines transformed this once awkward (and tiny) atrium into an open-air herb garden. Located right off the kitchen and dining area, the courtyard is a perfect place to entertain, and a fragrant herb garden makes prepping delicious meals easy.
Once bare, this tiny yard behind a rowhouse in Brooklyn, N.Y. now features a canopy of plants, such as crepe myrtles and camellias. Landscape designer Michael Van Valkenburgh planted trees that naturally cool the garden terrace and house and created a bird habitat.
In this small urban outdoor patio, a salvaged wood wall and potting table satisfy the city gardener. Climbing vines and potted plants, including a terrarium, create a lush space, while a candelabra adds ambiance for outdoor dining.
Modern yellow furniture fills this small patio area, coordinating with the electric yellow back door. The furniture and door energize and invigorate the exterior of the colonial-style home.
An easy way to make the transition from indoors to outdoors feel seamless? Houseplants! Here, container gardens, potted trees and small planters lead occupants out onto the small balcony and give it a lush feel.
The fix for a tiny outdoor space that lacks architectural interest is simple. Add a makeshift canopy, awning or "tent" by attaching a colorful blanket to high wooden stakes. Not only is it festive, but it also functions as a source of shade. When you tire of it, it's easy to take down, or swap out the blanket.
Table for Two
No matter how small your outdoor space, you can find a way to squeeze in a bistro table for alfresco dining. Drew and Jonathan Scott's home includes a quaint courtyard with this small, blue bistro set.