Monday, June 15, 2015

DIY FUN ON A BUDGET: One Day Patio Re-do!

Finally! After several sticky, dark days of rain, I am able to sit outside, with a cup of coffee, on the patio, enjoying the flowers and newly planted evergreens. Back in April I began plotting how to spruce up our patio on a shoestring budget. We had a table and chairs set out, but without the warmth of a wood deck or surrounding shrubs, it depressed me to sit outside. All I could focus on was the noise from the road behind us, and how barren the six concrete squares looked.

Before pictures:



We typically make do and furnishing the patio has been an afterthought. In the past we’ve dotted it with pots of flowers. We had a gazebo up at one point, but the wind destroyed the canvas, which is more expensive to replace than the gazebo, so the whole thing came down. We talked about building a brick half wall around the perimeter, but hadn’t agreed on the bricks or design yet. What we’d really like is a screened in porch, but we have other priorities, like finishing the basement.

This was going to be my project and I didn’t want to mess with the pipes in the in ground sprinkling system. This meant I needed a shrub, which would grow and winter over outside in a container. Online and book sources kept pointing back to arborvitae, which is a fast growing shrub and excellent for providing privacy.  Emerald arborvitae, in fact, is an especially hardy species for our Midwestern zone.

During:


After checking other stores over the months, for comparison, I went to Home Depot last Thursday morning. The challenge was to find six nice looking pots large enough for the shrubs and to find them at a reasonable size and price. I kept praying the rain would hold off and by God’s grace, it only sprinkled on and off. I looked for flowers in shades of red and pink, hoping to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. We’ll see. After loading up everything, including four large bags of potting soil, totaling five cubic feet of dirt, I headed to our local Meijer for a small table and a colorful outdoor rug to pull everything together.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but after hours of hauling, shoveling dirt into pots, planting, sweeping, and rearranging I was almost finished. To complete cozying up the area, I managed to somehow drag the little used wooden bench from our front porch around to the back of the house. I added the throw pillows I’d purchased with Kohl’s cash a couple of months ago and added chair cushions to our patio set I’d picked up at Home Depot that morning. Ta da!

After pictures:









Honestly, I was too sore to sit outside that evening, but instead opted to relieve my aching lower back with ice and feet up in the recliner. However, I kept looking out at my “new” outdoor living space. My husband had no idea when he left that morning what I was planning, and kept looking outside in great surprise at what I’d accomplished that day. He, too, was encouraged by the spruced up look of the patio.

For this wimpy mom, working outside all day is a testimony to God’s providing strength, which I prayed for all day through. While our lives as believers aren’t about doing, but about being in Him, I enjoyed being able to accomplish this task with the Lord’s help, being a steward of what He’s given us, and displaying His beautiful creation of trees and flowers. After a few months of having to rest quite a bit, it’s been invigorating to work on such a project and I look forward to more this summer.

Close up on bird pillows. I just love the beautiful print and tropical colors!  
What have you done to spruce up your outdoor living space lately on a budget? Please share your suggestions. 

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