After 10 years in our home, we finally updated our backyard this year. To be honest, our yard was such a blank slate that I couldn’t even begin to figure out what to do with it, and I panicked a little at the idea of making big permanent commitments with the space. Instead, we took on a few non-permanent projects (like our hanging potted herb garden, cinder block bench, and cinder block raised garden bed) while we waited to decide what to do with the yard in general. Now that we’re spending a considerable amount more time at home, we knew that it was time to transform the space into an enjoyable spot to hang out this spring and summer. Like all of our DIY projects, this was a budget patio makeover. We decided on a French country patio vibe. I took inspiration from photos from our trip to the Loire Valley in France’s chateau country and the outdoor décor in French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings and looked for cheap DIY backyard ideas to make it happen. Today I’m sharing all the details on our backyard makeover on a budget. If you’re looking for backyard patio ideas on a budget, this post has everything you need, including before and after shots, a list of what we did, and links to the items we purchased.
Disclosures: I received some items as free samples for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience with the products. This post also contains some affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase using the links, I may receive a commission. This does not cost you anything additional.
Before and after our budget patio makeover
We always planned to replace or cover the concrete, so I used it for spray painting and other DIY. It definitely needed an update!
Backyard deck ideas on a budget – What we did
I’ve got complete details on all the budget patio ideas below, but here is a summary of the updates we made for our backyard makeover on a budget:
- Resurfaced our concrete patio
- Repainted our back door (our dogs and the weather had made the old paint look more shabby than chic)
- Added a gazebo
- Replaced cushions for existing furniture
- Added an outdoor rug
- Incorporated lots and lots of potted plants (including many florals and potted shrubs for our French country patio theme)
- Incorporated stone and wood accents to compliment our existing cinder block pieces (including a coordinating firepit, a reclaimed wood table, and some of the plant pots)
- Added a few new furniture pieces in the French country patio theme
- Added a few other French country-inspired accents (such as throw pillows, flowers, and lights)
- Added budget-friendly decorative lighting
Budget patio ideas – decorative concrete resurfacing
One of the things that we have always struggled with was what to do with our plain concrete slab patio. We decided that the most cost-effective and easy solution was to update and add new life to our existing patio with a SpreadStone™ Decorative Concrete Resurfacing Kit from Daich Coatings. I am so happy with the results! Check out my post on Resurfacing a Concrete Patio for all the details on this weekend DIY project, including concrete resurfacing cost, what you need for the project, and the steps for decorative concrete resurfacing. We saved hundreds by doing it ourselves, and thousands compared with replacing it.
Backyard patio ideas on a budget – Furniture and décor
To add some shade (a necessity for surviving the Texas summer), our budget patio ideas included adding a 10’x10′ gazebo with canopy and mosquito netting. It is not only sturdy and beautiful, but a great cost-effective and non-permanent alternative for those who are considering an in-ground pergola or gazebo. Some of the things I love about the one we chose are the mosquito netting (which will also help us enjoy our yard in the summer more here in Texas) and the built-in hook to hang a light or plant.
We already had a reasonably priced outdoor seating set like this one, but the cushions were the wrong color for our French country patio look (a dark orange), plus they were fading and getting holes in them. For our budget patio makeover we replaced them with sandstone colored outdoor cushions from Amazon to give the old furniture set new life and keep our project costs down considerably. We doubled the amount of cushions in our makeover so that half could be used as seatbacks.
We decided to replace the old set’s glass-top coffee table with this reasonably-priced reclaimed wood coffee table that we found on Amazon, and coated it with exterior wood sealer. The rustic look of this table not only tied our French country patio décor theme together, but also coordinated nicely with the wooden parts of our existing cinder block bench.
An outdoor rug is an often-forgotten key component to the style of an outdoor space. We chose a 7’x10′ Kenton Cobalt Outdoor Rug from At Home. You just can’t beat the rug prices and variety from At Home. The 7’x10′ rug size filled out the space under the 10’x’10 gazebo nicely.
For lighting, we hung a Galjon Pendant from IKEA from the gazebo’s built-in hook. We had to change the lamp from a ceiling connection to an outlet plug, which we were able to do easily with a kit like this. It could then be plugged into our outdoor outlet with an outdoor extension cord.
We also added some Utsund battery-operated outdoor twinkle lights from IKEA for an alternative to the brighter pendant when we’d prefer some lower mood lighting.
The finishing touch for our outdoor lighting, and consistent with our French country patio feel, were these battery-operated lanterns, which we got in a few different sizes and styles from At Home (this one, this one, and this one specifically).
A fire pit is an important addition to a backyard, but it isn’t always budget-friendly. We got this steel wood fire pit with stone top from Home Depot because of how well it coordinated with our cinder block bench and cinder block raised garden bed, but it was one of the more expensive additions to our project. There are definitely much more expensive options, but if you’re looking for cheap backyard makeover ideas, I’d go for something even more low cost, like a black one that would coordinate with the wrought iron look of the bistro chairs and gazebo legs.
French country patio inspiration – Plants
One of the most important elements for a French country patio are plants, and lots of them. Plants are also great budget patio ideas because you can get smaller ones that will eventually grow bigger, and have a big impact to your décor without spending a ton of money. We got our plants from Home Depot and Walmart’s Garden Center. I can’t wait to see how our various potted flowers and shrubs look as they mature! Our yard will be such a calming haven as we lounge around surrounded by greenery and flowers.
Some of the plants we chose included gardenias, shrub rose bushes, lavender, rosemary, topiaries, and boxwood. We spread out the plants in groupings around our furniture, at the corners of the gazebo, and against the back wall of our house surrounding our door.
For the plant pots, we selected shabby chic galvanized plant pots from Amazon, these 15″ and 10″ resin galvanized pots from At Home, and a mix of random grey-toned IKEA plant pots in different sizes (Boysenbar, Fnittrig, Gradvis, and Nypon).
Hydrangeas and roses felt like the perfect French country centerpiece.
We are so happy with our updated space! I look forward to many afternoons and evenings on our patio this spring and summer. If you’re looking for backyard deck ideas on a budget or French country patio inspiration, I hope these cheap backyard makeover ideas inspire you and help you with your own DIY patio makeover!
More DIY patio ideas on a budget:
- French country-inspired budget patio makeover
- Resurfacing a Concrete Patio for a Budget DIY Patio Makeover
- How to Make a Hanging Potted Herb Garden
- DIY Cinder Block Raised Garden Bed
- DIY Cinder Block Bench
- DIY Cinder Block Plant Bench
- Throw a Fabulous French Country Style Outdoor Party
- Three Ways to Style Your Yard with a Hammock
- Front Yard Garden Makeover
- DIY Front Door Makeover
- Curb Appeal