Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Walmart. As always, all opinions and words are honest and my own.
Welcome to the typical suburban patio under the deck! These are scattered all over suburbia…the concrete pad just off the walk-out basement sliding door, shaded by the deck. It’s the builder-grade default.
We’ve seen our neighbors do some beautiful things with this space…resurface the concrete, extend the patio out beyond the deck, use it as a pad for a hot tub, etc. Ours was a sad, neglected dumping ground. It was where we dumped rocks that we removed from the front garden beds. There was a burn pile, wood from a sectional that was delivered a few weeks after we moved in, wires and cinder blocks that were left by the previous owners, and lots of weeds. Even as I look at it now, it’s just sad. I’ve said many times on this blog that cleaning a space will improve it immediately and that endeavor is almost always free.
And here is how it looks now…
It’s still a concrete pad under a deck that needs to be replaced, but it’s an inviting, comfortable space now that is anything but a dumping ground. It looks cared for and like a thoughtful extension of the interior.
After the clean-up, the first step was priming and painting the patio. You can read about that process in THIS POST. It now looks clean and fresh and isn’t paint-splattered and stained.
A few people have asked about adding a stenciled pattern or painted design, but we are hoping to extend this patio in a few years, so this pad might be removed or repaired and covered. It has settled sloping towards the house, which isn’t ideal. All of that to say, a fresh coat of paint will make it look nice until we decide what we want to do with creating a larger outdoor living area. It was a project that took a couple of hours at most and made a huge impact.
The next step was adding furniture to make this a true patio. While browsing Walmart’s online patio and garden selection, I immediately fell in love with these rocker/glider all-weather wicker chairs by Better Homes & Gardens and they became the jumping-off point for everything else…
The chairs, from the River Oaks Collection, are well-made, comfortable, and they have the classic look I wanted.
Jeff and Marshall put them together for me when they arrived…
The best part is they come with the cushions and high-quality covers! I have been leaving the covers on when they aren’t in use mostly because it’s so windy here in Rochester. If left uncovered, I’m afraid the cushions might be blown off. The pillows, at the very least, would end up halfway across the neighborhood! Since Minnesota winters are so long, it’s also nice to have the covers, so we can cover them up and tuck them against the house once the snow starts.
I also love that the chairs swivel, so you can turn to look out in the yard, face the table, face towards the other chairs, etc.
I bought this little acacia wood patio table to sit between the two chairs. It’s the perfect size and height to use as a side table, game table, or even as an ottoman.
I got THIS green ticking-striped outdoor pillow for each chair. It’s just the right size to provide a little lumbar support if you need it.
During my trip to my local Walmart store, I found these stackable Camrose Farmhouse Mix & Match chairs also by BHG. The color I found in my local store is different than the one sold online. They look like a classic wicker chair, but they stack together and are lightweight enough to carry around the yard. They were the perfect way to round out the conversation area and would be easy to store for the winter.
The cushions were from Walmart as well, but I couldn’t find them online.
I also picked up some inexpensive planters when I was there. I thought this was metal when I went to pick it up, but it’s made out of a heavy plastic! It’s the Ellan Faux Galvanized Planter. It was a little tall for the petunias I picked up at the Walmart garden center, so I put two bricks in it to prop up the smaller pot inside. It also weighs down the planter, which is important in the Rochester wind.
For the rest of the plants, I purchased a couple of galvanized beverage tubs for less than $8/each. I just dropped the plant inside, so I didn’t need to worry about drainage holes (although it would be easy to drill a few in there if I plant in them directly in the future.)
The cushions tie onto the backs of the chairs, so I don’t have to worry about those blowing away.
I know it might sound like I’m exaggerating about the wind, but it really is something to consider in this area! Rochester is the 2nd windiest city in the US and we regularly have things toppled over by gusts or blowing through our yard like tumbleweeds. Our gutter extenders often blow off even though they are weighed down with rocks!
And I got a bunch of plants there as well! My cart was quite the spectacle with the chairs balanced on top and plants hanging off the sides. I was impressed with myself that I got it out to the van by myself.
The petunias have been so happy on the patio. I gave them a good dead-heading when I bought them home and they have just bloomed and bloomed.
And the Boston fern provides a pretty diversion from the outlet and spigot.
We also replaced the light by the door. It looked a little dinky, so I ordered a two-pack of lantern-style lights and Jeff replaced them for me. Here is the before…
I already had a strand of cafe lights (similar to THESE), so we hung them along the joists. One strand was just enough to provide some ambient light at night.
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see this space when I’m out watering the plants or tending to the yard. Instead of avoiding it, I want to find an excuse to sit out there. I also like that it’s just a few paces away from our guest room. I feel like it gives a nice outdoor space for someone to have a cup of coffee in the morning.
To show the dramatic improvement, here is a side-by-side…
The best part is that this makeover was done with a lot of hard work by our family and it didn’t involve any large-scale expensive projects. It was a bunch of smaller projects we worked on over 2-3 weeks to complete…clean-up, mulching, planting, power washing the patio, priming & painting, replacing the light fixture. It’s amazing what good, old-fashioned elbow grease can do along with some smart shopping.