How We Made A Backyard Patio Oasis Out of An Ugly Spot

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Updated: December 5, 2022

Our patio makeover is complete, with a gorgeous sectional, twinkle lights and a dining spot for warm evenings! This makeover didn’t happen overnight – we lived here for 3 years with this spot looking very different!

a patio makeover with a couch, umbrella and table

But big projects always take time, money (ugh), and lots of planning. They rarely go as quickly as you like. However, we are so content having our patio the way we wanted, I do wish we had started on it earlier! At least I’m grateful that we didn’t rush any of it.

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Backyard Patio Makeover

Here is where we started.

patio makeover the before of an old patio
big backyard with small paver patio makeover

I am sharing our patio makeover on how we went from the above photo to the below!

a total patio makeover with a large stone and furniture

During our second summer here, we replaced the 100 sq ft paver patio with a 400 sq ft bluestone patio. You can read all about the details of installing the bluestone patio and what that cost us here.

irregular bluestone in a patio makeover

The next summer we planted zoysia sod. Still no patio furniture, but we did get a whole lot of grass that felt like stepping on a shag carpet! (See my thoughts after we planted Zoysia here).

big backyard with a House and a patio makeover

And a full 3 years after move in day, just in time for fall in North Carolina, our patio makeover is complete!

patio makeovers with patio furniture
patio makeover with table

Our biggest hold up with the furniture was finding the right pieces. I wanted to buy as high quality as budget allowed – especially because this furniture would be uncovered, beaten down by the elements.

We have 4 kids, a big dog, and a neighborhood with kids that are in and out of this backyard playing daily- so it needed to withstand real life!

Patio Makeover Part 1: The Seating

It was easy to find beautiful furniture. The challenge was finding furniture we could keep beautiful. Most furniture we liked would never be able to handle the strain of weather and family life. (Related: see 12 pretty outdoor hanging chairs here).

a patio makeover with a sectional and umbrella

The Outer sectional was the first piece we brought onto the patio and it is basically the answer to every patio furniture problem ever. It’s expensive; there’s no getting around that, but the design is brilliant.

Instead of hauling the cushions over every time you want to use it- this sofa has a hidden built-in shell you roll over itself to protect the upholstery from dirt, dew, and even rain. I don’t take the cushions in, but you can if you are facing several days in a row of hard, steady rain.

I wrote a not sponsored, 1 year review of our Outer sofa here!

a bluestone patio makeover with flowers and a sofa

Here is how it looks with the shell cover it before a rainstorm.

the outer sectional with the shell on top


Patio Makeover: Table + Pacifica Dining Chairs

I recommend purchasing patio furniture pieces slowly. It’s hard to be patient, but it’s more important to see how you will live.The tavola table from article on a patio

table outdoors set for a meal

dipped white vases | flameless outdoor candles

Once we had the Outer sofa, a dining table was next up on the list. We chose a gorgeous Tavola Driftwood teak dining table from Article, along with 4 side chairs (no longer carried). Do I recommend the table? Well….

This table is teak, so it will turn gray, but you can restrain it fairly easily. Honestly, I’m nervous because it is already showing a few random spots from items we have put down on the table and left. Cross your fingers. I’m feeling just okay about it and I’m not sure I would recommend it. Learn more with my blog.

the tavola table on a patio

Our 2 driftwood Pacifica Dining chairs on the ends of the table are the real MVP here – they appear to be made of pretty beachy woven rattan, but really they are weather friendly resin!

close up of Serena and lily patio furniture

These chairs look stunning online, but they are even prettier in person! See them here:

the Pacifica dining chair from Serena and lily

The cushions (I chose a thin blue pin stripe) have a zipper so you can clean them. I don’t plan to leave the cushions out daily- since they are small and thin, I can just bring them out as needed.

The Magic Of The Makeover Is In the Details

When dreaming up a patio makeover, remember to bring some fun to the space!

Fun Umbrella

At the top of the list is a big beautiful umbrella over the sunniest part of your patio. Don’t just buy the first boring umbrella you see- think stripes, fringe, or scalloped edges. For our patio, I envisioned an umbrella that gave off just a small amount of old school Palm Springs vibes.

patio makeover with stone, table and chairs

I initially considered this cute umbrella (goes out of stock often, get on notifications), and almost bought this pretty one that came highly recommended, and looked at this blue and white one because the price is crazy cheap.

We liked the playful Eastport umbrella the most though, because it is large, heavy duty, and the scallops are just plain fun! I bought this significantly heavy stand to secure it (it has wheels to move it!), which wasn’t terribly expensive. If I ever get around to spraying the stand silver it will look even better.

Affordable Umbrellas we like:

Coffee Tables

We put a white coffee table out here to keep the lighter feel, and we found this gorgeous piece from CB2. It is actually used often as an indoor coffee table as well!

patio makeover with outer sectional

(Blue planter off Amazon here)

Here are some favorites I liked:

String Lights Are Magical and Necessary!

String lights are just for fun but they are so necessary! With simple nails, ours hang along our fence (similar string lights linked here). Our lights click on for a few hours each evening through this outdoor timer – I highly recommend using that! When the lights click on in the evening, it will magically draw you outside.

string lights on a fence in a patio makeover

We also wrapped these solar twinkle lights up a tree – they are bright and holding up great.

Pretty Pillows

Lastly, some fun outdoor pillows bring color and style. If you are looking at your patio and feeling like it’s missing something, it could likely be colorful pillows! he ones we used:

Add some greenery

We like a mix of real and faux to make it easier. Here are two topiaries we own and love in our outside areas.

I hope this inspires you to tackle big projects, and don’t forget great ideas take time. If you like this article from me, you can also see how to Shop Our Home!

You Might Also Like:

The Bluestone Patio

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Our Home’s White Paint

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