Upgrading the patio on a budget

We have lived in our house for 12 years this month and, over that time, we’ve generally tried to keep it well maintained and looked after, upgrading things here and there while living within our means. While I’ve taken more of an interest inside the house, the garden has mostly been looked after by Kris. You see, gardening has never been my scene. Growing up, my mum used to ‘encourage’ (bribe?) me to weed by offering me £5 an hour, to which I said I’d rather go without the fiver than spend an hour weeding. How spoiled of me! In my defence, I was better at dusting, hoovering, or even cleaning a bathroom than working in the garden.

However, that all changed this spring. I’ve spent many hours in the garden already – as lockdown continued into April, week after week, it dawned on me that we might well be spending summer 2020 in our own back garden. I wanted to make a cosy little corner for us to enjoy lunch al fresco, or evening drinks at dusk, a little spot that we would really want to spend time in. By creating a holiday-vibe with a pretty colour scheme, fairy lights and comfy seating, on warmer nights we might be able to convince ourselves we’re actually at a villa, somewhere along the Mediterranean coastline.

The hardest work was clearing the patio of all the garden waste, and painting the wall. The rest has pretty much been a case of accessorising and making the effort to pack away the soft furnishings and rug each evening, and dress the patio again each day. If the weather isn’t great, the patio remains bare but still it looks 100 times better than it did in its state before the upgrade. (A before photo is at the bottom of this post, along with a breakdown of what we did and an approximate cost.) When buying new pieces, I made a conscious effort to choose versatile items that could work indoors too – for example, the blankets each live in a bedroom, and the cushions can be used on the bench or as floor cushions, the rug could be used in the conservatory, kitchen or living room.

Now that our gorgeous wee patio is complete, perhaps it’s time to strike while the iron’s hot and tackle the other one… or maybe we’ll just spend a few nights enjoying a bottle of cava first.


Outdoor rug, Wayfair; elephant, Dunelm; blue cushions, Dunelm; striped cushion, old; drum, gift; small lanterns, Ikea (painted bronze); large lantern, gift (out of shot); potted plant, B&Q; stove, old (painted black), bench, old (painted cream); blankets, Dunelm; table and chairs, gift. 

What we did

  1. Pulled the old, second-hand bench out and got rid of all the rubbish before clearing away the unruly plants, bushes and weeds.
  2. Pressure-washed the slabs, sweeping away the residue dirt.
  3. Stained the fence with wood stain we had lying around.
  4. Painted the wall and the bench cream to match the wall, to create a feeling of space and brightness. (approx £50)
  5. Cleaned and painted the stove, which had been sitting in a corner rusting since we bought the house in 2008. (approx £20)
  6. Accessorised with the outdoor rug (£75), solar fairy lights (£10), lanterns, cushions (£12 each, x 2), woolly blankets (£40 each, x 2), an elephant ornament (£15), the plant (a gift from Kris, so I don’t know the cost), and an old drum as a side table.

What we spent – £274 plus potted plant



  1. Barbara 24th May 2020 / 21:52

    You have both conjured up a lovely little sanctuary in your garden. If you did the other one you could go from one to the other, meal the a pub crawl!

  2. Lafotka 25th May 2020 / 08:26

    This looks amazing!! How lovely xxx
    Love the rug x

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