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Small Backyard Patio, Small Budget: My Summer Patio Glow Up

How to Refashion a Dress to be Worn Backwards
5 Vintage Summer Outfits to Try

In my last blog post, I shared this image, which stoked lots of questions, mainly about where I got my sweet little pool, but also from folks wanting to take a peek at my patio.

refashionista sitting on small backyard patio pool
Oh hai.

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Since Mr. Refashionista and I are staying home a lot more than usual, I really wanted to make our small backyard patio something special…A happy oasis where we could cool off, play board games, and relax with a cocktail or two at the end of the day.

My paradise needed to be super low-budget, since, like many others, I was laid off a couple of months ago (which doesn’t make one feel super-spendy).

Welcome to my super budget small patio!

Small budget backyard patio panoramic view

It may not look like much, but this is the product of lots of scrounging, DIYing, and planting!

Here’s how I made my budget patio makeover happen.

The Pool

Everybody wants to know about the pool! Well, I have good news and bad news. Here’s the link to purchase one. However, you can see it’s currently unavailable. It looks like lots of other people are buying pools right now, so they’re in short supply (I’m seeing a lot of price-gouging as well). If you find one, please share the link in the comments section, so I can share it too!

intex small rectangular frame pool
Not very pretty, is it?

I purchased this pool a year ago for $83. Before that, I bought an inflatable pool every year, but I wanted something sturdier that could be re-used, hence the frame pool upgrade. It’s easy to break down at the end of summer and stash it in the garage until it’s ready to be used again.

The inside has been bleached from the sun and chlorine (more on that in just a bit), but other than that, it was perfectly fine.

Except…I couldn’t get over how ugly a big blue monolith of a pool looked on my patio. :/

I found some reed fencing and twine at Home Depot for around $20.

roll of reed fencing
You’ll do!

Since I was only covering the front of my pool, this was enough. I went with the cheapest fencing I could find, but a thicker weave would have offered better coverage. I ended up having to double up my fencing to keep the blue from peeking through. You can find nicer reed fencing here.

The nice thing about this fencing is that you can easily cut it with kitchen shears to get the right height.

cutting reed fencing with kitchen shears

After it’s cut, just tie it to the pool frame with twine, and you’re done!

roll of twine
Twine works fine!

It looks much better now, doesn’t it?

pool covered in reed fencing
No more big blue blob!

You don’t need a pump to keep your patio pool clean and sanitary.

To keep it chlorinated, just pop in one of these chlorine floaters with chlorine tablets.

You’ll also want to have to these on hand.

pool net and vacuum
The real stars of the show!

A pool net is a given, as you’ll need to scoop out leaves and bugs every day.

But the Aqua Broom is truly awesome. It’s a battery-powered pool vacuum and it works like a charm. Think of it as a dust buster for the bottom of your pool. Yes, D batteries are expensive, but this vacuum doesn’t go through them quickly (I still haven’t changed them out from last year).

If you keep your pool clean, you won’t have to dump it out and refill it all summer!

My Budget Patio Furniture & Decor

You might remember how I refinished an old patio set my friends tossed to the curb. They ended up giving me the chairs later, which recieved the same treatment as the table.

In other words, Mr. Refashionista and I scored a completely free patio table set!

refinished patio set
Refinished and getting lots of use now!

The settee you see in the background was given to me when I first moved in to my house by friends who were replacing their poolside furniture. The cushions were scored at Aldi for $15 apiece (the best price I’ve found for cushions like these).

I bought the umbrella three years ago for $30 in an online clearance sale.

In a recent dress-to-top blog post, I talked about how I scrounged this old bamboo coffee table that had been tossed out by a neighbor.

refashionista in car with table
Everything magically fits in my lil Yaris!

You can see how it’s been given a new life as a poolside bench/swim-up bar (once you set a tray on it)!

The cushions were originally bought about eight years ago, and have been recovered many many times. I sewed these covers for them out of outdoor fabric I purchased on sale at the fabric store for $13.

patio pool side view with repurposed table bench
View from the side!
brian in pool
Note the poolside ice bucket of rosé!

All of our small outdoor tables were purchased from junk stores, or found curbside.

You can see how we’ve repurposed items as planters too.

For example, when the City of Columbia switched from small recycling bins to big curbside ones, I decided the old little one would be a perfect home for some San Marzano tomatoes and radishes. I just grabbed some wood my neighbor tossed out (he was building a new deck, and these were scraps) to hide the blue plastic.

repurposed planters
Clever, no?

You can also see how I’ve repurposed a couple of old light fixtures (the bowl-looking planter on the right) into planters. The bottom hole where it would screw into the ceiling makes for perfect drainage!

The flamingoes were left over from an old apartment I used to live in. I thought they were fun and kitschy then, but hadn’t put them out in the yard of my house as I didn’t really like them being pink.

pink plastic yard flamingoes
Yes. One is missing a leg

So, I taped up their beaks…

pink yard flamingo with taped beak

….and grabbed a can of leftover spray paint from my wall garden project

can of aqua spray paint
I think this will look much better!

….and gave them each two coats!

spray painting yard flamingoes
Coat #1!

I think they look much better now, and that their new color complements the rest of my patio decor really well!

blue yard flamingo in pot
I drew in the eye with a sharpie. 🙂

The Plants

Most of the plants you see on our patio are food, rather than flower, and most of our veggies were started from seeds.

tomato plant
Our tomatoes are growing like CRRRAZY this year!
tomato plant
Even MORE tomatoes!
squash on plant close up
Lil baby poolside squash!
green beans
Green beans love sunbathing by the pool!

We purchased a few petunias, but most of the other flowering plants are simply the same ones we planted last year, that came back this year. 🙂

st johns wort flowers in pot
This St. John’s Wort didn’t look like it was going to make it at first, but look at it now!

Our biggest plant splurge was a $52 Meyer Lemon tree purchased from a local citrus farm. We can’t wait to make limoncello from our own lemons!

There you have it! My small patio (on a budget!)!

patio from another angle
Come over sometime!

I hope you enjoyed my little tour, and that this post gives you ideas of how to create a backyard oasis of your own!


How to Refashion a Dress to be Worn Backwards
5 Vintage Summer Outfits to Try

52 thoughts on “Small Backyard Patio, Small Budget: My Summer Patio Glow Up”

  1. Thank you for the tour around the pool. I love that you have veggies. I am in the desert, butt I keep an onion patch. Maybe next year I will try veggies. Your pool looks so cool.

  2. I love it! So pretty! Thanks for all the ideas. I came for the refashioning, but stayed….for everything else. That pool! Girl, I grew up a red neck hillbilly in AR, this is right up my alley. Maybe a lil too fancy;) Keep cool,stay well!

  3. I like your patio very much. The little pool, that wonderful dining set and all the touches that you’ve added, some of which you showed us before in their remake stage and some that were new to me. I love that you are growing some food. I think we should all make an effort to grow edibles, even if it is only a pot of lettuce. You have been very creative. Kudos. As a snowbirder, I had a garden down south. It was two and a half by one and a half FEET… lol And I grew Bright Lights Swiss chard in the back and African daisies in the front. I had abundant chard to use it in salads, pasta, soup and cabbage dishes. It grew all winter long and made a very pretty back drop for the daisies which were a joy. I had just edged a bit of gravel with interesting rocks and dumped a bag of soil and planted. Easy peasy and it amused me all winter.

  4. What a perfect little oasis to enjoy during the “situation”!! That pool is perfect to sit in and enjoy a libation! Enjoy your summer!

  5. Looks great! I’ve noticed a lot of pool price gouging online too – we were lucky and able to snag one at a non-gouged price at Walmart!

  6. Looks lovely especially compared to the cold rainy autumn/winter we’re having in Australia! That pool is great, I was wondering how much hassle it was to look after – not too much it seems, and I’ll be referring back to this post to look for that vacuum.
    Great post, thanks!

  7. A beautiful oasis. Thank you for sharing. I’ve spent the last hour trying to find a similar pool in that price range, no luck. Anyway, thanks again. You’ve inspired me to make something of our little backyard.

  8. I am so impressed! You’ve done a wonderful job and created a cozy, fun place to enjoy all summer and early fall – lockdown or not! Stay safe.

  9. Your patio is sure to be a charming and welcoming oasis on hot summer days. You can work wonders with whatever is available to you. Thanks for the reminder that style doesn’t necessarily have a prohibitive price tag!

  10. I couldn’t help but notice the Mr.’s t-shirt. Has he been to the Pine Club here in Dayton, Ohio. I live within walking distance of it and the steaks are awesome.

    • Mr. R grew up in Dayton Ohio! His parents moved here several years ago, and he eventually did too. 🙂 Every year his parents ship him steaks from the Pine Club for his birthday. And YES. They are awesome.

  11. What a clever idea for a little pool! I’ve definitely got to look into this. I really want a pool (I live in central FL), but as you can imagine it is just not affordable now. And the upkeep is a big concern as well. Your ability to revive castoffs is what keeps me coming back to your blog for inspiration! Love what you do!! ❤️

  12. Adorable! Clever! Such creativity! I live in St. Andrews now, but we used to live downtown off South Woodrow Street. I love the homes and the wonderful mature yards. I know you are going to truly enjoy your summer!!! Thank you for sharing with us!

  13. Love your patio/pool area. I would definitely plant large hedges between the yards for privacy and put the veggie plants away from the side of the pool. It seems unneccesarily closed in for me. Love the idea of painting the pink flamingoes, always wanted them, but the pink kept me from buying them. I’ll reconsider. My house is peach, so I would try to use that color. Thank you for this tiny peek into your lifestyle. I wish you would do room by room blogs to see what your creativity has done in the house, too.

  14. Love the patio! I need someone with your creative skills to makeover my patio. It’s a diamond in the rough right now.

  15. This is so wonderful. It doesn’t look like it was done on a budget. It looks quirky and unique (two of my own personal qualities, I might add). Love everything about it. I am going to share this because the pool is just wonderful! Thanks for all you do.

  16. What a magic little garden room you have created! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the encouragement and ideas, as I am in the process of making my backyard into the enchanting garden of my dreams, and grow some vegetables and flowers on a budget. Love every inch of your oasis, especially the blue flamingos!
    Thanks for bringing the sunshine into my day!

  17. So many great ideas here — thank you! Do you leave your pool out year round? I live in the Willamette Valley in OR (about 16-17 miles NE of Salem) and a pool like this isn’t something I’d want to leave out through the winter. Plus I don’t have much room to store things, unfortunately.
    Plus (plus, plus….) I’m going to search your archives to see if you’ve ever posted about sewing outdoor fabric cushions. This is something I’ve been thinking about lately and I can’t think of anyone better to do a tutorial on this than you!
    Hang in and keep enjoying life!

  18. Thank you so much for your sweet site! You make me smile every time I read your posts! Please, enjoy this beautiful Memorial Day!
    Tonna Chavez Ott

  19. I purchased an inflatable rectangular pool for our small backyard in SoCal. The HOA locked our pool until the county of LA says its ok to open. I live in a city in LA county that gets freaking HOT. Its going to be 95F today. You did a great job. I have a dachshund too, and am always on the lookout for cute doxie stuff.

  20. Cute patio! Is Mr. Refashionista from Dayton, OH?!?! I noticed his Pine Club tee! If that was a thrift store find then it’s such a small world that it ended up there!

    • He IS from Dayton Ohio! Every year his parents ship him steaks from the Pine Club for his birthday. This year, they got him a shirt too! 🙂

  21. Girl, you’re an inspiration! I love that you work with what you’ve got and focus on doing what makes you happy. I have similar “kooky” ideas that could turn out really cool, but I have to work hard to turn off my voice of inner doubt. (It’s my big sister. She was a “cool girl” in HS and worked hard to shape me in her image. However, she was working with very nerdy, free-spirited clay and only had moderate success.)

    Thank you for being and sharing your awesome!

  22. Our old recycling bins have been languishing (and irritating me!) in our garage for YEARS! Thank you for the idea of using them as planters! Where’s my spray paint?!

  23. We’ve had the exact same pool here in Germany for over six years now (it really is sturdy). So happy with it, especially this year when our kids can’t enjoy the public pool. Your patio looks lovely!

  24. You are amazing! Love your back yarn and beautiful garden. I miss having a garden since moving to Nyc from Cali. You are a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration.


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