Before & After: Creating an Outdoor “Boss Bar” on a Budget

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Regine’s backyard presented a bit of a conundrum. She wanted to create a space for lounging and hosting, but a large part of her backyard was taken up with the driveway to the garage. Not to be deterred, she got creative and over the course of three summers, created a backyard oasis on a budget.

From Regine: Our backyard before was begging to be made into something pretty. We basically created something out of nothing since we have a three-car garage that is entirely in our backyard, which means the driveway leading into the garage goes into our backyard, which means there is little actual yard back there.

The main goal was to create a cool hangout space in the backyard. This was particularly important because our cozy cottage is small and we wanted to extend the living space to the backyard.

We worked on this over the course of three summers. The first summer was creating a patio area on part of the driveway, with dining and living sections on that patio. We kept to budget pieces by shopping mainly at Target and IKEA with a few pieces shopped elsewhere. We worked on this all summer long since we didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars all at once.

We wanted to expand the space even more, though, so the second summer we turned a section of the garage, the section directly behind the patio area, into more hangout space. The inspiration for this came from what was already there, a wooden work bench, that looked like a bar top. We were in the process of removing a built-in from the house so we converted a piece of that into a “bar cart,” added a small refrigerator, vintage bar stools that we already had, and created decor with chalkboard paint, fake foliage, a dart board and letters to call the place “Boss Bar.” The dollar store was a big help with this one, as was our own photography as we printed out pictures and hung them framed for decor.

This past summer, our third in the house, we got an outdoor couch. Over the course of the past three years, we have added more and more plants, lights and other decor. The entire project cost maybe $1,000 or less, with the biggest costs being a bench that we have since moved to our front porch, the outdoor couch, the fire pit and all of the patio decking.

Simply put, I love the after. It’s really satisfying to create something out of almost nothing, especially since we did it entirely ourselves. It’s such a comfortable hangout space and I love lounging out there. Since our house is so cozy, the backyard and the different zones we created out there enable us to host larger gatherings and parties. As with anything with us and our house, we are first-time homeowners and budget is always our issue. If we had a larger budget, we would probably have hired a contractor to do an outright renovation and create a real patio, as well as create a real room in the garage. But I love what we have done so far!

Thank you, Regine! You can see more on Regine’s blog The 256 Project.