The 20 Best Outdoor and Patio Makeovers We’ve Ever Seen

published Oct 17, 2020
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Credit: Lisa Carolla

If there’s anything to be learned from all the time spent at home this year, it’s that any and all available space counts. And that includes whatever outdoor space you may have at your disposal. 

Whether it’s a teeny-tiny patio or balcony, or a big backyard complete with a deck, putting a little effort into making that area an extra space for lounging or dining is well worth the effort. These awe-inspiring outdoor and patio makeovers prove it.

1. A $500 Redo Turns a “Blah” Patio into the Perfect Hangout

Since the bungalow attached to this patio is only 696 square feet, maximizing the outdoor space was key to getting more out of the property. To make the patio more of a living space without breaking the bank, the homeowner used paint and a stencil to refinish the existing concrete slab, refinished the furniture, added a chiminea, and finished the look with some twinkling lights.

2. This Backyard “Mud Pit” Gets a Functional—and Beautiful—Redo

What was once a “wasteland” is now a usable space for the whole family to enjoy, thanks to some fresh paint, a brand new pergola, some creative furniture placement, and a handful of potted plants.

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3. This Rental-Friendly Patio Redo is a Plant-Lover’s Dream

Here’s proof that even renters can have envious outdoor space. Though small, this patio offered a nice alternative to spending every hour in a small apartment. The problem? It was highly uninspired and looked out on a busy street and neighboring areas. To make the area more desirable, this renter used bamboo fences and faux greenery to create a plant wall for privacy, then littered the floor plan with comfy furniture and potted plants.

Credit: Tabitha Sewer
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4. A Dark, Muddy Storage Area Becomes a Dreamy Backyard Escape

Nobody wanted to hang out in the cavernous space below this home’s deck—until the homeowners gave it a little TLC. In just 10 weeks, the couple turned the under-utilized space into an outdoor oasis, complete with a clean concrete floor, a plant wall, and plenty of comfortable furniture for lounging.

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5. This Patio’s Major Makeover Is Thanks to Paint—Seriously

To make their outdoor patio warm and inviting enough for their family of five, this couple stenciled a jaw-dropping black-and-white design on the floor, painted the walls, and refinished outdoor furniture they already owned. Now, the space is far from drab—it’s a welcoming extension of the house.

Credit: Brian Bigalke
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6. An “Unusable” Patio Turned Enchanting Retreat for $3000

Mud, debris, and dead shrubbery made this backyard barely usable—and far from desirable. But over the course of five years, the owner scoured Craigslist, garden store sales, and more to find bargains that make the space essentially unrecognizable.

7. A Plain Patio Becomes a Mediterranean-Inspired Oasis

This redo is evidence that even the smallest, most awkward spaces can become fully functional outdoor hangouts. Despite the fact that no structural changes could be made to the L-shaped 180-square-foot patio, this designer made it work by relying heavily on paint and IKEA finds.

Credit: Lisa Carolla
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8. This Backyard Used to Be Filled with Rats, But Is Now an Oasis

A backyard that was once essentially a junkyard teeming with rats is now a “vacation-ready splendor,” thanks to the addition of fencing, a pergola, a small deck, and a plethora of potted plants.

9. A Blank Balcony Wall Goes Bananas

If you’re trying to make a small patio feel like a mini retreat, make a mental note of the trick used in this makeover: stenciling. This apartment dweller totally transformed her space simply by painting a bold design on a stark white wall.

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10. This Dull Driveway is Now Super SoCal Cool

To get more living space, this couple decided to transform their driveway and storage area into a lounge for both adults, kids, and dogs. To do so, they installed modern wood fencing, added a lean-to structure for privacy, and selected colorful furniture and plants that fit into their Southeast Asian aesthetic. 

Credit: Vida Cornelious
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11. A $2,000 Redo Turns a Run-Down Patio into a Breezy Hangout

Before this renter got her hands on her apartment’s green space, it was full of old plastic pots, shards of glass, and cement rocks. But once the pandemic hit, she knew she needed a safe, comfortable extension of usable space. To make it happen, she cleared out all the weeds and garbage, installed artificial lawn, and decorated to her heart’s content.

12. A Drab Lanai Gets a Colorful Update

This traditional Floridian-style lanai went from standard to stunning with bold and bright furniture, plenty of greenery, and surprising accents that serve as odes to the owner’s love of travel and exotic locations.

Credit: Saima Sharoff
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13. A Run-Down Patio Becomes a Tropical Escape for $1100

A small wooden back porch dating from the 1930s felt old and rickety until the homeowners put their special touch on the space. They painted the house a rich navy blue with white trim, added a DIY deck, and finished it off with cozy furniture and a bistro set.

14. An Unwelcoming Backyard Becomes a “Tropical Oasis” for $1000

The goal here was a functional and comfortable living space that could be considered “hangout central.” To achieve this, the homeowner filled the yard with decorative gravel, added a pergola for shade, added boxwood paneling to one fence, installed twinkling cafe lights, and—the real star—an outdoor projector.

Credit: Abby Robinson
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15. This Tiny Balcony Is A Precious Piece of Alfresco Heaven

Sticky black roofing and an unsightly air conditioning unit presented both an aesthetic and functional problem for an already small balcony. But this dweller was determined to have her outdoor space, so she added decking and a wooden wall to solve her biggest dilemmas, then relied on paint and decorative details to take the project home.

16. This Tiny Backyard is Now a Full-Blown Living Room

A bare-bones grass patch is now more like an outdoor living room the whole family wants to use, thanks to a little reconfiguring. The owners cut out some grass to make way for gravel and decking that houses plenty of comfortable sitting space surrounded by lush green plants.

Credit: Rachel Kane
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17. A Massive Dirt Pile Becomes a Dreamy Outdoor Escape

Though undoubtedly a major undertaking that required the help of professionals, this big, empty dirt-filled space is now a multi-level outdoor oasis, complete with entirely separate areas for lounging and dining, plus plenty of gardens to admire.

Credit: Ian Mofford
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18. This Little Outdoor Patio is a Magical Wonderland

A little astroturf and playful pops of pink decor turned a once drab second-story patio into a magical wonderland that’s the ideal spot for a margarita or pina colada come happy hour.

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19. A $150 Paint Project Punches up This Dreary Gray Patio

Here’s a clever, low-cost solution: If you have a drab patio, but don’t have the budget for a total overhaul, let paint do the heavy lifting. Here, the homeowner spiced up a sea of dull gray concrete slabs by adding a geometric black-and-white design under the dining space.

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20. A Budget Refresh for a Tiny Patio

Though there wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with this small patio, it just wasn’t the sort of spaced that pulled you in. But that all changed with an easy patio refresh that consisted mostly of cleaning and adding decor elements, like a patterned outdoor rug and a compact wooden patio set.