Before and After: A Bungalow’s Forgotten Garden Is Transformed With a Hand-Painted Concrete Slab for $300

published Mar 4, 2023
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Messy patio before renovation
Credit: Luann Carpenter

Hospitality is one of the best parts about having a home, whether you’re hosting a holiday celebration or you’re inviting others over for game night. After all, no one wants to have a cozy haven all to themselves!

Creating a warm and welcoming environment is important to Luanne, but she never extended the party into the garden of her 1965 bungalow. Its concrete slab was spacious, but beyond its mere existence, there was nothing that gave the area a sense of design or personality — in fact, guests were greeted by the clutter of old furniture more than anything else. “I was embarrassed to bring friends into the garden,” Luanne says. 

Credit: Luann Carpenter

But if there was a plus side to this sight, it’s that the patio was truly a blank slate. Luanne was lucky that her home already had a perfect outdoor spot, it just needed a little elbow grease. She knew the concrete slab would benefit from some creativity, and that a few pieces of scattered furniture could be salvaged. So Luanne set about making her garden more inviting. 

The first step she took was clearing out the clutter, discarding items that wouldn’t make it into the new space. She scrubbed away dirt from the concrete slab and the items she planned to repurpose, particularly two wooden rocking chairs and a burgundy cart that matched her bungalow’s shutters and metal roof. Next, she moved on to paint. 

Credit: Luann Carpenter

“I bought five different colors, and painted individual designs on the slab to look like stone,” she says. “I added white paint between them to look like mortar.”

Over the course of five days, Luanne sat on the patio while she painted, practicing patience with every stroke. “Let it all dry thoroughly before moving to the next steps,” she advises. “Take your time. This project could be easily messed up.” 

Credit: Luann Carpenter

Once the paint dried, Luanne added a few accessories to complement the burgundy accents on the house, like coordinating cushions for the rocking chairs. She also took time to plant new greenery to enhance the garden’s calming atmosphere. In all, the project cost $300.

“I’m proud that I did this myself,” she says.

Credit: Luann Carpenter

When Luanne reflects on this experience, she says there is nothing she would change: She set out to have a visually appealing backyard oasis, and did just that. The only thing she may have done differently is the time of year this project took place. “I love everything about it,” she says. “But if I had to do it again, I would wait till spring or fall and not in the heat of summer.” 

At least when summer rolls around again, she’ll have a comfortable place to host her friends.