Patio before and after

The weather is warming up outside, the flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining! Birds and butterflies are everywhere; it’s springtime! This is the perfect time to hang out on your patio with a cold, refreshing glass of lemonade and a good book. Your patio also makes the perfect spot for a spring or summer barbecue.

Of course, if your patio looks like mine, it may not be the perfect spot for anything! Over the winter I have let it go; right now it’s being used to store some stuff I don’t have room for indoors. It certainly doesn’t have a whole lot going for in terms of décor and ambiance.

So I have been looking up patio ideas online to see if I can find some inspiration to turn mine around! I don’t want to waste any more of this beautiful weather indoors. And guess what—I have found some gorgeous patios to share with you all. Check it out; maybe you will find the gem of inspiration you need to redo your patio this year.

Table of Contents

Cheerful Colors

This backyard patio didn’t have much in the way of color originally, but look how beautiful it is now that it’s been painted! The bright colors of the window frame are whimsical and fun, and the white and yellow serves to unite the planter with the bench. This is a simple but effective way to inject some vivaciousness into your patio décor without going out and totally redoing it all.

Source: transformationsfromtheheart

Cozy Patio Makeover

What is really inspiring to me about this one is that you can actually see the before and after pictures. “Before,” this patio was nothing you would even glance twice at, much less want to spend any time in. But “After?” It is absolutely gorgeous and looks so cozy and inviting!

Source: hometalk

No More “Driveway” Feel

Here is another project with an inspiration “Before” and “After.” As you can see clearly in the “Before” shot, this patio was right up against a driveway, and it looked like … well, a driveway with a bit of concrete attached. In the “After” shot, you can see how the addition of a rug and some nice, cozy patio furniture and planters managed to eliminate that “driveway look” entirely.

Source: happystronghome

Brand New Patio

Okay, so this one isn’t a patio makeover; it is actually a brand new patio. So this is not a project to undertake unless you are super handy, but once again I am blown away by the “Before” and “After” shots. I love the nice ambiance provided by the lights at night!

Source: bebehblog

Front Yard to Outdoor Living Room

This patio was constructed over a grassy yard which previously had a thin fence and not a whole lot of privacy. Landscape architect Mark Tessier did an amazing job transforming this space. It has a comfortable sofa now, chairs, a beautiful and very private wall that does a much better job than the fence, and even a couple of fountains!

Source: latimesblogs.latimes

Outdoor Banquet Hall

This has to be the most gorgeous outdoor dining spot I’ve ever seen! And to think this patio started as nothing more than an overgrown bit of backyard with a narrow concrete slab against one wall of the house. Now it looks like an absolutely amazing place to enjoy a nice family dinner or entertain guests!

Source: southernliving

Beachy Ambiance

Here is a patio revival project which also includes great before and after shots. As you can see, before the makeover, this patio was nothing you would glance at twice; aside from one lone ornament on the side of the house, it was completely barren. Now though it has a bright, colorful feel that reminds me of a day at the beach. I just love how the colors have been coordinated between the pink mat on the floor and the pillows and even the table tray!

Source: hisugarplumsblog

Cheerful Arbor Patio

As you can see from these shots, this patio has had a total makeover! Originally it was just a drab slab of concrete in the yard. In fact, it made the entire yard look drab! After an arbor was added along with some décor for the floor and patio furniture, it took on a whole new look. The beautiful lighting completes it, adding a homey glow!

Source: thehandmadehome

Colorful Spring Patio

This patio already had a lot going for it; the brick exterior of the house is plenty colorful on its own and lends a great starting point. But this decorator has really gone all out with the flowers and the furniture. I love how the colors are coordinated between the flowers and the cushions. It looks gorgeous!

Source: hometalk

Lush Landscaping

This is an incredibly beautiful patio with lush landscaping that bears a strong resemblance to some of the lovely outdoor spaces you find at event venues. It would take quite an investment of time, money, and hard work to put something like this together, but the finished result is luxurious!

Source: casarezassociates

Green Accents

Here is a patio which actually was quite nice even before it was worked on, but afterward you can see that it has some homier touches. The rug makes it look a lot cozier, and the addition of both greenery and green accents helps to balance out the warm tones of the floor and the bareness of the walls.

Source: nyclq-focalpoint

Beautiful Budget Makeover

This commissioned patio was a budget makeover job. The result is actually pretty close to the original patio, but everything looks much nicer in the new version. The horse tails and granite pebbles lining the perimeter add a nice border to the tiles, making for an elegant finished look.

Source: mhs-works

Vintage Accents

There are three things I really like about this particular patio makeover. The first is the vintage accents; both the blue chair and the table have a nice rustic look to them, but still work well with the other contemporary chairs. The second thing I really like is the soft colors; the third is the openness. What a great view of the forest!

Source: thehappierhomemaker

Door Patio Trellis

Here is an unusual décor addition to a patio which has a very cool finished look. Two old doors hold up an arbor; the windows in the doors offer perfect spots for hanging potted plants. I think this creates a very folksy look!

Source: hometalk

Perfect Mood Lighting

This patio is sheltered by a beautiful custom pergola made out of red cedar. The stone walls are beautiful, and the mood lighting suspended from the pergola is just perfect.

Source: thekitchn

Bold, Bright, and Beautiful

The transformation of this patio is incredible! Just look what a total pigsty it was in the “Before” photo. In the “After” photo, it is scarcely recognizable. The bright, bold colors are very welcoming, and all that clutter and chaos is well under control.

Source: shawnacoronado

Amazing Backyard Patio with Fire Pit and Lush Garden

Here is a professional project by Alderwood Landscaping that I am positively in awe of. Originally, this home had a totally plain, standard backyard. Afterward, the landscapers transformed it into a lush garden paradise. It has a feel of privacy, comfort, and even a sense of the exotic. What a way to get away from it all without going anywhere!

Source: seattle.curbed

Romantic Dining Patio For Under $100

On a budget but still want to make your patio gorgeous? This inspiring project was completed for only $100 and looks wonderfully romantic. It actually is romantic too; that chandelier was actually from the couples’ wedding!

Source: hometalk

Navy and White

The bold contrasting hues of navy and white make for a beautiful look for this patio. There is an umbrella for shade, an outdoor fireplace for warmth, and a birdhouse for feathered friends. It’s the perfect expansion of living space outdoors!

Source: myhouseofgiggles

Curtains for Privacy

Here is a really cool pergola patio which includes curtains for privacy. They can be pulled aside to showcase the beauty of the yard, or they can be shut to screen in the patio. Rustic furniture completes this beautiful patio ensemble!

Source: prodigalpieces

Woodsy Backyard Patio

Isn’t this patio just gorgeous? I’m in love with the woodsy atmosphere and the custom barbecue, which includes a ceramic grill as well as a refrigerator. This entire look and feel makes me think of being on vacation in a beautiful park somewhere. Amazing to think that this is in someone’s backyard.

Source: artscapesonline

Waterfront Patio

Here is an amazing waterfront patio makeover by the same company that created the woodsy patio featured above. I just love the large brick fire pit and unique benches. This looks like such a luxurious place to sit and enjoy the tranquil rippling sounds of the water.

Source: artscapesonline

Modular Fireplace

Finally, I cannot help but feature at least one more patio makeover by Artscapes; they simply do phenomenal work. This patio includes beautiful flagstones, lovely landscaping, and a simple but stunning modular fireplace. This should be such a cozy place to sit and enjoy the evening.

Source: artscapesonline

Another Beautiful Beachy Patio

Here is another patio that features a beachy look. This is conveyed by the soft but cheerful colors, the beach-themed pillows, and the relaxing hammock between the fence and the tree. The tile fire pit looks especially pleasing to the eye; the same colors that grace the tiles are also repeated in the cushions and pillows for unified look.

Source: mom4real

Bright, Cheery Colors

Looking at these two photos, it is hard to believe that they are the same spot in the yard. Previously, this patio was honestly quite ugly. But after the makeover, it looks very inviting and cheerful with those bright colors and lovely potted plants.

Source: studiograyhouse

Simple Color Changes and Décor Upgrades

Here is a patio makeover where I highly suggest that you click on the source link to view all the photos associated with the project. The reason for this is that most of the changes that were made involved upgrades to the color scheme and simple replacements in decor and furniture. While these changes may seem minor, the overall improvements in the look of the patio are undeniably impressive.

Source: sawdust2stitches

Restful Retreat

This patio belongs to television host and author Karen Bertelsen. Before the makeover, her patio was a complete mess and not very nice to look at, much less spend time in. Following the makeover, I think we can all agree that it looks like a delightfully restful retreat right in her backyard!

Source: styleathome

Desert Patio Makeover

As you can see, this patio involves a lot of white stucco and concrete, neither of which contribute much in the way of color or hominess to this outdoor space. This is why a large number of succulent plants were brought in to help add some color and life. This has transformed the patio into a livable, welcoming space.

Source: westelm

Cabana Patio

The goal of this project was to create a seating area inspired by a cabana. There are so many lovely design elements that are all working together here to create that look. I particularly like this shot of the patio since it shows off the lighting under the pergola.

Source: fancyfrugallife

Vintage Flair

The “Before” and “After” photos of this patio truly are impressive! As the designer stated, it really was a blank slate before. But it looks amazing with all the cool vintage décor and the bright, welcoming colors, doesn’t it? This may just be my favorite patio on this list!

Source: caruth-studio

Oftentimes when you move into a house, the patio really is an unfinished space. It is up to you to bring your creativity and imagination into play to turn it into a cozy backyard sanctuary. Hopefully these amazing patio projects have given you the inspiration you need to transform your own patio this spring or summer!

Other Summer Projects/Ideas:

70 Summery Backyard DIY Projects That Are Borderline Genius

35 Ridiculously Fun DIY Backyard Games That Are Borderline Genius

30 Creative and Stunning Water Features to Adorn Your Garden

Budget Patio Makeover That’s Renter-Friendly

Sarah Walk overcame three big challenges with her patio makeover. The blogger behind Tell Love and Party wanted to save money, so it had to be a budget patio makeover. Her patio is pretty small, too, so she needed to make the most of the small outdoor space. And on top of all that, she rents her home, so it needed to be a renter-friendly patio makeover.

See how she met all those challenges and ended up with a gorgeous outdoor space… all in one weekend!

Budget Patio Makeover

When we moved into our place I had big plans for our patio. Big plans! But somehow over the past couple years, I kept putting it off, and instead our sad little patio got no love.

I wanted it to be a place we could all hang out, and instead, it turned into a place where my kids would draw with sidewalk chalk and spiders took residence. I needed some serious motivation!

What better way to get something done than a challenge, am I right? The Home Depot Patio Style Challenge was just what I needed to get my butt in gear.

The problem with renting is that nothing can be too permanent or you have to get an OK from the landlord. So I wanted to make some minor changes that would be easy, cost efficient and would make sure we got our deposit back when we left. It had to be a renter-friendly patio makeover. Of course, money is always an issue, too, so I was determined to make this a budget patio makeover, too.

The once sad cement slab is now a fun sanctuary where the whole family can hang out together. It’s all my patio dreams come true.

Laying Pavers

Now let’s take a look at the depressing patio before the makeover.

Since our patio was kind of a nightmare, I knew I needed to give the actual patio itself a facelift.

First thing was to cover up all that dirt.

We had to rip through lots of weeds and used 12 x 12 pavers to cover the rest of the patio. This was actually such an easy project, and pavers are very inexpensive.

We leveled the ground, put down some paver base and then lined up the pavers. We covered it with some paver sand and lined the perimeter of the patio with some rocks.

Installing the Slat Wall

Next project was the slat wall.

I can not tell you how much I did not like that fence. It needed a facelift so badly, BUT I couldn’t paint it because that was too permanent, and I wanted a modern feel. So we decided to do a painted slat wall.

The perfect thing about building our own wall was we could paint it. Plus, since they are screwed onto the old fence, we can remove them when we move.

We bought 1 x 3 strips of wood. I wanted them to be thin and not as bulky as 2 x 4s. They were quite inexpensive, too, which made them perfect for this budget patio makeover.

We needed about 21 pieces per wall section. We screwed the pieces about 1 inch apart to the 2 x 3 pieces. Each wall was 8-feet-long. We then lined them up along the fence.

Lastly, I painted the slat walls a white color. This brightened things up a lot, especially compared to how dark the wood was before.

Outdoor Decor for a Small Patio

Now on to the fun part…the decor!

My patio is small so I couldn’t have anything too bulky but I still wanted it to be comfortable and a place I wanted to hang out. The Hampton Bay Lemon Grove Wicker Patio Set was the perfect fit. I could lounge out there all day!

The outdoor coffee table is so perfect for putting your feet up or entertaining guests, and the storage boxes underneath are great for storing extra pillows and blankets.

Patio Accessories

Accessories are always so so important for me and really bring everything together. You don’t have to spend a ton to get a beautiful look, so I say the more accessories, the better.

From comfy pillows and throws to cute side tables and trays. So let’s talk accessories…

I most definitely fell in love with the metal garden stool as a side table. It’s such a fun design and holds your drink, a good book or some flowers so perfectly without taking up too much space.

Also the metal galvanized tray set is awesome for serving treats, drinks or snacks.

A patio umbrella can make such a difference, as well. When the sun is high in the sky, it’s the perfect shade.

Lighting is HUGE for me when it comes to an outdoor space. There is just something so magical about summer nights outside with some bistro style lights hanging above and candles below.

These string lights added the ambiance that I wanted with these galvanized lanterns and LED candles for a little something extra.

Patio Greenery

And lastly are plants! Greenery is a must for any outdoor patio.

I am partial to succulents or tropical type plants and displayed in some pretty pottery, including the Dark Blue Ceramic Rivage Pot, really finishes the look. I am not good at taking care of plants, and I wanted something easy and that didn’t need my attention all the time. I mean, I would much rather be lounging outside than trimming my plants.

The Fire Pit

To complete our budget patio makeover, we added a fire pit. There’s nothing better than snuggling up next to a fire on a cool night on the patio.

Since out patio is super small, I added some extra throw pillows that we can bring out when we are ready to get our s’mores on. Which is a great space saver when we aren’t using the fire pit.

I seriously am in love with our new renter-friendly patio. It only took a weekend to do and did NOT break the bank. Now it’s probably my most favorite place to be.

Such a big difference! I am so looking forward to lots of lazy summer days out there with friends and family.

Sara Walk is a stay-at-home mom who loves making things. She says she can’t stop thinking about her next DIY project. She writes about crafts, decor, parties and more on her blog Tell Love and Party.

Follow our Patio Style Challenge board on Pinterest for more patio decorating ideas and inspiration. And check out our Patio Style Challenge playlist on YouTube.

Browse The Home Depot’s online Patio Furniture section for patio sets to fit any style or budget.

Courtesy of HGTV

Outdoor spaces rarely come with many hints at how you should decorate them. It can feel like “the sky’s the limit” when it comes to designing a bare, concrete slab or empty square deck, and you likely face that deer-in-headlights feeling as soon as you start shopping. Then, when you finally decide on lounge chairs or a dining set, the furniture may still look pretty lonely in an open expanse of space, like it did at this house.

The trick to creating an inviting, vibrant place to entertain outdoors? Think like you would indoors. HGTV’s design experts transformed this uninspired patio with touches you might find inside the house: potted plants, a chandelier, tabletop touches, and rug that anchors the whole look. The result is much friendlier and cozier than before, and the transformation cost the crew less than $500.

Watch the video to see the design come to life:

TELL US: What do you think of this patio refresh?

More Home Makeovers:
• A Stylish Way to Hide an Ugly Wall AC• A Cringeworthy Kitchen Turns Down the Volume• Once a Water Tower, Now an Amazing Home

[via HGTV

Growing up in South Florida in the 1990s, I remember a big local news report all about an A-list celebrity painting his or her waterfront mansion mustard yellow with black stripes – rendering his/her wealthy neighbors uproarious. This was my first introduction to the concept of man-made eyesores and how they cause proud homeowners much distress.

Years later, a similar situation (albeit on a much smaller scale) was presented to me when my friend Alison, a lifestyle journalist, showed me a totally unused area just off her kitchen in Los Angeles. Since she had just helped me totally rework my own wardrobe, it was the least I could do in return. Or perhaps it was because I was newly wardrobe-proud and didn’t want to do my $300 shoes a disservice by wearing them to a lifeless, boring concrete corner. You be the judge.

The space, a 7 x 11 concrete-clad corner, houses her AC unit, and it’s also in direct sight by a neighboring house. What’s more, it’s the perfect, sunny spot to let her dogs Penny and Lucy run around while she waits for pots to boil, jumps on conference calls, or even gives her four-footed cuties a quick outdoor rinse with the hose. At night, it’s the perfect spot to step away from a group dinner for some one-on-one time with that needy friend-slash-guest (admit it, you know you have one).

Prior to my team’s one-hour makeover, Alison’s concrete corner was totally D-list. With the only focal points being a horrible AC unit and an electrical outlet, I decided I’d use the power of decorating to whip the space into shape … in less than an hour. How? By masking off the ugly-as-Hades AC unit, bringing in life, adding color, and using all mobile pieces. Check it.

Use a Privacy Screen to Hide Eyesores

Thanks to a white outdoor room divider, a plastic planter which doubles as ambient light once the sun goes down, and punches of color through easy-to-store outdoor accessories, what was a completely avoidable area is now welcoming and useful.

The Outdoor Wicker Resin Room Divider took less than 10 minutes to situate. Simply adjust a few screws and bolts, get the adjustable feet to the proper height, and KAZAM!, no more nosy neighbors or ugly eyesores.

Add Life with Flowers in a Planter

To bring some life into the dead space, I opted for a plastic planter that not only keeps greenery at the perfect height, but also doubles as ambient light once the California sun goes night-night. The Carma Resin Soft Glow Illuminated Planter simply plugs in. That’s that. Couldn’t be any easier to explain. But if you want more words, here you go: take it out of the box, throw the box away, remove the plastic wrap from the cord, unfurl the cord, add soil to the top, add plants and flowers, then plug in. Ha!

A Tray is Small-Space-Friendly

The perfect way to kinda-sorta add instant serving space without furniture. The rattan trays are easy to store since they nest inside one another, and they offer a size that’s perfect for holding just about anything – from drinks to magazines or just keeping accessories like sunglasses and keys contained in a specific spot. Speaking of keys and sunglasses, guess who cannot find his today because of lack of organization in his own house? Hint: The answer is me.

Add Colorful Towels

To pop some pattern into the space, a pair of graphic towels was designated for drying off the doggies after a quick hose-down. Once the shower is done, hang up the towels on the room divider, then return the next day to find ‘em all dried off. It’s like magic!

Opt for Sunbrella Pillows for Lasting Durability

They work everywhere. If you aren’t familiar with Sunbrella and its brilliance … well then, I’m sorry. You should have known.

Build on Your Color Scheme with Glass Tumblers

The bubble glass tumblers are another great way to pull a color scheme together in an outdoor space. We stuck with blue and white here in Alison’s spot, but these glasses also come in green, red, and a few neutrals; they can work with just about any color scheme. The bubble detail inside the glass brings a nice texture to the space as well. Speaking of bubbles, have you ever had that delicious bubble tea stuff? Damn, that’s good. You cannot get that at Hayneedle, but still, you can put it into the glassware, then drink it.

These concrete patio ideas will help you transform what’s typically seen as a backyard eyesore. Because when many people hear the words “concrete patio,” they immediately picture a sad, cracked slab in an unloved backyard or outdoor space.

As it happens, there are plenty of ideas for putting a stylish and personal spin on dull, gray patio pavement, using color, pattern, and outdoor landscaping and accessories, such as a pergola.

Read on for patio design ideas and landscaping tips that will help you see your concrete patio in a whole new—dare we say stylish?—light.

1. Build a stamped concrete patio

“You can create beautiful concrete patio designs that resemble brick, flagstone, or cobblestone for much less than the real thing,” said Rhianna Miller, a trend forecaster and garden design expert at RubberMulch, based in Lakewood, NJ.

Stamped concrete is a cost-effective way to upgrade your outdoor space. Expect to spend at least $10 per square foot for a professionally installed stamped concrete patio. Building an elevated wood deck, on the other hand, can easily cost up three to four times as much. Also, concrete patios are more durable and require less maintenance than wood decks.

Over time, water, sun, and extreme temperatures will cause a wood patio to rot, warp, splinter, and fade.

“Sure, you can slow down the process with yearly staining or weather-sealing, but for some folks, that is too much work,” says John Mochelle, an architect in New York City.

2. Fake the look of stone

There are several different tools and ideas a DIY-savvy homeowner can try, to create a concrete patio that looks like real stone or brick.

“A supereasy way to get fast results is with a patterned rubber roller specifically made for concrete patio designs,” says Mochelle.

It’s shaped like a giant paint roller, and is used when the concrete is curing to create indentations that look like stone or brick. Home improvement stores stock concrete rollers in different stone, brick, and graphic patterns, but they’re not cheap. Prices range from $900 to $1,700 at Home Depot.

“If you plan on installing a couple of stamped walkways in addition to a decorative patio, a roller may be worth the investment to some homeowners,” Mochelle says.

Concrete stamping mats are a less expensive alternative. They are flexible pieces of rubber with embossed patterns. Prices per mat range from $270 to $450 at Home Depot. To use, place the stamp on wet concrete and apply pressure; lift, and repeat.

One of the cheapest ideas for faking the look of cobblestone is with a concrete mold, which costs around $20 ($17.27 at Home Depot). Instead of stamping out the pattern, you place the mold on the ground and then fill it with concrete. Afterward, you pack it down with a garden spade and lift off the mold, and repeat the process until the backyard project is complete.

3. Get creative with paint

Photo by Royal Design Studio Stencils

Other clever and inexpensive ways are available for homeowners to spruce up their existing backyard concrete patios.

“A faux rug, created using paint and stencil, is an affordable idea for warming up old pavement on a patio,” Mochelle says.

For a long-lasting finish, he recommends porch paint rated for outdoor use. Before applying, you should power-wash the concrete. You can rent a power washer for about $60 per day, according to doityourself.com.

4. Install clay pavers for your patio

“You could also resurface your old backyard patio with new clay pavers,” says Marc Barnes from Pine Hall Brick Company, based in Winston-Salem, NC.

Clay pavers are bricks that have been hard-fired in a kiln for maximum strength. This allows them to stand up to the sun’s rays and foul weather.

They are less expensive than natural stone, with professional installation at prices ranging between $3 and $15 per square foot.

More smart landscaping ideas: Order extra patio pavers to make a matching fire pit and for the surround near a pergola.

5. Stain or seal the concrete

Applying a fresh stain or a sealer over an existing backyard patio is the most cost-effective idea for updating concrete.

“Expect to pay around $2 per square foot,” said J.B. Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman, based in Ann Arbor, MI.

6. Curate an outdoor living room for entertaining

Now more than ever, homeowners are fully focused on creating indoor-outdoor rooms for entertaining. Sassano recommends increasing the seating with lounge chairs (check out Restoration Hardware) to make the patio a comfortable gathering place.

A weather-resistant outdoor rug will help establish the dining area. Enhance the landscaping with homemade flower boxes or a container garden, string lights, a water feature, or a pergola, and then heat things up in the backyard with a portable fire pit.

When we bought our house, the one thing I hated about it was the concrete area out the back.

What an eyesore, right? My first instinct was to get it all ripped up and put down some turf, but we quickly realised it was THE BEST THING EVER for our kids, who spent hours riding their bikes and scooters around on it.

So the concrete stayed. And bugged me every time I walked out our back door. For the next three years.

I mean, it was uuuuuugleee. Kind of a cross between a grimy old garage floor and a prison yard. Just the sort of delightful ambience you want for social gatherings.

The area is too undulating to tile successfully, but at one point we got quotes to get it stencilled.

After that $3000 heart attack, it sat unchanged for another couple of years.

Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer. If we couldn’t justify the cost of stencilling, I was gonna have to DIY.

I really wanted to somehow create a tile pattern to make the backyard look like a real entertaining area. I figured if I could paint stripes on a wall, I could create a striped tile pattern on the ground – surely?

I mean… how hard could it be? Right?*
(*Future me looking back and giving a word of sage advice to my trusting, naive self: It will be hard. ‘Kay?)

Closing off my mind to any recognition of my temporary insanity, and bouyed by my hatred and loathing of what I had begun to refer to as The Bunker, I took myself to Bunnings and bought some paving paint. In two colours. I chose a light grey to create my “grout lines”, and a dark charcoal grey for the “pavers”.

I’d planned to use painter’s tape to create my tile lines, ignoring the inner voice telling me that it would

look ridiculous to have grout lines that thick. Then, at Bunnings I discovered something about 1000x better – Megatreat tile tape, custom designed for the exact purpose of faking tile patterns on the floor. It’s stronger than painter’s tape because it’s fibre-reinforced, but more to the point, it’s THIN! (Just like real grout lines!) YEAH!

I bought rolls and rolls and rolls of the stuff. Even so, I still had to go back mid-project and get some more. This is a BIG area, y’all.

Step 1: Etch the concrete. This process roughens the concrete to improve adhesion of the paint. I bought my concrete etch at Bunnings. You mix it up with water in a bucket, then slosh it on and use a stiff-bristled broom to kind of sweep it round and cover the whole surface.

I did the whole large end of the area, aaaaaaaand then I ran out before I got round to the smaller area behind the stairs.

Uh-oh.

I get one kid-free day a week, and this was it. I did not want to waste time driving all the way back to Bunnings to buy more concrete etch and run out of time to actually paint. I examined the area I’d already treated. It didn’t particularly look or feel any different than before. Couldn’t be that important, could it?* I decided to skip this step on the small remaining area.

(*Note from future self: YOU FOOL! You will regret this quite a lot after spending a week measuring and marking and taping and sweating and labouring to paint this area, only to have the paint peel off like wallpaper in that one little section. You will then despair at the thought of going through all that agony again, park the BBQ and some tubs of kids toys on top of the worst bits, and ignore it for the remainder of your days in this house.)

Step 2: Paint the entire concrete area in light grey (the “grout” colour).

I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to see that grimy, ugly concrete (AKA: THE BUNKER) disappear beneath the light grey paint. My mood lifted. I felt invincible. I wanted to hug strangers and kiss puppies. And I don’t even like puppies.

2 hours in. At this point I was pretty sure I was crazy. What had I been thinking? All this work just to tape off some lines and cover it up in a second colour? Why hadn’t I decided to skip the whole tile pattern idea and paint the area ONE colour, like a NORMAL, SANE person would do??

Yep. Definitely crazy. Still… whenever I took a break to lean on my roller and rest my aching back and blistered hands, I gazed at the pretty, clean paint and felt butterflies of love in my belly. (Well, that could have also been hunger. I forgot to eat all day. Must. Finish. First. Coat. Before. Collecting. Kids.)

Step 3: Ditch project while ahead Tape off tile pattern
I started by using a set square to find a 45 degree angle from the wall of the house. I attempted to use a chalk line to mark out the straight edge, but it wouldn’t apply properly due to the slope of the concrete. Then I figured out it’s actually pretty easy to make a straight line just by taping down one end of the tile tape, then stretching it out taut to the other side of the concrete and pressing it down in between.

I wanted to go for an oversized-tile effect, since it’s such a vast area and I figured small tiles would look too busy. I decided on 65cm square (25.5 inches) as the tile dimension.

To create the next line I measured 65cm out from my taped line at each end of the strip. (I didn’t actually have a ruler that long, so I had to mark, shuffle the ruler along a bit more, and mark again). I used the set square to keep my ruler at a 90 degree angle to the tape so the measurement would be more accurate. Then I just stretched the tape taut between the two marks to make a straight line and patted it down.

I then repeated this again. Many times. Voila – parallel stripes.

Same dealio to create the crossover lines. For my first crossover I used a set square to ensure I had a 90 degree angle from the initial taped line:

From then on it was just a matter of repeating the process, but in the opposite direction – measuring 65cm, marking it at each end, sticking down the tape in between.

Here’s the finished pattern, all taped out:

Step 4: Seal tape edges I was a bit worried that my next layer of paint would bleed under the tape and give me messy “grout lines”. The trick of sealing the edges of the tape is great on a smooth wall, but concrete is pretty rough and porous. The Megatreat brand actually makes a special tape-sealer product for use on concrete, but of course it was all sold out and I couldn’t find out when any more would arrive. So I decided just to go for it and seal the tape off with paint. I knew it probably wouldn’t be as effective as the tape-sealer stuff, but I figured it’d be better than nothing. So I rolled over the tape lines in the same light grey as the undercoat. This part of the process was actually pretty quick. I wasn’t trying to cover the whole area again, I literally just walked down each line, rolling paint over the top as I walked.

Step 5: Paint two coats of the “tile” colour (charcoal grey)

Another several hours of my life were involved in this step. I cut in around the edges with a big brush and then rolled a coat, left it to dry, and rolled it again.

You can hardly see the taped-off lines now, unless you look closely. My excitement was building again at this point, because I knew what was coming next.

Step 6: Remove tape!
Angels sang. Flowers sprang up spontaneously in our neglected garden beds. Little bluebirds swooped around me, tweeting merrily. This was the most awesome feeling in the history of DIY-ness.

All that soul-destroying labour had not been in vain.

IT WORKED!!

I’d been worried about bleeding, and there was some here and there. You can see the speckles in the picture below where a bit of the darker paint crept beneath the tape. But it actually didn’t look too bad. I figured I could always touch up those bits later with a small brush if I wanted to, but meanwhile the overall effect was so striking you didn’t really notice the small speckles here and there.

Time to put the outdoor furniture back in place and enjoy our new entertaining area!

The kids were just excited that Mummy had finished painting and they could get back on their trikes and scooters again!

This little tot thinks she’s such a big girl. Hasn’t quite got the hang of making the scooter actually move forward yet, but balancing on it is a good start. 🙂

Here’s one last before and after.
BEFORE:

After:

So, the million dollar question. Was it worth the hours and hours (and hours and hours) of work??

Answer: HECK YEAH! Only utter loathing (or temporary insanity) could have driven me to tackle such a mammoth DIY task. But when you get to that point where you know that you JUST CAN’T STAND to live with something for a single second longer, it’s amazing how much energy it gives you to tackle a daunting project.

What’s the most daunting DIY project you’ve taken on? Anyone else ever hit that mid-point where you’re pretty sure you were insane to even attempt it? What do you think about this makeoever – worth the time and effort?? (Please say yes. Otherwise I might cry actual tears. Remember, we’re talking about a week of my life here.) 😉
P.S. If you want to stay in the loop with more decorating projects like these, you can like my Facebook page here, or subscribe in the sidebar to get my posts via email. Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love you to leave a comment so I know you were here!

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