Summer Time: Pergola and Patio Ambience on a Budget

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One of the things I automatically fell in love with when I first toured my house was the yard and landscaping.  I was extremely blessed with "good bones" of the yard.  The foundation was there, but it needed some work and some love to bring it back to life.  Over the past few years, I worked on cleaning up landscaping beds, getting the lawn back in shape, tending to flowers and plants, and bringing out some fun outdoor furniture and decor!

I'm very excited that I'm getting even more stuff done this summer and even added some finishing touches to the yard.  I cleaned out the pachysandra from the one bed you can view from the pergola, so I will definitely be showcasing that once it's finished.  I also wanted to clean up the area around the pergola and created an entire bed all the way around for flowers and small shrubs.  I can't wait to share the finished product with all of you once it is done.

While I wait to start those beds, I have been working on clean up and getting other things prepared for the season, such as the patio under my pergola.  An older gentleman previously lived in my home, and although I question some design choices, in other ways, he was almost ahead of his time, as with this pergola he built on the back!  Little did he know how popular they would be several years later! 

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One of the first and main things needed under the pergola is a dining table.  I was lucky to have been gifted this from my parents when I first moved in, but there are so many ways to get affordable outdoor furniture.  I have found that it does not matter how much you pay for furniture, there is always a chance it will easily be broken or be faded from the sun, so I recommend NOT spending a ton on outdoor furniture.  You can find just as good of quality for a lower price point.  

 

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One thing I did want to add this year was a high-top bistro table over on this side of the patio.  I have had two high top chairs over on this side.  I often sat in those chairs with my wine when I was relaxing outside, and you have no idea how often I wished I had a table.  Lo and behold, I decided to invest in a high top bistro table for another dining option and additional chairs and places to eat for small get togethers or parties.  

I did not want to spend a ton, so I did a lot of online browsing and came across this bistro set.  I was able to find it both on Amazon and Wal-Mart but actually ended up going with Wal-Mart.  Although I get free shipping via Amazon Prime, I was also able to get free shipping from Wal-Mart with also a cheaper price point.  So Wal-Mart it was!  I'm so glad I invested in this table.  I have been using it all the time (maybe even more than the regular patio table!).  It's a great option for small dining.

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Over to the right is a vintage swing I inherited from my grandma's house.  I always like old, vintage stuff and love to see what you can do with it!  Not everyone always envisions it like you may!  What I love about my house is that I have things of sentimental value throughout (even outside!), as with this swing.  I need to sand it down and re-stain it, but I worked on staining it a couple years ago when I first moved in and am so glad I have it I front of a large clematis vine.  This makes for great photo opportunities!

 

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This year, I did a few different things to change it up.  For example, I added some fun solar lanterns to both the dining and high-top bistro table to add some decorative flair.  Instead of just one floral centerpiece, I moved these pansies from my front yard to the back.  I might end up changing these out (as they are already looking a little sad), but I think I'm going to keep the two planters with the lantern.  I like how these centerpiece items are not too tall, so you can converse with others across the table, but they still create a beautiful ambience.  

When you see all of this, you may ask how do you call his patio/pergola ambience on a budget?  First of all, I DID buy a diamond in the rough with my home, so I'm lucky many ways.  Second, I'm blessed to have had my parents pass down some pieces to me, such as the table and swing.  Third, much of my yard work has taken my sweat and tears!  I always say I don't mind yard work, because it IS such a good work out, but it is HARD work.  

However, this type of patio and pergola ambience is not that hard to achieve without gifting.  Here are some tips and tricks to finding the best deals.

1) Don't be afraid to look for used outdoor furniture on sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, garage sales, or even estate sales.  I actually saw a bunch of fab outdoor furniture on Facebook Marketplace for less than $300 for a large table set!  I was tempted, but I have no use!  Often times, you can find brand new or barely used furniture for a much cheaper discount than buying new.  On the other hand, you may find some "used" furniture, but much of this can be made new again via sanding and spray paint.  Add some affordable cushions, a new umbrella, and some fun centerpieces,  and you can be set for the season for under $100.

2)  Don't be afraid to shop places like Big Lots or Wal-Mart for patio furniture.  I chuckled as I recently saw a commercial for a local outdoor/recreation chain that made fun of large chains that sold cheaper furniture.  Growing up in a backyard with lots of landscaping and beautiful outdoor furniture and accessories,  I have seen some beautiful, expensive outdoor furniture get ruined via one bad thunderstorm or have expensive cushions/umbrellas get faded in one season.  I figure, buy something that you is good enough for the season, but that you do not mind having to replace the following year if needed.   

I shop at Old Time Pottery quite a bit for items that are trendy but yet affordable.  I always buy my outdoor umbrellas  here.  I also picked up these outdoor cushions there last season in addition to the fountain, hanging lights, and chair cushions.  Old Time Pottery is a bloggers' dream!  You cannot order online and have to buy in store, but to browse what they do have and find a store, check out their website:  https://oldtimepottery.com

3) Be creative!  Sometimes being forced to save money allows you to open your creative juices to use what you own, as well as sweat equity, into your home and garden.  Ways to be creative:

  • Refurbish older furniture
  • Upcycle older pieces into something more modern or more useful
  • Be creative in how you used planting pots.  You can create mosaics or even paint the pots to create a customized look
  • Make your own planters!  I always buy hanging pots but create the rest of my other pots.  Not only do I like the creativity, I am also able to create a planter that reflects the look I'm going for or can mimic other planters I have seen when I'm out and about.  Look for a blog post on that in the future!  
  • Integrate vintage items for a unique ambience.  I integrated this vintage swing as well as a vintage watering can for decor.  Not only are these items unique and vintage, they are also functional.  You can do this with garden decor, seating, or pots.

WHERE I BOUGHT MY ITEMS:

  • Patio Dining Table:  Gifted from my parents, but it is by Hampton Bay
  • High-Top Bistro Table:  Wal-Mart (also available on Amazon) ($109)
  • Swing:  Vintage Find from my Grandma's house
  • Cushions, fountain (between $125-150), hanging lights ($10 a pop), lanterns ($8.99-12.99), and umbrellas (in background--$39 a piece): Old Time Pottery
  • Hanging Flowers and Centerpiece Flowers: Maria Garden Center

SHOP MY PATIO AND PERGOLA

Here are some similar finds at great price points:

I am absolutely loving my pergola and patio this season.  I want to be out there all the time!  I hope this post gives you some inspiration to design your own patio--whether it is the look, identifying great budget finds, or upcycling older items.  I would LOVE to see your outdoor spaces!  Please comment below or on Instagram!

Here are some "before" photos of this area after my finishing touches!