Jun 7, 2012

Patio Compensating

Since we opted out of building a fancy schmancy patio this year (you may remember I blogged here last week about my patio fantasies), I decided I would make our driveway/carport area as nice as possible on a budget. And it kind of worked! You know those nights when you open the fridge to make dinner, and the only things left are totally random foods like an onion, half an apple and maybe some rice in the cupboard? And then you manage to whip it together into a delicious dinner anyway? That's how I feel about our interim patio area.

We started with nothing but four patio chairs from our old house. These chairs have a history: our friends found them in their ally years ago, so we snagged them for free. After they sat, dilapidated, in our old basement for a while, I finally spray painted the chair frames black (they started off white), then recovered the maroon vinyl cushions with a nice stripey Sunbrella outdoor fabric. They could use a fresh coat of paint again, after years on our old deck followed by years in storage, but I'll get to that some other time. These are actually one of my favorite DIY projects - they are functional and a little bit funky, kind of like us. To be honest, I like them better than most brand new chairs I see in the stores lately.

So knowing those chairs would work for a while longer, I set out to find a patio table that would match. I spent months searching Craigslist to no avail. I wanted something that would seat our little family of three without feeling humongous, but it was also important that we could squeeze at least six up to the table in the case of parties or dinners with the extended family. I searched Overstock.com and countless other home shopping websites, wandered around Lowe's and Home Depot, and everything was either too expensive or not quite right. I was hoping for tempered glass or some other solid top, which I personally prefer over the grated wrought iron type of tables, mostly for the ease of cleaning. What I finally ended up with was a Walmart (sometimes it must be done) table for just $79. The tempered glass is low maintenance, and the rectangle shape is cozy for the three of us, but big enough for more people.

We've enjoyed the table and chairs for about two months now, and noticed that having a place to sit made us instantly spend more time outside. But it didn't feel quite complete. We were constantly dragging the table under the carport for shade, then back out because it blocked the back door while under the carport. Until recently, when my parents mentioned they had a spare umbrella we could use! I ran out and bought a sturdy but inexpensive umbrella stand and set everything up ... and shazam! The umbrella pulled everything together. It suddenly looked festive and summery in our yard, and all for around $130. Just slightly less than that $5,000 patio we looked into! Up next ... twinkly lights to wrap around the carport and hopefully make it look less like a carport :)

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