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Backyard Deck Makeover on a Budget!

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See how we transformed our entire backyard for just $750! This backyard deck makeover will give you the ideas, inspiration and motivation you need to give your own outdoor space a face-lift on a budget!

This was a series of post that were originally published between May 25, 2017 and August 13, 2017. They have since been consolidated into one post.

I am so excited to show you all our finished deck makeover!

It is such an amazing space – we seriously use it daily.

This house is about 500 sq/ft smaller than our previous house, so having this extra living space for the summer season has been really nice.

I recently had a party with about 20 women out there and it was perfect!

In today’s post I’m going to walk you through the entire makeover process, from before pictures, to our initial plans, to each major step in the transformation.

I hope this tour of our backyard deck project is inspirational for you!


The Deck Before

Like any good reveal, let’s start with a few before pictures!

deck reveal
deck reveal

This was the view when you walked out of the house from the sliding glass doors:

deck reveal

To the right:

deck reveal

To the left – this side originally had a second large rhododendron where the dirt patch is and an old hot tub where the grill is sitting…

deck reveal

The Deck Design

Our biggest goal in this backyard makeover wasn’t to make a new space, but rather to fix up the existing space.

We don’t have a huge budget for this project, so updating, rather than redoing, was really important.

This house came with a large, covered deck that was extremely functional for meals and relaxing outside.

The only downsides being its odd shape, the low height of the cover, and that the fiberglass covers blocked any sun from coming in our windows on the south side of the house.

Seriously guys, it was SO DARK in our house…

I knew the only solution was removing those covers, which meant losing the “rain-proof” play area for our rainy winters, but we just had to do it.

In our initial design for the makeover, we were going to remove just the fiberglass and then add some 1×2’s across the top to make the structure into a pergola.

I love the look of pergolas and they’re great for creating shade.

BUT, as soon as the covers came off and we watched for a day, we realized most of the deck was shaded all day by our large maple tree!

Since the cover’s structure was really low (like only 7′ above the deck) we knew right away we didn’t want it either.

Other ideas we had were creating three separate living spaces – one for cooking, one for lounging and one for dining.

I had initially designed it to have the dining space in the center, but decided as we went that I preferred to look out our sliding glass doors at the sitting area.

We got this set of hand-me-down patio furniture (which I have a nice update with spray paint!) for the sitting area – you can see how I transformed them here.

Patio Furniture Refresh

For colors, we decided to go with a bright, fun color pallet including and lime green and an array of blues.

Here’s the pillow we got and chose to pull colors from:

Patio Furniture Refresh

Our plan was to paint the deck the same color as the house trim (which was a dark sage green/blue) but decided to do a basic gray after looking at deck paint options.

Here’s a look at our mini-task list for the entire project:

  • Remove large rhododendron plant
  • Remove the existing roof
  • Build in the corner of the deck
  • Build in the rest of the perimeter
  • Install lattice on the left side to match the existing lattice on the right side
  • Paint the perimeter and lattice white
  • Install a new gutter
  • Paint the deck
  • Build and install a long counter top to go along the left side by the BBQ
  • Install string lights from the house to the perimeter structure
  • Decorate!

The Makeover Process

The Deck Demo

The first step was removing the roof structure.

Chris pulled off the fiberglass panels in an afternoon!

Backyard Makeover
Removing all the screws.
Backyard Makeover
Pulling off the fiberglass covers.

Then, in an evening he took out the cover’s internal wood structure.

We decided to keep the outer perimeter (what was originally painted red) to add some style and hang our lights from.

The Deck Transformation

The first thing we did was remove the large rhododendron that was next to the old hot tub and add decking where it was to fill in the missing corner of the rectangle.

Backyard Makeover

We also went through all of the boards on the rest of the deck and removed/replaced any boards or sections of boards that were substantially rotten.

Around this time I gave our hand-me-down metal patio furniture a nice update with spray paint and fresh pillows. I even wrote a full tutorial on how to paint metal patio furniture!

Then, we reused the roof perimeter materials to frame out that left side, added lattice to the that side to match the right side’s existing lattice, and painted the entire perimeter framing white.

deck makeover

It was at this point that we decided to put the dining set on the right hand side of the deck – originally I’d planned for it to be right outside the sliding door, but once we had the full width of the deck established I decided I liked it better on the side!

deck makeover

Our Mistake…

The next step was to paint the deck! As I mentioned earlier, we had intended to repaint it the same color it already was – the color of our house’s trim. It was a sage, grey, green and went well with the color scheme we were going for.

If you’ve ever read my post about our how I ruined our DIY painted tile floors, then you’re probably aware that honesty is something I value when it comes to blogging.

I want to teach you low-cost, creative DIY options for transforming your home, but at the same time, when I make mistakes, I want you to know about them, so you don’t make the same ones!

That’s why I’m sharing with you a BIG mistake we made when doing this deck makeover and what we learned from that mistake.

What was this big mistake? We used the wrong kind of paint for the deck.

From day one, it was bubbling and peeling up on all the sections where it had been painted onto bare wood.

And the worst part? We KNEW it was the wrong kind of paint! We were just lazy about it.

Rather than doing my typical research and looking into quality, durable deck paints, we purchased this Porch, Floor & Patio paint from Lowe’s when we were there one day because it was convenient.

When we bought it, it looked perfect – designed for interior and exterior, durable and scratch resistant, fast drying. Just what we needed, right?

Wrong. When the day came to finally paint the deck and I was prepping to paint, I noticed in the disclaimers on the back of the paint can that it was NOT INTENDED FOR UNCOVERED DECKS.

But, because we wanted to get moving on the project, we just said “oh well, I’m sure it’ll be fine!” and used it anyway.

Ah! If only I could go back and tell myself to do it right! What we should have done, was return it, do our research, and get the correct paint. But we were lazy and now we’re paying for it.

Here’s what the paint looked like after just a year of wear:

Brutal, right? I’m pretty sure the manufacturer knew what they were talking about when they discouraged us from using this paint. And as a good DIY’er, I should have listened!

Learn from my mistake, and LISTEN TO MANUFACTURERS when it comes to their products.

Ok, enough about our big painting mishap – if we’d been smart we would have purchased deck paint like this one and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. 😉

After the deck was painted, our final big part of the project was building a large countertop along the left side’s lattice.

We had originally planned to build one out of concrete, but since it was such a long side and we were trying to keep things progressing, we decided to make a wood countertop, similar to our own version of butcher block.

We made it out of 14 2×4 boards. The first step was to rip them down to remove the rounded edges so that all 4 corners of the boards were sharp corners.

Then we glued and screwed them together on-end, planed the top down (by hand) to make it all flat and even on top, and finally stained the entire thing with this grey wood stain.

Lastly, we sealed it with this matte polyurethane and then built it a simple farmhouse-style “X” base!

This baby is STURDY. And I feel it added so much character and functionality to the space!

The last, finishing touch we put on the space was hanging string lights around the entire thing.

We used black plant hangers installed in the top of each post around the perimeter to hold the lights in a swag all the way around.

After that, the deck’s transformation was complete – ready to see the final reveal??

The Deck After


deck reveal

The sitting area turned out just how I’d envisioned it with a simple area rug to ground the space and the fun, brightly painted furniture.

It’s cozy, yet playful!

I got the white side table at Tuesday Morning and the blue garden stool at Home Depot – both on clearance.

deck reveal

After setting up the dining table I knew something was missing, so I asked Chris if we could add a “chandelier” out of lanterns to make it feel more homey.

Of course, he helped me design the perfect set up – 3 solar IKEA lanterns hanging from a black “T” over the table!

I think this part of the design might be the most unique for a backyard deck makeover.

deck reveal

I love the way our mini-roses are growing up the lattice behind the countertop! By the end of summer that side is always completely green.

deck reveal

We installed simple, roller sun shades above the lattice on the right side because the sun sets on that side and the dining area can get quite hot in those evening sun hours.

They’re tucked up between the perimeter boards and out of sight when not in use, but easy to pull down when we want!

deck reveal

We also added a small kid’s table near the dining table so my littles had somwhere to sit and play. My kids love this table!

deck reveal

I got water-resistant pillows for each of the dining chairs – everything is more cozy with pillows and blankets! 😉

deck reveal

Aren’t the lanterns fun?! They light up on their own at dusk!

deck reveal

I added a few potted plants, like the palm tree, to give the space some greenery as well.

deck reveal

We call this middle sitting area the “lounge.”

deck reveal

I love sitting out here and reading books or visiting with friends.

deck reveal

Can you believe how good this metal patio furniture came out?! If you haven’t seen the full transformation yet, be sure to check out this post.

deck reveal

In the picture below, you can see the string lights above the perimeter. I love sitting out here in the evenings at dusk while they light up the space. Very romantic feeling!

deck reveal

Which of the three spaces is your favorite?

deck reveal

I’m still really glad we went with the lime green paint and bright colored pillows on these chairs.

There’s just something about pops of color that make a space fun for me!

deck reveal

Don’t be afraid to add lots of pillows and blankets to your outdoor space! They make it inviting and cozy and can easily be stored inside for the winter.

deck reveal

We put a large storage box against the house to store kids’ toys!

deck reveal

I also added flowers and a hanging basket next to the grill.

deck reveal

This is the side where Chris built out the corner of the deck and built and installed the 12′ wood counter-top for prepping/serving food alongside the grill.

I LOVE the color of the stain and the “X” legs give it a simple farmhouse style too. 🙂

deck reveal

I didn’t realize when we installed the white lattice on this side to mirror the other side that these rose bushes would so naturally vine up the side, but I love how they do!

deck reveal

This countertop is a so handy when we’re having a large meal gathering for setting up the food!

deck reveal

Ok, here’s one final look at the entire space.

deck reveal
deck reveal
deck reveal
deck reveal

And lastly, a few before/afters side-by-side – you know, they’re my favorite! 😉

And there you have it! Talk about a brand new space!

We completed this makeover for about $750, and that included the dump cost, paint, wood for the deck addition and counter-top, décor (including the large rug, lanterns and storage tote) and all the plants/flowers.

Overall, that’s a pretty low budget for such a drastic outcome!!

Backyard Deck Makeover Sources

I buy a lot of items used or on clearance, so if the exact item I own isn’t available, I’ve linked up to something very similar!

Let me know if I’ve missed something.

Perimeter Paint: Ultra Pure White by Behr
Deck Paint: Light Grey by Valspar (but you should use this kind if your deck is uncovered)
BBQ (similar)
Black & Green Patio Furniture (similar set) DIY tutorial here
Dining Table Set (similar)
Black/White Area Rug
String Lights
Shepherd’s Hooks
White Kid’s Table (similar)
Kid’s Chairs (similar)
Green Table Runner (similar)
Natural Placemats
White Plates
Grey Plates (similar)
Galvanized Pots
Faux Plants
Hanging Lanterns (similar)
Blue Garden Stool
Palm Tree
Black Stools
Storage Tote
Cream Throw Blanket
Blue Throw Blanket
White Side Table (similar)
Geometric Pillows

Thanks for following along, friends!



10 thoughts on “Backyard Deck Makeover on a Budget!”

  1. Our deck looks like your “before” picture haha, so it’s inspiring to see how your process was to create your “after” deck. LOVE the chandelier above the table – I never would have thought of that for a backyard deck, and I enjoy the airy furniture arrangement on your new deck.

  2. I’ll be honest, there are a few hours in the late afternoon that the deck is in full-sun that I wish it was covered. But for the most part, I love it without the cover!!

  3. Do you miss having the deck covered??? I am in that debate right now and I can’t decide!!! I love what you did!!!! Amazing.

  4. Aww – thanks Debby! It was good to see you too! I hope you guys are doing well – I’d love to come out to Texas and help with your patio next summer – we have family in Houston and could make a fun trip out of it! 🙂

  5. I love it! It’s so light and bright with lots of seating. We are going to do something to our 12×12 patio next summer.

    It was so nice to get a glance of your on the 4th. You look fabulous!!

  6. Those were the information I have been looking for. This can be a big help for me in the future. Thank you so much for posting such a helpful post

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