We set out to purchase a home last spring in a relatively last-minute type of situation. We rented a small two-bedroom apartment just before we had our daughter, with the thought that we would wait a while to buy until we needed to and had a good idea of where we wanted to live.
Well as you can expect, after having the baby we outgrew our living situation extremely quickly, and our rental company was raising rents extremely aggressively to boot. It was time to move as quickly as possible, and into our own house is what made sense.
Since the Seattle market is currently a little insane we were weary to go after a house at the top of our budget to only then experience a loss as many people did in this country when the market crashed back in 2008. We set our sights on a reasonably priced fixer-upper… after losing out on two homes (putting in offers with escalations and everything) we quickly honed in on a cute little duplex – nothing special and definitely in need of some updates, but a place that will get us by while we save for our dream house and hopefully allow the market to settle down a little bit.
Inside a lot of painting was required, but outside there was a lot left to be desired too. The back yard was fully fenced… a HUGE plus for us moving in with a soon-to-be toddler. That however was the only plus to the yard, with no landscaping anywhere in sight. So for this summer, we set off on a mission to upgrade our back yard, but on a budget.
Since this is not our forever home we did not want to dump loads of money into our upgrades since all of that surely will not be recovered – our end goal is to flip this house in a few years then do all the big landscaping in our forever home!
Here is a before picture of our yard and back patio area. Stark!
Okay, now for the upgrades!
When you first start bringing an area together like this, it is important to have an end-goal in sight. I wanted a California patio kind of feel that would compliment our interior decor since we have an open living concept that looks directly outside to this patio and yard area.
To add some class and color an outdoor area rug and throw pillows were the easiest place to start. These are cheap and easy, and also shipping was free with Amazon Prime! We have splashes of teal in our living room, so I decided to carry the same color pattern outside with the pillows. The rug I went neutral as to not be too distracting. The set of pillows were $49 and the rug was $45.
Next is the obvious necessity – a patio set! Our patio is small so I didn’t want to crowd it with large furniture. I actually scored this wood set on Offer Up which is the PERFECT place to look if you are on a budget. However, there are some crazy good deals on cute affordable patio sets this time of year – I found this four piece set on Amazon for $139 and it is ADORABLE!
Okay, on to my two favorite items – our patio umbrella and gas fire pit!
The umbrella I think is essential. It added somewhat of a ‘roof’ to our outdoor area, and also really brought together the look and feel. This truly is less expensive than it looks! $96 and available in multiple colors.
In regards to the fire pit, I decided I wanted a gas (propane) fire pit – think something like the ones they have outdoors at trendy restaurants. The first reason for this is that you can control the flame – I have a toddler that I would not be able to let wander on our patio with a real flame fire burning. If you touch the side of a wood burning fire pit you will absolutely get burnt badly, but my gas fire pit keeps everything cool other than the fire rocks and small flames. Second, here in Washington July-September are notoriously dry, and there are often ‘burn bans’ in place where real wood or charcoal burning fires are prohibited due to the scorched landscape. Gas fires are however permitted since they do not spark, so this ensures we are able to use our fire pit on all our nice summer nights. If you are not worried about either of these things I would suggest a wood fire pit simply since you can get one for about half the price.
Disclaimer: I am a member of the Amazon Affiliates program… I am not sponsored by any of these products, I just really like them! I do however get a little kick-back if you purchase anything through the links provided. Prices are no different than if you were just shopping on your own 🙂