money saving tips for outdoor spaces

money saving tips for outdoor spaces

- in Handmade

I had an old friend write me recently, and asked me this:

“Any tips on furnishing your outside? It’s so expensive!” 

She actually said “purchasing patio furniture” so I lied a little. But I felt like expanding the topic today, since we’re covering it all here, and ’tis the season for all things furnishing outdoor spaces! So today we’re all about money saving tips for outdoor spaces!

Decorating outdoor spaces can be pricey. And kind of overwhelming. 

So today, I’m breaking it down to a basic formula and sharing my best tips in ways to save money on decorating outdoor spaces.


• Tiiiiime is on your side. Yes it is!

I remember the very first piece we purchased for our back yard.

We felt like real grown ups. It was a swing that we purchased, and we’d saved forever for it. I’d been eyeing it every time we went to our local favorite flea market haunt and I just knew we were meant to purchase that piece. It was made by a local welder and it didn’t cost a fortune, but it was a lot for us. Our middle child had just arrived, and our oldest was probably two and a half. {He’s thirteen now, if that gives you some perspective.}

Our colicky baby was basically only happy in the afternoons when she went outside. So it was the perfect combo of early spring with warm weather, a new swing and a baby who actually cooed at me when I took her outside to watch big brother play with the family rescue pup. A welcome break to sleepless nights and my busted eardrums. Never mind that a bird actually pooped on her face one afternoon, a centimeter away from her mouth and I nearly stroked out in my postpartum state.

{And never mind that I was postpartum because I would still freak out. Gross.}


That swing was my saving grace. I think that back porch area in our last house was our first big makeover. I had sheer outdoor curtains and I was so proud. But my point with this entirely long, rambling story, is that it started something. Creating a haven for our little family, and for entertaining outside. 

You can still see that swing in the photo with the kids by the hideaway in our new house. It’s spray painted with a new look, but it goes to show that older purchases can be upcycled and loved and used for years to come. Great outdoor spaces evolve over time. So while it looks overwhelming and expensive on the outside… bit by bit and piece by piece, it can all come together. 



• Wait for those sales. 

Here’s how I put spaces together: {It’s nothing ground-breaking, but it’s how it works for me.} 

1. Have a plan. – Making a list of your priorities helps you not lose your head over the clear acrylic sofa that might look nice but also costs one million dollars, and you know will be an absolute nightmare to clean. Let alone the scratches your dog will put on it.

2. Make a secret Pinterest board – I actually use Pinterest more than Google to search for products that I’m interested in, and save them there on my secret board, as I find them. Sometimes, the best items are the ones that I stumble across in an ad when I’m not even looking.

hint: Use product search so that you know what you’re looking for is actually available to purchase. Because booo generic photos stolen off the internet with no source.

3. Whittle it down – Then I whittle it down. I like to see how all the pieces work together. This is a great way to wrap your head around how all the elements will look together.

4. Wait. – And I wait. Yes, this is the hard part. Most sites cycle through their sales every few weeks. {Ballard designs much?} So I keep an eye out for changes in price, and plan accordingly. 

5. Install Wikibuy to your desk top. When you click on an item, it automatically tells you where to find it cheaper, and/or brings up coupon codes. Winning. 

Maybe that clear acrylic is a possibility after all… even if it does show your butt sweat.

Example you see here: These rocking chairs from Grandin Road. 

As soon as I saw our new {old} house, I knew the front porch needed these specific rocking chairs in this color. Nothing else would do. Could I afford them at first with an entire inside rehab, {along with redoing the pool} and relocating our family and paying for closing on both houses? No. We had to eat. Priorities. 

So I waited, and a year and a sale later, these puppies were all mine. 

curb appeal porch


• We’re All About the Handmade

I mean, I think you guys know that by now, even if you’re new here. Everything doesn’t have to be store purchased. In fact the best pieces are upcycled + DIY.

We’re big believers in the DIY side of things and the outside, and you may remember that from our last house {more on that below}. When we moved in to this house, our top priority was getting the outside cozy, once again. Because we had a pool, and we were new to town, and the inside was completely gutted, we knew that the key to making new friends in a new area was hosting little dinners in our back yard. Even if there were technically no working bathrooms. Tiny detail. {Looking back, I still can’t believe we did that – if you look in the photo above, you can see the inside is totally missing.} 

Needless to say, it was a big hit. And this is what we put together. While this furniture is currently in storage in the name of the addition {It’s hard to believe a whole room is standing here now!} it’s about to come out again, and continue to work hard in new ways. 

Our best pieces are a hand built table, paired with chairs that have now been spray painted about three times seasonally from World Market. Alongside some outdoor furniture from Target circa ten years ago, that’s been reused in three different ways. I’ve even switched out the fabric about four times now. And it works. It’s important to be flexible and mix it in.

That’s how you save big time. 

best curb appeal

Speaking of handmade: we thought it would be great if you wanted to see more of our specific ideas for the yard, from practical solutions to fun ideas {if we do say so ourselves} here! You can see how some of our furniture has evolved over time, too. + Some more of our fave ideas here!

tips for creating an outdoor space

So these are some of our very favorite tips for saving money on all those fun outdoor decorating ideas. 

It can feel like quite the undertaking until you start to look at it in a new way! We hope these ideas have inspired you a little today! As always, let us know if you try any. We would LOVE to hear. 

Have an inspired day!

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