In late June I signed up for Serena’s Thrift Diving challenge: a 30-day outdoor patio makeover. Serena hosts these challenges a few times a year. Many of her followers sign up for the fun of it and for the extra motivation that comes with a deadline. I’m an avid follower of her down-to-earth, informative and fun blog.
Our deck needed refreshing more than a complete makeover, but I signed up for the July challenge anyway.
Deck in need of refreshing
I forgot, momentarily, that I would be in Canada for nearly a third of the month, so I quickly realized that I better get to it. It was the impetus I needed. I pulled together most of the details before boarding a plane July 18th.
I found Thrift Diving through Leilani of Keeping Up with Mrs. Smith. Serena and Leilani are DIY goddesses. I admire their skills with power tools and their can-do attitude.
Here are the results of my 30-Day Patio Revival
Goal #1: Power Wash the Deck
Believe it or not, this step was the most intimidating. I don’t own a pressure washer, and I’d never tried using one. It’s a powerful tool requiring precautions. I borrowed a pressure washer from my friend Jasmin, then watched a couple of videos on how to use it before getting started. Comically, the hose detached at least twice, showering me with a startling blast of water before I finally got the hang of it.
My son helped me move everything off the deck, and then I got to work.
Power Washed Deck
Mouse peruses the clean deck
It worked so well, that I used it on the back patio, in the garage and along the driveway. I even pressure washed the table and chairs out back. They’ve never looked so good.
Pressure/Power Washing in Progress
Clean Patio, Slinky Approved
Goal #2: Replace the Outdoor Carpet
A few years ago, I bought a light-weight area rug to go under the furniture. On the plus side, they crafted the rug from recycled materials and it was incredibly light in weight.
Outdoor Rug by Gaiam
On the down side, and believe me this is a big one for me, I kept tripping over the edge. The lighter weight proved to be a major disadvantage. Even with furniture weighing it down, the edges would still lift up. My balance is not what it used to be. It had to go.
New Outdoor Area Rug
I shopped on-line for the perfect size, weight and color and found one in a neutral tone that is warmer, softer and a bit more substantial under foot. It arrived while I was away. It’s not always easy buying something like this on-line, but I’m pleased with the quality and design. The 15% off coupon was nice, too.
Goal #3: Make Slip Covers for the Patio Cushions
This is where the pressure of the 30-day challenge really came into play. I bought the fabric for new covers several months ago, then got busy with family, work and travel. The fabric sat there taunting me. I envisioned summer and fall passing me by, with that beautiful fabric remaining folded and unused. Once I came to terms with the fact that I had to make the covers in stages, it was easier to get moving.
I set up the ironing board and ironed the fabric. Done for the day.
The ironing board in the middle of the kitchen
Then I dusted off the patio cushions and brought them inside. Done for the day.
My “fancy” cutting table, also know as the living room floor. Slinky and Lindy liked the novelty of the outdoor cushions on the floor
Lindy is probably wondering why I don’t just leave this cushion in the open doorway.
I worked in stages to get things done, and low and behold, I had three new slip covers.
Squaring off the corner of the settee cushion
I slip-covered two cushions together. I added cotton batting for softness and padding. The covers are also reversible
Recovering the seat cushion for the rocking chair. Extra padding, squared off corners in front, and curved seams in back.
The floral print fabric was a bit more pricey, so I bought just enough for one side of the covers. I bought a less expensive, coordinating green stripe for the reverse side. I also bought extra padding to make the cushions more comfortable. (Please don’t mention this to the squirrels).
I’ve never made box corners before, but I like the way they look. I looked at a few sites, and found not only simple directions, but a blog with a sample of the same striped green fabric. What are the odds?
Goal #4: Use a Stencil
Serena uses stencils in a number of her projects. She’s a pro.
She revamped this gorgeous bathroom,
made a folding area for her laundry room,
and she even stenciled these pillows
I needed to start small, so using leftover craft paint and a $3 stencil, I added a pattern to the underside of our small patio table.
Stenciled Table: I turned the table upside down on a towel, then used my craft light so I could see in the small space. I repeated the stencil pattern twice using craft paint on the underside of the table.
It was easy and fun, not to mention removable, if I didn’t like the results. Since I painted the underside of the table, I don’t need to worry about damaging it with use.
Goal #5: Hide the BBQ
We only use our BBQ once or twice a year, so the rest of the time it’s pushed to the corner of the deck. Even with a cover, it looks like an unwanted appliance shoved into a corner. I wanted to find a solution to mask the appearance but at the same time make it easy to get to.
BBQ on deck (before)
I “borrowed” this folding screen from our garage to see if it would do the job. I like it! I plan to keep it on the deck.
Re-purposed folding screen hides the BBQ and a cozy cat bed
Like many things around here, this screen has had multiple uses over time. It once hid my young son’s “technology corner”, a spot in our living room where he liked to sit with his friends and his plush animals playing with his hand-held DS. Year’s later I removed the damaged paper from the screen and re-covered it with leftover fabric from my first swing cover. We used the screen in the garage for many years to mask the water heater and furnace and to discourage small hands from reaching into dangerous places. I’ve now pressed it into use on the deck.
There is a small cat bed behind the screen as well as the BBQ. I relocated this broken cat perch (it used to have a third level) from inside the house, and moved the potted succulent from the back garden to the front to fill in the space and add interest.
These poufs are a complete afterthought, but one of my favorite additions. Boomdee has an aqua pouf on her deck. They’re part ottoman and part bean-bag chair. They make an easy-to-move foot rest, impromptu seating and a place to put your tray. I bought the last two at Target as they are clearing out everything for the back to school shoppers.
I sat with Mike on the deck this weekend, reading and chatting and enjoying the comfortable space. It feels good to have it pulled together once again.
Deck: Starting point
Deck: After (new slip covers, new rug, stenciled table, screen to mask the BBQ, a pair of poufs and a few more plants)
Deck: After (alternate view)
Special thanks to Serena for inspiring us all. Have a look at Serena’s Before and After post at Thrift Diving.
Do you have a room, patio or deck in need of some TLC?