What to do with a $1000, $1500 and $2000 budget for an outdoor space!

April 14, 2020

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Last year we shared how we approach budgets when renovating (here) and shared a hypothetical 3 phase bedroom makeover under $2000. The gist? If you have $500, that doesn’t mean you have to buy the cheapest of everything to get the room done. That means, choose a few budget-conscious pieces to start your space and add onto it as you can! Since outdoor living season is upon us, I thought it would be the perfect time to share the same idea for creating an outdoor space!

We’ve created a lot of different outdoor spaces over the years.

Two years ago, we transformed our friends’ backyard in a weekend on a budget!:

(See the full budget breakdown and process here)

But our backyard from our last home took many years to put together, every year adding a little bit more:

See all of the sources in this post!

There was also this version…

You can see the full post and sources here!

This is only our second summer in our current home (we moved in last June), so I’m excited to see how our outdoor spaces continue to evolve. Last summer, our back patio looked like this:

(See all the sources here) But since the entire back of our house has changed, I know it’s going to look very different this year.

One thing is for certain–an outdoor space can and should evolve over time. Today we wanted to share how to get one started at your home, on a budget. I love the idea of starting with a base and then continually adding onto it. For this outdoor space, we started with a $1000 budget and added onto it in two different phases with the final look STILL being under $2000. We also listed the price of each piece under each phase, so if your budget is $500 or less, you can still start somewhere!

Here’s Phase 1!:


Start with…

Outdoor sofa: $627 (Here’s an alternate option for $450 that I also love!)
Coffee table: $119
Chairs: $239 for a set of 2 (on sale for 40% off)
String lights: $35

In this first phase, we started with basics! Sofa, coffee table, chairs and string lights. These pieces will immediately extend your living outdoors for the sunny months. I decided to add the string lights in the first phase because they are the lowest budget way to make an outdoor space feel magical.

For $442 more, you can get this!:

Add in…

Rug: $128 (7’10 x 10’10)
Metal fire column: $208
Pom pom pillow: $39
Striped lumbar pillow: $31
Natural woven pillow: $36

Every patio could benefit from a fire feature, and in phase 2 we make sure you get that! A propane fire column, a substantial outdoor rug to ground the whole space will transform everything and outdoor pillows add a real outdoor living feel that will make you want to invite all your friends over.

Now it’s time to finish off your space!:

Add in…

Planter: $149
Wall lantern: $59
Tiered stand: $63
Cement pot: $18
Grill: $245

Plants make a space come alive so we included a couple pots in this last stage, but also thought about other finishers–like that outdated outdoor wall light that’s probably nearby–so swap it out for the wall lantern linked above! And what’s an outdoor space without a grill?! This infrared gas one is one that Chris recommends over and over. It cooks so evenly and you’ll be so excited to eat outdoors all season long. And while you’re at it, the tiered stand is great for entertaining, too!

For under $2000, you can get the entire look, but you can start wherever your budget permits! Hope this helps you start imagining what your outdoor space can be this year and give you the motivation to start somewhere! I know I’m ready for some pillows and a rug this year!

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What do you think?

  1. Wow, you love a white outdoor cushion! I agree, they look so fresh, but my husband is concerned they’d look dirty quickly. How do you keep your white cushions clean?

    • Julia says:

      I think it’s actually the opposite! I have found the sun bleaches them and we only included cushions that could be tossed in the wash. I also always use scotch guard and we use a big furniture cover when bad weather is rolling in.

  2. Samantha says:

    Hi Julia! I love the sofa in this post! We have a very small outdoor screen porch so we are looking for a sofa and two chairs. Ideally the chairs are a little more “lounge-able.” Do you have any suggestions for alternate chairs?
    Thank you!!

  3. Heather says:

    If going with the navy option for the outdoor couch, do you recommend pairing with a lighter colored rug? Any specific recommendations or links would be so helpful! Love your style!

  4. Amy says:

    The main outdoor sofa you shared is now on sale for $502 on Overstock! Such a good deal but I have mixed feelings about purchasing something like this now during the pandemic. Should we buy things because businesses are hurting or should we postpone big purchases because the delivery services are overwhelmed?

  5. Kelly says:

    Love this! Just this week we started dreaming about how to freshen the patio. Bought new covers for the pillows, and about to order new lights. Have you seen any pretty AND budget-friendly deck boxes for toy storage?

  6. Vaishali says:

    Hi Julia,
    I absolutely love this post! So many good ideas! We recently bought the world market sofa that you had linked last week- the ones at your previous house! We love them! I’m looking for an outdoor rug- love the price range of the rug you linked in this post. Any suggestions on where to buy a large rug for a reasonable price? Thanks!

  7. Chelsea Garcia says:

    Perfect timing such an awesome beginner inexpensive way to feel at home and enjoy the process! We just moved into our Arizona home ( so the back yard is just dirt) it’s a rental but we will be here a while so I want to make the backyard living able and functional but I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg do you have a budget friendly landscaping options to go with the awesome furniture!?
    Thankyou so much I love your family and blog!

    • Julia says:

      Landscaping can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it. I love the idea of an edible garden for small spaces (here’s the link for our easy garden boxes). Pea gravel is cheap and also looks amazing with some arborvitae too!

  8. Sarah says:

    Hi! Love the rug! When I click on the link, it’s not working.. do you by chance have an updated one?

    Thank you in advance!

  9. Chelsea says:

    Okay, I very much appreciate posts like this. Redoing a whole outdoor space can seem intimidating (with both design and budget). I love how you started small and then added in. Thank you!

  10. Steph says:

    I love this, thank you for sharing! Do you have any family-friendly recommendations for outdoor dining table options to coordinate? I’ve been searching for a table + benches combination.

  11. Emily says:

    I am curious your experience and/or thoughts on the practicality of outdoor rugs? I like the look but worry that it will become rain clogged and dirty very quickly and therefore just become a cleaning hassle and impractical to walk on or enjoy (if the rug is still soaked but the patio is dry, for instance).

  12. I love the difference the outdoor rug makes. Your fire pit/fireplace is soo dreamy!

  13. Courtney says:

    I love these ideas! I really want white cushions but it seems like a risk and my husband is opposed so I’m trying to convince him haha. What’s your experience with white cushions?

    • Julia says:

      White/Light cushions are actually SO easy outside because the sun bleaches them! Also, we made sure to choose a sofa with washable cushion covers!

  14. Mariana says:

    Do you keep the furniture covered between uses? My outdoor space is totally uncovered. The fine print of a lot of the outdoor furniture I’m seeing says to store them indoors or to keep covered, which seems so impractical. I don’t want to buy things that will only last a season, and am curious what everyone else does!

  15. Heidi says:

    We live in an area that gets very high winds so pillows etc wouldn’t survive. We found a bench, 2 chairs and a coffee table that haven’t blown away, but it still looks bare. Any ideas?

  16. Kerry says:

    Thinking of how best to keep track of your suggestions for our next home. I’ve given up – I’ll just return to this post! Could you make suggestions for those living with only small patios/balconies? Where a 4×6 rug is about is big as you could go. I’d love to know what table you might recommend & how to pull it all together. Love your style. xo

  17. Ann says:

    I love the outdoor space you have created for us at a very reasonable cost. Thank you!

  18. Emily says:

    I love this idea–we are trying to zhuzh up our front porch (now that we’re spending a lot more time at home and the weather’s nice). This is such a great way to think about buying stuff that makes sense together but you can build upon. I also appreciate the budget friendly point of view, as almost everyone is feeling some economic impact right now. I would love to see more posts like this. Thank you!

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