Before & After: A $600 Redo Turns a Smelly Concrete Patio into a Cool Space for Grilling

published Aug 15, 2021
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Before: Painted blue concrete patio with worn gray stone walls
Credit: Marlana Bevan

Like any indoor room, an outdoor space often has to serve multiple uses: a hangout zone, cooking area, dining spot, and pet playground, to name a few. So when you have a small outdoor patio that’s not optimized to meet all of those requirements, things can get messy.

Take it from Marlana Bevan, who lives in a Philadelphia row home that has a concrete back patio. Because she has two dogs, they were getting the run of the area — and “it was mostly being used as a giant potty patch,” Marlana says. “Combine that with a too-large-door that swelled shut in the heat, and we had a pee-filled fire-hazard waste of space!”

Credit: Marlana Bevan

Because the concrete was so porous, no matter how much or how often she cleaned it, it got pretty stinky, Marlana says. She tried a combo blue paint/sealer to help make the area more resistant to stains and smells, but it didn’t really do the trick. And after a few months, Marlana says, “I ended up hating that blue.”

Marlana knew a larger redo was in order. “We wanted somewhere we could grill, plant, and entertain without smelling dog pee constantly,” she says.

Credit: Marlana Bevan

Over about a weekend, Marlana and her husband were able to completely transform their patio so it was a space that everyone — people and dogs included — could enjoy. They started by clearing out the patio area and cleaning it up before staining the walls with a black concrete stain. Over the blue floor, they used a much fresher-looking bright-white patio paint.

“We wanted a more muted white for the floor but, because of COVID, everything was sold out,” Marlana says. They came up with a smart solution using what they’d already bought: “We took the white paint and I used the leftover black stain from the walls to create a splatter effect to darken it up a bit.”

Credit: Marlana Bevan

Marlana’s husband also built a new wood door, which matches the wood bench that he also DIYed. Finally, he built a dog potty patch using a plan from Pinterest to get started. With IKEA grass tiles, pressure-treated wood, a shower pain liner, and some supplies from the marine store, he created an area that contains dog activity. “Our pups love it and it empties directly into our outdoor drain,” Marlana says. “No more smelly patio!”

The refreshed patio made way for seating, planters, and a grill, so that Marlana and her husband can enjoy the space to the fullest. And the total cost was only about $600 — a bargain considering the huge transformation.

“Everyone says it but, paint has such a huge impact,” Marlana says. “We love that we have somewhere to sit and enjoy being outdoors while still serving its purpose for our beloved pups.”

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A $600 Redo Turns a “Pee-Filled Fire Hazard” Patio into Relaxation Central