The Very Best Patio Makeovers We Saw on Apartment Therapy in 2021

published Dec 11, 2021
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blue house with patio table and chairs
Credit: Kristi Waite

Raise your hand if you spent a generous portion of your time this year enjoying the outdoors? Us too! With so much time lounging in our backyard (and working from home), we’ve begun to naturally see the outdoors as an extension of our living space. Whether it’s a full-blown remodel complete with an outdoor kitchen or a small DIY veggie garden, patio renovations are on the rise, with plenty of homeowners finding the motivation to finally upgrade their outdoor space.

This year alone, we’ve seen so many inspiring and exciting examples. Here are our seven favorite patio makeovers that have been featured on our sister site, Apartment Therapy, in 2021. Each patio is totally Instagram-ready, with a ton of gorgeous design ideas. If you’re starting a remodel or even thinking of one, take a look at what we’ve found and get ready to be wowed!

Credit: Amy Garrison

1.  A Patio with a Rotting Wood Deck Transforms into a Dreamy Escape

Spending time at home and in the backyard during the pandemic, Portland homeowner Amy Marie Garrison and her husband decided it was high time to give their deck a much-needed refresh that was 17 years overdue. Tired of seeing the decaying deck take center stage, Amy sprang into action and ordered concrete pavers to create a new foundation for their outdoor space. Next came the fun part: Amy selected lush plants, repurposed previous patio furniture, and splurged on a cozy fireplace from Anthropologie. “I spend nearly every day out here,” she says of her beautiful boho escape that cost just $3,500 to do. “I work from home, play with the dogs, fuss with my plants, and just relax. The payoff was well worth it.”

2. A Blah Balcony Goes for a Cool Italian Vacation Vibe

Sierra and Evan were sure lucky when it came to their balcony renovation: They had a resourceful friend who was willing to help out. “It was like a plain bagel. It had a nice base but lacked a lot of character and functionality,” says the couple’s super-creative friend Elizabeth Van Lierde, describing the previous bare-bones outdoor space. Measuring just 6×15 feet, Van Lierde made the small patio feel larger by creating distinct zones, including a lounge space, a dining area, and a bar for entertaining. “I wanted the space to feel like a small Italian courtyard with a California cool flair,” she says. Adding an ottoman, wicker lanterns, a cafe table, and a Ooni pizza oven to bring Italy home, Van Lierde says the couple was “floored by the after reveal.” “Seeing Sierra and Evan’s expressions when we opened the blinds was priceless,” she says with a smile.

Credit: Kristi Waite

3. An Overgrown Narrow Backyard Upgrades to a Relaxing Pergola-Covered Sanctuary

When homeowner Kristi Waite decided her narrow backyard needed help, she reached out to the pros. Yardzen, an online landscape planning company, helped Waite and her family define zones for entertaining (a middle patio laid with pavers), play (a rubber-mulched, kid-friendly area), and lounging (open grass). Plus, they added a hot tub! “I grew up with a hot tub at home so I’ve wanted one my whole adult life,” Waite says of the spectacular renovation.

Credit: Marlana Bevan

4. A Dirty Rundown Patio Becomes a Sun-sational Place to Lounge

Marlana Bevan, who lives in Philadelphia, knew she had to do something about her concrete back patio. With two dogs, the yard “was mostly being used as a giant potty patch,” she says. Because the concrete was porous, no matter how much or how often Bevan cleaned it, the yard was stinky. What to do? Marlana and her husband completely transformed their patio by staining the walls and painting the floor. By sectioning off an area for the dogs’ potty patch, the couple added a separate area for a grill, planters, and seating. “Everyone says it, but paint has such a huge impact,” Marlana says of the quick $600 makeover.

Credit: Deema Lopez

5. A Budget-Friendly Patio Refresh Gets a Stunning Makeover

Deema Lopez describes her stained and cracked patio as a “filthy disaster.” But after painting the concrete in a bold checkerboard pattern, the new look is at once both classic and elegant. To create the pattern, Lopez traced an 18-inch-square tile with a pencil, repeating it until her whole patio was full. “When I say the [paint] transformed our backyard, I mean, it really transformed the backyard,” Lopez says. Best part? It cost just $150!

Credit: Heather West

6. An Overgrown Yard in Need of Major Attention Becomes a Colorful and Comfortable Retreat

When Heather West and her husband inherited their 1950s Pacific Northwest home, the couple took their time to figure out just how they wanted to spend their renovation budget. “Patience has been my mantra for any home project we have taken on,” Heather says. The side of the house was like a small forest, so the couple knew the overgrown plants had to go. Heather planned the yard’s design and painted the exterior a deep blue, then hired a landscaping company to excavate the yard and build a paver patio. Heather’s husband built the patio furniture and wall art himself to save on expenses. Says Heather of the finished yearlong project that cost $13,000, “It makes our small house feel much bigger and is just the perfect retreat.”

7. A Nondescript Condo Balcony Turns into a Cozy Outdoor Getaway Full of Personality

With a little stretch of faux grass on the ground and string lights on the railing, Shruti Chopra and her husband knew the 50-square-foot balcony at their Toronto condo had lots of potential. “We wanted to turn it into a space where we could spend time after work or have a coffee in the morning,” she says. Because the couple bought everything from IKEA, including a sofa and a coffee table, they were able to keep costs low at just $1,100. “With this patio, I feel we have been able to add additional space to our house,” Shruti says, explaining that they use it to relax and entertain.

Are you starting a patio makeover? Have you completed one recently? Share your experience in the comments below.