Saturday, January 19, 2013

Patio makeover the beginning

 We are so lucky in Perth, that we have a long hot summer and short cool winters. This means that we have about 8 months at least when we can enjoy being outside, particularly in a shady outdoor room or patio.

Recently we took a long hard look at our patio out the back, on the southern side of the house and decided it was in desperate need of a makeover. We aren't using it -why? Mainly because it is not very welcoming.

It has some good points -- the roof is gabled, with some Alsonite panels which let light in, so it is quite bright out there. We have some good furniture to sit on.

However, as you can see from these 'before' pictures, there is a lot which could be better.

The eaves have probably never been painted in the 30 years since it was built, and now are stained and yukky.  The outdoor sink we installed is very useful, but ugly without the cupboard surround we always meant to install around it.  The painted concrete floor is worn and tatty.  We have been pondering painting those dark brick walls too.

We have two wooden window frames in the house -both of them face this patio, and both need repainting as the paint is yellowing and flaking.

The yellow pine coffee table is useful but the wrong colour.

 The garden love seat bench is now grubby and the wood needs cleaning and resealing, and there needs to be new cushions made for it.

We have set ourselves a very small budget of $350 which will cover the basics -paint, potting mix, paving paint, and a piece of mini-orb to clad the sink cupboard. One day we would like to install a new surface to the floor -maybe it would be stamped concrete or wooden decking, but that is not a priority at the moment.

The tiny budget means that we need to be very creative and resourceful but we are enjoying the challenge. 

For example, the chairs around the table could do with cushions. I was lucky enough to score these cushion inserts and some fake suede fabric from a neighbour's 'hard rubbish' pile so I have the resources to get started on the furnishings.

 My DH has done a lovely job painting the eaves and they look so much better now.

 This is the entrance to the patio -the hydrangeas are looking nice but you can see how bad the floor is now.

 The wooden window and door frames are now painted and the flyscreen security door has a new wire panel. 
 I have been potting up some plants which I hope will one day make the patio less bare and more lush looking. I have only used plants I already have -lemon grass which is supposed to deter mosquitoes, and should become lush and verdant soon. I have some cannas in a pot which should provide lovely green leaves with purple under-sides.  There is an umbrella plant, a prayer plant and a pelargonium with patterned leaves.

The plants in the white buckets will go in two of these large ceramic pots which also came from neighbour during a previous council clean up.

It will take a while for these plants to grow to the size where they will make the kind of impact I would like on the patio, but I am sure they will get there if I care for them.

We have given ourselves a month to get this makeover done, so I hope to provide some encouraging 'after' photos in a couple of weeks,