Reader SOS – Transforming a Concrete Patio

I’m back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space”. My plan for #DIYPlaybookSOS is to take a reader’s space and (virtually) offer design tips and tricks on how to improve it.

Here are some of my favorite design solutions from this series…

Reader SOS from the DIY Playbook

My friend, Erica, is the contributor to our Reader SOS series and she comes up with the dreamiest plans for these design dilemmas. You can check out her blog here (and she is even offering virtual design services if you want to hire her for your own space!)

Take It Away, Erica!

Warm weather is finally here! While we might not be able to hop on a plane and go on that long-awaited summer getaway just yet, we can create our own outdoor oasis at home.

Today we’re helping Liz tackle a unique patio space just in time for the heat of summer. Let’s take a look at her dilemma.

What Should I Do With My Concrete Patio?

“We have a concrete patio off the side of our carport, which we use as the main entrance for our home. The property line runs down the edge of the patio. The bushes are not ours to make decisions about. We do have a table and chairs in our grilling area in the back yard, but we would love some help in figuring out how to make this patio not only more functional for our family of 4 but to be more beautiful and private.” – Lisa

Concrete patio Reader SOS

First things first when it comes to any outdoor space. Start with a clean slate.Concrete patio before

I would recommend clearing everything out, including the wooden swing and toys, and giving the concrete patio a good power wash! There are few things more satisfying in life than watching all the dirt wash away like you can with a power wash. Casey can attest to that. You will be amazed at the difference it will make. For more deets on power washing and machine recommendations, check out this blog post.

Creating PrivacyProperty line

The blue dotted line denotes where Liz’s property line ends. This is the place where she would like to create some privacy between her patio and her neighbors’ shrubs. However, she cannot plant anything in the dirt because her property line ends at the concrete. Here’s where we need to get creative.

Wood Planter Box | Planter Box with Trellis

I would recommend tall planter boxes with medium to tall plants OR a planter box with a trellis attached. Either of these planter box options (above) would work great! I’m also a big fan of these black metal planter boxes.

This is a technique that I used on our rooftop to disguise an ugly concrete wall. It’s also a technique you’ll notice restaurants using to create privacy for diners on café sidewalk patios. On our rooftop, we filled our concrete planters with majesty palms. You can pick them up at Lowe’s or your local nursery for anywhere between $15 – $50 apiece (depending on the size). They are pretty hearty and will last outdoors in the Midwest with regular watering until about mid to late October.How to paint a bathroom vanity

Next, I would suggest softening the space up a bit by painting the concrete with a stencil pattern. Casey just did this in her bathroom and you can check out the full tutorial right here. Such an easy DIY project that anyone can do. But to see this stenciled look outside, check out this gorgeous patterned patio from Emily Henderson. Emily Henderson's outdoor patio

Photo via Emily Henderson

For this space, I think something a bit more subtle would work best, perhaps a gray and white finish – it will really brighten the space and make it feel clean and polished.

The Layout on the Concrete Patio

Emily Henderson’s space has a similar vertical layout to Liz’s space. Let’s take a look at Liz’s patio from the same perspective to help determine the most functional way to lay out all the pieces.

After the concrete is cleaned and painted and the planter boxes are all in a row (I used these planters), I would recommend creating a seating area with a small love seat, accent chairs, and a fire pit to cozy things up. This will also help to anchor the space.seating area

I’d add a fun fringe umbrella for some shade and added texture, along with some pops of color with these outdoor throw pillows. You’ll see in some of the BEFORE images of Liz’s space that both the door to her home and the shed in the backyard are painted a beautiful teal blue color so these pillows will be a great way to tie the whole exterior together.

A round-up of some more of my favorite patio love seats and sectionals can be found here.Small outdoor pool for the kiddos

Since this is also a space that the kids use often, I’d create a splash area for them with one of my all-time favorite outdoor “toys”…The Minni Dip. This adorable pool is the best of both worlds…aesthetically pleasing and fun/functional. It comes in a variety of beautiful patterns like this adorable “SQUEEZE THE DAY” lemon, amongst a variety of others. It’s a summer heat lifesaver for both kids and adults.

Creating an Outdoor Oasis on a Concrete Patio

Now let’s look at it all the pieces together.Concrete patio design plan

VOILA! With a few key elements and some pretty finishing touches, Liz can turn this patio space into a beautiful, functional, and fun seasonal space. Oh, and another gorgeous addition would be to include some bistro lights to keep the fun going all night long.

Shop the Look

Shop the look

  1. Fringe Umbrella Canvas | 2. Patio Love Seat | 3. Fire Pit | 4. Outdoor Throw Pillows | 5. Stencil | 6. Splash Pool

Submit your Reader SOS

We always love hearing your design dilemmas. If you have a space you want us to tackle next, email [email protected] with the subject line “READER SOS”. Please include as many photos and information as possible.


More Reader SOS Posts

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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