Concrete Slab to Outdoor Oasis…and a Big Lesson Learned

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HEY!!!! How’s everyone doing?? If you follow my Instagram or Facebook page, you may have seen some of the projects I’ve been working on over here. One being our backyard. It has been so life changing and we’ve learned so much from it that I wanted to blog about it in hopes it may inspire some of you.

This space has pretty much been an unused space most of the time we’ve lived here. When this was my grandparents’ house, there was an old metal shed on a concrete slab when you first entered the backyard. Shortly after we moved in, we tore it down and built a new one in the back corner of our yard. Not having a deck, we decided to buy a table and chairs and stick it on that slab, and kinda serve the same purpose as a deck would. You can see it in this one and only photo I could find, which is THROUGH a screen from my kitchen window;)

(Sidenote: those babies are now entering 5th and 6th grade, which is BANANAS.)

This picture was taken on a late winter/early spring day when the chairs were still packed away for the winter. We probably used the table and chairs about 10 times. EVER. Like in 13 years. And all of those times took place in the morning or lunchtime. That spot gets BEATEN by the sun around dinnertime – I mean, it’s brutal – even with huge umbrellas, so we never sat out there except for maybe a weekend lunch here and there when the sun wasn’t blasting on us. Truly wasn’t the best use of space. We always dreamed we’d build a deck on the other side of the yard, off our family room. French doors, screened-in, ceiling fan…I can see it plain as day and it is fabulous. And also WAY out of our budget right now. (We’ve had multiple contractors quote us, and even the least expensive option wasn’t in the cards this year). But in the meantime, what could we do….

I had an idea hit me when I was at Target and spotted this pergola set up in the outdoor section. I took a pic and sent it to my husband. He was totally on board, and we decided to make due with what we had this year. We’re still dreaming and planning on a screened in deck one day, but we are going to have to save for a while. So let’s make this little slab of concrete a sweet little spot in the meantime!

So he got to work building the pergola one early April day… (I’ll link up everything at the end of this post!)

Wow, I take a lot of photos from my kitchen window?!

We also planted privacy trees along the back that will eventually grow to block the house behind us. Still have a good bit of work to do (landscaping, painting the concrete, privacy screen), but it’s a nice start. We bought some furniture, a couple pillows, and accessories, and here we are!

We do not have outlets out here, so we bought solar lights that make it so dreamy at night.


We ended up loving those lights so much, we bought some for over the hammock as well (you can see a smidgen in the right of this pic below):

This has been THE BEST lesson for us: you really can love your outdoor space, no matter how little you have to work with. Hang some lights, cozy it up with candles and pillows, and watch what can happen! What was once a nasty slab of concrete is now our outdoor oasis and favorite spot to hang out. (When it’s not a bazillion degrees, which unfortunately it has been for a couple weeks now).

Yes, the sun still bakes around 5-6 pm here, so we rarely eat dinner out here, but when it’s not super sunny and hot we have and it’s delightful. In fact, we had a Father’s Day cookout with all our family over and the weather cooperated – and I couldn’t believe how many of us gathered around with our plates and enjoyed this little 10×10 space! To think we’ve lived here all these years and haven’t been enjoying it blows my mind.

I have a small herb garden here too, that really doesn’t look great at the moment for these pics because I’ve been using them so often!! At one point it was overflowing and full of green gorgeousness. I can’t even tell you how much we’ve been loving picking our own herbs. The kids have grown such an appreciation and taste for them, too, which makes me so very happy. Next summer I hope to plant more.

The mornings are our favorite under this shady spot, and we use it soooo much more since it’s more like a hangout space than simply a table and chairs to eat around. I think the furniture has been the key. I love the large coffee table, and the overall welcoming vibe. It invites you to come kick your feet up and stay awhile- much more than the table and chairs did.

I truly hope sharing our progress in our little backyard has inspired you to head outdoors and turn what you didn’t think was anything more than a useless space, into your own piece of heaven on earth. It’s so worth it, and when you can do it on a budget for 1/30th the cost of your original idea, well, that makes it even sweeter!

Next up is a bonfire pit we’ve started digging out! Will definitely share that when it’s done.

Oh, and here’s my view from the kitchen window now! 🙂

When it’s filled up with family and friends, it’s just the best.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, friends! XO



Here are the links I promised in case you’ve got a space that could use some love!

(affiliate links)

8×8 Pergola

Sectional and Coffee Table Set

Two Wicker Chairs and Accent Table Set

Outdoor Rug

Solar Lights

Pillows, throw blankets, tray, lanterns were all Marshalls and HomeGoods.

Herb Garden Planter (couldn’t find exact one, but this is similar):


  1. That looks great – so inviting! Well done! 🙂

  2. AnnOlivia says:

    Splendid!!! Have a wonderful summer enjoying it!!!

  3. Great job! Perfect for a relaxing happy hour!

  4. Heather Lloyd says:

    Sooooooo nice to hear from you again! I was just reminiscing a couple days ago how I loved to read how you would slap chalk paint on almost anything.
    The backyard is lovely, and inspiring.

  5. It’s so adorable!!! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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