transform your backyard into a dream oasis on a budget
Anyone else craving warm weather like we are? Julie and I are impatiently waiting for spring. Happily, spring comes fairly early to Northern California. Poor Julie is still buried in snow. I can’t wait to show you what I created in my backyard.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area spring is our greenest time of year, so we always try to take full advantage of it. I was so excited to see Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart come out with their outdoor garden spring/summer collections.
They have seemingly endless options for outdoor living and entertaining. From cushions and furniture to outdoor rugs, planters, string lights, they have everything you need to create the perfect outdoor garden party.
Whether you’re already enjoying springtime weather or you’re awaiting the end of winter, I hope that my backyard garden party will inspire you to enjoy your outdoor living space.
My Real-Life Backyard Story
I started my IG story in the midst of my family’s financial crisis. While the situation is better, we are still operating in survival mode. We bought our home almost 10 years ago and while the interior of the home was newly refinished the backyard was just dirt. We had big plans for the backyard and were getting ready to make it the backyard of our dreams when my husband lost his job.
If you have been following me on Instagram and reading our blog for a while, you may already know some of my story. It is not a rags to riches story. That being said, my story is one of triumph and hope. I share openly to encourage others.
My financial situation does not define me. My journey of finding happiness in spite of my financial struggles has inspired many people. I know I am not alone with these challenges, and my goal is to help others understand they are not alone.
If you are interested in reading more about my story read, The Truth Behind the Pretty Pictures of Instagram. While the path has not been an easy one our story is one of perseverance and finding purpose and joy amidst struggle.
Moving Forward With a Grateful Heart and “New Eyes”
I’ve learned so many lessons from the years of financial struggle, and a big lesson has come right here in my backyard. I used to see only what it was lacking. But attitude really is everything. I now have a glass half full view of my backyard after years of an attitude of glass half empty attitude. In the past my backyard represented failure and struggle.
But God has given me new eyes and a heart of gratitude. I now honestly see beauty, hope, and only blessings.
Instead of focusing on the patio or deck that we don’t have I embrace the natural beauty and look on the bright side. We have a large private space where we can enjoy being outside together and taking in the smells and sounds of spring. We have loving neighbors on either side, beautiful palm trees, shade in the summer, sunshine and quiet, a safe place for our dogs to run and our boys to play.
These are all blessings, which I couldn’t see for years.
Our backyard is what I like to call “au natural” which is a nice way of saying it’s very rustic and lacking formal landscaping. My spring clean up involves removing sticks and branches that have come down over the winter and raking up debris.
Want to know my secret to creating a pretty “finished” looking backyard without a formal patio? Laying a beautiful outdoor rug over my slate stones creates just the right foundation to pull off the perfect outdoor party setting, even without a “perfect” patio.
How to Create an Backyard Garden Party
Step One: Prepare Your Outdoor Space
Especially at spring time you will first need to tend to your outdoor space. After a long cold winter your task list might be long, but don’t let this stop you. The sooner you clean things up the sooner you get to enjoy.
A few tips for cleaning up your backyard space:
- Get the family involved and put those kids to work. I may or may not have bribed mine with cookies!
- Pay special attention to the area you will having your party
- If you have a deck or patio now would be a good time to prep it with a good power washing.
- Remember, it’s not about perfection.
Step Two: Choose Your Backyard Color Scheme or Theme
After your space is freshened up it’s time to begin creating your backyard theme. Maybe you have a specific occasion that already provides a theme: baby shower, engagement party, birthday, or a family reunion. I didn’t have any specific event so I chose a color scheme which provided my decor theme.
My color scheme is pink, yellow, & green, taking inspiration from my favorite spring flowers. The rest flowed from there. When I went shopping at Walmart I chose these pillows that blend beautifully with my color theme as well as my floral theme.
Step Three: Create Your Backyard Setting
Everyone’s outdoor space is unique. Some may have huge sprawling backyards, while others may have a small balcony or garden. Whatever you have make the most of it. Play off the best aspects.
- Define your space.
- use an area rug to define your space and add a finished look and style
- use string lights to visually define your area like a frame
- Stage your space with furniture.
- make your outdoor area function like a room
- create conversation areas
- make it cozy, inviting, and functional with the pieces you choose
This year I added this sturdy wicker and glass cart from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart to help define the space. It’s functional as well as beautiful adding more visual detail for your decor. The rustic flower pot (pictured above and below) is also from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart.
Step Four: Add Visual Details to Your Backyard
After you have created your framework with furniture, lighting and a rug, it’s time to add the all-important finishing details. Don’t skip this step. As any decorator will tell you, the difference is in the details.
What do I mean by details? I’m talking about adding:
- colorful pillows
- Fresh Cushions for your outdoor furniture
Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart has a HUGE selection of fabrics, styles, and sizes of outdoor cushions. You are sure to find the perfect ones to replace your worn cushions at a fraction of the cost of other stores. Julie & I have put their outdoor pillows and cushions to the test, and we can happily report that they wear extremely well.
- String Lights
Other decor items to consider:
- Candles for ambiance, especially if entertaining at night.
- Cozy Throws add warm and texture to any space and are function with unpredictable temperature changes.
And of course you can’t go wrong with plenty of flowers, potted plants and greenery to bring your outdoor space to life.
Step Five: Set the Table
Your Backyard Table
The final and probably most important part is your table. After all, eating is often the focus of the festivities. Am I right? The key to a beautiful and inspiring table are three elements:
- Color: stick to your color scheme to add continuity and beauty
- Texture: add plenty of interest to your table by using a variety of textures
- Center Focal Point: A special centerpiece to create a focal point for the whole event.
In order to make your backyard function at its best it’s important to have everything you need close at hand. This is why a bar cart is so handy. You can keep extra supplies where you need them, so you don’t have to go in and out for supplies. My bar cart adds functionality, practicality, and beauty to my backyard space.
Shopping for Your Backyard Oasis
Shop your local Walmart for more Better Homes & Gardens products or shop online.
Versatility Means Value
Picture the Scene
I was excited to decorate my backyard for spring, but the weather was still anything but predictable. I set out my beautiful new throw pillows only to see clouds looming and the rain storm starting. So what did I do? Of course I gathered all my new pillows up and ran inside. Never mind that these pillows are made of durable, high quality outdoor rain-proof fabric and will easily withstand any weather that comes their way. But these are my NEW pillows, and I don’t want them rained on–not yet anyway.
Once inside I throw them on the couch only to realize they look FABULOUS inside as well. You know when they say “bring the outside in?” Well, I decided to take this literally by adding my beautiful new outdoor pillows to create a fresh spring look to my family room. What do you think? Doesn’t it just scream springtime fresh?
Create Your Dream Backyard
Warmer temperatures are on the horizon, Friends. It’s an exciting time of year to plan and prepare our outdoor spaces for a return to outdoor living. I hope my ideas fuel your own excitement. And I hope my story about gratitude can help you appreciate your backyard, no matter what it may be lacking. It’s time to make the most of what we have, and we love how Better Homes & Gardens products available exclusively at Walmart fit our style and out budget. We love showing how we don’t need to break the bank to create beauty inside and outside our homes.
With love & blessings,
La Donna Sullivan says
All the items used in your backyard spruce-up look wonderful & of good quality. The pillows, when brought in, also looked great on your neutral couch! blog was really good, lot of good info💛💖💚💛💖💚💛💖💚
Finding Grace Interiors~ Cristina says
I love your back yard all dressed up for spring!! I really enjoyed reading all about it and all the colorful pictures are so beautiful! I agree BHG offer great products at great prices. Our outdoor furniture is from BHG from Walmart, it’s a few years old and it’s good as new!! Love the new collection of colorful pillows and accessories!!
Thanks for sharing your beautiful backyard!!
Aw Cristina, You are such a sweet friend! Thank you honey. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and appreciate my backyard spring makeover! Yes, Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart has amazing products and prices. It’s a win-win! XO ~ Jodie & Julie