I recently helped a friend makeover their small apartment patio and the results were so wonderful that I wanted to share it with you in case your small outdoor space needs an update. With only a few items and some sweat equity, we came up with some great ideas for an apartment patio makeover on a budget. Have you ever made over a small outdoor space to maximize its use? Share your ideas with me in the comments! In the meantime here is what we did.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget:

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Start by cleaning, cleaning cleaning. We swept absolutely everything to remove old dust and debris.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Then I got a bucket of soapy water and scrubbed down all of the surfaces.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Then I used this high quality exterior paint in “Super White.” That is my go-to color for both indoor and out. It brightens up any space and creates the perfect base color to add texture and color with furniture and accessories.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

I taped up the glass areas so I kept a clean look and painted both doors on the patio. The windows were vinyl so I left them and just gave them a good scrub.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

This is the before picture. Wait until you see how much it pops with the new coat of paint and the plants we added!

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Next on the floor I used these wooden tiles that snap together. They come in two colors, I chose the brown:

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

It’s amazing how quickly they fit together and you can cut them down with a hand saw to smaller pieces to fit around corners.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Once I had the floor done I added some simple wooden folding chairs and tables in a teak wood.

 

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Then I moved on to wooden planter boxes. I considered building my own but then saw these at Home Depot and decided to make my life a little easier. They didn’t fit perfectly on the railing, they were a little wider but that was good because it allowed for drainage without causing the banister to get to wet. I also used a lot of metal L brackets to keep them set in place.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

This is what they look like after a few months. See how quickly the ivy has grown? Once it is fully cascading down it will make the interior seating area feel even more cozy and charming.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Here is a cozy little corner for sipping morning coffee.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

To each box I added two boxwoods and ivy plants. There are many different types of ivy but I chose one with a delicate looking leaf to keep with the small scale feel. Ivy plays well with other plants and along with the boxwoods, stays green year round which is what I was looking for. Eventually the boxwoods will grow together and form a hedge and the ivy will work around it nicely.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

In the box on the short side of the patio, I added a strawberry plant between the boxwoods. Mostly for playfulness and because it is fun to watch things grow and harvest something to eat no matter how small your space is.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

On the longer side of the boxes I planted creeping rosemary because it will stay green year round, smells wonderful and is edible! And it looks beautiful.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Here is a closer look. I’m amazed at how quickly it has grown.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

I added one flowering annual for some variation and because it will take some time for the perennials to mature and grow in. It is called Snowstorm Giant Snowflake Bacopa (Sutera) and is sold at Home Depot. It cascades and grows quickly which was key here.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

So here you see a mixture of scent, edible, and year round greenery as well as cascading.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

This brings me to more edible and scented things, which are key to a cozy outdoor space.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

On the ground I planted creeping thyme, as well as multiple pots: jalapeno peppers, tomato plant (not shown), a sunflower (not shown here), creeping fig (not shown), and jasmine on the far left which will eventually crawl through and up the fence and create a wonderful aroma.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Here is a close up of the thyme. You know the best part?

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

It has a beautiful purple flower for part of the year that looks like a purple carpet as it grows!

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

On the left there you can see I snuck in a tomato plant.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

It loves this sunny spot. That is what is great about growing in pots, you can move things to the sun! See my post on the advantages of container gardening for more on this.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Here is a more recent photo of the tomato plant which already has at least 5 tomatoes on it!

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

This is the creeping fig which is already starting to climb up the vinyl siding. It is next to the gutter so it is getting plenty of water.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

Here is the sunflower growing in a pot next to it. There’s nothing like a sunflower to make you smile.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

I can’t wait for this thyme to grow together like an aromatic carpet! In the meantime I’ve added mulch to it to help keep in the moisture and make it look pretty.

Great Ideas for an Apartment Patio Makeover on a Budget

As a bonus, I also snuck a planter on stilts by the air conditioning units! There has already been a full harvest of kale and radishes and now it’s on to carrots and beets and more kale. It’s amazing what you can do with a very small space.

Have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments! Or post your own patio makeover on social media and tag @GeorgiaPellegrini using #ModernPioneering.

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Georgia Pellegrini

Growing up on her family’s farm in upstate New York, Georgia developed a passion for simple farm-to table food and a deep connection to the outdoors. Having worked in the finance world after college, she decided to leave her cubicle and reconnect with her roots. After graduating from the French Culinary Institute, she began working in Michelin restaurants in New York and France, and soon started leading her renowned Adventure Getaways: excursions around the country aimed at promoting “manual literacy” and helping participants step outside of their comfort zone and experience life more viscerally. Georgia is a firm believer in empowering people to be self-sufficient, identify personal strengths and pursue their life passions.