Home » Backyard Bum: Updates to Our Backyard on a Budget


Backyard Bum: Updates to Our Backyard on a Budget

If you’re ever wondering what I do with my weekends when the weather is nice, the answer is I become a backyard bum. I also become a beach bum, but that has nothing to do with our house. From Friday evening to Sunday evening when the weather is nice, barring any plans that take me away from my home, you can catch me out back early and often. This started two years ago when we began putting together our backyard on a budget and then we got an active dog and we were instantly committed to spending a lot of time outside. This past month, however, my backyard bum status has been exacerbated – or greatly improved – by getting what I have been wanting for the past two years: a super comfortable outdoor couch. Also known as a napping couch. Also known as the place where you’ll find me the rest of the summer. As always, every space we own is a work in progress but I’m feeling pretty good about what we’ve got going on back here. And here’s how we got to that “feeling pretty good” place.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about how we started to achieve our backyard on a budget.

(A side note about “budget”: Of course, budget is all relative, but I’m using the word “budget” to describe how we created something out of nothing by shopping mostly at big box stores where there often are sales in-store or online and often their products are less expensive than designer stores or by buying one-of-a-kind, and also not doing any sort of renovation.)

The main goal our first spring and summer in the house two years ago was to create a cool hangout space. This was basically creating something out of nothing since we have a three-car garage that is entirely in our backyard, which means the driveway leading into the garage goes into our backyard, which means there is little actual yard back there.

This photo was taken in the spring of 2015 as we were starting to put together the patio.

In my opinion, the best way to start creating a space is to first determine how you plan to use it and then determine the look and feel you want for it. If you have room to create zones, that’s a good way to help you determine the use, look and feel. We wanted to create a patio area that had both a dining “room” and living “room” for us but as well as to accommodate multiple guests for entertaining. We wanted bright colors that evoked being on the sea, which turned into a lot of turquoise and blues, corals and oranges. We furnished the space with patio flooring from Ikea, a rug from Amazon, a wooden bench from Domino, and then the rest from Target: tables and chairs, pots that I spray painted, and an umbrella.

The backyard when we first “completed” it in summer of 2015.

We really liked the way this looked and it was great for how we used the space. There was enough seating for small gatherings and was more than enough for everyday use.

One thing I wanted the first summer was a fire pit, which we got last summer, our second in the house. We wanted a fire pit but also we wanted a coffee table for the living room area and so we found a combo coffee table/fire pit by Fire Sense from Target online. (Considering how much of our backyard is from Target, I wish I could say that this was a sponsored post, but it’s not.)

Last summer, we also added curtains from Bed, Bath & Beyond to give our patio area a prettier backdrop than old, dirty garage doors. Through these curtains/garage door is Boss Bar, which helps us extend our outdoor hangout space.

This photo is from summer 2016 when we hung curtains to cover the garage door when Boss Bar is closed and added a fire pit in front of the wooden bench.

One thing I realized early was that the wooden bench wasn’t comfortable. It looked great but wasn’t great to sit on for long periods of time and it wasn’t made for lying on. This, I discovered, is a major need in my life, especially late at night sitting around the fire pit. As it turns out, I just want to fall asleep under the stars, with a raging-yet-contained fire nearby. This discovery led us to an almost year-long search for the perfect outdoor couch.

The requirements for the outdoor couch were mainly these three things: 1. It had to be comfortable for real couching and long enough for Daniel, at 6’1″, to be able to totally lie down on, 2. Cost less than $500 (like, the farther less the better), 3. Work for entertaining. Finding something that fits all three is actually kind of hard to come by, especially in a style that fits our tastes.

We found this couch by Fernhill on Target.com and it is PERFECT. As I slept in one weekend morning in April, severely hungover from a night out, I awoke to Daniel banging the metal pieces to fit into each other so that, when I awoke from tequila purgatory, I could come down to a place to fall back asleep on outside.

You may ask why, with a dog, we got a white couch. Great question! To which we have no good answer other than this couch fit all our needs. The couch cushion covers do come off, though, and Lysol wipes come in handy.

Molly loved the couch and pillows so much, she wouldn’t even let me take the tags off before she got cozy.

The style doesn’t exactly fit in with our backyard. We would have preferred something with wood detailing and darker cushions, like this one and this one from Cost Plus World Market. But, like I said, it’s all about meeting all of the three criteria. Mainly it’s the bright whiteness of the cushions that threw me off at first, but we tied the couch in with colorful pillows from Michael’s all with colors that we already have in the backyard. In fact, the orange pillow is the exact same color and print as the outdoor rug in the living room section. This was kind of an accident and I was too lazy to return it and get a different pillow.

Since we now had the new couch, we didn’t need the bench out back so we swapped it out for the two low and very comfortable chairs that we had on the front porch. Now those low chairs, originally from Ikea years ago, flank the fire pit-as-coffee table in the outdoor living room. All of the furniture that’s out back now is lightweight and easy to move, which is perfect for when we break out the fire pit. We place the fire pit on the uncovered part of the driveway, flip the white couch so it’s facing the fire pit and, if we have guests, bring over any extra chairs needed.

For every day use, the white couch faces the dining room area and acts as the barrier between the patio area and the driveway. In order to complete this “zone,” we flanked the white couch with pots of various herbs and a side table that we got from Target last year that was on the porch.

We love having this couch. In fact, I asked Daniel to write a poem or an ode to the white couch and this is what he came up with:

Régine asked me
to write a poem
for our outdoor couch.
An ode.
To be direct,
I’d rather nap
on our outdoor couch.


This is all that’s got me feeling pretty good about this space. There are many things I wish we could improve about this space, from the small (ability to hang string lights) to the big (a full construction job that includes adding sconces and French doors to the Boss Bar section of the garage) and several things in between, but this is not where we should be spending big money. At least, not at this point.

Everyone loves napping on (and under) the new couch.

So what’s next? Well, we’ve been working on our garden and I hope to have pretty pictures to share soon. I plan to create a proper organization and shelving system in the garage, which will lead to a minor update to Boss Bar that I will share with you.

So what do you think about our backyard on a budget and the updates? Comment below and follow our use of the space on Instagram, @reginelaboss.



    • Regine from The 256 Project says:

      According to Daniel, who put it together: Like most modern assemble-yourself furniture, getting the pieces to fit together perfectly, so that the screw holes align, can be a challenge. I recommend using a small rubber mallet to tap the pieces into place until the screw-holes are in line with each other.

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