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My budget patio makeover secret

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It’s been around 18 months now since I delved into the property market and moved into my first apartment. During that time I’ve focused on making my little haven into a home that I love spending my time in. I love coming home here every day and being greeted by happy little furry faces surrounded by the colours of my things and the comfort of knowing this little space is all mine.

After my initial overzealous enthusiasm for all the decorating and renovating I wanted to do and do immediately the very second I moved in, I’ve finally gotten my apartment to a place that I’m really happy with and a place that reflects my tastes and things that I love – with the exception of my outdoor patio.

My apartment is a small and cosy 2 bedroom 63 square metres (perfect for me + my furbabies) but it’s crowning glory is the backyard – and at 148sqm, my outside space is significantly bigger than the inside. I love having so much space outside – I bought this place so that the dog and cat would have room to play but as it turns out with my vegetable gardens, work shed and big grassy area, it’s been the perfect place for me to play too.

As well as a big yard I also have an undercover patio that is bigger than my loungeroom so it’s always been important to me to make it into another comfortable space that will expand my living area (essentially double it!). Over the last year or so I’ve invested time into making it a neat and tidy space but no matter what I did it was just lacking. My main issue was the paving. I don’t really have many photos of what the whole area looked like before, but this will give you an idea:

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The photo on the left was taken before I owned a lawn mower… I had to get one just so I wouldn’t lose Vinnie to an urban jungle!

Anyway, sandstone pavers. Dirty, sandy, crumbly yucky sandstone pavers. They were filthy ALL the time. No matter how much I cleaned them, being made of sand meant they were so porous and would soak up every stain, drop of water or food or whatever else and it just meant that no matter how I decorated outside it was never a very inviting space that I wanted to spend my time relaxing in.

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The yard when I first moved in.

I toyed with the idea of ripping them up or putting decking over the top of them but going down any path like that would have meant a buttload of money no matter which way I looked at it. Then a friend of mine suggested that perhaps I could paint or seal the pavers and that’s when a lightbulb went off – I hadn’t even considered painting them! And so that’s exactly what I did and couldn’t be more happy with the results!

Paving paint is one of the more expensive types of paint but at less than $200 to cover my patio space of 20sqm, it was absolutely well worth the investment and it has totally transformed my patio into a beautiful new-looking space that I’m now utterly in love with. I’ve been eating all my meals outside and reading my book outside and finding whatever excuse I can to spend time outside. In fact I am currently typing this while sitting in my new patio at this very moment :)

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Before painting, the first thing I did was give the pavers a thorough cleaning with a high pressure cleaner and then let them dry overnight before sweeping away any dirt or residue.

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The painting was really hard work. Because the pavers were so porous they really soaked up the paint and took a lot of hard slog to get them looking good – 8 hours or so in total for two coats. I was very sore by the end of the day! And woke up the morning after with blisters on my hands from gripping the paint roller for so long. But the end result was worth the sweat and aching knees for sure.

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The paint I used was Berger Aquatread Satin and the colour is ‘Ironstone’.

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The only other expense I had was for a couple of new concrete pots I got to spruce up some of the cacti and succulents that I had already been collecting.

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So that’s my outdoor renovation secret – paint! I never would of thought that just a simple coat of paint on the floor could have totally transformed a space like this – I didn’t replace the furniture or paint the walls or make a significant structural change. A day’s worth of work and a big tin of paint was exactly what was needed to make this living area my new favourite part of my home.

The one last thing I am planning on doing is to build a privacy screen for open side of the patio to create a bit more intimacy and stop the neighbours from being able to see straight in. Maybe once I’ve done that you’ll even end up finding me sleeping outside too! :)

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