How to Create a Small Outdoor Space on a Budget

Generally, when budgeting for your home, any funds for an outdoor space are what's left over after the rest of the house is furnished. We get it: You need beds, tables, and chairs inside the home way more than you need patio furniture. If you're on a budget, but like to spend your days outdoors and enjoy a candlelit dinner under the stars, here's how to create a small outdoor space on a budget.

Buy after Labor Day.

Patio furniture is traditionally at its cheapest to buy in late August and September. Stores are trying to clean out their summer inventory to make way for winter goods, so you can take advantage by buying up all the post-summer stock once the weather starts to cool off.


Instead of a full table and chair set-up for four or more, opt for a single chair or two next to a coffee table. It's more of an outdoor nook, but it's great if your space is small to begin with.

Go grassless.

A drought-friendly yard is both an environmentally and financially smart investment. Watering a lawn is expensive and requires a lot of upkeep. Plus, a sandy backyard is perfect for that desert-chic vibe.

Try a tray.

Save money and space by opting for a serving tray and stand instead of a full dining table. It works well with outdoor spaces that feature benches or chairs that are lower to the ground.

Adirondack chairs are classics.

adirondack chair black
credit: Honestly WTF

An Adirondack chair is a lovely, timeless piece that adds a relaxing seating option to any outdoor set-up, but a true Adirondack chair can set you back a few hundred dollars. One hack is to buy unfinished and unassembled chairs, ( like this one for $59.98 from Home Depot ), and finish and paint it to your liking.

Mix and match the aesthetic.

bohemian patio
credit: The Blackbird

Go for a bohemian look by mixing colors, textures, and patterns. This frees up your budget because you aren't stuck to a strict aesthetic. We'd suggest sticking with a general color family or theme so that your various pieces are eclectic but still cohesive.

String lights.

String lights are an affordable and simple way to add elegance and light to your outdoor space. These ones from Party Lights ( $99.95 ) are a more affordable twist on the traditional Edison lightbulb.

Decorate with plants.

The best thing about outdoor spaces is that you don't have to worry about decor. Just invest in plants! They're inexpensive, classic, and feel right at home with every design style from ranch house to loft patio.

Gather around a fire pit.

A firepit is a fun and inexpensive way to gather a group in an outdoor space. Spring for comfy chairs instead of a dining table, and center the focal point of the yard around the pit. A standard steel firepit is generally less than $50.

Stay low to the ground.

Consider investing in a solid dining table with shorter legs and arrange pillows, throws, and cushions on the ground for seating. Not only do you save money by not buying chairs, but this look brings a very romantic element to any outdoor space.

Hang out in a hammock.

anthropologie hammock
credit: Anthropologie

If you're not building an outdoor space for the purpose of entertaining, then create a small outside nook that's all about self-care. Throw up a hammock like this one from Anthropologie ( $128 ), and you're all set for a solo space in the sun.

Build pallet furniture.

pallet deck
credit: Bridget Pizzo

If you're handy with DIYs, building out your own deck with used pallets is an incredibly cost-efficient way to create a patio. Here are some suggestions on how to find free or inexpensive pallets in your area, and here's a DIY for building your own pallet furniture.