...because home doesn't happen overnight.

One week from today our outdoor dining patio will be featured on the Home Depot’s blog, The Apron. To hold you over until then, I thought I’d share a few of the DIY projects that were involved in the makeover. The Home Depot provided us with a dining table and bench to help furnish our back patio and the rest was up to us. There were budget and time constraints – not to mention the Ohio weather was NOT cooperating at all until a week before the already extended deadline. But I think projects like these {ones that require little time and not a lot of money} provide the most opportunity for creativity and inspiration.


Patio project #1: Update a garden stool. We had a ceramic garden stool sitting in our garage just begging for a makeover. Originally, it was a glossy green. {You can see the original stool here on the front porch of our previous home.} I had been eyeing pricey gold versions for our patio makeover so I decided to try painting ours. HH was concerned that regular spray paint wouldn’t adhere to the shiny, slick surface. After a little research googling, I discovered that applying a few coats of flat white spray primer first would be my best bet. I wiped down the stool, applied two coats of Rust-Oleum primer then finished with two coats of Rust-Oleum pure gold spray paint. Behold! A much cheaper alternative to the trendy gold and brass versions floating around on the internet. I like that the finish isn’t brassy but is a little on the “champagne” side. Very sophisticated. It’s been outside for a few weeks now and is holding up superbly.


Patio project #2: DIY a modern outdoor art piece. I can’t get over Ariele Alasko’s work. As much as I’d love to own an original piece, it’s just not in the financial cards for us. So I did the next thing best thing. I sketched a simple chevron design and handed the drawing over to HH who brought it to life. HH started with a 3′ x 3′ piece of treated plywood as the base. He borrowed a neighbor’s planer to rip 2 x 8’s {leftover from demo’ing the original 8′ ceilings in what is now our vaulted great room} down to ½” thick strips. Using a compound miter saw, construction adhesive and finish nailer, he attached the wood strips to the plywood base. He trimmed the outside edges and framed them then stained and sealed the entire piece. We hung the outdoor art on our home’s brick exterior with concrete anchors. The piece is sheltered by a deep 3′ eave and hangs on the north side of the house to avoid rotting and fading.


It is my favorite part of the entire patio because 1) it’s a personal design and 2) we used wood salvaged during our home’s renovation. It’s just a bunch of wood but it holds a lot of meaning for us. It turned out so great! HH and I are thinking we’d love to incorporate more pieces like this inside the house.


Patio project #3: Create portable light poles. Ever since I started brainstorming the patio makeover, I knew I wanted to string globe lights above the patio but there was one teensy, weensy problem. There aren’t any outbuildings or trees in the backyard to string lights to and I didn’t want to sink poles into the ground permanently. Along with HH, I came up with an idea for portable light poles.


HH poured 7″ of concrete into two concrete tube forms, set fencing top rails into the wet concrete, placed 4 eye bolts into each concrete base {for tethering purposes if necessary}, then held everything level and in place with a clamp/ladder system for 24 hours. It wasn’t until after the concrete was dry that we realized the clever clamp/ladder system had a fault. The only way to remove the ladder was to turn the entire apparatus on its side and slide the ladder off the metal rails. Oops! Luckily, it wasn’t a huge problem. More funny than anything. We removed the forms and cut the poles to our desired height. We added looped end caps to the top of each pole. String lights can be secured to the loops with zip ties. To be honest, we weren’t confident these poles would work out but, so far, they have been wonderful! They are sturdy enough not to topple or lean when lights are strung from them (or even during thunderstorms) yet they are light enough to move around. We haven’t had to tether them.

There are a few peeks at our patio tweaks. Can’t wait to share the final result next week!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Those poles are genius! We have been thinking about how to do it also and now it makes perfect sense!


Oh, I love the idea of the portable light poles! I’m wondering if they might be an option to string up a sail shade also? We have nowhere to tether the third corner of a triangle sail shade, which I would love to add for temporary shade on our back deck when needed. Wonder if I could convince my NSHH (not-so-handy hubby) to attempt this?


I especially like the DIY wood art, and agree that something similar would look good in almost any room in your house. Can’t wait to see the entire patio when you’re free to share.

Ooh, can’t wait to see the full patio reveal! Great DIY ideas. With all you’ve got going on inside the house, I don’t know how you still manage to find time to do these outdoor projects! I’m inspired.


i can’t wait to see the finish as well. we are working on our own backyard upgrades— just added a deck and are currently shopping around for furniture. seen anything great in a great price range out there??

Dana, I just can’t wait. We are currently (and secretly) working on our back patio and you always provide such great inspiration for finishing touches.


Wow, you guys are awesome! Everything down from the art to the lighting is all DIY! You must be really proud of your work so far. I love Alasko’s reclaimed wood work. I saw it recently on another blog, and I am totally impressed you made your very own. Congratulations!

So excited to see the end results. Those lights make everything magical!


That artwork looks awesome!


Deadlines are a good motivation ;) Sometimes stressful, but effective.


I can’t wait!! It looks incredible!

Love the wood – isn’t it great to re-purpose something from your home and give it a new life?! It is nice to follow along and see how well you guys do that in so many projects!


Love the wood chevrons – such a cool touch and I’d never have thought of it!

Wow! I loved the wood design! It’s amazing! It’s quite unique from all the contestants for the patio decorating ideas.

It’s much harder from the rest.
Anyway, I loved the back board of your masters’ bed room. It’s a unique one. I’ll make my own DIY on it for our portable house-to-be.

Thanks a lot for sharing this ideas. I’m excited to check out more on what you have on your blog.


I cannot wait to see more of that outdoor art! I always look forward to seeing your end results. They are always stunning!

Those light poles are genius! We have a section of our driveway next to the backyard that we want to use as a patio space this summer and this is perfect for defining the space without making permanent changes. So impressed by your creativity!


I love the portable light pole idea! We have been wanting to hang lights on our porch. We wanted them to feel like a roof but we didn’t want to add posts to the porch because we felt like it would make the porch feel too small and enclosed. Portable light poles that sit around the deck I think would create the open feel we want without making the space feel too small. Genius! Why didn’t I think of that?
my morning coffee

Wow that’s a heavy patio DIY project. I love the woodwork thing but it seems so intricate to do. I’m thinking of having lights in the patio but thank God we have trees so that leaves me with just stringing them up on the branches, I guess! I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog, it’s so informative and so inspiring to do all the DIY house decors and renovations by yourself. You really got me thinking, thanks for sharing. I will definitely keep an eye on your blog for more of your house-tweaking ideas.


Fun projects! I am loving the wood art. We did something similar to string up lights on our patio, but instead of concrete in coffee cans, we hammered some rebar into the ground for support and slipped electrical conduit over it to serve as the poles.