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Thrifting Denver

Patio Paradise

By: Jenna Pfueller

It’s patio season, thrifty friends! I get excited about it every year and go all out. The mind movies I have about patio season are one of the few ways I’m able to make it through the winter.

But apparently each year I get a bit of amnesia about my level of attractiveness to the local mosquito populace. To them, I’m merely creating a convenient outdoor smorgasbord for them to devour under strings of trendy Edison garden lights.

Nonetheless, I prepare our back patio space with love, paying attention to light, seating, flowers, and doing my best to create the setting for a perfect summer gathering. Arguably it would be much more enjoyable should the entire mosquito population mysteriously collapse, but I digress.

It all started with some freshly birch logs I saw sitting along the side of the road. They were the perfect height to set into concrete and make some porch pillars. Lucky for me, my partner was on board with my DIY idea, and quickly got the car keys to rescue them on my behalf.

Patio porch with tea lights hanging from birchwood posts

Credit: Jenna Pfueller

I pulled out some big planters I had in the shed, and got a few bags of Quick-crete from the hardware store. Once the logs were set in place, I topped them off with some dirt and planted  geraniums around them in a lame attempt to keep the mosquitos at bay. I pulled the picnic table over and ran a few strings of patio lights and boom-boom-boom–new favorite backyard hangout!

Thrift stores are the perfect place to make your backyard mecca totally cozy for totally cheap. I like to look for trays to carry drinks out on, like these vintage ones I found recently at my local Goodwill®. Not only do they make it easier to carry ALL THE THINGS in and out of the kitchen for prep and clean-up, but they also make a great conversation piece for your guests!

Two vintage drink trays found at a local Goodwill store.

Credit: Jenna Pfueller

I also look for pillows to make seating more inviting, breezy curtains that can be easily strung up to mute the late day sun, linens that would make fun tablecloths, extra chairs to set out, and used rugs that would be totally fine as a seasonal outdoor landing pad.

Don’t forget about decor, too! Clocks, mirrors, planters–all great ways to add some extra wow.

Backyard patio with fireplace and string lights featured on Crazy Wonderful Blog.

Credit: @crazywonderfulblog

A few tips?

  • Use a fitted twin sheet as a tablecloth on picnic tables so it don’t blow away.
  • Find a set of used plates and cups you don’t mind getting chipped to create a more stylized look. It also keeps you from using plastic plates and styrofoam and creating more waste.
  • Keep citronella candles inside mason jars. So much cuter on your table, and you can put the lids on them when you’re done, so they won’t get waterlogged between parties.

Need more inspiration? Check out this porch $5 challenge from Lauren, who found some great patio accents at her local Goodwill® store.

You can sit back, relax, and rest easy knowing your inviting little piece of porch heaven helped people in your community find stability through work, and saved you a little extra money to buy citronella candles. Trust me here. You’re going to need them!

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