As the weather warms up and we all head outside, you may be envisioning an updated patio space to gather with your friends and family. While some outdoor items can be pricey, many simple updates are budget-friendly while making a big impact. If you’re ready to transform your outdoor space without spending a fortune, here are five of the best ways to get started.

Solar Lights

Adding outdoor lights can suddenly turn the space from drab to magical; there’s something about twinkling lights beginning to glow as the sun goes down that can really transform your backyard. Solar lights are a great option for your patio since they don’t require an outlet nearby. If you have a covered area, these solar string lights are a simple and fun way to dress up your space. For areas where hanging isn’t possible, consider placing colored lights around the perimeter of the patio or garden.

Decorative Planters

The easiest way to brighten up your patio is by adding flowers and greenery. A few more pots around the perimeter will make it seem lush, full, and inviting. Take it up a notch and use fun and decorative planters to display your new blooms, rather than the typical terra cotta pots. If you have a fence, wall, or balcony running near your outdoor gathering space, try these colorful hanging pots to create a beautiful focal point. If you have unused space on the ground, try something whimsical to showcase your plants, like this wagon planter.

Seat Cushions and Pillows

Outdoor furniture and seating areas are a big investment that makes your patio space more enjoyable – but if it’s not in the budget to upgrade all of the pieces this year, you can make a big impact by getting new cushions and pillows. Not only will these new items improve the look of your patio, but they’ll also revamp the comfort level, too – and everyone at your house will be excited about more comfortable backyard seating!

Use the cushions as an opportunity to introduce color and pattern; or, you could opt for a neutral cushion paired with a whimsical pillow on each chair. Since this is all outside, make sure to purchase UV-resistant items so that they don’t fade quickly in the sun.

Fire Pits

While the spring and summer days might be warm, nights can often start to get chilly in many parts, so a fire pit outside can extend your festivities long into the evening. Great for establishing a gathering space, roasting marshmallows, or simply adding a little ambiance to the area, fire pits come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and styles.

This model has a mesh shield designed to catch any stray sparks, and the bottom bowl will hold ashes so that they don’t damage your pavers or lawn. Look for products made from high-heat-resistant materials rather than DIY versions that could start to break down after several uses.


Spending time outside is enjoyable when the weather isn’t too hot, but once the sun is beating down on you in the middle of the day, you might be tempted to head inside. For under $100, you can solve this problem and add some style to your outdoor space. Many patio umbrellas can be used in various configurations depending on your layout; this one can tilt and stay put at different angles, making it useful for gatherings that last into the afternoon and evening while the sun moves across the sky.

Ensure that you also buy a base to fill with sand or water so that your new umbrella doesn’t tip over onto unsuspecting children or guests! You can even get a base with spots for planting (and wheels to move your umbrella wherever it’s needed).

No matter your budget this season, updating your patio can be fun, easy, and worth the effort!