disclosure: this post is sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart

We had a storm here last night around midnight.

I love storms.

How about you?

And as I sat there listening to the sound of the rain dancing across the roof and the heartbeat of droplets on the back porch, I had one thought.

April showers bring May flowers.

That’s good.

I have a back patio that’s full of them.

We just finished getting the back patio ready for summer and I can’t wait to show you everything.

Here are seven DIY ideas to refresh your patio.

Number one: plant an herb garden:

This year we did something that we’ve never done before.

Fingers crossed it works.

We planted an herb garden.

I know, right? I’m as surprised as you.

Here are the herbs that we planted:

  • basil
  • dill
  • mint
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • thyme

My husband thinks he’s hilarious and he put rosemary, sage, and thyme together and started singing to it. He also put all the herbs in alphabetical order.

One of us is a spreadsheet and one of us is a ven diagram.

I’m more worried about picking fresh herbs for my salad, my chicken and my tea.

I love these raised planters that we got from Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart.

They are SO STURDY.

And pretty.

And come with a shelf on the bottom that I’m going to use to store extra planters and a basket for gardening equipment.

The wood is so pretty and it has this sturdy metal frame.

They look like planters that have been planting herbs for centuries.

I love the height of it for gardening and herb beds.

I also thought this version was pretty too and it rolls.

And this raised bed was super affordable, too.

Stay tuned for recipes with these fresh herbs.

Number two: Add pillows to your outdoor space

If you can only do one thing to refresh your space?

It’s simple.

Add pillows.

Here’s the outdoor space full of pillows.


I think I have over a dozen.

My best outdoor decorating advice?

A pillow always needs friends.

Like these black and white pillows.

And these white pillows with tassels and raised polka dots that I got last year.

And these black and white pillows with tassels.

And these cactus pillows.

Number three: DIY a bench

This space has grown over the year.

We love it so much we keep adding chairs.

And this bench.

My son made it for us last year.

You can see all the details on the bench here.

We call it the bench that Zack built.

Number four: Paint benches and add cushions

I wish I could tell you all my patio furniture showed up looking like this.

But it doesn’t.

Not even close.

We cleaned everything off.

Then added a fresh coat of paint to everything.

And refreshed it with pillows like these.

And bench cushions like these.

I love, love, LOVE these reversible cushions that have a stripe on one side and a pattern on the other.

You can get a set of two for your chairs for under $20.

There are also matching pillows and dining room chair covers for this same pattern.

I might go back and order these for the chairs, too.

Number five: paint concrete stepping stones

This is a DIY project that we did last year.

We made this stone patio and added these concrete pavers.

Then we painted them.

Here’s a close-up of the pavers.

We just used a stencil and paint.

You can see the entire DIY here.

Number six: Add a place to relax

I don’t know about you?

But I’m craving sunshine.

Good thing I live in Texas where we have extra.

We added this chaise lounger with wheels.

It’s so comfortable and a perfect place to relax.

I added this woven outdoor pillow to the chaise.

It’s shaded by the trees around it and I can’t wait to add sweet tea and a good book.

Number 7: plant flowers

Is there anything better than flowers?

I see this patio through the window when I walk downstairs and I can see the flowers.

I have coffee with these bright pink petunias every morning.

We built these planters last year and they’ve held up so well through the storm.

If you want to build your own planters, here’s a DIY.

And you can add a monogram, too, here.

I KNOW this is going to be an amazing summer.

I can feel it in the air.

And smell it in the flowers that the rain helped to grow.

And see it in the sunshine.

Here’s to hope and joy and a summer that’s so bright….

….we have to wear shades. 🙂

I am so happy and honored to be part of the BHG Live Better Influencer Network at Walmart.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

Affiliate links are also used on this post.


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  1. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    I'm SO eager to do all of this this weekend! Wish today was Saturday! Yours looks amazing. Everything you do always looks so fresh and inviting! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Image for Lori Lori

    Looks all ready for some summer gatherings. A lounger and a book sounds perfect! The painted pavers are a great idea. Makes some natural concrete look very fancy.

  3. Image for Judy Judy

    OMG...I love black and white for the patio! It's so crisp and clean. It's what I have used forever, with accents of lime green and hot pink...and of course I have to match my pink planter flowers to my throw pillows! Black and white goes with any accent color. You've done a great job out there and how proud you must be to have such a talented son as Zach. I have to once again say how fabulous you look! You must be feeling pretty great right now.

  4. Image for Donna Donna

    Great. . .love photo #18. Your new look makes me think of your daughters's smiles. I do wonder what is in the right background, those big round items in pots, my kind of old rusty thing. Congrats on the fresh look, so inspiring that I may have to walk this AM in our rather chilly Mn temps.

  5. Image for Peg Peg

    You look SO adorable, and cute, and happy, and just like the mini Thistles!! (Are you a size 2 now??) Such an inspiration, inside and out!!! xoxoxoxo

  6. Image for Diana Diana

    Everything looks amazing and I had forgotten about those painted pavers. The planter is a great idea and the one with rollers would be perfect in case the sun shifts in summer.

  7. Image for Betsy Betsy

    Everything looks lovely! I plant a herb garden every year right outside my back kitchen door. It's so convenient ........yummy tomato sandwich with fresh basil! I can't wait. You look so good and you should be so proud of yourself. I'm trying hard but I so love to bake, trying my best to step away from it. Do you have an exercise program along with your diet plan?

  8. Image for Sharon Taylor Sharon Taylor

    Karianne, You have once again inspired me. My patio furniture was looking worn and old. I got the new pillows, but something was still missing. After looking at all your patio pictures, it hit me. I need to paint that old furniture. You are absolutely awesome! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!

  9. Image for Kris Kris

    Just sayin' .... the song isn't complete without PARSLEY. I'd be singing right along with your hubby. Drives my kids nuts. I've always thought that life could be a musical. I've actually been waiting for you to announce that you are growing a wildflower garden--lots of your Thistlekeeping posts have featured those this past year. OK, so I have a business-like question--I'd like to dress up our patio this summer and am considering an outdoor rug--ours would be completely exposed to the elements--is it best to pull them up when they aren't in use? I do that with our cushions.

    1. Image for Christa Christa

      I had this same question too. I take up my cushions when I know its going to rain. But rugs will be more difficult to store I think.

  10. Image for Sue Sue

    Might also need sunglasses from your shining brightness and the light radiating from your happy face; you have lost a lot of weight!

  11. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    You have a beautiful area for your family and friends to gather in. Now I need to do some cleaning so my space will look pretty like yours. Thanks and have a great day!

  12. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    I'll be over-looks so calming and welcoming :) You have created a beautiful gathering area. Love your outfit. You match your outdoor area :)

  13. Image for Dee Dee

    Excellent ideas and resources! It really looks gorgeous, and I don't know what I like best it's hard to make that decision! I do think that the pavers look amazing and how cool is that bench? So super cool!

  14. Image for Maggie Wallem Rowe Maggie Wallem Rowe

    Karianne, the patio looks fabulous but you look even better! You inspire me to improve my home, a place of hospitality, as well as my own health. Thank you!

  15. Image for jan jan

    Huzzah! You look terrific! Very inspiring to lots of us and I thank you for being so open and honest with your journey. How about a side by side comparison photo? Those are the best inspiration for jump starting someone's journey. Your patio looks more than ready to pick up where it left off. So pretty and doable for others too. All very cool ideas.

  16. Image for LORRI LORRI

    You look amazing Karianne!!! Those pavers look awesome as well. I see another project in my future ..I'm thinking of stencilling my steps in where the back door is . 😍

  17. Image for JC JC

    Your backyard looks so sunny and bright! I love your additions. Thanks for the planter tips. I'm in the planning stage of our yard refresh and this is a help. It's still a bit chilly where I am, but May should be our month to conquer this project. You look great.....shhhhhh, don't tell your girls but you are looking more and more like their older sister! ;). Hugs, friend!

  18. Image for Mary Mary

    I hope your herbs do well. I have tried twice to plant several herbs together in the same planter and they never do well. When I plant them by themselves in their own pot they do great. I was told some herbs do not like other herbs and it stunts their growth. You might want to google it and see.

  19. Image for Sue Sue

    Your backyard is beautiful but you girl look beyond fantastic!!!! I hope from the bottom of my heart you can see how gorgeous you are. Quit hiding behind pillows. We can see you’ve put a lot off effort into losing weight so be proud. Please take a bow! Blessings to you!

  20. Image for Terese Pace Terese Pace

    Morning! Enjoyed your post... affordable options that inspire! Also I’ve enjoyed your blog for years But May I compliment you on the transformation that you have undergone? I am encouraged to follow you in that endeavor I’d like a link to all of your personal transformation steps. You look beautiful, as always. But your healthier you is glowing with confidence that I desire! You’re not hiding behind things(which I fully understand and quite frankly do myself!) Cheers to Karianne!!!

  21. Image for Mildred Mildred

    Girl! You are looking absolutely SVELTE! Here's a gardening tip: Put your mint in a pot all by itself. It will take over your lovely planter box and all the other herbs in the planter with it. It's a BEAST!! I do wish you a lovely summer. Sic-em Bears!!!

  22. Image for Sandra Lowery Sandra Lowery

    Can't wait to make some planters and,add some pillows. You always have the best idea. !!! Love, love, love

  23. Image for Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap

    Love the suggestions to freshen up the outside areas for the summer. Any suggestions on outdoor furniture that won't blow away in strong wind? My back yard needs furniture in the WORST way but everything that isn't nailed down flies across the yard and gets broken in the wind that we get on a regular basis. I need something budget friendly....

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