DIY Beer Garden Transformation in a Neglected Backyard

A neglected backyard area gets a DIY beer garden transformation using folding tables and string lights for a charming outdoor dining patio on a small budget. 

We accidentally did another outdoor makeover. I don’t know how these accidental makeovers happen, but it’s pretty amazing when they do.

Like… oops! We made a beer garden. Okay, then. Haha!

DIY Hidden Backyard Beer Garden with string lights

What is a beer garden?

If you’ve never heard of that term, a beer garden is an open air dining area with shared tables where beef and food is served. The concept originated in Bavaria and is popular in Germany. 

Refinishing a Vintage Beer Garden Table

A couple of summers ago when I was pregnant with Regan, we stumbled upon this old German beer garden table in an antique shop in the North Carolina mountains. And we thought it was so cool that we ended up hauling it home.

sanding down a folding table for refinishing

Then, the week Regan was born and Robert was home on paternity leave, he gave the table and benches a makeover so we could enjoy some nice evening dinners outside in the pretty fall weather during my recovery.

And then today, as I was doing some spring cleaning around our pool, I noticed it was starting to look a little worse for wear, so I rubbed it down with teak oil to give it some love. (This table and benches are similar.)

Setting Up a Low Budget Backyard Beer Garden

Hanging string lights on wooden dowels for a DIY backyard dining area


When we were making our DIY fire pit at Christmas, we happened to have a lot of extra pea gravel, so Robert dumped it all in the back corner of our yard thinking we could later make some sort of hidden outdoor space behind our pool.

It came together really easily in one afternoon! 

Using pea gravel and string lights to make a DIY beer garden dining area

How to Hang Freestanding Beer Garden String Lights

Time needed: 30 minutes

How to install freestanding string lights around a pea gravel patio area

  1. Attach Hooks

    Screw the screw hooks into the side of one end of each wooden dowel.

  2. Place Dowels

    Drive the non-hook end of the wooden dowels into the ground where you want to place your string light posts just outside the perimeter of your pea gravel outdoor dining area. 

  3. Hang String Lights

    Use a step ladder to run the string lights through the hooks on the wooden dowels to suspend them around the perimeter of the pea gravel area. 

summer table decor on a beer garden table for a backyard cookout

Backyard Beer Garden Decor

The beer garden table fit more perfectly than if we’d planned it out.

I filled this long planter with some hyacinth blooms, we rigged up some solar string lights, and before we knew it, we had a backyard beer garden hidden behind our pool.

We might end up getting a second table and benches and park this cooler back here to make it a little more like the real thing.

The whole thing gives me flashbacks to that very first week home with a snuggly newborn where we sat around this table for dinner as a new family of 4.

folding table and string lights on pea gravel for an inexpensive backyard patio area

So now, 2-ish years later, we can sit back here while the kids play on their swing set, listen to the sounds of the creek behind our house, and search the trees for the owls that live there.

It all makes me even more ready for all of the warm, summer nights ahead… and a little nostalgic about this table’s story.

hanging solar string lights in trees above a folding table to make a backyard beer garden dining area

2021 will be the year of gathering again, and we hope this table sees all the friends and family it can hold.

Cheers to happy accidents, y’all… and good memories… and many more good ones to be made.


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  1. I was especially blessed to see how just a quiet spot in the yard can be so transformative and restorative!! Amen sister 😊😊🙏

  2. Ahhh I never bought one while stationed there! Never let go of your piece….it’s so great!

    1. We went back to look at it several times before we realized we were not leaving without it. We will hold on to this, for sure. 🙂