Spring is finally back in Maryland after a long, cold, rainy, quarantined April and most of May. With the turn in the weather, we spent some time putting our back patio together again. I like to think I am always thankful for our home, but it’s when we put the outside touches in and the weather gets nice that I really feel excited that we get to live here.
Last year was our first summer in this house, and since we had just moved from a townhouse, we didn’t have much in the way of outdoor furniture. Not only that, but we were in the middle of planning an anniversary picnic for Kyle’s parents in our backyard, so we had a deadline to get everything done. Nothing like throwing a party at your house to motivate you to finish all your house projects at super speed. We mulched the entire property ourselves (which we will never do again until our children are old enough to actually be useful in this task), planted flowers in garden beds, repaired a brick path, and got moving on the patio design.
I was inspired by Brooke Christen of Nesting with Grace, she has incredible style, and I wanted a starting point for our design since we were in a time crunch to get it done. A lot of the furniture we have out there are items she recommended, which I appreciate because I worry about quality when it comes to outside furniture and how it will hold up in the elements. I have been really impressed with the quality of the stuff we bought last year and would recommend all of it if you’re working on your patio right now. The only item we have that probably isn’t great quality is our outdoor dining table, which was handmade by Kyle last year. I LOVE the look of it, but unfortunately it did not hold up to the elements as we had hoped and warped despite the measures we took to weatherproof it. Still need to iron out some of the details with building our own outdoor furniture. The problem for us was that we wanted a table that could seat at least 10 people comfortably, but we couldn’t find anything that looked like it would be large enough in our price range. So we built it.
One of my favorite things is having a propane fire column for nights when we want to quickly have a fire without the work of building it. We also enjoy the Tiki table torches that help with lighting in the evening but also with the mosquito situation.
Our newest purchase this year was a large umbrella. We originally had a smaller nine-foot umbrella but it just didn’t provide enough shade since our patio gets baked all day long with no protection from the sun. It was buffalo check and adorable, but it got booted to the pool area for now so we could have enough shade.
I think this year we would like to add some string lights above the patio and eventually turn the whole thing into a screened porch. We’re also trying to focus on the pool area, so there will be more to come there!
We care for our outdoor furniture by keeping the cushions in a large deck box when not in use and also storing everything in the garage during the winter (except for the dining table). I don't think you would have to do this, but I believe it will extend the life of our purchases. You can also power wash everything at the beginning of each season to freshen it up, so don't worry about choosing a lighter colored fabric!
If you’re working on your outdoor area right now, here are some suggestions to get you started.
When it comes to patio dining, I often see options that only have club chairs all the way around. Personally, I feel like that isn't practical because the arms on the chairs make everything cramped, and if you're short, like me, it makes it difficult to reach the table. So I like to use chairs that are more like regular dining chairs and then use more unique accent chairs on the ends. It gives it more interest and offers another option for you and your guests when it comes time to eat!
I also love grouping up my Tiki table torches for a little mood lighting and bug fighting! Throw them in with a little potted plant to complete the look but remember to move the leaves away from the flame when it's lit!
I like this option if you have a smaller area to work with. Put a mini fire pit on top of your table for nights when you're out having drinks or dinner with friends! You can also throw in a couple larger planters with flowers or greenery to make it feel homey. My favorite part of this one is the wall herb planter. The copper adds some shine and some fresh herbs add texture as well as flavor!
Don't tell the others, but this design might be my favorite. If you have a spot to add a nice outdoor area rug, I say go for it! This one is gorgeous! Again, I think you could power wash it each season if it gets dirty or mildewy. Just roll it up at the end of the season and store over the winter for a longer life. You can always add a little shine with a metallic ceramic garden stool as a plant stand or side table, too. I also love the little trio of herb planters which is another great option if you have a smaller area. And I say why not go crazy with a funky umbrella to complete this boho look?!
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