The weather is finally starting to change here - although it feels like 2 months too late - I'll take it! If you've followed me for awhile (early spring 2020 or before) you'll know my husband and I set out to makeover our outdoor space(s) last year by improving the landscaping around our house and finally getting furniture for the deck and back patio. We had GRAND plans!!! Didn't we all though for 2020?!? ... before it became the REAL 2020 soon after and all things stopped and/or changed.
Our original makeover plans were to do lounge furniture (sectional and comfy chairs) on our downstairs patio so we could watch the kids play and then add dining type outdoor furniture to our top deck (it is directly off our open concept living and dining room). We also planned to redo the landscaping out front, around the side of the house (to deal with some water issues) and then extended our patio space.
Well, much like 2020, only 30-40% of the original plan got done. Materials were more costly than we had anticipated for the landscaping - we were cautious about spending anything that wasn't a "have to" with everything going on in the world (landscaping was a "have to" thanks to those water issues) - and we were now home, 24/7 with our children that literally sucked all time, energy and life out of us.
What we did accomplish in 2020 for this project:
- Purchased a budget friendly outdoor dining table and 4 chairs for the upper deck (I'll cover these sources in a future post).
- Found a coordinating rug, umbrella, and 2 inexpensive side chairs for the upper deck (again, coming in our patio makeover post).
- Killed multiple plants and flowers I had dreams of keeping alive (I'll get to this more in our current design plan!).
- Ripped out the landscaping up front and did a stone wall around the shrubs that remained and then "rocked it in". I know I know, I feel like you are either a rock person or a mulch and flowers person - and we are clearly rock people. We like clean, nothing fussy, easy to maintain, but something that looks done. My husband hauled thousands of pounds of rock - but he got it done and saved us a lot of $ by doing it all himself!
- Found a propane fire pit for the lower patio area (best purchase of summer 2020!)
- Bought a large under deck storage box for the patio furniture we planned to buy. This came from Costco - keep your eye out this time of year for one.
- Dug out around the original patio to lay pavers, pea gravel and river rock to extend our space beyond the builder grade 10x10 pad of concrete (professionally poured concrete was not in the budget!).
Fast Forward to 2021 and here are our updated plans:
- Buy comfortable outdoor lounge furniture for the upstairs 12x12 deck making it feel like an outdoor living room (I no longer feel the need to see my kids unless I'm specifically looking for them after 2020!)
- Create shade and privacy for the upstairs deck (I burn so easily, that shade is important if we want the space to be useable. Our back yard, deck and patio get full (HOT) afternoon sun that I'd never want to be in unless it was shaded).
- Create privacy from our neighbors without doing a permanent structure (like a screened in porch or 4 seasons room). We don't want to be looking into our neighbor's yards or spaces 100% of the time we are outside, but thanks to HOA regulations, budget and city code - a permanent structure is pretty much out of the question.
- Have enough seating for 4-6 people on our upstairs deck and 6-8 people on our backyard patio (the patio area will be the kid friendly - mom doesn't care - space). We're a family for 4 and that won't change, but now that we are all vaccinated, we will start to entertain the idea of having people over again!
- Add greenery that I won't kill and that can survive in direct afternoon sun.
- Stain the deck.
- Create a lounge space with hanging chairs and an inflatable pool that's partially covered from the sun for the kids to use. We installed a wi-fi extender in 2020, so they have full wi-fi capabilities out back now!!!
- Set up a back patio dining area with 4-6 chairs, umbrella and rug.
- Set up a fire pit area with 4 chairs and 2 side tables surrounding the fire pit for all the s'mores action we can handle!
Optional / Add-On ideas we are considering:
- Add some sort of tall (8x12 foot) privacy screen between our house and the neighbors house in the backyard. (We can only do 4 feet tall black chain link fence according to our city code - so no privacy there!)
- Add lighting to the kid friendly space downstairs.
- Add an upstairs deck fire pit so I can pretend like I'll spend my summer drinking sangria by fire light after the boys go to bed without a fight ... sounds like a dream, doesn't it?!? This likely won't happen, but I feel like if I put it into existence... there is a much better chance that it could ; )
- Add a sun shade or some type of covering to the back patio area beyond the umbrella we currently plan to use to help with heat and direct sun exposure.
- Plant some bushes or shrubs on the outside of the extended patio area in the back of the house (in the rocked area) to help hide the kid "lounge" area.
- And maybe - seriously, the biggest maybe (leaning towards a big fat NO) is getting a trampoline for the boys in the backyard. They currently jump on a neighbor's trampoline when they are home, but the neighbor kids will be in daycare all summer and our boys will sit and look at an unused trampoline throughout the day and be cranky about it (or one of our kids that tends to be a bit sneaky may jump on it anyway creating a mess of other problems!)
Let's get to the good stuff - the design of the outdoor deck space (I'll do a downstairs patio plan overview in another post!) On the deck, I have 12x12 feet of space to work with and it literally is a blank canvas. Here's what I've picked out so far that will stay no matter what design I go with:
- Outdoor dining sectional. This comes with 2 stools/ottomans, a dining table and an L shaped sectional that can be broken into 2 separate couches.
- Outdoor curtains. These will be hung around the 3 sides of our deck (not the house side) giving us full privacy from neighbors if we want it and also protection from the sun at different times of the day.
- Egg Chair. I purchased this for my office before I had to give up my office space for the boys to go into separate rooms in our house (it was the best decision for our family, but I still miss the space!). The good news is the egg chair is actually an outdoor chair and we plan to treat the cushions with an extra coating of outdoor scotch-guard to make sure it can stand up to the elements. I also just ordered an egg chair cover so we can cover it just like we would the other patio furniture.
- Outdoor lights. We bought 4 sets of outdoor lights last year when we still thought we'd get it all done outside. We ended up using them on our Christmas tree instead (loved them there!) - so I plan to pick more up this year to use on the deck - I might go with one of these 2 sets based on length (option 1 or option 2)!
I came up with 3 designs for the outdoor deck space. If you haven't yet, feel free to go vote for your favorite of the 3 over on my Instagram page! We are currently a split decision household! I should note, I'm not including the 4 "core" design items in my lists below, but each of those 4 items will be included in the final design we go with.
Cozy Fresh Neutral Design:
Textured Boho Peach Design:
Moody Georgia Peach Design:
Don't forget to go to my Instagram page to vote for your favorite design! Once we get this design finalized, I'll start working on the back patio / kid lounge space that will be VERY budget and little boy friendly! Stay tuned!