This backyard patio makeover almost didn’t happen. Almost. For months, we’d been saving for a pergola so the back patio area would have some shade. Right now there is no shade at all and a pergola seemed to offer the best solution. We eat on the back patio a lot especially when the weather is nice. We had one third left to save when my little dog Jelly Bean cut her eyelid while out scavenging one day. I don’t want to get graphic or anything but she had to be rushed to the emergency vet’s office and underwent surgery to fuse two of her eyelids together. The surgeon was amazing. She has since made a full recovery but as you can imagine our pergola fund was held up.
A few months later, I had just finished reading Love the Home You Have by author and blogger Melissa Michaels. She was relating how much time we spend planning for a vacation that lasts maybe two weeks but less time creating a retreat like experience in a home we enjoy every day.
Those words really struck me because I could totally relate. It had been 3 months since I even thought about making the patio beautiful. In my heart, I wanted a back yard space that felt relaxed and comfortable. An outdoor extension to the indoor living spaces that created a place to laugh, unwind, eat, host parties and grill out. But I stood in my own way because the visions dancing in my head involved a pergola and not a slab of concrete.
Reading those words made me feel like I was having an “aha moment.” I knew I could create all of the things I wanted with or without the pergola and got together a plan of action. Here’s a picture of the how the back patio looked before we started making changes.
The first thing we needed to do was stain the textured concrete. We chose Valspar’s Ember and I couldn’t be happier with it.
The next part of the plan involved creating 2 zones. We needed one zone for seating and one zone for eating. It took a few tries before we got the zones set up the way we wanted. Originally, I thought the grill and table would be closest to the door to make it more accessible to the kitchen. But once we got the furniture in place, we didn’t like the flow.
That all changed when much to my excitement I was able to find another workbench to use on the patio. You may remember I had to take the Herboriste Potting Station to my booth at The Pickers Market when my furniture started selling faster than I could keep up. Having this workbench turned Gather and Enjoy serving station allowed us to utilize one complete side of the patio for eating and grilling out.
Once the grill and serving station were in place we added the farmhouse style table. This table comfortably seats 12-14. I added a set of old schoolhouse chairs that used to be at the kitchen table and end chairs from IKEA. I also used an old bench I found about 7 months ago. The bonus is that it can be used at the table or easily moved around the fire pit for extra seating. To help add texture to the space, I brought the indoor/outdoor rug that I had been using in the dining room to set underneath the table.
If you read my post yesterday, you know all about taking this old door and making it into a menu board. I used it at a party last weekend and it was a hit. You may also recognize the white wicker table and chairs from the front porch. They were originally flanking the herb garden.
With the eating zone completed, we turned our attention to the seating zone. I love to linger after a good meal. Sometimes the lingering turns into hours and I want it to be a comfortable experience. These two chairs are also rockers. I thought about keeping them around the table but once we started using the IKEA chairs at the table, I decided to they were best suited around the fire pit.
I’ve had this porch swing for years. I’ve always dreamt about having a swing on the front porch. But the measurements of the swing and the front porch are within 6 inches of each other making the swing unsafe to use on the front porch. Thankfully, I have a skilled and kind bestie. She and I built an a-frame for the swing Sunday afternoon. I’ve pretty much been swinging ever since.
It’s funny, now that all of the pieces are in place, I can’t imagine the space with a pergola. The patio is exactly what I wanted it to be. It’s a back yard oasis that now feels relaxed and comfortable. It’s an outdoor extension of the indoor living spaces created to laugh, unwind, eat, host parties and grill out.
It definitely feels like a retreat experience.