Our Pretty Patio Reveal

Holy banana boats batman!  Boy did I learn oodles while working on our patio.  And I apologize for the information overload I am about to throw your way.  I hope I can keep it short and sweet and keep it more photo heavy {those are the best posts anyway right?}.

Although I didn't blog about every last project we tackled outdoors this last month and a half, we sure did get a lot done!  And it feels awesome!  Here are a few of the things we tackled and crossed off of our list:

  • Replace deck boards with maintenance free decking {yep, even if that means working in the rain!}

    • Pull patio and garden weeds.
    • Wash siding.
    • Install candelabra.
    • Scrub maintenance free railing.
    • Recover outdoor stool.

      So what all did I learn?
      • I realized that working outdoors poses a whole new set of challenges.  We have been extremely restricted by time due to our busy nightly baseball schedule paired with my hubbies work schedule paired with the crazy Wisconsin weather schedule {which is why we didn't get it all done in June}.  Unlike inside, we were unable to work much once the kids were sleeping, as it would get dark out.  Even today, I went out this afternoon to take photos of the finished patio area before our plans to entertain tonight, and once I began editing the photos, I was SO frustrated with the shadows and my battles with the brilliant sun, that I had to re-photograph the entire area at dusk {huge time suck}.
      • Speaking of photographing exteriors, it is nuts how different it is from interiors.  With interiors, you have ending points {walls}.  Outside, the space goes on and on and finding good angles is challenging, and photographing specific zones without the crazy clutter of the ongoing background is also difficult.
      • Knowing what will withstand our wacky Wisco-weather is all about trial and error.  We have experienced the strangest year weather wise {6 months straight of snow followed up by two months of rain followed up by a fabulously hot month of drought and then back to stocking caps in July}.  You never know what you are going to get, and it is important for us to select finishes that will still look good a few years from now, so we don't get stuck with our yard looking like it did this spring.
      • I change my mind.  A lot.  But we already knew that right?  It turns out the colors in my inspiration item and initial plan weren't what I thought {crazy monitor resolution!}, so it was out with the red and in with the pinks and a few returns to Target.  But you know what?  In the end I love it.  I lovity love it.  

      Last month when I challenged myself {and my Mr.} to take on our outdoor spaces, I was a bit ambitious with how much I wanted to accomplish.  I had a list for both the front and back of our home... the front porch still gives me a giddy smile when I walk up to our home.

      But now let's focus on the back.  Remember the awfulness we started with?

      Sorry if that caused you to lose your dinner.  Or breakfast.  Or lunch.... you get the point.

      An incredibly rotted deck and boatloads of chipped paint along with a lack of seating and accessories left this the least desirable area of our home.  And although I have huge plans for the inside of our home, we spend SO much time running the kids and working on projects, that we need a place to escape and enjoy summer, without leaving our home.  We love to spend time as a family grilling, roasting, playing yard games, etc... we needed a happy place to do those things.  The interior was going to have to wait.

      As I mentioned above, we built a second table for our other seating area.  We have a few cheapo adirondack chairs behind our fire pit and I was hoping to add a nice little table between them for smore assembly and drink setting.

      The table holds all of our goodies and provides a place to add candles and mood lighting, and below we stash our wood pile for the evening festivities.

      The fire pit is our favorite spot in the whole backyard.  We use it spring, summer and fall.

      The long patio also holds our dining table.  The table was one we built a few years ago using Ana White plans and it was chipping and peeling because I used an inexpensive outdoor paint that is not even worthy of mention.  Never skimp on outdoor paint.  Lesson learned.  This time around, I repainted the table with Behr's new premium exterior Marquee paint, and gave it three thin coats, so hopefully it will last a little longer this time.  I also gave the legs a little color splash, because that is how I roll.

      The chairs were a super steal from Joss & Main.  I searched high and low for affordable outdoor chairs.  I was crushing on the colorful garden chairs, however, after checking West Elm, World Market and Home Decorators, at over $100 per chair, I began considering super inexpensive Ikea options.  Yes, I almost settled.  And then Joss & Main had a set of two chairs for $109.95 with free shipping and I had some credit accumulated so we jumped all over the gorgeous blue chairs. {pssst!  Target has since started selling a similar style quite inexpensively as well.}

      When it came to the table top settings, I found a few clearance napkins at Pier 1 and selected a mixture of colors and patterns.  I also paired them with gold napkin rings and started swooning immediately.  {Tip!  Take a really long time with your outdoor projects like I do and you will be able to snag super end of summer outdoor clearance deals in July!}

      I also hung a few Ikea lanterns from our umbrella so we had a mood lighting option should our dinner party go a little long...

      Right behind the table is our newly painted and organized storage bench, and some freshly planted greenery.

      And at the end of the table, the oh so useful serving cart and grill.

      Yes indeed!  We are getting all sorts of use out of the cart!  It has been such a great solution for holding entertaining dishes and items for the grill.

      Of course the new deck is a bajillion times infinity times better.

      The new maintenance free decking has been superb and super simple to spray down and clean.  We also added an 8'x11' outdoor rug which is an amazing in-yo-face navy graphic pattern.  After the last post, I was asked about the rug so here are the deets.  I found it on Overstock {free shipping my friends!} and the size and quality are perfect!  It feels like an indoor rug, however, it has been really really durable {I totally had to go back on the website to make sure it was an outdoor rug because when I got it, it felt like and indoor one}.  We have had our kids play on it, our dogs run on it and plenty of storms and it still looks fab.  I just sweep it, occasionally vacuum it and when muddy prints end up on it, I spray it down with the garden hose.

      We have had a small Ikea footstool floating around our abode for a few years, and it really never found a permanent spot to land {once it was home and put together I wasn't all that thrilled with the quality}.  I painted the entire thing with an exterior paint {same as I used on the dining table}, and gave it a quick re-upholstery job with some extra playroom bench fabric {which is outdoor fabric} and BOOM!  Instant footstool for the cozy outdoor chair.

      I also keep a small Ikea planter on the nearby table, to hold outdoor necessities such as sunscreen and bug spray.

      And we added $5 solar light caps on four of our deck posts for a little bit of light when letting the dogs out late at night.

      As I mentioned, I planted some plants too.  Mainly low maintenance options like succulents and some herbs for cooking {I could be locked up for plant homicide}. 

      I also added a small lemon tree which I am stalking daily for blooms.  I. Can't. Wait.

      And some other random beauties for color.

      There were just a couple of things on our list that we didn't get finished up, like patching our grass since we believe that waiting until fall when temps cool a bit will give us the best results with the seeding process {although, much of it has grown in on it's own as we water and fertilize}.  We would also like to plant something pretty and viney up the trellis's on the back of the garage, build something to disguise the air conditioner and find a way to hide the ugly meter and pipes... Everything else we did really makes the space super enjoyable and fairly maintenance free, which means our mission has been accomplished!   

      When we are not entertaining or relaxing outdoors, you can expect that our serving cart is empty, only the lanterns remain on the table, and the grill and chairs are protected with covers.

      Plants, pillows, the serving cart, the teal serving tray, the table umbrella and upholstered footstool all stay out full time, even when it rains {unless a giant storm hits and I have to make a mad dash out to collect pillows from the yard}.  

      So there you finally have it, our outdoor patio tour!  It definitely has come a loooooong way from a month and a half ago!  I no longer want to avoid it, and actually gravitate out there.  I even have major internal battles between the front porch and back deck when sipping my morning coffee.  Not a bad problem to have eh?

      Sure, we had some major expenses with this project, such as dining chairs, a rug and the deck boards.  But that required me to also get creative and reuse many of the items we had {serving cart, candelabra, planters, table, storage bench, etc...} The best part is that I was able to play with lots and lots of paint to update those items, and we even got to build those sweet little side tables.  I am silly smitten with all of the bursts of color and the fact that we have all sorts of usable space for entertaining and hosting block parties.  

      Did you take on an outdoor space this summer as well?  Only one more day left to link up and share your stories here.

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