Our daughter’s graduation party recently motivated us to work on our back yard and patio area. Because the yard slopes off, the first floor of our home is elevated in the back of the house. Underneath there is a covered patio area which, until now, was a network of cobwebs, grass clippings and dirt. It’s a space that we had yet to use since we built this house two and a half years ago. Here’s how the patio looked before we began:
My goal was to create a comfortable, inviting space without making any significant investments in furnishings. I love all the great outdoor furniture that is available now – upholstered seating groups, gorgeous tables, etc. But we really don’t envision using this area on a regular basis as there is already a deck and sun room just above the patio so why invest in pieces that will rarely be used.
Here was my plan:
1. use the outdoor furniture that we already had
2. borrow pieces from within our home for use during the party
3, fill in the gaps with a few thrifted items
4. soften the space with some inexpensive curtains, pillows and rugs.
We gave the patio a good scrubbing and brushed away myriad cobwebs. I then stained the exposed porch columns, face boards and step risers with Sherwin Williams “Spicewood” exterior solid stain.
I intented to stain the ceiling rafters white but this would have been a big job and I was running out of time. So, I moved on to curtains. I whipped up inexpensive curtain panels using ten 6×9 dropcloths that I prewashed and dried to soften. I’ll share how we did the rods and the curtain details in another post.
We “zig zagged” some clear string lights that I found at Target across the ceiling.
For the “living zone,” I already had the porch swing from our previous house. I pulled two porch rockers from our front porch (which is too hot to sit out on in the summer anyway), along with two rattan end tables and a coffee table from the sunroom above. I found the rattan pieces, along with two rattan sofas, at a church rummage sale last year for $50!
I like how a rug really cozies up an outdoor space so we invested in a basic 9×13 outdoor rug from HomeDecorators.com. I figured we could use this anywhere – the sunroom or even indoors so I didn’t mind making the $200 investment (after 20% off coupon).
For a pop of color, I pulled a small oriental rug from our living room. I had found this a couple a months ago at our local Habitat Restore for $10.
The two outdoor palm leaf pillows on the swing are from Target … $15 each. The striped pillows on the rockers and the swing I had made last year. I purchased the Waverly outdoor fabric for them from Sailrite.com.
I kept accessories to a minimum, pulling in just a couple of tropical plants from the sunroom. This left lots of room for our guests to place their drinks and food.
On the dining end, I started with our outdoor table that we’ve had for more than 20 years. For chairs, I pulled two spare indoor dining chairs that we had for the ends and paired them with mismatched benches. I am a big fan of benches and pick them up whenever I find them. They are amazingly versatile …as seating, as a coffee table, at the foot of a bed or even for bookshelves.
I softened the white bench with a couple of pillows that I purchased a few years ago from Pier I. The other bench happens to be upholstered and is quite comfy. I have plans to recover the seat with a rag rug when I find one but for now, I just ignore the mauve color.
We added a kayak oar above the sliding door that leads to a game room. I found this at a local antique store for $25. I think every space needs a few natural wood pieces and this oar fit perfectly above the door.
My two favorite new pieces are this potting bench which was a garbage pick:
Hubby cut it down a bit so that it would fit perfectly in this nook. We intend to use the hole on the right to drop in a container for ice when I find something that will work.
The second new piece is this very sturdy serving cart on wheels that I found at Habitat for $45.
Of course it’s meant for indoors but a couple of months under a covered patio isn’t going to hurt it.
I knew that both pieces would be ideal food or beverage stations. In fact, here’s the Pottery Barn version of the potting bench beverage station.
And here’s my potting bench tricked out as a beverage station.
We used the serving cart for all of the soft beverages. It was super functional and I was even able to use the drawers to hold the sweet little mason jar drinking glasses.
Borrowing from indoors is a great way to enjoy your outdoor spaces during the warm weather months without spending a lot of money! I’ll share more about the decorative party elements in an upcoming post!
Happy Summer Y’all!