{outdoor style} Early Summer Backyard Tour

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day! I hope that you are enjoying the day with family and friends, and taking time to remember and reflect on those who have served our country. 

I was invited to join a fab group of bloggers who are opening our doors {or gates} this week for summer home tours. A couple of months ago I showed you how I decorate indoors for spring and summer, so I thought that this was a perfect opportunity to show you some summer updates in our backyard. {You'll find links to all of the other summer home tours at the end of the post!}

Outdoor living room

The weather has been a bit spotty lately, but we finally got a little reprieve this weekend which gave us a chance to get the backyard ready for summer. I have lots of pictures to show you, but you may also be interested in these posts from last year:


Living in the an urban neighborhood equals a small yard, but we've been working really hard to make the very most of our limited space. Soon after moving in, we turned the space between the house and our detached garage into a large patio, perfect for entertaining.

Urban patio transformation

This patio has always had some pops of color, but this year I really wanted to create a more inviting and warm space. My goal was to turn our patio into more of an our door living room. That meant bringing in an outdoor rug, some new pillows with pops of pink, and even a couple of side tables.

Patio decorating inspiration

The couch and chairs we purchased soon after moving in {even before we had a patio to put them on}. The furniture itself has held up great, but the beige cushions got shredded in an unexpected hailstorm late last summer. I should have taken the cushions to be recovered over the winter, but it totally slipped my mind. 

Rather than dropping them off now and being without them for most of the summer, I came up with an inexpensive, temporary fix that I think looks pretty darn good . Then, when fall rolls around I'll take the cushions in for a real re-upholstery job - or maybe I won't even need to. Take a look at my no-sew trick for recovering outdoor cushions.

Patio decor inspiration

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something that I recommend, you pay the same price, but I may receive a small commission.

I just love the pops of pink that the floral pillows add, but it's the Ikat outdoor rug that really pulls the space together. The rug comes in one size larger, which would have probably been a better scale, but I was trying to update the patio on a budget, so the cheaper, smaller rug won out. 

Small patio decorating ideas

I added a navy blue metal plant stand as a side table on either end of the couch. I adore the color and shape of the plant stands, and I just love the battery operated candle lantern that I placed on each. But best of all, these side tables can also be moved around and provide extra seating when we are entertaining a bigger group.

Behind the couch is our al fresco dining area. We've had the table {from Target} for many years and it's held up great, but the coordinating chairs weren't fairing as well, so we replaced them with these gorgeous teal seats from JC Penney a couple of years ago.

Backyard planter bench

The wall of the garage is one giant sea of white stucco, so in an effort to give that space some style and function, we added the planter bench that serves as seating on one side of our dining table. Deciding what to plant in the bench proved a hard decision. We first envisioned grasses, but soon realized that soft, tall grasses are very floppy and would quickly overtake the bench, whereas tall, stiff grasses and very pokey and wouldn't be comfortable to sit in front of. 

Backyard planter bench dining table seating

We finally happened upon the perfect plant - Elegant Feather. It grows very tall and straight, but is incredibly soft, making it perfect for the bench. After buying it at our local nursery for years, it's become hard for us to find locally the last couple of summers. This year, I ordered it online to save all the running around, and we got it planted just a couple of days ago. It's still very tiny, but give it a month or two and it will look like this... {which is a photo from a few summers ago}

Backyard planter bench elegant feather

I've always wanted a large piece of art on the wall above the bench, so this year I ordered a 30x40 canvas print of a photo we took while traveling through the winelands of Cape Town, South Africa a couple of years ago. I've tested out a method to make this canvas waterproof so it can hold up to the elements of the summer, and I'll share the tutorial with you as soon as I've had a little more time to ensure it holds up the way I hope it will.

Colorful patio decorating

I originally planned to print a photo from our honeymoon in Greece for this space on the garage wall... the same photo I showed you last week that inspired the color palette for the patio decor...

vacation photo color palette inspiration

But when I envisioned what it would look like as the elegant feather gets taller and begins to overlap the bottom of the canvas, I thought the green rows of grapevines would make for a more natural transition between the plants and the art on the garage wall.

Patio decorating tips

The kids, of course, always play a very important role in every space that we design in {and out of} our home. We've given the kids their very own table and chairs for entertaining their own mini-dinner guests {I need to restain it, but the rain barely stopped in time for me to take photos, so the staining didn't get done quite yet}.


Since the boys spend so much time cooking in their kid-sized kitchen located in our kitchen, we decided that this summer they also needed their very own kid-sized BBQ so they can keep dad company as he grills.

Kids play BBQ in backyard
  
The fireplace that you see there is actually a look through that is open to our kitchen as well. It doesn't effectively heat a very large area of patio, but it is nice to take the chill off on cold evenings like we've been having lately!

Patio Decorating Tips

Back to the kids... we also surprised them with a very big new addition to the backyard this past week, which they are affectionately calling their "big brown house."

Backyard inspiration for adults and kids

Our yard is fairly small, but thanks the retaining wall we had built last year to level the side of the yard, we were able to create a pretty good play space for the boys along the side of the garage.

backyard retaining wall

Small backyard playground

That wood screen does a good job of hiding the air conditioning unit just to the right of the garage, and the small pergola {or is it an arbor?} creates a nice transition into the boys play space.

Of course, the boys find plenty of other places to play in the yard as well. Mom and Dad love listening to the gentle sound of the water fountain...

Backyard patio decorating inspiration

...while the boys enjoy splashing around in the fountain with their pirates.


What haven't I talked about yet? Oh, let me give you a closer up look at my table setting...

Outdoor patio dining table setting

Have I mentioned lately how much I love that "dollar" section at the front of Target {now called Bullseye's Playground}?! LOVE! All of these plates and the bright pink candle hurricanes all came from that bargain spot. I picked up the stemless outdoor wine glasses for a great deal at Target as well.

One of my favorite views of the backyard is the bird's eye view that you get looking down from our third floor patio.

outdoor living room decorating tips

And I can't wrap up this summer backyard tour without talking about my favorite element... the string lights! To fully appreciate those, you need them see them at dusk...

patio with string lights between house and garage

I just love the way the lights glow against the deep blue sky!

Patio with string lights between house and garage

If string lights are on your backyard wish list, you're in luck. I've got a detailed string light tutorial that will walk you through everything you need to know. From choosing between standard grade and commercial grade lights, calculating maximum run wattage, and installing guide wires.

Install string lights between house and detached garage

Thanks to our string lights, we can continue to enjoy the backyard long after the sun has gone down!

I hope you've enjoyed the tour of our newly improved backyard "living room." If you missed my spring home tour in March, you may want to take a peek inside! I added lots of flowers and pops of pink, and that cheery and bright decor will be sticking around throughout the summer!


And the fun isn't over yet! Three more bloggers are sharing their summer home tours today, and I promise you won't want to miss these!

Summer Home Tours
Monday


There will more Summer Home Tours each day this week, so check back for updated links!



linked up at Remodelaholic

28 comments :

  1. that is the perfect family back yard! i love that the play set looks so perfectly built in. and i love all of the color you used- it's so fun and so you! and that feather plant is glorious!!! what a beauty!

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    1. Thanks, Cassie! I'm really loving how well the playset matches the fence and blends right in. I kept feeling like I needed to DIY a playset, but I knew I wouldn't get it done fast enough for the kids to get maximum use out of it. I'm so glad we just bought this one so they can start playing!

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  2. We have a sun room that has gotten no love since we moved into our house, Your backyard is making me feel like a I better get to work. Such a beautiful space!

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    1. Thanks, Maggie! I can't wait to see how you sun room comes together!

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  3. I love your urban outdoor space so much! That feather plant behind the bench is so clever. And I love how you hid the playset in plain sight. We're currently building a treehouse for all the little ones who come to visit us and I'm trying to find a look that makes it fit into the woodsy setting while giving it a modern vibe - because, you know, I just might be hanging out there more than anyone. ;)

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    1. That treehouse sounds awesome! I can't wait to see it! I kept wanting to build something for the kids, but finally gave in and bought something because I was afraid they'd outgrow it before I got it done. LOL! ;)

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  4. So colorful and fun looking!!! I just adore how you use bold colors and I was looking forward to seeing how this summer shapes up for you. Great styling and I totally see the inspiration. Side note: the photo of your kids and hubs BBQing is adorable!!

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    1. Thanks, Stephanie! I can't wait to check out your space as well. I totally love your use of color, too!

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  5. I love this! Your back yard puts mine to shame, LOL! What a fun space to spend evenings in the summer with the comfy seating, fireplace and strings of lights :) Lets me know when the BBQ is and I'll be right over!!!

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    1. The drive from Omaha to Denver isn't too bad... Head this way and I'll fire up the grill!

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  6. What a lovely family-friendly space!! And that third floor view?!? Oh my goodness - so stunning! I love that ikat rug so much! Your side tables are the perfect shift-tables & I, too love battery operated candles for outdoor lanterns. Beautiful space, Angela ;)

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    1. Thanks, Rachael! That view from the deck upstairs makes me wish I could photograph all my spaces from above! ;) Now someday I'll actually make the deck up there look as good as the patio below. Someday!

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  7. Looks great! That fountain is the prettiest color! And obvy the rug is KILLER! What a relaxing space for you and the gang!

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    1. Thanks, Charlotte! I don't know why it took me so long to buy an outdoor rug - it really changes the space! And napping to the sound of the fountain might be my new favorite past time.

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  8. Angela, what a lovely outdoor space! I'm sure you all thoroughly enjoy being out there!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I can hardly drag myself out of the backyard to get anything done.

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  9. This is such an awesome dreamy space! It literally looks like something you only see in magazines!!!!! I love how you tucked the kiddie space behind the wall. Love it!

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    1. Ahhh, thanks!! We've had a few BBQs so far, and the space really functions well for adults and kids, which is going to make for a good summer!

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  10. This is my dream back patio! Love the color palette, the built in bench, and string lights. Gorgeous photos.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! I'm so happy to have the patio finally looking the way I've always envisioned it!

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  11. You have an awesome patio/backyard! So much practical function packed into a beautifully-done space. Your space is serving as great inspiration for our own backyard transformation.

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    1. Thanks so much, Carol! I feel like we've finally got the backyard just the way we've envisioned it since we moved in. I can't wait to see your backyard transformation take shape!

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  12. Angela, this is amazing! I love love love how you break the space up. Perfect outdoor living. It's what I want to do in our yard when we get our act together. And the colors are great!

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    1. Thanks so much, Arielle! I can only imagine how gorgeous your backyard will be when ou get your hands on it!

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  13. The whole space is fabulous but I LOVE the concrete bench area and the patio lights. I would live out there if that's what our space looked like.

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  14. I can't get over what an amazing backyard you have. I LOVE everything in it including the concrete bench, the fireplace and the privacy of that gorgeous fence! I'm looking out at my sad sad backyard. Maybe I need you to come up and give me some pointers!
    Tricia // Suburban Bitches

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  15. Holy Wow, I love your backyard! The colors are so fun and I love how much thought you obviously have put into all areas. I appreciate how much fun and function you packed into an urban lot. I would live outside if my backyard looked like that!

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  16. Such a FANTASTIC outdoor space, Angela! I would love to come see it in person and have a glass of wine with you out there - that fireplace!?!? Wow! Thanks for sharing it at the Outdoor Extravaganza - featuring you tomorrow.

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