One of the things we loved the first time we saw our house was the outdoor space. Once we got moved in, we were so focused on projects inside the house that the patio was severely neglected. For those of you that live in the Midwest, I’m sure you also know about the crazy oak mite problem of last summer. These awful little mites live in oak trees and are so small they just float on the breeze, land on you, and leave bites that are similar to mosquito bites. For whatever reason, the oak mites were out of control last year, and they made spending time outdoors miserable. Our neighborhood is canopied in oak trees, so even walking the dog was a struggle. But I digress…
Since we moved in, our only patio furniture has been several mismatched random chairs we’ve accumulated over the years (in orange and blue – don’t ask me how that happened). Needless to say, it didn’t make for the prettiest view from our living room or the most inviting place to relax outside. Fast forward almost a year, and most of our interior projects are completed, at least the ones we are tackling for the time being. With spring finally here, we decided it was time to get the patio in order so we can enjoy it before the Kansas heat and humidity get too bad.
First, we had to decide between a dining set or a more conversational set up. We ultimately decided we wanted the patio to feel more like an outdoor living room, and started looking for furniture. We spent an afternoon at Restoration Hardware looking at their amazing rooftop patio setup, and I was sold…except for the price tag! Using the RH set up as inspiration, I just needed to find some pieces with a more affordable price tag. Our patio is completed uncovered, leaving the patio furniture completely exposed to the harsh Kansas elements – rain, heat and pesky squirrels (they’ve torn up some of our cushions and taken the stuffing)!
We found an affordable set with seating for seven online at Target. I was leaning toward cushionless furniture (see above regarding squirrels, rain), but my husband was set on cushions, and ultimately, I agreed with him. We bought a couple of these totally affordable cushion bags to store the cushions in our garage. While picking up the cushions every time we want to use the patio isn’t ideal, it’s what we’re stuck with for the time being (or until we have a few glasses of wine and forget to pack them up).
We also found this simple little table at Target, which fits perfectly between the two chairs to hold a couple cocktails and a little plant.
One thing I loved about all the Restoration Hardware setups we saw were the lanterns (I mean, these are seriously amazing). They have some great stuff, but again, the price tag = eek! We had a few lanterns from Pier 1 that we used on the front porch as Christmas décor, so we reused those on the back patio. They may not be as dreamy as my inspiration lanterns, but I think they do the trick.
Next, we wanted an outdoor rug to help break up all the gray furniture and large brick patio. I found this rug at Target and thought it would fit perfect. This is our first experience with an outdoor rug (and a shaggy dog that likes to get muddy), so we will see how it goes. In hindsight, the white stripes may have been a bad choice. The care instructions say you can just spray with a hose to clean, so I’m hopeful that’s the case. If only I could train Luca (our sweet dog) to tip toe across the dark stripes to keep those little muddy paw prints from showing!
Finally, we were ready for the finishing touches. I found an assortment of black and white patterned pillows at, guess where, Target! I think they were the perfect touch to make our patio feel more like an extension of our living space. A trip to Homegoods landed us a large planter (now if I can only keep the plant alive).
We were really happy with the end result, but something was just missing. We have both always wanted bistro string lighting, but we don’t have any kind of anchor point opposite the house. We looked into DIY’ing it, and read at least 20 different blog posts about setting a post in the ground, etc. We even made it as far as Lowes to pick out a post, but before we bit the bullet, we thought we should at least get a quote from a professional. A guy in our neighborhood happens to own a landscape lighting company, and he quoted us only a couple hundred more than the supplies would have cost us, and saves us all the measuring and electrical work that we are definitely not qualified to do! Sold!
We waited anxiously for a couple weeks, and then he had the lights installed in a few hours. We slapped a couple coats of stain on the posts, and we were finished at last!
Here is the final result:
And at night!
We are beyond happy with it. Someday, I would love to have some kind of modern pergola and a large outdoor fireplace, but for now, we are loving our new space! Especially this guy:
And a few more shots:
Side note: I’m dying to paint our house black and white. Maybe one of these days!
I hope wherever you are, you’re getting some of the same gorgeous spring weather we are. Thanks for stopping by!