Summer is just around the corner, and it’s time to get outside. Living in the Midwest means we can only enjoy our outdoor living spaces for a few months out of the year. However, this year we’re going to milk it for all we got, especially since this is the summer of “staying home.” Below, we’re sharing this year’s backyard patio idea, as well as sharing patio ideas from previous years.
Creating An Outdoor Living Space | Backyard Patio Idea
This is the summer of entertaining at home, so you know what that means? You will be spending more time outside, so it’s time to get your deck on! Derrick and I have been busy the last month getting our backyard space together. Last year we did a few patio projects, but nothing compared to our Spring/Summer 2020’s backyard rework. You can check out our 2018 and 2019 makeovers down below. It’s easy to spruce up a patio space by adding pops of color and texture using pillows, moving furniture around, or changing out a few accessories to give a space new life. And of course, adding tons of plants and more plants.
This year Derrick, with the help of the three teenage boys, built garden beds. [stay tuned for his post on materials and how he put them together]
We also moved our dining table to a separate space (see photos down below). I created a whole new patio vibe by repurposing last year’s patio furniture and rearranging the patio’s flow to create a new look. By adding more pillows, an assortment of plants, sheer curtains, and a new fire feature, I was able to give this space an updated look. I’m sharing how I put everything together, resource links, and tips on how you can create your very own backyard oasis.
Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing The W. We asked many of our friends on Instagram for suggestions on naming our backyard retreat. There were so many great names, but The W won because it was classy and simple. (Thanks, Reese!)
Let’s start with our backyard furniture
I picked up this Better Homes and Gardens Ventura Boho Stationary Wicker Egg Chair from Walmart. I’ve had my eye on the Egg Chair at Target since last year. However, when comparing the chair at Walmart, it was very similar and about $150 cheaper. I first fell in love with egg chairs after spotting them at Pier 1 a few years ago. I love the idea of swinging in one, but they looked so small.
The bigger egg chairs from Walmart, Target, and even Sam’s Club have more room, allowing you to get comfortable and relaxed. After reading the reviews on the wear and tear, I decided to go ahead and grab one of the last few egg chairs from Walmart.
Using different Wicker colors + patterns on your patio
When I purchased our Gray All Weather Veracruz Outdoor Sectional a few years ago from World Market, I picked this one because of the gray wicker. The gray color was different from the dark brown, black, or white colors we see all the time. I wasn’t sure I would like the gray wicker matched with the brown egg chair. Once I set the egg chair on the patio, it fit perfectly. I also have other rattan style decor items, as well as a brown bar cart.
Our outdoor dining table + chairs are gray and brown, making the brown wicker egg chair work well with our gray wicker furniture. If you’re hesitant to mix different colors and wicker patterns, my advice is to play around with both contrasting and similar textures until you find items that work well together. Sometimes it works out; sometimes it doesn’t. It’s your space, so it’s your call.
White outdoor sectional? What was I thinking?!
I was skeptical about getting an outdoor sectional with white cushions because they’re outside in the elements 24/7 and sometimes get dirty when entertaining guests. However, after three years, this sectional has held up well- and the covers on the cushions are washable. I typically wash them about 2-4 times during the season. During the winter months, the cushions are wrapped in plastic bags and stored in the garage.
Outdoor Living Resource List:
Pergola | Lowe’s
Gray Veracruz Outdoor Sectional Sofa | World Market
Mod Desert Outdoor Rug – Project 62™ | Target [ we used two for our deck]
Round Cadiz Outdoor Accent Table | World Market
Black Outdoor Stools [also used as accent tables] World Market [ similar one found here]
Pipetone 25″ LP Fire Column – Project 62™ | Target [ We picked up the Steel 11-lb Empty Propane Cylinder at Menard’s. They were out of propane, so after calling around, we found out U-Haul sells propane for a reasonable price. We filled our tank for about $8.]
Wetherby 14″ Outdoor 10 – Bulb-Standard String Light | Wayfair [ I also have string lights from Target picked up a few years ago]
18Ft Outdoor Weatherproof String Lights with 12 Hanging Sockets & 7Watt ST40 Clear Bulbs, UL Listed E17 Base Vintage Edison Light String | Amazon
White Sheer Curtains | Target
What’s next: I would love to get two more pieces to add to my sectional to increase the sitting capacity. I also need to touch-up some chipped paint spots on the Pergola, as well as come up with a solution to hide the cords. I think I have one, and I am going to look for more white curtains to help hide the fence. I may swap out the lights for another type of pendant light system. We also need to finish painting the fence.
A quick way to enhance your walkway
Our walkway needs some TLC. Our goal is to tear up the concrete and replace it with something else. In the meantime, we came up with this quick update idea by putting down an outdoor rug, adding some plants, and calling it good until we can invest time and money into updating the space.
Resource: Jill Zarin Outdoor Rug | Rugs.Com
What’s next: Build flower beds on one side of the walkway.
Pillows and Plants
Do you want to make a space pop with little effort? Pillows and plants are your friends. Now, let me go ahead and say this, ya girl has no green thumb, whatsoever. However, all this greenery adds so much life to any space. We have quite a few indoor plants, and you can see those in our post about A Couples Journey With Houseplants. I look for outdoor plants that can thrive with little effort and can tolerate a lot of direct sun!
Here are the plants we love for outdoor living
FERNS! Yes, grab as many ferns as you can! The ferns hanging on the Pergola were purchased at Horrock’s Farm Market. They are Boston Ferns and just gorgeous! When I was walking through the store’s greenhouse, my heart skipped a beat. I spotted these ferns just swaying from the ceiling, similar to Miley Cyrus’ infamous wrecking ball video. Okay, maybe that’s taking it too far, but they were swinging and beckoning for me to buy them. All of them. Well, that was kinda impossible, but I purchased four. I went back for a few more, but they were sold out! I was able to find nice ferns at Costco’s, about half the size and half the price.
Australian Sword Ferns. Another type of fern to grab if you don’t want to have hanging baskets are Australian Sword Ferns (Walmart). They are huge and give instant color to any type of backdoor space. I purchased four, adding one to the patio, two to the outdoor dining space, and the last one is located near the walkway. There are a variety of these types of ferns available. Lowe’s also carries a similar fern, Costa Farms 10-in Kimberly Queen Fern.
Majesty Palm. This plant is low-maintenance with a refreshing and lush tropical look. I purchase these every summer and still have one fighting for its life from last year. (You can see it in the 2019 patio decor photo and in this year’s photo in our outdoor dining space.)
Yucca Cane. If you want a palm tree look, this is a plant I recommend for outdoor living.
Birds of Paradise. With the recent frost, this plant is struggling to hang on. We have two Birds of Paradise plants indoors, but I wanted one for our outdoor living space. This plant can hang outside all summer, but if you plan to keep it, you will want to move it indoors for the winter. Be sure to research maintenance on bringing outdoor plants inside.
Philodendron Hope Selloum. This plant is big but low-maintenance and beautiful. If you’re looking for a unique plant to add cool texture, you’ll want to grab a Philodendron Hope Selloum.
Salvias + Lilies [ Stay tuned, these beauties will be planted in our flower garden later this summer]. Adding flowers is another way to add some color to your outdoor living space. My goal is to plant flowers all over the backyard this year.
Fiddle Leaf Fig. This plant is gorgeous, and one that’s been on our bucket list for quite some time. I finally found two at Lowe’s, and they will be placed in our living room. I plan to use it on the deck for added greenery when we’re entertaining.
Snake Plants. You don’t want to have a Snake Plant in a lot of light or cold weather. This is another plant I picked up this weekend at Lowe’s, and it will be for our indoor living space.
Plants and flowers will give any space life, instantly. Adding plants to your backyard space will not only help provide it with color but create zen vibes and will be a beautiful and chill place to spend those long summer days.
Resources for plants: Horrock’s | Lowe’s | Walmart
Plant stands are from Target, Ikea, TJMaxx, and Home Goods.
What’s next: I told myself I’m done buying plants for a while, but that may change. The more green, the better! To add to the zen vibe, we put wind chimes and a water fountain feature on our backyard wish list. Also, with the recent cold snap, I’m monitoring a few plants hoping they pull through. If not, I’ll have to replace those. (Send good thoughts for my plants, please! LOL)
Pillows we’re digging in our outdoor space
Coral Leaves 17″ Pillow with Tassels | Pier 1
Herringbone 22″ Black Pillow | Pier 1
Diamond Dot 17″ Blue Pillow | Pier 1
Global Geometric Coral Lumbar Pillow | Pier 1
The part of the patio you don’t see
We have a small marble dining table we rolled out to put on the deck. I’m still in search of the right outdoor dining chairs to complete this area. I’m using the chairs from my balcony to fill this space temporarily. You also don’t see our brown bar cart on the other side of the deck (from Home Goods), since I need to restain it.