Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway


Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

This giveaway post is sponsored by

Iknew this little area had the potential to be our favorite outdoor spot to sip morning coffee or to watch the sun go down. But as I mentioned in my last post, we’ve had all kinds of drama, delays and “situations” while trying to get this space completed over the past two and a half years.

But this summer will kick off a whole new chapter! We are just a couple of weeks away from being able to say we have a fully finished patio (complete with a gate and railings, safety was a key reason we started this project in the first place!). So of course, I am SO EXCITED to set up our patio for summer this year. (Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post, you just might win a $500 gift card to get your summer space started, too!).

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

Our family actually spent a lot of time sitting out here last summer and we loved it, even though some of the key elements were incomplete. There will always be more we want to do to improve this area, of course, but I can’t tell you how happy I will be to finally have a space that is safe so we can begin to host guests and outdoor gatherings.

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

So with a new season almost here, I’m thinking through the main things I want for our newly completed outdoor areas. For entertaining, I’m thinking flexible seating, storage and convenient spots to set food and beverages! One piece I am so thrilled we have been able to add to our space already is this amazing from Arhaus. It really transformed this whole conversation area the minute I set it up!

The bench is hitting all the marks for what I want in outdoor furniture, too. Arhaus product developers travel the globe working directly with skilled artisans to make such unique high quality pieces, many that will last for generations! They also utilize sustainable materials and have held a long standing commitment to never use wood from endangered rain forests. Our bench will serve us well for many different purposes, so I know I’ll love it forever!

I’ve discovered that this bench makes a great coffee table (add a tray to hold cups or plates as needed), but we can also put on the cushion at a moment’s notice to expand our seating. We can easily pull it up to a dining table or set it against a wall so it can become a darling accent bench.

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway
It’s weather resistant and has storage, so it’s a perfect spot to stash our throw pillows or anything we want to put away. And, I can even imagine it being adorable inside at the end of a bed!

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

If you’ve been following along with our remodel, you may recall the patio area is located right outside of our kitchen. It’s a connecting point between our front yard, our backyard, and our kitchen. Dogs and people alike wander in and out through the Dutch door all day long. Because this area is able to be seen from inside the kitchen, too, I definitely want it to feel as inviting as possible.

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

We have lots of ideas for how our space might come together this summer, but our adorable new  inspired me to pull up a couple of chairs! I already love it, it’s nice having a comfy new spot to read or chat.

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

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Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

Throw Blanket / / /  / /  / 

I’m also loving the look of blue and white Sunbrella pillows here, the colors really tie in well with the kitchen.

I’m still planning to get some new outdoor rugs, plant some pots for greenery and seasonal color and maybe even add a few other pieces in the upcoming months. But letting the space evolve and improve over time is the best part, isn’t it?

Below you can see my current vision for the design elements in this space, featuring some of the items I selected from Arhaus as well as a few other items I really like. I love making a mood board because it can help you visualize the look you’re going for, even if you are going to get there over time!

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

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Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

    Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway Getting our side patio ready for summer + $500 Gift Card Giveaway

I’m so happy to finally be at the point where the most challenging part of this whole project is behind us. Now I can look forward to the fun part, being able to fully relax and enjoy it!

If you’d like some inspiration for your own outdoor spaces, follow my

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

To enter to win a $500 gift card from Arhaus,  and then leave a comment on this post with one item you’d love to have! Arhaus employees and their family members are not eligible.

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two

Greetings! I had to laugh at this sign I walked by yesterday. Sometimes I feel like everything we do revolves around providing the ultimate comfort of our dogs. Weird, but true. Hahah. Our side patio and backyard projects are no exception, a big reason we even got started on our projects was for the dogs.

Yesterday I started a series which will finally catch you up on the before, during and afters of the outside projects we started just after we first moved in (if you missed it, here’s part one on our painted brick).

I’m definitely happy to be nearing what I’m calling “the finish line” of these projects. That doesn’t mean we everything is perfect or totally complete (I always have LOTS more ideas than time.) To me “finished” just means we’ve finally completed what we intended to finish (and a big project I haven’t even shared about yet, so stay tuned below for an introduction to that one!).

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two
Projects take a long time. In fact, around our house, by the time a project is actually finished, it’s probably already needing a refresh! Case in point, our dogs were scratching up our Dutch door paint all winter (since it’s too cold to leave the door open for them), so we’ll be doing some door paint touch ups this summer. Keeping up with a house (and dogs, ha) keeps one mighty busy, doesn’t it?

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two

The first outside improvement project we did shortly after we moved in nearly three years ago was an especially fun one (yes, that is said sarcastically). We got to replace the sewer. That’s a yucky project, so I won’t bore you with a before or after on that one. But trust me, paying good money fixing things you wouldn’t even want to blog about is the reality of owning an old house.

Not all of the projects we get to do involve pretty after shots, so if things ever seem slow around the ol’ blog at times, keep that in mind ;-). We also had the joy of replacing an old water heater after it sprung a leak last year.

Even though the sewer project was a big one to tackle right away, it was finished pretty quickly. The sewer was actually the ONLY large project we planned do to outside in the first few years, since I had my heart set on redoing the kitchen and the bathroom before heading to outdoor projects.

The kitchen still got done (gratefully), but the bathroom did not. That’s OK, though, because at least we have a new sewer, right?

So what prompted us to work on more outdoor projects?

Well, it goes a little something like this “as long as they are tearing up the driveway to fix the sewer, we might as well….” Fixing things around the house can sometimes cause a series of other projects. It’s kind of like knocking your hand into a lineup of dominoes. All of our outside projects were connected in some way, each one leading to another.

If you own a house, you probably have been there, too. Especially if you are also a perfectionist or creative person. One project almost always sparks another potentially splendid or smart idea, or even just one that would be “good to finish” as long as you’re working on another. Then nearly three years later you’re still looking for the best place to stop….

When I say our projects took three years to finish you might imagine with that much time invested we must have built a brand new house on our property! We didn’t. Or maybe I’m about to reveal a surprise snazzy new master bedroom addition that turned what was our modest house into one that could grace the cover of Architectural Digest!

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two

I mean, I love makeovers for myself. But basically all we were really trying to do after the sewer got fixed was to clean up a few areas around our yard so it would be safer and cleaner for the dogs to be outside. LOL! For real. It’s always about the dogs.

The dogs do love spending time outside now, so they are quite happy about the changes! And as soon as our final gate is installed, I guess you could say we accomplished our goal of focusing on safety first for the dogs. Even though the decision to work on our side yard was really was about keeping the dogs safe, we ended up with livable outdoor spaces our whole family enjoys. So we’re all happy, the dogs and the people.

For those of you who love the process, here’s a run down of where it all started (and what let up to our newest backyard project!)

When the sewer was being updated, the driveway had to be torn up because the sewer ran under it.

Fair enough. We expected that.

But we thought we “might as well” re-pour the concrete driveway, rather than just patch it. Because, why not make it look a little cleaner and in better repair than when you started, you know?

Well, in hindsight it was that “one little decision” to redo the driveway that got me thinking about what else could be “cleaned up.” As long as they were redoing the driveway, it made sense at the time (lol) to have the contractor pour an additional parking driveway on the side of the house for guests or loading things into the backyard or side door.

Previously in that spot was just patchy grass and some mud. We had more than enough grass and planting areas, and I don’t like to walk through mud coming into the house. I’m all about simplifying cleaning and maintenance when I can! Plus, the contractor said he could get it done right away and that was motivating.

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two
But notice the area right behind the new parking spot. Well, actually, look below for what USED to be behind that parking spot.

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two
This is the treacherous situation we had in the side yard when we moved in. It was right by our kitchen door, where our dogs would be going outside all day long. I couldn’t stop thinking about the potential hazards for the dogs walking around out here at night, let alone the risks for the people :-D. So as you can see, this was a matter of SAFETY FIRST.

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two
Here it was looking at it from the other side. Most of the main fence had already been torn down for the neighbor’s house to be built, but we were assured she’d have a new fence up in a matter of weeks (it ended up taking over a year).

We decided that “as long as they were pouring the concrete” driveway, creating a level patio here would make a much safer and more useful side entrance for us …. and the dogs, of course. It was winter 2015 and I was picturing everything would be easily completed so we could enjoy it that very summer! Well, I was wrong…

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two

In January 2016, this was the view from our kitchen. Our side yard project was about to begin.

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two

By February of 2016, the framework was started for the steps and patio area. It looked promising, with so many people working on it!

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two

In April of 2016, there was a neighboring house, steps and concrete. There were all sorts of mishaps I can’t even begin to explain while they were redoing the concrete, so everything else came to a standstill for a very long time. Still no fence. No posts attached to the porch. No railings. No lights in the steps.

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two
By September 2016, nine months after we started, we had part of a fence next door and we had our house painted, but still no front fence or gate to keep the dogs safe. No railing to keep dogs from falling off the porch at night.

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two

March 2018 (yes, as in two months ago, which was two YEARS after we started), we had a fence, but still no gate, nor were the railings or lights installed on our steps to the back yard. Our porch posts still need to be wrapped to make them more substantial. We’re growing weary of piling up barricades to keep the dogs in (not safe, not classy), but at least the dogs enjoy being able to bark at the neighbors.

This little side yard project definitely created a few bumps in the process, but it was mostly frustrating because it involved a lot of waiting. I don’t like to wait with unfinished projects, especially for years. We’ve had to wait for contractors. Wait for the weather. Wait to solve problems. Wait to have time or money to finish things. We’ve waited literally years just to have a simple front gate built. I hired a new contractor this spring and we are still waiting on him to finish the gate, actually, but I’ve been assured it will only be a few more days.

Exterior: New Deck & Patio Projects: Part Two

So very soon we’ll finally be able to say what’s done is done. It took exactly two years longer than I ever dreamed, but ALL THE PRAISE HANDS for actually being on the precipice of actually being able to call it all finished.

But as long as we were waiting (heheheh), we decided that we’d come so far already we might as well GO BIG OR GO HOME to slip in one more project outside. Why not? It made sense, though, to continue our projects into the backyard since it’s all connected.

I had a vision in mind for what I wanted to do, so this winter we designed and had installed a gorgeous new Trex deck around the back of our house (it’s built low to the ground). Our deck project is in partnership with Trex and Lowe’s, it has finished off our entire outdoor space beautifully. It makes us happy we started this series of makeovers in the first place! I can’t wait to show you!

We’re definitely going to be ready to host a summer PARTY this year, I’ll tell you that! And most importantly, our dogs are enjoying it all! Jack is looking forward to showing you around.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing the process of designing and building the deck and before and afters! Stay tuned for more updates on the completion of our side patio, too, it’s definitely looking spiffier (and much safer!) with new handrails (and knock on wood, there will also be a new gate on the front of the patio area, soon!)

Are you working on your outdoor spaces, too?
Come back tomorrow for a giveaway!

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