Today I’ve got some summertime patio ideas and inspiration.
And I’m solving a few common outdoor living challenges too.
Summer is in full swing, let’s make the most of it!
All images by Monica Vargas Photography
Last year I unveiled Snowberry’s renovated back patio.
It has everything we need
But it felt a little stark.
A few things bugged me.
1.The big, blank exterior wall behind one sofa
2.Our sloping patio created a lopsided sofa
3.Constant worry about dirty sofa cushions
4.Lack of places to set a book, or a drink
5.Softening up the stone wall
6.Disguising the fountain’s electrical outlet
Here’s what I did to address these common challenges.
And create a softer, prettier outdoor space to enjoy for the rest of the summer.
LEVEL OUTDOOR FURNITURE
Patios are generally built with some sort of slope for drainage. Our patio sloped toward the stone wall and fountain. The sofa placed against the exterior wall was the most noticeable and the rows of cedar shingles highlighted it. When I told Jim this was bugging me, he went online and found these adjustable furniture risers to level the sofa. They were delivered a day later and a problem that bothered me for nearly two years was quickly resolved.
Jim plans to paint them to better blend in with the sofa.
ADD INTEREST WITH AN INDOOR-OUTDOOR MIRROR
How to address the big, blank cedar shingled exterior wall? Jim suggested a TV. And I pretended not to hear him. Then I found this beautiful indoor-outdoor mirror. What? I’ve never heard of such a thing. After confirming it is in fact suitable for outdoors, I ordered it immediately. Turns out it’s the perfect thing. Not only does it look pretty on the wall, but it reflects greenery from the other side of the garden. Sort of a through the looking glass feel. It makes the space a bigger, more open and inviting.
PROTECT YOUR SOFA CUSHIONS
We love our RH Provence sofas and ottoman. If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen a darker cushion fabric and one with more texture. With lots of trees and birds overhead it’s hard to keep the cushions clean. Also, we aren’t far away from the Bay and get a quite a bit of marine layer action over the hill. The past couple of weeks are a prime example. While its wonderful for maintaining mild temperatures, and makes us feel very coastal, the dampness wreaks havoc on the cushions. Oh, and did I mention little doggie paws?
My solution is to cover the seat cushions with throw blankets. I started out using my ‘house throws’ from Target. But they’re not quite long enough and the weave not tight enough to keep dirt falling through. I found some great inexpensive throws at Eye for Pretty Home in Danville. You can also find them here at on Amazon. They’re very lightweight and the perfect length. And once tucked in they stay in place. They’re also complimentary to my Serena & Lily outdoor pillows which are holding up well after a couple of years.
We have protective covers for all the outdoor furniture. And do cover them at night during the spring and fall. During the warmer months we throw caution to the wind and leave them off. I keep this small, cordless debris blower charged to clean off debris in the morning.
These throws have been a great solution.
ADD GARDEN STOOLS AS END TABLES
Other than the fire table ledge, we had no place to set a book or a drink or a candle. Earlier this year I shared my love of garden stools. And they are a great solution. With so many options to choose from I couldn’t decide. I considered dark green, but I love pretty floral stools too … and considered this one and, oh my gosh, this one. Ultimately, I decided to go neutral and purchased two of these ivory stools from Ballard Designs.
Garden stools are versatile and can be sued indoors and out. I love them as side tables. So much more fun than a traditional side table. And they can be easily moved around where needed and are a breeze to keep clean.
I love how they make the conversation area look more finished and complete.
USE POTS & PLANTS TO SOFTEN EDGES & HIDE THE UNSIGHTLY
We love our stone wall and water feature. It’s a real wow factor on the patio. Hearing the sound of falling water day and night is soothing and tranquil.
But looking at it through photographs it feels like a big slab of very stark stone. The ivy geraniums planted above help soften it. But it needed something more. Also, the fountain electrical outlet is an eyesore and needed to be disguised or hidden.
Turns out the solution was easy and already in my garage. Two pots I’d purchased in the last year but had not been using. The cement funnel pot came from Eye for Pretty Home in Danville. It’s very modern and not really me. Or Snowberry. But sometimes mixing things up works and I decided to try it. Filled with an ivy geranium it hides the outlet and I love it. The second more traditional terra cotta pot is from Emily Joubert Home & Garden in Woodside . I plopped a fern in it and voila … instant greenery along the wall.
The fern and ivy geranium came from our local Safeway.
Our hardscape and landscape design and installation by Enchanting Planting in Orinda.
The custom stone wall and water feature is the piece de resistance.
I found the waterspouts at Giannini Statuary in South San Francisco.
Our large terra cotta posts came from Giannini a well.
They have many styles, sizes, and finish options.
Last year I bought this console table at Frontgate.
It works well as a bar or buffet table when entertaining.
They have great outdoor furniture and accessories.
Our Carlisle chaise lounges are on sale too.
So, there you have it.
A few simple ideas and inspiration to create a prettier and more finished summertime patio.
I love our patio and enjoy it for morning cocoa, afternoon ice tea, evening cocktails … all the things.
Pippa and Maggie may enjoy it more than we do.
Life is good.
This blue and white smocked dress from Target turned out to be one of my summer favorites.
It’s still available and on sale.
I’m wearing a small.
As always, I appreciate your visit and welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
I’ll see you Saturday when I join Kim and Elizabeth for Weekend Meanderings.
Until then, Cheers from Snowberry!