Our New Patio

Our new house had a bit of an odd layout in the back yard...  Part of our backyard is a hill so it makes planning outdoor entertaining spaces a little tricky. The architecture of the house itself is contemporary and when I look at it, it sometimes reminds me of a roller coaster...  I'm sure I shouldn't find it pleasing to look at, but I weirdly love it.  I like that you can't quite figure it out and spend lots of time looking at it from the outside trying to figure out which part of the inside you're looking at.  We have a few unused "secret" spots in the house and I always imagine turning them into something cool. (Two of those spots are on the right and left of the main structure on the top floor...)

We have one main deck in the center of the back of the house that can be accessed through the sliding doors in our kitchen (on the right below) or through the sliding doors in our studio (on the left below.)  On either side you walk out onto a small little wooden deck and up a stepped deck to get to the main deck.

Our deck's in the shape of a trapezoid (yay! I learned something in 4th grade!! ;) ;) it's red, and it looks really awkward.  We've always felt like there's a dead spot to the right of the deck outside of the kitchen...  I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to extend the entertaining space somehow.  Our outdoor dining table sits on the red (for now) deck and I thought that if I extended the deck somehow to the right, that the new space could be for seating and grilling.

Here's the view from the kitchen sliders a few week ago:

Then I was contacted by Home Depot about joining in their "Style Challenge" where they gift bloggers patio furniture and have you take photos of your new furniture at home...

I was so excited about being gifted the furniture but the wind left my sails a bit when I remembered we didn't actually have a spot for it.  I envisioned a grassy patio furniture photo shoot and it didn't quite look so good.

...So I got in touch with my good friend, Mike Carr, (of CarrMichael Construction who's done our entire house) and asked for a slightly huge favor...  "Can you -pretty please- build a patio- in the dead of Winter.. Umm, right now??"  Mike came through, as usual, and the guys showed up!!

They began by removing my little red kitchen deck...

Then they created a two-tiered patio foundation of gravel and other important stuff that I didn't pay attention to:

So it went from this:

to this:

...in a few days!!

I'm so excited!!!  

We've moved our grill just outside of the kitchen doors, which is going to be so convenient for meals. (When it gets warmer, we do almost all of our meat & nightly meals outside.)  The tiered patio works so nicely on the hill and now we'll have the perfect spot to sit.

Here's the Beverly sectional that Home Depot is (so kindly!!) giving us:

Our patio is now pretty massive so we've decided that we'll be buying six additional middle chairs to add to the sectional so that we can really take advantage of our space.  I just go into my kitchen now and stare at the flagstone because I'm just so happy with it.  When I fell in love with this house, it was because of the light and the indoor-outdoor feeling.  When you're inside, you feel like you're outside and now the patio is the perfect extension of the indoors to the outdoors.  I've already noticed too that my kitchen floors are staying a bit cleaner because when the dog & the boys come in from playing, there's a bigger buffer from grass/mud to kitchen floor.  

I'll be layering the sectional with pillows in some of my own fabrics and waiting for my hydrangea trees to come back to life.  

I've decided to surround the patio (except for the yard entrances) in ornamental grass around the patio and limelight hydrangea.   I fell in love with this image a year or so ago:

How gorgeous is that??!!  The grass has a sort of a modern edgy feel to me that I think works well with my crazy house and I love that "swishy" sound it makes when you walk by it or when the wind blows.  I think I might put a bunch of it in the front too.  I would do the hydrangea on the yard side and the grass on the patio side so it sort of spills over onto the flagstone.  I'm not sure when the garden stores are going to actually start selling what I need so I may have to wait a little later in the season for it.  The final "after" pictures for the Home Depot Style Challenge are due on March 29th, so keep your fingers crossed it that gets a little warmer so I don't have to do a "Winter Wonderland" theme ;) ;)


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.


Kristen said...

Can't wait to see how this all comes together! So lucky to have such a yard. I have a tiny patio and would kill for yours!

vignette design said...

This is the first time I've seen your house from the outside. Love it! What a gorgeous yard, perfect for your boys to play in. The new stone deck is wonderful and ties in nicely with the house. I can just imagine your new sectional with pillows and surrounded by the grasses and hydrangeas. You must be beyond excited for summer now! ~Delores

pve design said...

You and Dave and your family are going to certainly enjoy that! I can see lots of great times spent there.
I cannot wait to see how you give it your stylish green thumb.

{Hi Sugarplum!} said...

Hi Lauren -- so excited to be doing this challenge with you! And Love the sectional you got...I was hoping for that, too!! ;) Love that graphic they did with all of us, hadn't seen that before.

Can't wait to see your final space!!

Heidi Chamoun said...

I love what you've done so far. Even more ready for spring now :)

Hopefully by April 1 we'll start our (similar) outdoor makeover. On the list:

-transplanting sandstone pavers from our front walkway to our back patio

-Hydrangeas to greet you by the front door

-And a (hopefully successful) garden I can't wait to plant!

Can't wait to see your finished space!

Live Inspired,
Heidi Chamoun

eLIZabeth Floyd said...

looks great! I cannot wait to see your final version.


Jade @ Flip Flops + Pearls Design said...

Very nice transformation!! Can't wait to see how the rest comes along!

Anonymous said...

you know, i always read your blog and always love it. love your style, love your writing and sense of humor. at heart i am a cottage/farmhouse/vintage/industrial kinda girl (wow that's a wide mix), but there is something about the exterior of your new house - it is pretty amazing. i love all the interior changes and can't wait to see more!

Kerry Steele- Design du Monde said...

I love it! I am still trying to convince my husband that we need a patio just like that.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


The new patio looks FABULOUS!!!!!!!! I love it! I cannot wait to see the finished Home Depot Challenge!


Lauren Gayeski said...

I think backyards can be really tricky to figure out. I love the flagsone, it looks beautiful! I'm inspired:) And reminded that spring is really right around the corner. Yipee!


LOVE the new deck! beautiful. Enjoy this amazing outdoor space!


Treva said...

So beautiful. What an exciting backyard to look forward to this spring! I just put Limelight hydrangeas in last summer, and from what I read they grow quite big (6-9 feet tall). So far it is beautiful, but it might be a little robust depending on if you want it as a foundation plant around the patio. You may look into a hydrangea called Little Lime with the same flower as limelight, but it grows only 3-5 feet tall. Can't wait to see what you choose.

Windlost said...

I love the new deck already. Gorgeous! Stone! Yay!! So much better...
Congrats on the new Home Depot furniture too! Nice nice nice.

xo Terri

John McGill said...

So gorgeous! love how warm the space is. Garage Doors Toronto

for the love of a house said...

hi Lauren,
The new patio looks great! Can't wait to see the new sofa with your fabrics as pillows. I have and love Limelight hydrangeas, but they grow really tall- 6-8 feet. I have also planted their dwarf variety- Little Lime and they only grow 3-5 feet tall. Just wanted to make sure you got the right one for your space.

Lizzy said...

I think I would have bought your house for the fence alone. I love it!
The lime lights will thrive in all that sun. I know it will look beautiful!

nanne said...

that looks amazing!!! you are so talented!

as other mentioned, there is a smaller version of limelight, little lime, that will not grow to be as massive as the original. i put a few in last year and loved them.

happy gardening & decorating!

Michele @ Moonfield Lane said...

Oooh, I can't wait to see you work your magic! I love those limelight hydrangas, too.

Kim L. said...

Beautiful transformation! Your new patio looks so chic! I can't wait to see the finished design with the furniture.

James Curtis said...

Such beautiful transformation inspires me to make a renovation for my house and
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Julie Moore, Alexandria, VA said...

Patio is fab, it looks like the step up will allow you to create two separate spaces for different uses. Also, fyi, I think the hydrangeas in pic. are Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle,' which will only grow to about 5 ' tall and wide. (Limelight has more of a panicle or pointy bloom and does get taller and floppier.)

Angelina Garcia said...

Did you buy those middle chairs you’re planning to add to your patio? You have a spacious backyard, so you can still perform a lot of landscaping projects in the future. This will make your house even more beautiful!

Angelina Garcia

Lynford Rozario said...

Gorgeous flowers...
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Adil Javed said...

Your idea is fabulous , if you make the driveways that or use it for patio work it would be mind blowing. The team of home depot design is really creative. Landscape architect brisbane

Barrett Elmore said...

The structure of your house seems interesting. Your place looks fresh and serene; a red trapezoid kitchen deck wouldn’t really fit. I’m glad you replaced it. Your new kitchen deck is elegant yet homey as it is now. With the things you will add to it, I’m sure you will make it look even better.

Barrett Elmore

Marvel Farias said...

The two-tiered patio looks great! That couch will look awesome on the upper tier of the patio. Although won’t it be hot on certain times of the day, or is it shady in that part of the yard?

Marvel Farias