Plans to Refresh our Outdoor Space

Justin and I have always loved to entertain, and having a home that worked for hosting friends and family was a big priority for us when we were house shopping. A big part of the reason we fell in love with our current home was the large entertaining space in our basement, which leads to a walk-out patio and pond – our main hangout spot in the summer! It’s been so fun to host friends and family all throughout the year, but we especially love the warm weather months and taking advantage of our outdoor space.

This year, we’ve been slow to get our patio set up but this weekend we finally have some time and I’m itching to start getting things set up. In the past, we’ve just set up a patio table and chairs (which we snagged off Craigslist six years ago) and a small sectional. There is also a small wooden deck down by the pond where we have two lounge chairs next to the sandy beach area. We have plans for a full revamp of our outdoor space in the future, but for this year we’re focused on small, manageable steps to refresh things and make it feel a little more special.

I think it’s important to note that we don’t subscribe to the notion that things have to be perfect to host. We’ve had countless gatherings at our house prior to this – things haven’t looked perfect and our patio hasn’t been 100% the way we’ve wanted but we still invited people over and made some amazing memories. We even just had people over last night despite the fact that our sectional is still not even set up. While we’re excited to make some changes to the space, we’ve also enjoyed this area every step along the way!

That being said, here are some things we hope to do as soon as possible:

Add sand to beach area

Our beach area was looking pretty washed out, so Justin already spent a Saturday getting a couple truckloads of new sand for the beach area.

We were both impressed with how much that improved both the feel of the beach and our kids’ overall enjoyment of it. We also didn’t realize how inexpensive sand is, particularly if you are willing to pick it up and haul it yourself. We’re likely going to get another truckload or two to add a bit more to the beach and the shallowest end of the pond.

DIY an Umbrella Stand for the Deck

There’s a small wooden deck right next to the beach where we have two lounge chairs. There are a few warped boards on the edge I’d like to fix if we can, and I’d also like to add some shade.

I don’t want a permanent canopy, because sometimes we want sun, but I want the option for shade when needed. I bought an umbrella a few days ago and Justin dug out an old umbrella stand the previous owners left behind in our shed. It was SO nice to have shade – Vi even fell asleep two days in a row in the shade while LJ kept swimming and playing! – but the umbrella stand was not sturdy enough to withstand the wind. As you can see in the corner of the picture, we had to weigh it down with some rocks and even then, I had to hold on to it when the wind picked up.

We could spend $400-500 dollars on a large umbrella and stand that would work better against the wind, or I could DIY a solution using the old umbrella stand and $89 umbrella I already bought. It’s probably not shocking to you that I’m going with the DIY version! My plan is to build a planter large enough to fit the base of the umbrella stand, use some concrete mix in the bottom to secure the stand and provide sufficient weight, and then fill the top with soil and plant some flowers around the umbrella. I think it will work – finger’s crossed!

Set up Patio Furniture (with new touches)

We have our table and chairs set up, but we haven’t spend time setting up our sectional yet. This normally tucks into the little corner of our house shown below, and this year, I want to add in an outdoor rug and some small end tables to make it a little cozier and more functional. One thing we already did was have the house powerwashed, which made a huge difference already!

Paint the Porch Ceiling?

I’m debating painting the porch ceiling this year (thinking of going with black!) but that might be a bigger project to save for sometime in the future. We’ll see!

Planter Boxes + String Lights

In our last house, we used barrels with concrete mix in the bottom to secure large posts to hang string lights. I could only find one picture of how we set this up, but we loved how cozy it made the space and want to do something similar at this house.

I’m thinking we might try to DIY the actual planter boxes this time instead of buy barrels. On top of the concrete, we’ll fill with soil and plant flowers like we did at the last house – it adds such a special little touch!

I kind of expect this project to be an “if you give Sarah a paintbrush” situation where I get started and things spiral haha, but this is the list I’m starting out with. We have a lot of plans for hosting this summer so I’m excited to get this patio ready!

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