It’s been a while since I gave my last home update, so I thought I would share my small patio makeover with you! Anyone who lives in a a city knows the value of outdoor space and this Colorado girl is desperate to maximize every last bit of it. The biggest compromise I made when buying a house was opting for a smaller back patio in favor of having a bit more indoor space. Older Philly rowhomes are all set up pretty similarly and if they have been renovated, the contractors tend to opt in to reducing the size of the patio by about 3 feet to get extra kitchen room. Check out how I have been able to take advantage of every last inch of my tiny Outdoor Retreat.It took two try’s for me to get a setup in my back patio area that really worked for me, but it’s honestly an ever-evolving space. Last year was my first summer in my house, and I moved in with close to no furniture. What I did have was an outdoor picnic set because my last place had a gigantic roof deck. Before running out and buying a new set, I put what I had to use and gave myself time to adjust to the space and better understand what I’d like the functions of it to be.
Patio Furniture I Started With
- A large Fire Pit
- An ÄPPLARÖ Picnic Table with Two Benches and the potential to seat 12
- 6 Large Pots
- 6 Medium Pots
- 4 Folding Chairs
Going into my outdoor space, I knew there wasn’t enough room for the picnic table. I actually used that as my dining table for about a year and a half. What would fit was two of the ÄPPLARÖ sectionals. I also wanted to build a taller planter for additional garden space. I made a trip to Lowes for the lumber and a trip to Ikea for the chairs and I was all set. While at Ikea, I also picked up two ÄPPLARÖ Wall panels to make the cinder block wall a little more attractive.
The first summer, I used the sectional, fire pit, 2 folding chairs, plus all of the pots to house a container garden. I also found a couple of copper vertical planters to hang on the wall panels. Once I had the taller planter built, I used the scrap pieces to make a table top to put on top of the fire pit when it wasn’t in use (both pictured above.)
I learned pretty quickly that this setup was great for one summer but definitely wasn’t my long-term solution. Overall, the planters weren’t the best use of space. With such a limited outdoor area I was using too much room with the containers and the fire pit was nice but was too low for me to put my computer on when I worked outside. It was also not the greatest set up for eating out there, especially when I had guests over!
I put together a list of a few key things that would make the space a million times more usable for me:
- A real table where I could set my computer up when I work outside
- A smaller fire pit for the fall
- Better use of vertical space for plants so they don’t take over all the floor space
The Big Reveal
I added a third seat to the sectional and got a small table to place the folding chairs I already had around. I also grabbed a few hanging planters to add to the metal fence so that I could still have tons of plants without using all of the ground space up. I spray painted the pots copper and the hangers black. I emptied the larger pots I used last summer and flipped them to use as side tables for the sectional. The cinder block wall got a custom planter to cap it off too, I picked up some lumber at Lowe’s and used small cuts of 2×4’s to give some visual interest to thebase. Once all the plants were potted, it made for a pretty wonderful space! This small patio makeover has continued to evolve into the magical outdoor space that I always wanted 🙂
Long term goals
- I still want to find a small fire pit or chiminea to use as the nights get cooler.
- I am going to do an Isaiah Zagar inspired mosaic mural on the cinderblock wall. I think having some color and light bouncing around back there will be really beautiful!
- Suuuper long term goal is to have the fence redone in wood, but this one requires a pretty significant financial investment and I’m just not there at this point 🙂