Monday, May 11, 2015

Dill House Diary // Patio Makeover

Since the day we purchased our house, I have dreamed of turning our patio into our own little urban oasis. Yet time, money, and seemingly unending home renovation projects shuffled the patio makeover to the bottom of our to- do list. After we adopted our pup, the patio became Solo's own little space, subject to his penchant for digging, chewing, and destroying. This week, however, I decided that it was time the patio received a little attention.

Before we dive into the "after" photos, allow me to share the pitiful state of our patio upon purchasing the house. Bear in mind that this image was taken after we had spent several hours weed-whacking.

Yes. Cue the generic, screechy horror music. That lonely, blah-bland space was our patio. Not exactly an inviting hang-out spot. Unless of course you're into tumbled piles of brick and half-rotten railroad ties.

But as we always do, Mark and I jumped into this project with our sleeves rolled up. (At this point, I feel like we're becoming pros at the whole home-renovation and DIY gambit. I feel like we deserve some kind of medal or at least a pat on the back... I mean something!)With a vague idea of what we wanted the space to become, we got to work ripping out the rotten, revitalizing the salvageable, and replacing the new. Thankfully, we were able to score most of the materials for a very economical price or even for free, which certainly helped keep the cost low.

Now... drumroll please...

Taaaa da! Behold the transformation of all transformations! No more weeds, no more scruffy, sad, dead plants. No more crooked shepherd's hook, held up by one rotten string. No more lonely, desolate eyesore of a patio. The whole process took a few weeks, but we finally turned our sad little back yard into an inviting patio perfect for dining alfresco on pretty, sunny days! Now, I'll be proud to invite guests to step outside and sit a spell. 

My absolute favorite part of our new and much improved patio? The blue antique windows.** I found a huge stack of these beauties sitting behind the warehouse at work. Noticing me eyeballing them, my sweet bosses suggested I take as many as I wanted. A good scrubbing and sanding smoothed out their weather-roughened edges and removed  the majority of the old paint. I applied two quick coats of Annie Sloan chalkpaint in Provence blue. My handy husband quickly added a few screws and viola we had our outdoor decor! I just love the bright and quirky element they bring to the little space. I think they really make the patio complete, don't you?

Last year's failed attempt at a garden taught me that a raised plant stand is the way to go with pups. I bought this little Threshold plant stand from Target (less than $30). Gold spray paint and a few potted herbs (out of Solo's reach... hopefully) completed my mini-garden. It stands against the back wall of the house, in one of the few patio spots that receives a decent share of sunlight everyday. When selecting plants for the stand, I decided to grow just the plants and herbs I use the most, rather than going all out. I opted for basil, mint, cilantro, and a few pepper plants. With some precious little succulents thrown in for good measure. Because really who gets tired of succulents? They're so stinking cute.

A large tree overshadows most of our backyard so the space spends a goodly portion of the day in the shade. Unfortunately, most shade-loving plants are rather blah--at least to my poor gardening knowledge. Wandering around the garden aisles at Home Depot led me to this beautiful fuchsia plant. It's eye-catching hot pink color really livens up that section of the patio. Plus, these plants supposedly attract humming birds. So if there are any buzzing about downtown, hopefully they'll swing by our little garden spot.

There are still a few things I want to do to fully complete the space. I hope to add a few more outdoor decor elements and hang some string lights to add to the party vibe. The final ambitious outdoor DIY I plan to undertake would be a painted outdoor rug somewhat like this beauty from A Beautiful Mess. When you own a pitbull, you have to think of design elements that will survive their rambunctious need to destroy, destroy, destroy--and a painted rug maybe just maybe will be safe from Solo's antics.  Plus, I think the rug would complete the funky, salvaged vibe we seem to have going. 

Thank you for stopping by our little outdoor space! I'm so proud of it and absolutely cannot wait to enjoy many cookout dinners back there. I hope you enjoyed visiting our space as much as we enjoy hanging out in it! 

** In the interest of your general wellbeing, always handle antique windows carefully. They can break easily, and no one wants glass shards embedded in their arms, hands, feet, or any other appendage. Also, when dealing with old paint, you can always purchase a lead paint test kit. If it isn't lead, I still recommend wearing a mask for sanding purposes and cleaning up the paint chips that fall


  1. I love that bright blue pop of color on your windows! Such a fun color.


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