My husband and I have found easy ways to add personality to outdoor spaces around our home lately. I told you about My Happy Place that I created on our front porch back in April. I sit there almost everyday either alone or with Bill when he gets home from work. But sometimes we want more privacy and plus, we have a big backyard that hasn’t been enjoyed much these last few years. These two boys would love it if we spent more time there. Especially if we bring the tennis balls and racquet with us!
We aren’t ready to make the big changes we want to our backyard – new landscaping, new patio, raised garden beds, sitting area and more – but we have been able to add some new touches that give our somewhat dull backyard a little more personality without breaking the bank.
Fifteen years ago, we bought a Martha Stewart patio table and chairs from Kmart. For $350, we sure got our money’s worth (I think that works out to a dollar a month!). It finally rusted and was about to fall apart so we got rid of it last summer, thank goodness. After shopping around we decided to buy this table and chair set from Home Depot.
Once the hard part of finding a dining set we liked that was within our budget was done, it was time to decorate! I hung these darling Mason jar lanterns (similar) that Tori, my stepdaughter, gave me as a gift. I bought some twine at the hardware store and hung them from tree branches.
Bill had the brilliant idea to add corks to the bottom of the jars, serving three purposes: 1) it gives us something to do with all our saved up corks.
2) Elevates the tea light so it gets more oxygen and is easier to reach when you need to change it out.
3) It’s Wine Country cute!
Tori bought lanterns in a few different colors.
I love the way the sun shines through the colorful jars.
And when dusk falls, the candles really glow.
We thought it might be nice to add even more lighting and bought some cheap battery-operated tea lights on Amazon. When I think we will be spending more than an hour outside in the evenings, I will take the time to turn them on and place them along our rustic fences.
I love the look when night falls.
We also added some greenery – some of it edible – to our backyard. We used to have grass but the dogs and chickens destroyed it. We thought no grass at all would be better than unhealthy patches here and there so we tore it out. We have added some containers to the backyard for now, until we decide what to do about the landscaping. Whatever we do, chances are it won’t be grass again.
We also bought some veggies and herbs to plant in planters. We are growing tomatoes, padron peppers, lettuce, basil, tarragon, thyme, and sage. And my husband is planning on planting a few rows of corn into the ground soon.
I harvested some basil last night and made a caprese salad to go with dinner.
I planted some succulents in these pots. The smaller Jade plant is on our front patio and the bowl-shaped planter I keep on our outdoor dining table.
I was inspired to make the succulent bowl after seeing a similar one at the Sunset Magazine event in Sonoma last month.
We hung two hummingbird feeders and have been seeing lots of activity from these cute little birds. I often take my new camera out with me to see if I can capture some up-close shots of them. I think I have to take 100+ photos to get one like this!
Yesterday we turned an old rusted fire pit we haven’t used in many years into a succulent garden.
We shopped for succulents, which is as fun for me as shoe shopping and that’s saying something! Of course I had to plant them while wearing my succulent apron, a gift from my wonderful friend, Abi of Abi’s Farmhouse Kitchen, and my new gardening hat with SPF 50+ protection to keep the sun off my face.
I decided to add a candle to the garden. I took a cheap vase, filled it with corks and topped it off with a tea light candle.
The key is getting the corks at the top to lay flat so your candle will sit level. It takes some arranging.
Here is the finished project. I love it and I love that we were able to repurpose this fire pit rather than throwing it away.
I bought these darling pastel Mason-jar-inspired vases at Safeway last week for $6.00 each (similar) and filled them up with fresh sunflowers.
I leave them indoors on our mantle most of the time but they are fun to bring outside when setting the table for dinner.
There are so many other things I would love to do to our backyard but for now, these additions have made dining or enjoying breakfast al fresco….
sipping a glass of wine while watching the sun go down…
and playing with the dogs much more enjoyable – and frequent!
Do you have a backyard or patio?
If so, how do you like to add personality and ambiance to your outdoor spaces?
Make it a rich day!