Patio Shenanigans

Totally unintentionally, the patio has been all switched up! It all started with a hosing off and snowballed into a full rearrange where furniture was pulled from inside, impulse rugs were purchased, and plants planted. I have so many other things I should be working on, but once I got started I couldn’t stop. I caught a glimpse of a more functional space and it ran away with my brain.

I can be kind of intense when I’m in the middle of it all, so interruptions like making dinner have been a real challenge this week. And last week, let’s be honest. Trader Joe’s frozen pesto pizza and take-out burritos have been in heavy rotation. And maybe even cereal one night, I don’t even know. I’m dropping balls left and right. EXCEPT MY PATIO. HOLDING THAT BALL REAL TIGHT.

You can see the before version in this post from last May, and the before before from the May before that (routine much?). For this round, I switched the dining table to the other side of our den slider, our main backyard door, and created a cozy seating area near our family room slider.

I also switched up the color scheme. Or emboldened it, if you will. It really all started when my darling daughter broke one of our front yard white acapulco chairs during a clumsy fall. Straight up amazing physical comedy…but why child?? So, I sacrificed one of our backyard white chairs to the front yard. A black acapulco chair was left without a spot after my daughter’s room’s recent rearrange, so I brought it out there. I’m not one for mismatched chair pairs and actually spent some time looking for a matched replacement, but when I fell in love with this black and white target rug while searching for a plain jute one, it seemed so right. I got the rug on sale for $40, and ran with a black/white/orange color scheme – that I thought might totally clash with the fun time wall, but it’s FINE! And the rug was the only thing I bought for this switch up. I actually cleared out a lot of stuff in the process…bonus! Part of settling into middle-age is continually messing with your plants. I replanted this small bed with sansevieria once I got rolling on this patio thing. We used to have a prolific umbrella plant that needed major trimming every few months and dropped crap all over. In support of my low maintenance plant mantra, I finally removed it (and relocated a neighboring dracaena that was beginning to block the gate). The sansevieria are a little dinky now, but will really pop once they grow.

 

SOURCES

B&W rug – Target | acapulco chairs – similar | spun fiberglass chair – vintage

coffee table – vintage | orange and iron table – Target (painted)

wall hanging – DIY | planters – vintage/Homegoods/Ikea

patio set – vintage | chair cushions – Amazon | bird house – similar

doormat – Target | orange screen door – info here

 

If you have backyard fever, there’s more here.

I have backyard water fever. Instead of bingeing Housewives last week, I spent hours researching backyard hot tubs, and then even more researching pools. Stock tanks, above grounds, spools, plunge pools, you name it. No resolution has yet been reached. Say a prayer for my husband… he has to live with this crazy brain.

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Circa50 Butterfly Chair Covers

Somehow this has turned into a saga. Two years ago I bought some replacement covers (actually two different kinds ugh) for our backyard vintage butterfly chair frames and wrote this long post on places to find them. I have detailed info there, but to summarize: if you want replacement canvas covers for your (non folding) vintage frames, check out Circa50, D & J Patio, Unique Contemporary Solutions, or Amazon (if you are willing to dig around in the reviews to make sure of sizing!). If you want replacement outdoor vinyl covers, only Circa50 and D & J sell them, as far as I know.

Since I needed outdoor covers, I opted for the cheaper ones from D & J and, while I was previously mostly happy with the purchase, both covers met their end last month within 20 minutes of each other – and while we were sitting in them ha! The weakness in these covers is that the edging is not made of the same outdoor fabric as the seat (and the color doesn’t even match) and that minor annoyance proved to be the literal weakest link. I repaired a small ripped seam last fall in one of the covers, but both covers ripped straight through at the edges in multiple places last month when we went to use them for the first time this year. After less than 2 years of full sun/weather exposure in our backyard, the canvas binding and thread just didn’t withstand the elements in the same way the vinyl seat did. So now my cheap solution is turning into a costly one that could have been avoided. Arg.

I ordered a pair of vinyl outdoor covers from Circa50 last week, like I should have done to begin with. They arrived quickly and are an upgrade. The fabric/edging is great and the choice of sizes meant that I could get a better fit. My chair is a weird size, 29″ across the top and 27.5″ across the bottom. Since I was in between sizes and I’ve heard that sizing up is a good idea, I went with a size C and it fits great. I think I could have even gone up one more. Reviews claims that these will last for like a decade instead of a few years, so my only regret is not ordering them in the first place!

Here are some side by sides for comparison.D & J:Circa50:The weather magically turned wonderful this week and I’m in full freshen up the yard mode, which right now mostly involves pulling 10,000 weeds (and doing my annual google search of DIY swimming pools). If backyard season is hitting you too, you may find these posts useful: on firepits, on finding vintage cone fireplaces, a modern screen door, my backyard mural wall, drought tolerant landscaping on a budget, and a mid century inspired patio. Happy yard work everybody!

The Backyard Turns One

Last summer/fall, not unlike this summer/fall, was a time of big yard work. But instead of front yard redoes, it was backyard redoes, and it was the first yard we ever really landscaped, if you can call our very minimal application landscaping. We did a lot of winging it when it came to our plants and hoped for the best. One year in, I’m happy to report that everything rooted, is alive, and is bigger than it was last year = we didn’t totally fail!

We tweaked some minor things over the past year (and added a massive fireplace!), but most of the change is simply growth. It’s amazing to see how large and in charge many of these previously wimpy plants have become. It’s a comparative jungle out here now. But possibly the best testament to landscape success is that I’ve only had to water a handful of times out here, only during heat waves. The grass gets sprinkled a little each week during our hot summer/fall, which I’m sure seeps down to the roots of some of our plants, but they get nothing else besides winter/spring rains. And yet, life sustains. Thrives even. Desert minimal dreams reached.

(Painted cinderblock wall here. Butterfly chair info here. Screen door talk here. Fire pit post here. See the patio here.)
Umm, ya to this new (old) Malm fireplace. I’ve got a problem. A minor fireplace addiction. I can’t say no to dang stuff on Craigslist. Our small fire pit is perfectly fine, I told myself, as I picked this beautiful beast up with the intention of selling it. But when I set it up to take photos for selling and “just to try it out”…you probably can guess the pathetic rest. It stole the show and now owns me. It seems as if it’s meant to be here, and been here all along. The color, yellowish golden tangerine, is way weird next to the colors already out here, but the scale is so right. It has a presence, height, and spark that our small fire pit lacks as a focal point. What would you do? Let me remind you that just inside is another (totally nonfunctioning) vintage fireplace, but let me also remind you that these things, for whatever reason, bring a big smile to my face and I can see it – and smile – from many vantage points inside. Our $10 trash yuccas are going nuts. We bought these, actual branch trimmings, from a nursery’s compost pile. Within a few months of “planting” (sticking the branches in the ground), they rooted and started taking off. We did move them closer together than we originally planted…we had no idea how much room they’d need, and it soon became apparent not very much. They require VERY little of us (yes!), but we do pull off babies every few months to keep their silhouette lean and sculptural. (More info on all our plants here.)We ended up moving another yucca cutting back here from the front yard, where we have decided to plant the most pathetically small/off scale/baby palm trees (which you can kinda see here). It was a tough call to move it because it had just started sending out the prettiest bloom, a message I can only interpret as “I am happy.” It replaced a pony tail palm right here (second picture), that itself was quite happy and growing, but too slow and small. I need to find a new spot for it.The trash agave attenuatas have grown so much. They are taking over the space and a few have constantly been pushing out pups the past few months…cha-ching for the front yard. This one literally came from a trash pile (second pic is how it looked when we stuck it in the ground) and has grown into a beast that would be in the $100s if purchased retail instead of dumpster dived.
I know I said I’m not a flower person, but I can get into this crazy mess. I don’t know what this plant is, other than a Home Depot clearance plant, but it is freaking out with flowers. I love it and so do hummingbirds.I still haven’t properly potted all these wall plants, but they are all still alive and possibly adding a little purpose to this nonsensical fence situation.The San Pedro cactus have almost doubled their height and some are growing arms! They still are ridiculously small for this spot, but I have faith that a few more seasons will bring proper scale. Dracaena marginatas going strong. I know you shouldn’t have favorites but these are my favorite. I even planted some more just to the left of these where we recently ripped out a needy umbrella tree from the patio. Amazing what a year can do:Our painted wall, as bright and as crazy as the day I painted it. I love it more than ever. But of course wish it could extend all the way up, a problem for another year.

If you are curious, you can find some very classy befores of this yard right here, but they basically go something like this, enjoy:

Backyard to do:

I hope I’m back soon sharing plants up front! We are deep in the shoveling so much rock phase right now, but are getting close to completion. I just have a few more areas to plant/tinker with. The backyard successes have made plant selection for the front yard way easy. We have the same minimal-deserty-cheapskate feel going on. All succulents, mostly dug up for free by my husband. So much so that he, one of the least gardeny people I know, has earned the joke nickname AGAVE MAN. Licence plate material, right?!