Many of you are about to start living outside for the summer. It’s like all of a sudden you realize that it’s going to be 70 degrees and there is just crumbling, rotting furniture on your patio (this is why fancy people send staff to “open” their summer home in the Hamptons). So we always refresh, certainly (even though we live in LA) and this year we were starting from scratch, and since I work with Target I decided to show you a how we did it 100% from my favorite store (come back tomorrow when I mixed in some vintage and handmade pieces for a different look). In case you missed the intro to my patio click there HERE, but today I’ll walk you through how I pull together outdoor living spaces (especially for those of you who have kids).
First – Ask yourself how you want it to look and feel. For this version (not knowing I was going to change it, actually) I wanted it to be casual, comfortable, and family friendly but with some style, obviously.
That means comfortable, durable and affordable … but not boring. I wanted it to be relatively simple and easy to maintain.
Next – choose a color palette. I wanted to keep this classic, but also seamless with the interiors since you can see it from multiple rooms.
This meant blues, whites, blacks, grays, copper and some accent colors (rust). It’s like I’m allergic to using or saying ‘orange’. We didn’t have it in there originally but it just didn’t pop like I wanted it to, and that little hit really helps.
Next, think about your zones. Try to maximize the space without cluttering it. Think dining, seating, bar/storage first. Dining should be closest to the cooking source (kitchen or BBQ – I think next year we’ll put in some sort of bbq situation). Seating could be anywhere, so we had it overlooking the garden to watch the kids.
Rugs are a good friend when creating zones. As you know they define the area visually, while keeping it feeling open. I’ve had a few outdoor rugs in my time and I’d just go ahead and say if you don’t want to worry about covering or washing them then get the most synthetic rug possible, and if it says ‘can be hosed off’ that is a very good thing.
You’ve got your zones, so now choose furniture that works for your needs and family. For us this means absolutely indestructible – either by the kids or by the weather, but also not expensive because I still don’t trust kids or the weather here in LA.
Most outdoor furniture should be weather proof and kid-proof, but this table and chairs have been rained on 5 times since I got them and are still looking flawless. We had a beautiful teak high end table at our old patio and while I loved it, since it was a raw wood it would stain and bleach, which wasn’t a bad thing as that is what they recommended and overtime it would even out. But I like that this one just wipes up. The seat cushions don’t really retain any rain and are dry within hours since they are outdoor fabric and foam (if I knew it was going to storm I would cover them or bring them in just to prolong their use).
The Smith and Hawken teak barcart is so simple and pretty and can work great for gardening supplies when you aren’t needing it full of drinks.
Next – think about your lifestyle and your need for comfort versus space.
I love that bench, and I was obsessed with the dining chair version of it (in fact I had an assistant go to 4 different Targets to purchase when they first came out because I was so nervous they would sell out.) But since we live so much in this space (often breakfast, lunch and dinner) I ended up switching them out for these comfortable club chairs. If you are looking for a more streamlined, simple look and are less obsessed with comfort than I am, then those $39 chairs are awesome. That bench is great for extra seating, for sure (and that simple windsor style is perfection).
The table is GREAT. I know this sounds redundant but all of my friends were like ‘ooh, where is this table from?’ And I was like ‘Have you met me? It’s from Target’. The usual mix of “surprise” and “impressed” ensues and I’ve officially convinced 3 of my friends to buy it because it’s really good. Do I want a antique pine or teak farm table out there? Sure. But it would get killed by the sun, bleached, cracked… just ruined. This table is weatherproof and yet the tone of the real wood is so good (and so affordable at $294 – it’s on sale right now).
The white loveseat and club chairs (which are down in our garden) are extremely comfortable. I was so happy that a couple people commented that they have them and agree. They really are, and they are simple and classic. There are a few others on the site that I liked, but this set looks so perfect with our house.
Now that you have your furniture let’s talk the biggest accessory needed outside – potted plants. You want some to help frame the rooms, almost like walls. I flank them at all four corners and it really does help it feel cozy and lived in.
The black plant pots are great (you know I love anything footed) and we combined these with more squared off simple ones.
For this shoot we planted them with mostly citrus (orange, limes and kumquats), with strawberries and herbs at the base (and on the table). The “idea” (read: fantasy) is that the kids would help water, grow and pick them and we would no longer need to shop at the grocery store because we are self-sustaining farmers that eat kumquat and rosemary quiche all day.
If you are impressed with the size of that strawberry you should be because we picked the biggest one out of the plastic Driscolls box to “plant” in the planter because ours weren’t ripe yet. He was fooled. I’m a wonderful mom full of “produce deceit”. It’s a particular kind of manipulation reserved for hipster California moms. Can’t wait for the Portlandia episode on that one.
The herbs on the table are so pretty, despite me not knowing what to do with them.
Listen, a big part of creating content is giving ideas. Whether or not our particular family follows through with those ideas is kinda beside the point. IF I cooked (I don’t) and IF I wasn’t so inclined towards color, these citrus trees and herbs would be PERFECT. And honestly I thought they were when we shot this. Then I realized/thought Wait, I don’t know what to do with rosemary or ‘licorice herb’… we make quesadillas 4 times a week and sure we hide vegetables in them, but what I am going to do? Make rosemary and kumquat quesadillas? Should we next raise miniature goats and squeeze them for goat cheese for said quesadillas?
So we are planting these trees in the front yard and instead are adding some pretty awesome flowering trees that you’ll see tomorrow.
Look! He’s harvesting fake strawberries. We are such good parents!!
Seriously, if you cook, plant herbs in small pots like these. It’s super lovely. Those pots are actually lidded and can be accessories for the indoors, too and melamine plates are great for casual gatherings.
Next – lighting. I’m VERY big on lighting you guys and in the most low maintenance way possible. We have a combination of sconces, string lights and lanterns.
I wanted to bring the copper accents into the lighting because it feels a bit old world and it contrasts really nicely in shape and color with the fence.
A secret thing about me that you might find very upsetting is that unless I’m trying to impress people for the first time, I generally use battery operated or solar candles. Oh, I realize they are not the real thing and some think they are tacky, but let me just go down the list of why – 1. Real candles get disgusting if you leave them outside – full of dirt and dust. 2. Toddlers + fire = me not being able to relax (and we love a lot of lanterns and I love to relax). 3. Wax candles melt. Duh. They get misshapen and totally unusable, plus then you have to dig them out and of course clean that wax film off the lantern.
We are having an evening party here in a month for a friend and I’ll probably bring out the real ones for her, but for my family and friends on a nightly and weekend basis, we go fake and aren’t ashamed of it.
Style it out. We set the table for a dinner party for the shoot to help it feel even more editorial. We tried to get some shots of our family eating dinner out there that night, but both kids weren’t having it so we weren’t able to capture how much we LOVE using this space.
The outdoor collection at Target is so great, folks. There are always some pieces that I didn’t know about (like that round pouf!) in store, and most of the furniture is online (except the farmhouse windsor collection).
While we went classic + modern there are a lot of more contemporary and even bohemian styles out there. Come back tomorrow where we switch it up a bit, and styled it AFTER that amazing tile was installed (learn more about the tile here).
But FIRST, to see how we pulled the entire patio together, we created this little video for you:
Here you go, folks – if you are into it, feel free to get that look with individual links below, or shop the whole collection here. And if you need to catch up and are new, you can also browse through the Intro to the Patio, and Ideas for the Most Kid Friendly Backyard Ever.
1. Melamine Navy Round Serve Platter | 2. Melamine White & Navy Round Dinner Plate | 3. Dot Medallion Melamine Bowl | 4. Cloth Napkin | 5. Rose Gold Flateware | 6. Standish Dining Chair, Set of 6 | 7. Rectangular Patio Umbrella | 8. Dining Table | 9. Copper String Lights | 10. Outdoor Rug | 11. Round Copper Tray | 12. Candle Votive | 13. Wine Glass | 14. Gray Glass Tumbler | 15. Black White Micro Stripe Pillow | 16. Black & White Tassel Lumbar Pillow | 17. Floral Lumbar Pillow | 18. Blue Stripe Lumbar Pillow | 19. Outdoor Throw Blanket | 20. House Terrarium | 21. Mini Copper Succulent | 22. Orange Ceramic Vase With Lid | 23. Black Footed Planter | 24. Terracotta Planter | 25. Windsor Metal Stack Loveseat Bench | 26. Bar Cart | 27. Copper Ice Bucket | 28. Pink Drinking Glass | 29. White and Blue Bottle Vase | 30. Tall Blue Ribbon Vase | 31. White Pelican Planter | 32. Square Black Tapered Planter | 33. Blue Ceramic Dip Bowl | 34. Marble Cheese Board | 35. Wicker Pouf | 36. Black Metal Patio Club Chair, Set of 2 | 37. Black Drum Accent Table | 38. Black Metal Patio Loveseat | 39. Copper Drum Table | 40. Copper Lantern with Square Handle | 41. Black Metal Lantern with Hood | 42. Copper Tapered Lantern | 43. Extra Large Black Lantern | 44. Copper Moscow Mule Mug | 45. White Metal Beverage Tub | 46. White Serving Bowl
***Photos by Tessa Neustadt
*This post is sponsored by Target, but all designs, words and content are mine. Thanks for supporting my favorite brands that let us create original content year round for you. xx