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Our Patio Gets A Makeover

How to Decorate Your Outdoor Space (with all Target)

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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  1. Can you share where I could buy that futon you have?

    It is beautiful!

    1. Hmm. Which Futon? I don’t think we own one, but the sofa is from Target – linked up in the post!

      1. How hard was it to put the couch together? I love it but the online reviews have me worried.

  2. SO BEAUTIFUL! i’m in love. everything about this is great!!!

  3. Does Brian do all the cooking then? Is it a time issue or do you hate it? When I first got married all I could make was toast and mac and cheese. 16 years later I consider myself a pretty darn amazing cook, we’re super adventurous and make all sorts of different ethnic dishes. It was a long journey though, and one I didn’t always like.

    1. Right now on the weeknights we do Munchery or cook a big batch of something. Its more about time than it is enjoyment. The kids are super bummed if I come home from work and instantly start working in the kitchen, so we’ve troubleshooted. Sometimes Sylvia will make a big pasta for everyone. But right now, I’d say that no weeknight cooking is happening at our house besides quesadillas, pasta and the occasional grilled salmon. xx

  4. I have 100% switched to fake candles. We need not be ashamed of not setting our kids on fire! I want to relax and enjoy the ambiance, not have intermittent flashes of terror while trying to enjoy my glass of wine!

  5. Such a great space and will be taking inspiration from here this year. Also, totally agree on fake candles. What brand/source do you like? My last set look pretty fake and I’d love to find a better brand.

    1. All of those are from Target. I recently bought a bunch of solar ones online to avoid even having to change the batteries, but they don’t turn on until after I’d like (they wait til dark). Initially those candles are a splurge but once you have the you don’t have to think about them for a couple years.

    2. YES! I was mentally high-fiving while reading the paragraph about this but was bummed not to see a source linked. I LOVE the fake ones for outdoors and could use a few (or a dozen) more.

  6. Wait, what?!?!! No mention of the weird and wonderful large bird stone statue? 😉 Fabulously decked out, Emily and team!

    1. GAH! I got at the flea market – a pair and certainly didn’t need them and yet I NEED THEM 🙂 So happy we bought them.

    2. I think that statue is pretty rad, too:)

  7. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Are the pits with the herbs on the table (the glazed Terra cotta) also Target?

    1. Yep! They are for indoor,too (they come with a pretty wood lid) but I like them as planters. They come in white and a dark purple ,too.

      1. Could we maybe get a DIY on the herb planters and how to make them lovely? If not, that’s cool.

  8. Beatiful! This sure makes me wish I lived in Southern California though. In Texas, you have approximately 4 days in the “spring” where you can sit outside and be comfortable and they happened three weeks ago.

  9. I wish my courtyard, garden area, deck looked so beautiful. And the greenery that is growing around and up your house is SO STUNNING. I would totally feel like I’m living in the English countryside. Fancy a spot of tea??

  10. Those black chairs are fantastic – you made this space look so lux!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  11. No kids here, yet I use the fake candles–on timer, no less! Even when the patio is not in use they come on and I love seeing the glow. It’s like a beacon, calling out to go and sit there and enjoy the weather. And then they shut off, on their own. Woot!

    1. Can you share where yours are from?? I need those!!!

  12. LOVE this look – put together but simple. I love the look of that black metal bench…but on hot days, it’s gotta be painful to sit on right? Wish they made it in other colors/materials.

  13. Oh I am so obsessed with this space – especially knowing that you’ve since added that gorgeous tile. We’re almost done building a huge deck that extends our living space from the French doors of our dining room, and I am so looking forward to finally styling the space – first and foremost for my very first baby shower, come June. Can’t wait – and this space is giving me major inspiration!

  14. girl you crack me up! I’m totally with you… love the reference to ‘squeezing’ a goat for goat cheese…no milking for us!

  15. This looks so good and doable! Can’t wait to see it styled with that gorgeous cement tile!!

    It looks like you used the patio epoxy color on the trim around the patio windows and then switched to the exterior house paint color for the patio concrete wall near the steps…how did you determine where to end the epoxy floor color and pick back up the exterior paint color? Had the exterior French door trim been the same as the house color and then you switched to the grey? Just curious. It’s all looks beautiful!

  16. Maybe it’s because I am a water-logged mole from the PNW, but an indoor arrangement with rug, pillows, wicker and wood wouldn’t work here at all. I have a beautiful garden complete with two outdoor “rooms” with dining set-ups and we have old-school heavy wrought iron furniture that sits outside year-round. Over Memorial Day weekend we will clean it with 30-second outdoor cleaner and a hose. Then we are set for summer entertaining and will eat outside until October.

  17. I just impulse purchased that pelican planter. Website said only 5 left and it’s so perfect! Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. I’ve been eyeing that loveseat set also, but wondering about the reality of white outdoor cushions that don’t have removable covers for washing? I love them in theory but wondering if the reality will just be dingy and gross after a few weeks?

    1. I have that couch but as a three-seater. The seat cushion covers are removable but the pillow covers aren’t.

  19. Love it! This is beautiful! I’m sure you will get a lot of use out of this space this summer!

  20. Love every single piece. Especially the table and settings.

  21. Emily, I LOVE your blog and literally visit it every day. But I am feeling a bit like all your color palettes are the same. I come here for inspiration but am finding I can’t always relate to the constant blue/gray/white rooms I’m constantly seeing. I know this is your home so I don’t want to ask you to do something you don’t like/want, so I say this in the most friendly way as a possible suggestion to think about for posts in the future. Maybe I am alone in this and if that’s the case you can just skim over this comment!

    1. I second this.

  22. WHAT ABOUT THE OSTRICH IN THE ROOM? I mean, on the deck.

  23. We’re going to get a backyard post with all of that amazing landscaping, right? Riiiiight? I was obsessing those few days on Instastory!

    1. Yes! I feel like that’s an area that needs more love in the blogosphere.
      Spatial planning of a backyard has me scratching my head, and I’d love to see your plans and how you figured out what the eff to do! 😉

  24. Hi! I am intrigued by your (and your neighbours) roof. I have never Steen anything like it. I live in Norway, and while there are some old houses that have slate roofs, the shape of the roof tiles are always square or “half circle”. And norwegian slate is always grey. Your roof looks like a mixed color, with some grey and some more redish. Is it some sort of stone? And is there a historic tradition behind the seemingly variated shapes of the tiles?
    By the way: I love your garden! And don’t be afraid to start cooking some more. It’s surprisingly easy and both fun and satisfying.

  25. Can you share the source for the outdoor sconce lights? I love them!

    1. It is from Shades of Light, and you can find it online here:
      http://www.shadesoflight.com/madison-6-sided-outdoor-wall-lantern.html
      xx

  26. So happy you kept the fig! The garden around it looks gorgeous as does the entertaining space.

    Oh and it is the Zebra butterfly that likes passion flower, not painted lady, they like verbena. We are really into butterfly’s here and we keep some caterpillars indoors in the summer to see metamorphosis. Milkweed for Monarchs; Rue, parsley or fennel for swallowtails. We have a little of everything because it’s all so pretty too! It’s really awesome to teach them how to care for the smallest of creatures like roly-polies, snails and caterpillars. They just love them!

    Thank you for content that has every price point and vintage!

  27. Beautiful relaxing space! where did you get your black outdoor wall lanterns from?

  28. I am unabashedly a huge fan of Target. I’m one of the commenters from the previous post who said we have that couch and it’s SO COMFORTABLE. In fact, almost our entire backyard is furnished by my credit card at Target. 🙂 I’ll be writing about it on my blog, The 256 Project, this weekend. I love what you’ve done here and I’m 100% jealous of the tile and can’t wait for that post tomorrow!

  29. Where can I find those pretty sconces?

    1. Nevermind, just saw the above comment. 😉

  30. That was a fun read! (I almost wish I had children to deceive. I’ll have to stick to nieces and nephews. Bummer!

  31. I love this patio furniture set! We totally need to get something for our home this summer.

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  32. I fought battery powered candles for a long time but finally gave in and never looked back. They are great for bookcases, sconces, outdoors, etc. Sure, I still burn real ones too but electric candles are here to stay at my house and I’m not the least bit embarrassed about it. 🙂

  33. I love your new home but I think my favorite space thus far is the outdoor spaces you’ve created. Beyond dreamy! One thing I keep wondering about is the ivy covered structure in the background…is that a guest house or part of the main house? Just curious.

  34. Everything looks so so lovely. I would love to know what color you have on the house. It’s a very nice neutral. Love it!

    1. I was wondering the same thing!

  35. Cartoon HD is the best app I have come across in recent years. It is heartening to note that these apps are free of cost and also give us the best offers without any cost.
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  36. Wishing Target Australia had same stock! 😞
    Awesome outdoor space 👍🏻

  37. How did you hang the copper string lights on along your house and the railings? I would love to know because I have a similar setting and would love to do this!! Thanks!! Beautiful space, I have been looking forward to this post!

  38. wow … it’s so lovely

  39. thanks to you …. i have more ideals about its

  40. i will share to all my friends about this post

  41. Where is your gingham top from? So lovely!

  42. “We make quesadillas 4 times a week” made me laugh so hard. When I tell my son I’m making dinner he says “mommy, I don’t want quesadillas.” So now we rotate in sandwiches.

    Thanks for the patio ideas.

  43. LOVE LOVE this space! Is the table top treated? In some of the Target pics it looks like raw wood. Hubs is concerned it won’t stand up to the sun and salt in the air at our house.

  44. Gah! SO gorgeous and a great inspiration. But so much is already sold out or out of stock, which might be the goal but it’s so diasappointing. Can you ask your Target contacts when the Standish chairs might be back in stock? Or are they all out for the season? Same for the dishes.

  45. Wow …. So impressive !!

  46. ll of those are from Target. I recently bought a bunch of solar ones online to avoid even having to change the batteries, but they don’t turn on until after I’d like (they wait til dark). Initially those candles are a splurge but once you have the you don’t have to think about them for a couple years.

  47. They have defined it in an amazing way that how to decorate the outdoor space. By follow their tips you can though get a very impressive outdoor area, however for a perfect construction you should a hire a professional outdoor decorator. They know how to make it correctly from every corner. It will help you to save the money you are going to waste on self-try.

  48. No kids here, yet I use the fake candles–on timer, no less! Even when the patio is not in use they come on and I love seeing the glow. It’s like a beacon, calling out to go and sit there and enjoy the weather. And then they shut off, on their own. Woot!

  49. it is beautiful 😡

  50. 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).

  51. Is this rug the synthetic fiber that you talked about?