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This Yard Makeover Only Took 3 WEEKS, Some Elbow Grease, And A New (Very Good) Seating Area

There’s nothing quite like summer in California – the heat, the dry heat, the dryer heat… And yet, early mornings and late afternoons still draw us all outside. When you’re up at 8 am, and it’s already 70 degrees, and you sit out on your front porch drinking a cup of coffee. Or it’s 6 pm, and you get caught chatting outside with your neighbors during golden hour, as it finally starts to cool down. For some, summers in California are unbearable. For me, they’re filled with nostalgia. And so many of those memories are from time spent outside.

from: sara updates her backyard with a hand-me-down loveseat & $350

You may remember a small post I did a few years ago, about making the most of the backyard space I had. I want to emphasize the word had. This year, due to some upcoming life events, we decided it was finally time to renovate the garage. And while we were renovating the garage, we decided to pull all of the concrete out. But now what we’re left with is a dirt patch instead of a backyard. At this time we do not have the bandwidth to fix it ourselves, nor the funds to have someone else do it. So, while we’re happy that we got all the concrete out, we still have a long way to go in terms of having a usable backyard space.

(but at least we have new fencing and pretty stuccoed walls instead of cinder blocks – progress!)

About two months ago Caitlin asked if I had any desire to do some outdoor content. Staring longingly at my backyard, I knew the lift to get that space done – even with the assistance of an amazing brand and EHD – would be too much to take on. My sights began shifting to our front yard. It too was in need of…help.

It had good bones (branches?) but had been pretty neglected since we moved in and focused on interior projects – like functional bathrooms. Many of the existing plant life had either died or was dying due to lack of automatic irrigation and a forgetful caretaker. The plants that were still holding on were overgrown. And the lawn had become a dirt patch of its own (don’t let these before photos fool you, that greenery is weed clover that grew up after a few weeks of rain we got).

BUT, the front yard was definitely in a better starting place than the backyard – and it was significantly smaller.

After doing some research, chatting with my husband, Macauley, and crunching some numbers, I got back to Caitlin with a proposal. In the absence of a backyard for the time being, what if I turned my front yard into the curb-appealing, summer hang-out spot that my home and soul desperately needed. I had a great gardener recommendation who would be able to work within our budget, my dad was on board to help with a fence overhaul, and one of my favorite brands of all time, Article, was lined up to provide the furniture that would be the cherry on top of the whole space.

In a matter of about three weeks, we went from this…

To this…

This has been a dream come true for this Southern California gal. We’ve lived here for almost five years now (holy moly – remember this post?), and I finally, finally, FINALLY feel proud of our front yard. So many neighbors have stopped by to say how nice it looks, which is such a good feeling. Plus, I actually have a space to entertain this year.

The most important thing we started with was irrigation – I know myself, and I know my husband. We are good people, but we are not water-your-entire-yard-every-night-to-keep-it-alive good. So we added three sprinkler zones to our yard – one for the small lawn, one for the flower beds, and one for the street-facing curb beds. Once there was irrigation, I knew we could finally keep plants alive. So we had new fescues sod installed, a handful of California natives popped into the flower beds, and mulch put down to help with moisture retention in the beds. 

All in, the landscaping and irrigation came out to be about $7,500.

Next, my dad installed this beautiful teakwood fence. It took him two days – one to buy, measure, and cut all the wood, and a second to install it. It matches the wood fencing he’s installed in our backyard and side walkway. Let’s appreciate how much this new fence upgrades the space.

He also built us that beautiful side entrance gate you can see in the background there. I can’t say it enough – my dad is awesome.

The fencing material was about $800.

Sofa | Sea Green Pillow | Tall Wide White Planter | Wide Gray Terrazzo Planter | Lounge Chair | White Pillow | Throw Blanket | Terracotta Planter | Coffee Table | Small Gray Planter | Rug | Pouf | Green Side Table | Standing Lantern

So now let’s chat about what makes this space not just curb appealing, but entertainment worthy – the furniture. Just about everything you see is from EHD favorite, Article. I have owned many an Article piece over the years, and they are just really good. The style is obvious *waves hand*, the quality is incredible (I’m going on four years strong with my velvet Sven Sofa), and the value is unmatched. And even though this post is sponsored, I’ll add that the folks over at Article are some of the nicest I’ve ever worked with. LOVE YOU GUYS. 

Now the space we were working with wasn’t very big, so I knew we didn’t have room for different zones with a dining space, a fire pit area, and a lounge (I have backyard goals). Instead, I opted to just focus on creating one cozy area that could function as both a hangout area or a small meal-outside kinda space. 

I started with the biggest piece – the couch. I chose this one because I loved the earthy tones that I felt would complement the whole California native gardenscape that was just installed. The black legs give it a touch of modernity, but the wicker keeps it feeling warm. And I’m in love with that green cushion. It also felt like just the right scale for this smaller area, while still being able to nap one, comfortably seat two, and cuddle three. 

Next up, I picked out lounge chairs to flank either side of the couch. These were an easy choice because I had sat in them before – once at a rooftop movie showing that Article invited us to over the summer, and then multiple times on my friend Emily Bowser’s front porch. I don’t know what to say other than they’re the most comfortable outdoor chair I’ve ever sat in. They’re deep and wide, in a way that makes you feel hugged when you sit in them. It was a happy accident that the wicker detail tied them together with the sofa. 

I added this outdoor pouf to make lounging in these chairs even easier (and an extra ‘in a pinch’ seat for those hours of summer entertaining I’m due to have). After this photoshoot, this is exactly where I sat for the next hour answering emails during golden hour, snacking on the props.

White Tray (similar) | Glass Pitcher | Scalloped Napkin | Glassware (similar) | Woven Coaster (similar) | Small Footed Bowl (similar)

Next on the list was a coffee table. It’s on the smaller side, so it fits nicely between all the pieces but still feels big enough to hold snacks, small dinner plates, or drinks. This table originally caught my eye because the wood felt like it would tie in with the wicker of the couch and chairs, not to mention the black powdered metal legs that tie all three major furniture pieces together. That’s a testament to how Article really does make it easy to design a beautiful space – no matter what you choose, it’s all going to look good together, seamlessly and effortlessly.

I also added this sweet little green side table – both to bring in some more earthy tones, but also to function as an additional drink stand if someone felt they were too comfy lounging to reach all the way to the coffee table from their seat. 

Then, for some finishing touches, I brought in some planters and this hanging lantern. The lantern is really cool because it’s battery-operated, and just has a button on the top of the bulb that you press to turn it on. That means no cords needed. And it gives off the perfect amount of soft light – especially considering it’s staying light out until 8 pm these days.

Having additional planters in terrazzo and also a simple, crisp white around the seating area helps it feel more enclosed in nature, almost like the flowerbeds are creeping out and around you. 

Article has larger furniture pieces on lock, as evidenced, but have really stepped up their decor game with really great options for planters as well because they have a good variation of sizes and colors/finishes – great for mix/match but still coordinated look. This terracotta one was a lot bigger than I was expecting it to be, but it ended up being a great way to add some height and warmth to the setup. I planted a variety of California natives here together, since it was so big, and they’re still living in happy harmony.

Lastly, I picked out an outdoor rug to anchor the whole space together – that way these pieces didn’t feel like they were floating on a concrete sea. I wanted something big enough to hold it all together, but neutral enough to kind of disappear. This rug checked both boxes.

I spend a lot of time out here in the mornings and evenings. It’s so incredibly wonderful to have outdoor space to enjoy, and I’m taking full advantage of it.

Here’s one more quick before and after to really bring it all home.

A big thank you to EHD for bringing me in on this and making it all possible, our gardener for working so hard to create this beautiful space, my dad for the endless home help, and Article for continuing to partner with me on different projects. And of course Emily Bowser, for hanging out in the hot, dry heat to style it all while we waited for the perfect lighting.

And because Article continues to be the best, they are offering $50 off an order of $200 or more, valid until July 21. Just click THIS LINK and it will be applied at checkout:)

This post was sponsored by Article but all words and opinions are all mine🙂

*Design and Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
**Styled by Emily Edith Bowser

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Karen T.
9 months ago

It looks awesome. And the orange tree to top it all off…perfection!

9 months ago
Reply to  Karen T.

Thank you!

9 months ago

The furniture is gorgeous against the new fencing.

9 months ago
Reply to  Alexandre


9 months ago

Love it all, but especially that fence! So nicely done!

9 months ago
Reply to  Renee

I’ll let my dad know 🙂

9 months ago

So, so nice. I even think I can smell the lavender!

9 months ago
Reply to  caroline

I love anything that smells good

🥰 Rusty
9 months ago

Gorgeous!! Loving the earthiness of the whole vibe. 💖
Oh, and your dad’s amazing. The little decorative detail on the fate is so sweet. ❣
You and Jess are lucky to have dads who can makd stuff!
Um, now … “due to some upcoming life event” … is there a bub on the way???👀 Huh?👀
Some Salvia (white, purple, red flowering), likes full exposure and semi-shade, drought tole5eant, pollinater and bird-attracting) would be great to fill out your beds. Perennial and virtually no maintenance.

9 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Just fyi, it’s really bad form to speculate on pregnancy. Just don’t.

9 months ago
Reply to  Lynsy

Just deciding this as a new mom who needed tears and IVF to eventually reach this point—it hurt sooo much when people would joke or prod us about having kids.

🥰 Rusty
9 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Sara, I’m deeply sorry if I’ve offended you in any way, by suggesting your upcoming “life event” might be a pregnancy.
I figured if it wasn’t appropriate, you wouldn’t publish my comment.

9 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Thank you! I’m going to look into salvia!
I totally understand the need for delicacy around asking folks if they’re expecting – everyone is on their own journey! But in this case, we are expecting 🙂 (and maybe trying to pull together some nursery content, haha)! Pregnancy, motherhood, and the path to it is wild. My heart goes out to any family on that path in any way.

9 months ago
Reply to  Sara

Oh my gosh, congratulations! I thought that might be the case. Very excited for you–what a sweet family you’ll make. 😀

9 months ago

It looks amazing! Your Dad did a beautiful job on the fence and I love all the Article pieces. Have fun enjoying your lovely new space!

9 months ago
Reply to  Sarah


9 months ago

I love this, Sara — it’s so elegant, relaxed and pure California. That fence is gorgeous! The sofa, chairs and rug are very cool. The blue wool throw is an especially sweet touch (I know you’ll use it, on chilly evenings or mornings). Your landscaper did a great job. The orange tree looks transformed! If you like, could you tell us a little more about the natives you installed? I adore native plants, they’re the best…

9 months ago
Reply to  Ally

Ok let me try and remember the names – we’ve got lavender, white sage, hummingbird sage, California poppies, rosemary… those are all I can think of off the top of my head, but I know there are more!

9 months ago

This is so beautiful! LOVE the dad-fence (is that the best kind?) and the gate is really beautiful. And so is the furniture! Also, nice touch that the light doesn’t need a cord.
Hope you enjoy the heck of summer sitting out there!

9 months ago
Reply to  stacy

We will!

Cici Haus
9 months ago

Everything is lovely, but that fence makes the space! Love it

9 months ago

Always love your posts, Sara!

8 months ago

This is so beautiful I would be sitting out there everyday to soak up all that peaceful loveliness! I have a question about that gorgeous fence. It looks like it was clad onto the existing fence? If so, why? Was it for aesthetic reasons? Or was the original fence demo’d and replaced by the one your dad built?

8 months ago
Reply to  Jean

The original fence belongs to our neighbor, so we couldn’t tear it down (just the back was facing us).

8 months ago
Reply to  Sara

Oh, I see. It looks prettier now 🙂