When it comes to the inside of the house, that is my domain. It's a language I speak. I am very comfortable. Paint, window treatments, artwork, accessories, furniture...I could spend all day tweaking and styling. I even LOVE TO CLEAN. Love it. It's my therapy. But the moment I step outside in an effort to somehow make the outside of my house look like the inside, I totally freaking panic.
It's very normal for me to go outside on a Saturday, announce to my family that it's a gardening day, and then just stare. At everything. Mystified. And that's about as far as it goes. I just don't get it. I pull weeds and they pop right back up. I "define a bed" and the next week it looks like a blob. I don't actually even know what things are weeds and what aren't. And I have two different kinds of vine things in my yard that appear to now be warring with each other. Yes, to me, they are all "things."
True story: After living in our house for about FIVE YEARS, my husband and I were puzzled as to how this beautiful bush in our front yard could possibly flower year round (this alone should clue you in to my ineptitude - we live near the 45th parallel). I admired it day after day, year after year. We never had to weed around it. It always looked so healthy. So we asked our next door neighbor (who could probably host his own HGTV show) to identify this rare and vibrant plant. I kid you not, he bent over, plucked it out of the ground and threw it down. PLASTIC.
The only semi-helpful thing I can share about anything outside is that the tall grasses are great. I don't know what they're called. Ornamental grass? It's lovely. It's very, very hard to kill.
This is the level of my outdoor skills.
But I do like areas of the outdoors where furniture is involved. The patio.
This year we decided it was time to finally rip out the old, slate stone in our backyard. The stones were sharp and jagged underfoot. We also had our deck repainted a nice neutral tan.
As it turns out it is not easy to find good looking brick pavers at big box retailers. I hated them all. Too red, too artificial looking, too much looking like cinderblocks, etc. So after striking out at about four suppliers and thoroughly annoying my builder, I finally found these which were just what I was looking for.
After I had the deck and brick pavers set, I could focus on the fun stuff: picking out furniture. Patio furniture has come a long way. The materials, the style, the versatility. It used to be you just sort of dealt with your old wrought iron set but now there are so many materials that can stand up to the elements - UV treated sunbrella fabric, powder-coated aluminum, resin wicker, sealed hard woods, plastics and the list goes on.
These were a few of my inspiration pics.
Of course, I was on a budget so I went to my trusty spot for a deal - One Kings Lane. I knew I needed a rectangular-shaped dining table for the brick paver patio due to its shape so I found this great table that seats up to eight.
The material is a powder-coated aluminum. The top is black with slats and a hole for umbrella (which was a must) and the legs are a gunmetal gray. And did you see the price? $299. This was an easy choice. Now, on to the chairs.
Personally, I don't like the idea of buying matching patio sets. It just seems too out-of-the-box-perfect. I like to mix and match. The same idea of putting a more substantial or glamorous host and hostess chair at your dining table - why can't you do that outside too?
So for the host and hostess, I found these amazing John Vogel teak chairs from West Elm.
I like how they bring in a new element, wood, and still play off of the masculinity of the black and gunmetal table. Plus, they are designed by John Vogel and his chairs are a work of art.
Now for the side chair seating. I needed to find something inexpensive and went between these for a few days:
The black CB2 chair had the best price and I like the curved back since everything is so angular.
I love the gray wicker because it's modern and traditional.
The white modern chair brings some lightness to the setting.
And I briefly contemplated the San Paolo Dining Bench from World Market to fit in somewhere.
Eventually I landed on the black CB2 chairs. And finishing off with a nice, gray umbrella that tilts.
Can't wait to sit outside and drink my morning tea, and maybe someday figure out how to grow stuff in my backyard!