We purchased this house because there were never-ending projects. But every so often, I need to remind myself that I don’t have to do them. House projects do not have to be huge, daunting, or BIG to be a success. I can spend an afternoon designing a temporary spot—say a front patio transformation—only meant to last a season, and not invest a ton of time, money, or energy in it. Knowing this has made the design process much more enjoyable and has been a HUGE unlock for me.
We have this incredible view outside our front door of a bike/walking path overlooking a river. The house faces southwest, and at sunset, we have a gorgeous light shining through the maple trees. Joe always suggests we sit out front to enjoy this scene. Since moving in, the front was always overflow storage, and I’ve meant to utilize the space better.
I’m a massive fan of Terrain. Part of the Anthropologie family, Terrain is a home and garden brand inspired by nature. They offer everything from outdoor furniture to tabletop items to decor pieces. The quality of the materials is impeccable, and just about anything can be mixed and matched to work together. When putting together the front patio, Terrain gifted me some incredible pieces from their outdoor furniture line to create a dreamy, flexible space I can use all summer long.
In direct opposition to the lush, overgrown backyard, and after much-needed trimming and pruning, the front yard is downright spartan. To add greenery and make the space more inviting, I added a display of several container gardens using an old bench I found and Paloma planters gifted from Terrain. These planters are well worth the investment and will be around season after season. What I like about container gardens is that nothing is permanent. You don’t need to spend much time and energy creating an inviting space.
You can plant bulbs in the fall or spring, or grow/purchase annuals or perennials during the summer. Come winter, I plan on using these containers to hold evergreen branches. Design tip: Work in odd numbers—three or five work best. Think small, medium, large, short/tall, and narrow/wide—working in opposition provides visual interest.
Part of my design block was thinking about the space as permanent and unchanging. My self-imposed spending freeze had me thinking differently about what I wanted out front vs. what I needed—two very different things. The backyard was easier to set up because all of our previous backyard furniture fit.
I wanted a space to read, eat al fresco, watch the kids and dogs, sit outside, and enjoy the view. I wanted all those things, but what I needed was versatility.
Terrain gifted me the Folding Galvanized Iron Dining Table and four blue and white Colorblock Woven Side Chairs (no longer available) for the space. These pieces are lightweight, durable, and timeless. Most importantly, I can move and store them based on my needs with little to no effort. The table and chairs can be moved and HUNG UP when not in use, which is helpful since I will be tucking away the front patio furniture at the end of the season.
I’ve always believed in the power of good lighting, and the gifted Commercial LED Light Strand cafe lights are the pièce de résistance to this outdoor space. The cafe lights have extended the usage of the area well after dark. I love sitting out front with a good book and a cold beverage, reading under a warm, romantic glow.
Since assembling the front patio, I’ve been sitting outside using it most days. It’s a low-fuss area ready for online meetings, popsicles with the kids, or dining al fresco.
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BY Kate Arends - June 27, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.