Each year our home exterior, patio, backyard, and landscape slightly changes. Outdoor projects are costly and slow moving, but we usually try to cross one big thing off of our list each year to keeping things progressing. Exactly one year ago, we were building our shed. A few months ago we had our roof replaced, and with a little luck (and a lot of saving)– maybe we’ll be working toward a pool this time next year. Regardless of what we’re able to accomplish each year, one thing is certain- we take full advantage of our outdoor living spaces, no matter their finished or unfinished state. I thought it would be fun to photograph and share a complete tour of our outdoor living areas and exterior. From our balcony and patio to the storage shed and garden, click through for my 2021 outdoor living tour with updated sources!
We really haven’t touched our patio or worked on anything back here, aside from power washing, adding some new sod, and landscaping maintenance. Eventually, we’d like to install pavers in place of the concrete, but for now- it’s a wonderfully functional space that looks great and feels good thanks to our patio furniture and some styling.
Our concrete has a curvy ameba shape, so I knew a curved sectional with a round fire pit would best fit the footprint and provide a nice contrast for our very angular colonial home. We spend a lot of hours gathered around the fire pit (which recently got a much needed maker) and it really extends our patio season. Having a heat source adds ambiance, function, and it’s always the spot that people gravitate toward at the end of the night.
Our curved sectional came with two sets of cushion covers (for no extra charge)… it came standard with the tan, and then you can also pick a slipcover color. I went with white slipcovers (they’re easy to clean since they’re outdoor rated), but this year I decided to switch things up and leave the tan cushions out, for the sake of a different look. Which do you prefer? Check out the white in this post.
THE OUTDOOR DINING SPACE
We share many meals at our outdoor dining table. We’re the friends in our circle who always host spring & summer dinner parties and barbecues. We’re the house that people gather at to hang outside. In fact, I’m pretty sure we’ve never hosted a dinner party indoors… it’s always right here under the pergola.
Our dining set traveled with us from our previous home and is holding up great after all these years- I still love it! Remember when it used to live under our carport? In the evening hours, this spot really comes alive and feels magical under the twinkling lights… golden hour is my favorite!
The pergola was here when we moved in and having gone from a wood pergola to this one- I really like the white against all of the greenery in our sunken backyard. It’s a nice contrast. It’s also easy to clean and maintain with an annual power wash, since it’s vinyl.
I’m still loving and using our outdoor bar cart (which has sadly been discontinued). It comes in very handy for entertaining, as you can wheel it around. I often use it as a drink station, a spot for dessert, or simply style it as a place to house extra dishes or candles.
Most things found in our outdoor dining area are old, but I’ll try to link and update as many sources as I can! It’s a bummer the bluestone greyhound statue has also been discontinued, because it’s a favorite of mine. I bet you could find a vintage one!
THE BEDROOM BALCONY
Our bedroom balcony hasn’t changed since its initial makeover. This will be our third summer using the space since I painted and bought furniture for the space. I probably spend more time outside in this area than any of our outdoor living spaces combined. I often work from my laptop at the bistro table. Emmett & I will also have cocktails or wine out here in the evening, and occasionally food or appetizers. It’s the best place on our property to watch the sunset, since our backyard and patio is sunken. It has beautiful mountain views, and looks out past the golf course. Did you know we live on a golf course? Oddly enough, I’ve never been golfing… like ever (unless you count Top Golf, ha!).
We’re not exactly sure how many months or years this space has left before we tear the entire thing down and rebuild it. When buying our home, the inspector pointed out significant water damage under one of the front columns. Each year the area grows softer and we know it’s only a matter of time before we need to address it or it becomes very unsafe. For now, it’s fine to use and I keep the black planter (pictured above) over the soft spot, but eventually when we rebuild- we’d like to expand the balcony and make it larger, since this area sees so much use.
The balcony also gives us a great view of our beautiful newly tiled roof. It certainly has a European feel to it that is fun to gaze out and admire. I really underestimated how much we would enjoy having this little outdoor space off of our primary bedroom. Not going to lie- I usually brush my teeth out here (I’m a walk around while brushing type of person), which Emmett thinks is SO weird and gross. Anyway, I like starting the day with fresh air and a picturesque view. Can you blame me?
I won’t share too many images of the garden since I just posted the tour a few weeks ago and nothing has changed, but it’s a corner I consistently gravitate toward and enjoy spending time in. From watering plants to plucking berries, what used to be wasted space has since turned into one of my favorite spots.
We started the space last year, did the majority of the dirt work, leveling, and heavy lifting… then this spring it really came together when I added cohesive planters and a few outdoor pieces of furniture.
My favorite part of our garden is pulling produce and herbs for our homemade pizza nights. I look forward to it every Friday. The garden also feels very nostalgic to me since it’s something I grew up doing a lot of on our farm. There’s something so special about nurturing a plant and producing your own food.
THE STORAGE SHED
Exactly one year ago, I was designing our shed, and shortly after we began the building process. I’m so happy we decided to take the DIY route instead of the readymade or kit route because our storage shed is truly my favorite! It’s charming, functional, and feels like it enhances the look of our yard and property. It just belongs, which was my goal! Luckily, we had leftover roofing tiles, so we were able to have the roofers install them on the shed. It feels like they were meant to be and really add another cohesive element to our home.
You know I have a strong love for my window planters! My flower boxes are thriving and I’m really happy with how they came together this year. I probably should’ve cleaned the hard water from the sprinklers off of the windows before photographing, but hey- that’s real life, and I never keep up with it since it’s just a storage shed and nobody is looking in or out.
I get quite a few questions about our solar sconces and they’re still working well! We don’t have electrical out here (maybe someday if we get a pool), but these are a great option for outdoor areas that need a little extra light or a decorative and functional fixture.
We replaced our front door a couple years ago, and it made a huge difference for our front exterior. I’m working on a big roof post for you that will share our entire exterior, as it currently looks! I’m just waiting for the roof company to email me some images, so I can share all the details, so stay tuned if you’re interested in seeing that.
Shortly after our front door replacement, one of our garage doors broke, so we ended up replacing both garage doors as well (from white to black with windows). I never blogged about that, but once this side of the house is “finished” and looking more like my vision, I’ll be sure to gather up all the images, the process, and share each phase. Outdoor projects are such a process!
We still have the patio chairs I painted last year in our front, side yard. They haven’t moved and can be seen hanging out in the landscaping island. The other two are in our storage shed, and if we ever get a pool someday- I’d love to style the four of them around a table together.
Curious to see how things changed over the course of a year? Click here for last year’s tour! I feel incredibly lucky that our home and property has so many outdoor living opportunities and is surrounded by wildlife (I see at least 15+ deer a day) and mountain views. If you’ve been around for awhile now, you know Emmett & I are all about the outdoors- that’s the entire reason we moved to Utah. We spend as much time as we can outside and really treat out outdoor areas as extended living space. While we’ve only crossed a small portion of things off of our exterior & outdoor to-do list and have big plans for the future, I’m pretty proud of how far things have come and the improvements we’ve made thus far. In the short years we’ve lived here, we’ve already made so many memories in these beautiful spaces, and they’ve been fun to share with you.
Do you take advantage of your outdoor living spaces? Was that a big selling point when you were house hunting? It certainly was for us. Here’s to a great week ahead, with hopefully good weather to allow us some time outside! Let me know if you’d like a blog post link or source for anything- I’m sure I missed some things. Have a great day!
Melissa DJune 7, 2021 at 6:03 am
Your home is so charming, and the outside living spaces definitely add to that charm. I’m digging the tan cushions on your sectional this year – they blend into the background a little and let the natural beauty of your landscape steal the show. Every time I see photos of your firepit area, it just looks like the perfect hangout spot! The dining table under the pergola is beautiful as always. I think it says a lot for your balcony that it hasn’t changed since your initial makeover – that really is a lovely little private space for early morning air or some wine at night. I can’t wait for the post about the roof tiles! They really do have a European flair, and how perfect that you had enough leftovers for the shed roof too. Your front door and garden are as beautiful as always. Do you ever use the table and chairs in your landscaping island? I think it’s so cool that you see so much wildlife around your home. I used to see deer every day back when I was growing up in the Mississippi countryside, but not so much anymore now that we’re in town (although it definitely still happens from time to time!).
I have big dreams for our outdoor spaces – the backyard is the #2 thing that sold me on buying this house (#1 being the amazing character of a 125-year-old house)! It’s surrounded by land free of development, so even though the front of my house feels like town, the back is so secluded and private. I’m hoping that by next spring, the major construction/renovations will be done enough so that we can tackle the outdoors a little more. I must admit though – I envy those of you who live in a climate where you can truly enjoy the outdoors all summer. It gets way too hot and sticky-humid here from July-September!
SarahJune 7, 2021 at 9:29 am
Thank you so much, Melissa! I agree- the tan cushions are really feeling good this year. It’s always fun to switch things up. We have LOTS of fire pit hangouts. That’s usually where everyone seems to gather after dinner, when we entertain. That’s always my goal with any makeover (indoors or out)- choose classic finishes and furniture that I’ll love for years to come. My spaces don’t change too much, and if they do- it’s usually because the designer in me is itching to restyle or refresh. Ha! The roof tiles are really beautiful- I can’t wait to share more about those, as they have some rally cool options. We never use the table and chairs in the landscaping island. Ever. I don’t think Emmett or I have ever sat there… probably because we have so many beautiful views and that one just looks out onto the cul-de-sac? I’m not sure. It’s nice and shaded though! It just feels like we have better outdoor hangout options. We’ve talked about eventually fencing in the front of our yard, to create more space for the dogs to run around. Having so many deer reminds me of home, too! They can be annoying eating our landscaping and plants, but I’m happy they’re here. It has been fun to watch the fawns grow this spring. Crosby (our larger dog) had a deer encounter over the weekend. He was playing chase with one of the babies and it was SO cute. Emmett and I wished we would’ve had our phone on us to take a video. I feel like a good backyard is imperative! Yours sounds amazing, as does your 125 year old house!! How nice knowing that the adjacent land is free of development. That was a selling point for us too, having a property that connects to the golf course, knowing there would never be homes, townhomes, or apartments built (as Salt Lake is rapidly growing and building). Your backyard will be there when you’re ready to tackle it! It sounds like your interior is coming along nicely. Growing up in the humidity, I know that sticky humid summer very well. Utah is a different kind of hot. It’s dry, but HOT. I will say- once the sun goes down, it cools off quickly at night, making the patio usable all summer- which we really love. I do miss summer thunderstorms though. We never get those- we usually go all summer long without rain, which is a bummer. Anyway, thanks Melissa! Hope you have a great week ahead. xo
PeggiJune 7, 2021 at 6:34 am
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Your outdoor spaces are the dreamiest! The sunken patio and dining area seems so inviting and cozy. I would definitely be curled up on that sectional with a cocktail or coffee at every chance. I can certainly see it as an ideal hosting space! (BTW, the blue tapers look amazing in your mod candleholder!) Does that spot attract many birds? I’ve really been enjoying the birdsong in the mornings lately. Speaking of wildlife, I can’t believe the deer don’t bother the flowers in your shed window boxes. They look so lush (and presumably delicious🤣). Will your pool be sited near the shed? If memory serves, there’s quite a bit of space there. Following your design for that will be so interesting! I must admit that the spot I covet the most is your balcony! An elevated, outdoor area off the bedroom gives me all the luxury resort vibes. I would absolutely brush my teeth out there! (I also walk around while brushing; it’s a perfect multitasking time.) Btw, I notice that your tree has really flourished. I’m intrigued to hear you might expand the space when you renovate. You’ve accomplished so many upgrades already, but your house still holds amazing potential. Here’s to taking advantage of all the spaces and phases of our homes!
SarahJune 7, 2021 at 9:19 am
Thanks Peggi! The sectional is where you’ll find Cash curled up or basking in the sun- that’s definitely his preferred outdoor hangout, while Crosby sticks to the shaded areas. You know I’m very into the colored taper candles right now, ha! I’d say we have a good amount of birds- they come and go. I also love a good birdsong! The deer are everywhere here. We have a woods behind the backside of our shed and usually they sleep at the edge of our yard, at the tree line… we’ll pull into our driveway at dusk or during the evening hours and there are usually 10+ laying down on the edge of our property for the night. It’s actually love it because it reminds me of home! Surprisingly the deer don’t bother my flower boxes, but they did eat all 8 arborvitae trees at the corners of the shed (they left the boxwoods alone though). Our neighbor is always shooing them out of her tulip bed. Haha! They also devoured her magnolia tree. The pool will be located by the shed- you have a great memory! We do have quite a bit of space on that side of our yard. The balcony is my happy place and where I spend the most time outside- probably because it’s fully shaded and that’s most functional for working outside. The lace leaf maple on the balcony is really get big! I need to repot it this fall. I’m glad I’m not the only one who walks while brushing. Haha! Emmett thinks I’m nuts. Here’s to a fun summer spent outside! Have a wonderful day!
ColleenJune 7, 2021 at 7:09 am
Good morning 🌞 Sarah
I adore your backyard and all the beautiful exterior living spaces you have. So amazing to have a balcony off your bedroom and the views are spectacular. Of course you have styled everything to perfection and every detail is lovely. It’s hard to choose which slipcover I love the most on your sectional as they are both beautiful. The white is so fresh and crisp but the tan is so warm and inviting, how fabulous to have both. Love that! Your exterior gorgeous and your dining area is stunning, And the pergola is a super feature that accompanied the house upon purchase Awesome!
We actually purchased our current and previous home based upon the size of the yard and having green space behind, so I love you are located on a golf course. Unfortunately for us both homes needed so much work and investment but it also gave us an opportunity to design it exactly fitting for our lifestyle which has been wonderful as we spend do much time outside.
We invested way more money on the outside of our home than the inside, which I don’t think many people do in our neighborhood. There are so many sad backyards that look unused and neglected which I find perplexing. Especially since we have spent so much time outside over the past year. All of your outdoor spaces are fabulous and you have made the most of every area.
So much inspiration and ideas in this post. Thank you 🥂
Cheers to enjoying the outdoors and summer 😎
SarahJune 7, 2021 at 9:09 am
Good morning, Colleen! The balcony is definitely where I spend the majority of my outdoor time these days- it’s such a happy place, and the fact that it’s covered and shaded is really nice. I’m also liking the tan this year- just to trade things up! I do think it feels a bit warmer and more inviting than the white slipcovers. Thanks for your sweet words! Outdoor space was also a big factor in purchasing all of our homes, so I like hearing that you took that into consideration as well. It makes a big difference! I totally agree with you on spending money outside versus inside… I don’t think it’s the norm, but I do think certain upgrades can increase ROI and certainly improve your happiness at home- like your gorgeous pool area! I hope you’ve really been relaxing and enjoying it. I know you worked really hard to make it happen! Cheers to a fun summer spent outside :) I hope your week is off to a good start! xo
Danna FJune 7, 2021 at 8:01 am
Your outdoor spaces are so beautiful with the flowers, garden, and clever furniture choices for both balcony and main living. I would be out on that balcony too if it was located outside my master. Adding a pool next year will be so refreshing for you both. Look forward to seeing more of the roof.
Hope your Monday is off to a good start and you have a productive week. We spent Sunday tagging trees to keep on our property. Theres a lot of cedar in our area of Texas and they are not very pretty and can be a fire hazard. Enjoying this time of year outdoors.
SarahJune 7, 2021 at 9:05 am
Hi Danna! Thanks so much for your kind words about our outdoor spaces- the balcony is definitely my happy place. I hope your week is also off to a fantastic start. Tagging trees sounds exciting! I’m guessing it’s one of those first phases in creating your dream home and property- and definitely necessary for fire maintenance. I can’t wait to hear more about your home journey as it unfolds :) Have a great day! xo
LaurenJune 7, 2021 at 9:06 am
Your outdoor spaces exude elegance and an elevated outdoor lifestyle-it really speaks to your and Emmett’s preferences and personalities. I’ve long envied the landscape island on your front side yard- our front yard needs so much help, and a healthy dose of repurposed space! We have new neighbors on one side, and they have six of the exact style chairs you made over last year, and two tables that match. They look pretty worn and in need of rejuvenating-I’m biding my time until they decide to put them out for a yardsale! Haha!
We love and enjoy our outdoor spaces as much as you and Emmett-ours are definitely not as beautiful (yet), but the amount of time we spend outside lends itself to tackling a few of those projects each year. I’m hoping in a few spring/summer seasons, we’ll have a much more inviting space to welcome family and friends.
I went down an Amazon rabbit hole looking for similar items to your elevated outdoor dog bowls-those are unavailable because the shop has gone out of business. I did find something similar for our cat and I’m excited to add beauty and function to his little corner.
I hope when you and Emmett tackle your balcony you’ll be posting all about the process and what it entails. Our balcony is in a similar situation- it has no soft spots yet, but we anticipate that it may happen. It was one of the things our inspector discussed with us; it seems the tile that the previous owners placed on the balcony was installed incorrectly for inclement weather, so we frequently get one corner that develops algae on the stucco. We monitor it frequently because we’re terrified it will develop mold, but so far it’s just surface algae with no signs of mold. 🤞🏼 I’ll be following along if you decide to post all about your balcony.
It’s the last week of school and it looks like we’ll have cool mornings and mid 90 temps this week-it’ll be slightly humid and pretty warm out, but these summer days are my favorite. I’m looking forward to spending some outdoor time with the family.
My little solo weekend getaway was a lovely respite to rejuvenate my mindset for this last week. My brain is 3/4 checked out already, haha! The items I purchased look fantastic in the house, and I finally have one of my shelves *almost* complete. Then I can work on the other. That lamp though😍😍😍! It’s truly gorgeous, and perfect for our living room. I’m so happy I was able to snag it. Thanks for the push in the right direction!😘Cheers to a lovely week ahead! Xo
SarahJune 7, 2021 at 9:47 am
Thanks, Lauren! We really do love hanging outside. Our front yard landscaping needs some help, too… but we’ll get to that eventually. Who knows when! Ha! You should definitely ask your neighbors if they’d like to get rid of those chairs- what a score! Outdoor projects always take so much time, energy, and money. It’s tough to cross those things off the list (at least it is for us). Bummer about the pet bowls going out of stock, but I’m glad you were able to find something similar. We’ll definitely post all about the balcony when the time comes. I’m glad you haven’t seen any signs of mold on yours. We don’t get enough rain for that on ours. Cheers to your last week of school with the kids! I hope you all have a super fun summer vacation and get to enjoy lots of time outside. Your weekend getaway looked amazing and all of your finds are so gorgeous! So glad they’ve already found spots in your home. You didn’t waste any time styling those :) The lamp is the ultimate find- it’s gorgeous. Have a great day and a good last week of school! xo
JennJune 9, 2021 at 10:52 am
Your outdoor space looks so magical! I love how you have all the different zones. One day I’d like to make out patio bigger — there wasn’t enough space for both a table and lounge furniture so I went with a bistro table and small loveseat. Yours is definitely great inspiration! (Although I continue to be shocked at how much anything outside costs. Hopefully one day!) I did borrow your herb garden idea and planted some herbs in terracotta pots on a little tiered stand and it looks great. I have killed basil plants indoors before so I was a little nervous but the basil is growing so much outside in its terracotta spot and I’m so excited about it!
SarahJune 11, 2021 at 1:22 pm
Thank you so much, Jenn! Your area sounds so beautiful- amazing job! Outdoor projects and furniture are definitely expensive. We usually try to choose one outdoor thing to tackle each year (to make it more manageable). I love that you setup a little herb garden! My basil does so much better outside. I love hearing that yours is happy too :) Day made! Have a great weekend. xo
LisaJune 21, 2021 at 1:29 pm
Is your yard completely deer-proof via an enclosed fence? Otherwise, how do you protect that lovely garden? My house is also in a nature-y, deer-filled area. I love watching them but I’m not sure about building a fence around my entire property (I would have to enclose the front too, or they just wander in from that side).
SarahJune 21, 2021 at 4:49 pm
It is! The garden is fenced in our backyard. The fence doesn’t run the entire perimeter of our property (just the backyard), so the deer definitely mess with our landscaping and flowers in the front yard. I’ve just come to terms with it, and have tried to buy plants they don’t enjoy eating. Haha!
LisaJune 21, 2021 at 5:26 pm
I will have to think about fencing in just the backyard, that’s a great idea! I love the look of your black wrought iron fence, too. We were fortunate to inherit all deer-resistant landscaping, although that doesn’t seem to prevent them from visiting and pooping all over the yard, haha. I wouldn’t mind limiting the damage to just the front yard.
SarahJune 21, 2021 at 8:14 pm
Thank you! We were lucky to inherit the fence. The deer poop situation is real at our house, too… ick. I feel better that the dogs primarily hangout in the backyard and can’t run around (or eat… worst case scenario) the poo. The deer are definitely fun to watch, but come with some issues. Haha! I feel your struggle.