Tuesday, July 30, 2013

83 Our Pretty Patio Reveal

Holy banana boats batman!  Boy did I learn oodles while working on our patio.  And I apologize for the information overload I am about to throw your way.  I hope I can keep it short and sweet and keep it more photo heavy {those are the best posts anyway right?}.

Although I didn't blog about every last project we tackled outdoors this last month and a half, we sure did get a lot done!  And it feels awesome!  Here are a few of the things we tackled and crossed off of our list:

  • Replace deck boards with maintenance free decking {yep, even if that means working in the rain!}




  • Pull patio and garden weeds.
  • Wash siding.
  • Install candelabra.
  • Scrub maintenance free railing.
  • Recover outdoor stool.


So what all did I learn?
  • I realized that working outdoors poses a whole new set of challenges.  We have been extremely restricted by time due to our busy nightly baseball schedule paired with my hubbies work schedule paired with the crazy Wisconsin weather schedule {which is why we didn't get it all done in June}.  Unlike inside, we were unable to work much once the kids were sleeping, as it would get dark out.  Even today, I went out this afternoon to take photos of the finished patio area before our plans to entertain tonight, and once I began editing the photos, I was SO frustrated with the shadows and my battles with the brilliant sun, that I had to re-photograph the entire area at dusk {huge time suck}.
  • Speaking of photographing exteriors, it is nuts how different it is from interiors.  With interiors, you have ending points {walls}.  Outside, the space goes on and on and finding good angles is challenging, and photographing specific zones without the crazy clutter of the ongoing background is also difficult.
  • Knowing what will withstand our wacky Wisco-weather is all about trial and error.  We have experienced the strangest year weather wise {6 months straight of snow followed up by two months of rain followed up by a fabulously hot month of drought and then back to stocking caps in July}.  You never know what you are going to get, and it is important for us to select finishes that will still look good a few years from now, so we don't get stuck with our yard looking like it did this spring.
  • I change my mind.  A lot.  But we already knew that right?  It turns out the colors in my inspiration item and initial plan weren't what I thought {crazy monitor resolution!}, so it was out with the red and in with the pinks and a few returns to Target.  But you know what?  In the end I love it.  I lovity love it.  

Last month when I challenged myself {and my Mr.} to take on our outdoor spaces, I was a bit ambitious with how much I wanted to accomplish.  I had a list for both the front and back of our home... the front porch still gives me a giddy smile when I walk up to our home.


But now let's focus on the back.  Remember the awfulness we started with?


Sorry if that caused you to lose your dinner.  Or breakfast.  Or lunch.... you get the point.

An incredibly rotted deck and boatloads of chipped paint along with a lack of seating and accessories left this the least desirable area of our home.  And although I have huge plans for the inside of our home, we spend SO much time running the kids and working on projects, that we need a place to escape and enjoy summer, without leaving our home.  We love to spend time as a family grilling, roasting, playing yard games, etc... we needed a happy place to do those things.  The interior was going to have to wait.

As I mentioned above, we built a second table for our other seating area.  We have a few cheapo adirondack chairs behind our fire pit and I was hoping to add a nice little table between them for smore assembly and drink setting.


The table holds all of our goodies and provides a place to add candles and mood lighting, and below we stash our wood pile for the evening festivities.


The fire pit is our favorite spot in the whole backyard.  We use it spring, summer and fall.


The long patio also holds our dining table.  The table was one we built a few years ago using Ana White plans and it was chipping and peeling because I used an inexpensive outdoor paint that is not even worthy of mention.  Never skimp on outdoor paint.  Lesson learned.  This time around, I repainted the table with Behr's new premium exterior Marquee paint, and gave it three thin coats, so hopefully it will last a little longer this time.  I also gave the legs a little color splash, because that is how I roll.


The chairs were a super steal from Joss & Main.  I searched high and low for affordable outdoor chairs.  I was crushing on the colorful garden chairs, however, after checking West Elm, World Market and Home Decorators, at over $100 per chair, I began considering super inexpensive Ikea options.  Yes, I almost settled.  And then Joss & Main had a set of two chairs for $109.95 with free shipping and I had some credit accumulated so we jumped all over the gorgeous blue chairs. {pssst!  Target has since started selling a similar style quite inexpensively as well.}


When it came to the table top settings, I found a few clearance napkins at Pier 1 and selected a mixture of colors and patterns.  I also paired them with gold napkin rings and started swooning immediately.  {Tip!  Take a really long time with your outdoor projects like I do and you will be able to snag super end of summer outdoor clearance deals in July!}


I also hung a few Ikea lanterns from our umbrella so we had a mood lighting option should our dinner party go a little long...


Right behind the table is our newly painted and organized storage bench, and some freshly planted greenery.


And at the end of the table, the oh so useful serving cart and grill.


Yes indeed!  We are getting all sorts of use out of the cart!  It has been such a great solution for holding entertaining dishes and items for the grill.


Of course the new deck is a bajillion times infinity times better.


The new maintenance free decking has been superb and super simple to spray down and clean.  We also added an 8'x11' outdoor rug which is an amazing in-yo-face navy graphic pattern.  After the last post, I was asked about the rug so here are the deets.  I found it on Overstock {free shipping my friends!} and the size and quality are perfect!  It feels like an indoor rug, however, it has been really really durable {I totally had to go back on the website to make sure it was an outdoor rug because when I got it, it felt like and indoor one}.  We have had our kids play on it, our dogs run on it and plenty of storms and it still looks fab.  I just sweep it, occasionally vacuum it and when muddy prints end up on it, I spray it down with the garden hose.


We have had a small Ikea footstool floating around our abode for a few years, and it really never found a permanent spot to land {once it was home and put together I wasn't all that thrilled with the quality}.  I painted the entire thing with an exterior paint {same as I used on the dining table}, and gave it a quick re-upholstery job with some extra playroom bench fabric {which is outdoor fabric} and BOOM!  Instant footstool for the cozy outdoor chair.


I also keep a small Ikea planter on the nearby table, to hold outdoor necessities such as sunscreen and bug spray.


And we added $5 solar light caps on four of our deck posts for a little bit of light when letting the dogs out late at night.


As I mentioned, I planted some plants too.  Mainly low maintenance options like succulents and some herbs for cooking {I could be locked up for plant homicide}. 


I also added a small lemon tree which I am stalking daily for blooms.  I. Can't. Wait.


And some other random beauties for color.



There were just a couple of things on our list that we didn't get finished up, like patching our grass since we believe that waiting until fall when temps cool a bit will give us the best results with the seeding process {although, much of it has grown in on it's own as we water and fertilize}.  We would also like to plant something pretty and viney up the trellis's on the back of the garage, build something to disguise the air conditioner and find a way to hide the ugly meter and pipes... Everything else we did really makes the space super enjoyable and fairly maintenance free, which means our mission has been accomplished!   

When we are not entertaining or relaxing outdoors, you can expect that our serving cart is empty, only the lanterns remain on the table, and the grill and chairs are protected with covers.


Plants, pillows, the serving cart, the teal serving tray, the table umbrella and upholstered footstool all stay out full time, even when it rains {unless a giant storm hits and I have to make a mad dash out to collect pillows from the yard}.  

So there you finally have it, our outdoor patio tour!  It definitely has come a loooooong way from a month and a half ago!  I no longer want to avoid it, and actually gravitate out there.  I even have major internal battles between the front porch and back deck when sipping my morning coffee.  Not a bad problem to have eh?


Sure, we had some major expenses with this project, such as dining chairs, a rug and the deck boards.  But that required me to also get creative and reuse many of the items we had {serving cart, candelabra, planters, table, storage bench, etc...} The best part is that I was able to play with lots and lots of paint to update those items, and we even got to build those sweet little side tables.  I am silly smitten with all of the bursts of color and the fact that we have all sorts of usable space for entertaining and hosting block parties.  

Did you take on an outdoor space this summer as well?  Only one more day left to link up and share your stories here.

83 comments:

  1. love it! http://scaifebabywatch.blogspot.com/

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  2. Hi, I want to know how and where you do the writings on your pictures. Like the faded white background and the title/writings on top. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Faizah!

      I use photoshop to add the text to my photos.

      xo!
      Jen

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  3. Hi Jen,

    Love what you've done. Thanks for also mentioning your obstacles. It's such great motivation for me to see what you can do, but also to know a little of what you have to deal with to get there. Thanks for sharing!

    Margaret

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  4. Oh wow, what a huge difference in the before & after. Love the new table and the color splash on the legs. Also loving the navy & white deck rug. It is gorgeous! This is giving me all kinds of inspiration for decorating the outdoor spaces of our new rental.

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  5. Love the new space! Two questions: 1. Where did you find your lemon tree? 2. Is there or will there be a tutorial on how to recover a foot stool?!

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    1. Hi Andrea!

      The lemon tree was from Home Depot {it is actually a dwarf lemon tree}. We got it closer to the beginning of the season and it already has doubled in size. :) It will have to come inside during the cold months, I don't anticipate it will get too much bigger.

      The stool consisted of us draping the fabric nicely over the top and pulling it and stapling it under. It was a pretty quick project, I just pulled and stapled all around it. And snipped around the legs, rolled the fabric up and stapled straight up into the frame. I did most myself, but it was nice to have an extra hand to hold fabric while the other stapled.

      xo!
      Jen

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  6. Holy smokes! You did so much, it looks lovely :)

    http://beautifullyinspiredblog.blogspot.com/

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  7. So, so, SOOOO pretty! I've been waiting weeks to see this reveal :) Thanks for always being such a great inspiration!

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  8. You did an absolutely beautiful work out there Jen! I love how colorful it is and the really cozy looks. It is definitely a big difference between what you started with and the now status of the deck which I am sure your family enjoys dearly.
    I cannot believe the crazy weather you guys have up there... I hope you'll have a nice month of August to enjoy your gorgeous front porch and back deck.

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  9. WOW! It looks incredible! I'm so impressed with the results. I am working on my sun room/screened in porch now, and I am so late in the game too. But I agree, the sales are great. I scored some great things at Target for 75% off!

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  10. Fabulous result, as ever! Definitely worth all your hard work, it looks so inviting now, I'm sure you'll spend many a happy hour there with your family. I'll be interested in your ideas to disguise the things you don't want to see, we've got a few of those and I'm sure your creative mind will think of some good ideas :-)

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  11. Jen! It looks amazing! Bright, cheerful, happy, and sweet, just like you, my friend :)

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    1. Thanks sweetie! Feelings are mutual. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  12. Hi Jen, What a beautiful space! I had always wondered if people left outdoor pillows and cushions outside all of the time. That's one reason DH does not want them. He said we'll have to take them in and store them all year when we aren't entertaining. Thanks for mentioning what you do. Maybe now I can convince him to let me add pillows to our deck chairs and leave them out!

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    1. You can protect them even more by tossing them under chair covers with the chairs, or inside an outdoor storage bench {we do that from time to time}. However, we have had the striped pillows on our adirondack chairs for a couple of years now, and they have only faded a really small amount. I think the sun does more damage than the rain. Good luck with the hubby! It's so nice to have softness outdoors, it really encourages the entire family to use the space. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. I added 3 outdoor pillows to a bench on our front porch a few years ago; the bench is only partially protected by a roof and the pillows have held up well. They don't even blow off the bench which is surprising (we get a lot of high wind/tornadoes here!).

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  13. That rug is pretty AMAZING!!! xo Kristin

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    1. Thanks Kristin! I was a little unsure about the major boldness at first, but it was just what the space needed. It adds so much life to the entire backyard, I am a fan!! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  14. It's all very gorgeous! You are so talented!

    Graceleecottage.blogspot.com

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  15. just awesome!serving cart idea is my favorite.

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  16. I need you to come do mine! I took some photos of our new sidewalk project (they're posted over at http://thebrickbungalow.blogspot.com/2013/07/curb-appeal-before-photos.html and I can't stand my porch. It looks better in reason but man, it's ugly in the photo. I've since bought some spray paint and may tackle two projects today if it doesn't rain. It'll look better once the sidewalks are done, planters put back in place and so on but I need something pretty to look at. Maybe I'll just keep your blog open and look at it all day! 😀

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Megan! And I agree, it is really hard to photograph outdoors. Ours feels a million times prettier in person. Looks like you are making some major upgrades and progress though! Super exciting!!! :D

      xo,
      Jen

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  17. What a gorgeous transformation! I wish I had any outdoor space! I love all the bright prints and patterns, the bar cart, and those solar light caps... what a great idea.

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  18. What a fabulous transformation! I love all the color that you added, esp. the blue Joss & Main chairs. Our deck needs to be repainted yet again - such a chore! If we didn't plan on selling in the near future I'd totally replace the wood with a more durable product.

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  19. I was impressed by the front porch - but wow the back porch is amazing - so bright and colourful! you did a great job! I love the firepit, its a great idea.
    Martina

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  20. Gorgeous!!! Thanks for the tip on the rug!! We are building and I'm keeping my eyes peeled for area rugs to use in our living room now I'll def be stopping by Overstocked!! http://cjands.blogspot.ca/

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  21. It looks great!! I love all the color :) Our back yard and patio need some major help - need to make a plan of attack!

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  22. Looks so pretty and USABLE! The best! I remember the builder was starting our deck (or TRYING to start) the same time you guys started your summer challenge....and the weather and rain was a real project buster. But we too, got a ton done in one month! The deck is finished, we planted 6 trees and 22 bushes, and countless perennials. Just in time for the COLD to come thru!! Hopefully, there will still be plenty of warm summer nights for you and your family, as well as your MN neighbors here! :) Rosie

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    Replies
    1. WOW! It's funny how we have such a limited window to make things happen in this area. :) Sounds like you really made the most of it! And sending warm weather wishes your way in August as well.

      xo!
      Jen

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  23. Looks so great and picture perfect. So many details to look at...you did a great job!!!!

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  24. Holy banana boats is right -- you have had a BUSY summer!! It looks beautiful!! You always do such an amazing job combining cheerful colors & patterns! I just want to sip on some raspberry lemonade & make a s'more!

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    1. Awesome! Come on over friend!!! I will be waiting by the fire, chocolate in hand ;)

      xo,
      Jen

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  25. GORGEOUS! I love reading your blog! Did you build the firepit? Do you need a permit for it?

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    1. We did build it a few years ago. It was made from small landscaping bricks and a fire ring purchased from our home improvement store. Each city has different rules and regulations regarding burning and firepits, so it is a good idea to check with your city to determine any stipulations.

      xo!
      Jen

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  26. Daaaaaaang girl!!! Every little detail is perfection!!! And your styling/photography skills are as amazing, per usual! I want to kickback with a drink and a magazine with you!!

    only a few short days until we meet, my love! :) xoxo

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  27. Ooooh it looks SO pretty, Jen! I can't believe how much you got done in such a short amount of time! And as always, your taste is spot on! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!

    ~Abby =)

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  28. Beautiful makeover! Love all the little details, and the table is perfect!

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  29. Gorgeous! I love love LOVE that rug! It looks fabulous! Love the colors you chose too!

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  30. GAH!! It's like you extended the square footage of the house with a whole other room! Beautiful. And I'm dying over that rug!

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  31. Looks fantastic! Great job. The photos turned out really well. Thanks for going to the effort of getting such great shots.

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  32. Your transformation are just amazing! I adore that rug too!!

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  33. Great revel picture! I love that you repurposed some items. Thanks for sharing! Great pictures!

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  34. It looks great! Is that a new Ikea planter pattern? I haven't seen that one in stores.

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  35. It looks awesome. And such a great use of the space.

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  36. Love. It. You worked hard! And it shows... well done. Thanks for the links and tips for our own outdoor space of which I don't have photos (for good reason) and we probably won't get to it until next year. sigh. But you've inspired me - thanks!

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  37. Outstanding, creative and very detailed transformation!! Thank you for sharing your ideas with us each week - always look forward to your blog - it's like a good cup of coffee :). I am curious what happened to your polka dot planters?

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    Replies
    1. Ahh yes! They are still out there, they were just on the far deck railing which ended up getting cut off in the deck photos. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  38. It looks amazing! Great job!!!! you rock, Jen...it is so delightful to follow your blog.

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  39. Looks fabulous! Love it! =)

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  40. It's beautiful Jen, you are so talented and creative! I bought some fabrics and a couple of pretty planters to spruce mine up and that is as far as I got...good job!

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  41. Where did you buy the $5 solar lights? I've never been able to find them at that price!! Thanks so much . . . your hard work has definitely paid off!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! The lights are from Home Depot. They are always in random spots throughout the store, but you could also check in the decking/lumber area. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  42. Did something similar in our backyard last spring. Lots of work but in the end well worth it. Found lots of garage sale/estate sale items and gave them new life. Keep up the great info.

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  43. Love seeing other patios! We just did ours list summer and I finally revealed it this week. We extended our patio by having concrete poured! I had no idea how expensive concrete was. I also have to comment on your bucket of outdoor lotions and potions, I made a bowl next to our back door with the exact same things in it. It's been essential to enjoying our outdoors.

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  44. Hi! I recently stumbled upon your blog & I ENJOY & LLLOOOOVVVVE it. My family thinks I am weird because I enjoy organizing. It's nice to find a kindred spirit. :) ...WOW! That patio transformation was a lot of work, but it sure looks GREAT.

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  45. It looks terrific! I'm working on my outdoor spaces as well and this is an inspiration! Question: Can you tell us what type of no-maintenance deck boards you used?

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    1. Hi Tracy!

      We went to Home Depot and ended up selecting the Veranda Gray Composite Decking Board.

      xo!
      Jen

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  46. This summer has been a bummer. Rained all if June, was way too hot to get out with new baby the first half of July & now it is fall!!

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  47. To say I LOVE your patio is such an understatement!

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  48. I'd love to know where you bought the adorable green bowl that is featured on the s'mores tray. It would look great in my kitchen. You have truly inspired me to make our patio look it's best this summer! I hope you enjoy your time outside.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Laura!

      It was part of a set from the Crate and Barrel Mixing bowls, similar to these: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/5-piece-5.75-10.5-market-bowl-set/s549851

      xo!
      Jen

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  49. It looks so fantastic! I hope you get a lot of use out of it before the cold sets in!! :) YOu will have to keep us posted on how the blue chairs hold up. I would love to get some next summer!

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  50. Hi
    Love your backyard. Just wondering if your outdoor rug will be taken inside for the winter months? I live in
    WI too so I know the winters are harsh. Thanks Jane

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely! We left an old rug out through winter once before and it didn't survive. This one will be rolled and placed in the garage. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  51. It really has gone from drab to fab :) Can't wait for the warmer weather here is Australia to tackle my veranda and yard.

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  52. Ok, this is just awesome! I would love to just relax in that outdoor space of yours with the bright pops of colors. do you have any advice for what to do in an apartment patio? at the moment I have two rocking chairs, a table and some warm colored cushions. thanks! this blog is definitely in my top 3 favorites!

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  53. Love this outdoor space! Did you mention where you got the bar cart? I have been looking everyone, but can't seem to find one at a store by me!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle!

      The bar cart is from IKEA, you can find my original post here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2013/06/june-monthly-challenge-outdoor.html

      Thank you!
      Jen

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  54. Hi Jen!
    I've been dying to get a lemon tree ever since i read your post. I can't find them anywhere! I'm curious, did you pick it up at a store or did you order it online? I've never ordered a plant online, makes me nervous.
    Thanks!
    Karen

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    Replies
    1. Hi Karen!

      I found mine at Home Depot, and recently saw they were steeply discounted since it is end of season. I have ordered succulents online during our cold months and they came just fine, so that may be an option if you can't find it in your store any longer.

      xo!
      Jen

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  55. How much fabric did it take to cover the footstool? I have the same one and would love to pump it up a notch.

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    1. Oooh, I am not sure since I just used a leftover fabric piece from another project. I would guess it was under a yard. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  56. Hi! I was wondering where you found the pink polka dot pillows? They're so cute!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Found them at Target! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  57. Wow! I can't believe all the work that went into fixing up your "pretty patio"! I wish I had even an ounce of your talent in putting this together. Heaven knows I could use it for the deck in my backyard. Thank you so much for sharing!

    - Sarah

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  58. Jen...did the chairs get hot in the sun?

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