Creating Privacy and Sparkle with a Backyard Makeover

Posted by: on April 29th, 2014 | 35 Comments

Backyard Makeover


Kristen Whitby’s backyard was a little awkward, shall we say, before she signed up for our Patio Style Challenge. As you’ll see, the issues she faced were pretty common–lack of privacy, a less-than-ideal layout for the yard… that sort of thing.

She’s a very creative decorator, DIYer and doer of awesome things, which she writes about on her blog Ella Claire, so we were quite interested in seeing how she solved some of the practical and decorative issues with her backyard makeover.

You will be amazed. Just look at the before and after photos of Kristen’s backyard and patio. It has plenty of privacy, comfort and the vintage charm she is known for. It’s a great spot for a party, in fact…   


I can hardly believe the progress we made in our space, chock full of DIY projects, and I am so excited to share it with you! In fact, we will just have a little Summer Soiree to celebrate!

Backyard Makeover


Backyard Makeover

We decided that this summer was going to be the time to reclaim our outdoor space as well as create some much needed privacy for our home. This was no easy task! Our home is in a neighborhood on a corner lot, which presents a few challenges. First, our backyard is very narrow and our side yards are wide. This means that our backyard is very close to the side of our neighbor’s home where they have a huge camper trailer parked. They also installed windows on the side of their house last year. The majority of the rooms and main living area of our home face out this direction, so creating privacy was a must.

We set out to construct a free standing privacy lattice to grow vines along. I could see what I wanted to build in my head, and with the help of J at my Home Depot store we were able to come up with a plan. I also convinced my dad, husband and brother to help with this big fun project. Well, it was probably more “fun” for me than it was for them!

It almost pains me to show you these before pictures….are you ready for this?

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Furniture Refinishing Tutorial: Bringing a Thrifted Patio Set Back to Life

Posted by: on April 29th, 2014 | 5 Comments

Kristen Whitby definitely has a knack for seeing the possibilities in thrift store finds. Take a look at her blog Ella Claire, and you’ll see she definitely knows how to bring old, damaged or overlooked pieces back to life.

She refinished a thrifted patio set as the centerpiece of the patio makeover she did for our Patio Style Challenge series. Here is her furniture refinishing tutorial, showing how she restored the old wooden patio set. For the full Challenge reveal, visit Kristen’s Backyard Makeover.

This Craigslist patio set was in desperate need of a little TLC when we got it. My husband actually wanted to haul it to the dump after I brought it home, but I knew it could look pretty again with a little elbow grease… ok, a lot of elbow grease.

Kristen Whitby Refinished Patio Set 1

The finish was flaking off pretty badly and the chairs were pretty rough, but they were very nice and sturdy. That is always a requirement I have when I buy thrifted chairs; they have to be sturdy. This poor patio set looked even more sad after a whole winter of abuse out in the Idaho snow. Oops.

Kristen Whitby Refinished Patio Set 2

I was up for the challenge though. I don’t give up very easily. So, once the weather warmed a bit, I set to work.

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Small Patio Decorating Ideas: An Urban Oasis Revisited

Posted by: on April 28th, 2014 | 6 Comments

Small Patio Decorating Ideas: An Urban Oasis Revisited, by Courtney Lake

Sometimes even the most talented decorators and designers rethink what they’ve done. 

Courtney Lake of Courtney Out Loud has participated in our Patio Style Challenge before. His small patio decorating ideas resulted in a lovely, comfortable outdoor space. But, as you’ll see, he noticed neither he nor his guests were using the space quite in the way he intended. A tweak was called for.

So we signed him up for a second round of our Patio Style Challenge. As with other such Challenges, we sent him a new outdoor furniture set, and let him work his magic… in this case, he re-worked his magic. It’s fascinating to see how he has now twice created a marvelous outdoor space with his small patio. 

He also reveals why he’s so enamored with succulents and cacti. Many readers will understand exactly what he’s talking about.


Let’s be honest, I am a city boy to my core. I send my laundry out for cleaning, order take out more often than I should and “roughing it” to me means going to a hotel that doesn’t have an attached gym. So when we bought our Oakland home a few years ago and it came with it’s own little patch of land, I immediately thought I would turn over a new leaf and become the urban equivalent of Farmer John.

Fast forward several years and I would label myself less farmer and more executioner because I have killed most of the plants I have come in contact with including ivy. For those of you who don’t know ivy is essentially a pretty weed which has amazing regenerative powers to rival any super hero character. I am ivy’s kryptonite. The nursery attendants at our local Home Depot know me on a first name basis. It’s pretty bad, so when I got the call to participate in Patio Challenge, I gazed at my patio and determined it was time to take ownership. Or to pave it over and turn it into a really great parking lot.

Fortunately, I was talked out of the latter….

Small Patio Decorating Ideas: An Urban Oasis Revisited

Looking at our patio, I determined that we need to do two things: (1) rethink how we use the two distinct zones we created last year, and (2) be honest with my level of gardening expertise as well as my commitment to maintenance.

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Backyard Makeover: Pergola with Bohemian Style

Posted by: on April 25th, 2014 | 17 Comments

Backyard Makeover: Pergola with Bohemian Style

You’ve been wanting to spruce up your backyard for a while now, haven’t you? Well, we say it’s time to make that happen. All you need is a little inspiration.

But what we have here is a TON of inspiration for your backyard makeover. It’s all from of Lindsay Jackman of The White Buffalo Styling Co. Just take a look at the pergola she built and then decorated with her eclectic, bohemian flair. That alone should be enough to get your outdoor decor juices flowing. But there’s a lot more than that to her backyard makeover, as you’ll see. 

Lindsay’s backyard upgrade is part of our  Patio Style Challenge series. We send some of our favorite DIY and decor bloggers new patio sets, and they build amazing patios around the outdoor furniture. It always generates remarkable patio decorating ideas and gorgeous photos. 

Read on to see how Lindsay transformed her rather ho-hum backyard into a beautiful outdoor space full of funky charm and plenty of comfort. 


There is just something magical about lounging outside.

I crave long, laughter-filled nights spent out under the stars and twinkle lights with friends. I was so excited when we bought a little cottage because I knew it would be filled with nights like this.

But when we first bought this major fixer-upper a year ago, the backyard left a little bit to be desired.

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Deck Decorating Ideas: A Pergola, Lights and DIY Cement Planters

Posted by: on April 24th, 2014 | 21 Comments

Deck Decorating Ideas: A Pergola, Lights and DIY Cement Planters


Sometimes it’s hard to see the possibilities of a long-neglected back deck. But with a little love and a few good deck decorating ideas, you can turn your outdoor space into a place with a serious wow factor.

Take for instance Jen Stagg’s complete deck makeover. She’s the creative mind behind the popular decor and DIY blog withHEART. And when we say complete deck makeover, we do mean complete. Jen’s deck went from being kind of sad to being an absolute showcase with a new pergola, outdoor lights, outdoor curtains and her DIY cement planters. 

She created her outdoor dining room for our Patio Style Challenge series– we send some of the best bloggers on the Internet a new patio furniture set to spark their creative patio decor ideas, which we get to share with you.

Take a look at the gorgeous photos of her new back deck. And check out her many DIY ideas that went into this wonderful deck makeover, including the video tutorial for her DIY cement planters.


You know those backyard living spaces that conjure dreams of summer nights, parties with friends, and relaxing over a beautiful outdoor meal? Yeah…. so I had opposite of that. It was an embarrassing, barren, boring back deck that we had put (very) far on the back burner while we focused on remodeling the inside of our home during the winter.

After the snow melted, we were left with this. Shield your eyes my friends, it ain’t pretty….

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Ideas to Steal for Creating Your Own Outdoor Dining Room

Posted by: on April 23rd, 2014 | 3 Comments

Ideas to Steal for Creating Your Own Outdoor Dining Room

How much more outdoor entertaining would you do if your deck was outfitted with the right patio furniture? Imagine how al fresco dining would heighten the experience of a casual Sunday breakfast with the family. 

We asked interior designer Erika Ward of BluLabel Bungalow to outfit her deck for outdoor dining. We loved the family friendly under deck patio she created for our Patio Style Challenge series, so we were thrilled she agreed to join us for another Style Challenge. 

Her newly designed upper deck is beautifully appointed and ready for outdoor dining. Read on for her terrific ideas on how to create your own outdoor dining room. 


The Home Depot Patio Style Challenge not only ushered in warmer temperatures, but also turned up the heat on our deck with the Fall River 7-Piece Patio Dining Set by Hampton Bay. Its fiery-hued upholstery and cushions make a red-hot statement that is tantalizing to the senses and stimulating to the appetite.

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An Outdoor Space That’s Colorful, Comfortable and Renter-Friendly

Posted by: on April 22nd, 2014 | 37 Comments

An Outdoor Space That's Colorful, Comfortable and Renter-Friendly

Sometimes those of us who rent our homes feel left out of the fun of decorating our outdoor spaces. We can’t make major alterations to the house we rent, and we don’t want to spend a lot of money on a patio that we will eventually leave behind. But design blogger Shavonda Gardner wants to show you being a renter does not mean you have to forego creating a beautiful patio decor on your back deck.

We noticed her excellent decorating and DIY ideas on A Home Full of Color and asked her to take part in our Patio Style Challenge. We sent her a patio furniture set and asked her to style her deck around it. 

She came up with a colorful outdoor space that’s comfortable and inviting, and it cleverly makes full use of her small outdoor space. And best of all, she didn’t do any major construction, and she can pretty much take it all with her when she moves. 

Read on for Shavonda’s patio decorating ideas that are great for renters and homeowners, alike.

The minute the calendar signals spring’s arrival I immediately start conjuring plans for outdoor living and entertaining. So when The Home Depot invited me to take part in this year’s Style Challenge I was thrilled! As with many renters, and urban dwellers alike, I was challenged by both space limitations and the inability make major structural changes to our outdoor space. With these obstacles in mind I set out to create a casual, comfortable space perfect for my friends and family to enjoy.

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A Backyard Makeover With a Zen Spirit

Posted by: on April 21st, 2014 | 4 Comments

A Backyard Makeover With a Zen Spirit


Excellent decor–indoor or outdoor–reflects a personality. Blogger Camille Simmons expertly captured her brother’s passion for community and the environment in the backyard makeover she completed at his California home.

Her blog, Planning Pretty, focuses on cooking and entertaining, as well as decor, so you can bet the patio she created is also great for family gatherings and outdoor dining. 

This was her contribution to our Patio Style Challenge. We send our favorite bloggers patio furniture sets from The Home Depot to spark their ideas for creating beautiful and functional outdoor spaces. 

As you’ll see, the new patio she created is peaceful, natural and energizing, with plenty of charming details to make it one of a kind. 


Entertaining is a huge part my lifestyle, but my family’s too! We love to celebrate holidays and birthdays with backyard barbecues. My husband and I live in the city where outdoor space is limited, so all parties are thrown at my brother’s house.

Although the gatherings are always casual,  having an informal patio arrangement makes entertaining tough. My brother only had random chairs, patio sofas and benches in a jumble under the pergola-like canopy in his yard. But I knew with the canopy frame in place, I could create a great outdoor room with lots of shade from the hot California sun. My brother also holds team meetings in the yard for the non-profit organization, Ubuntu Green, so doubling as an outdoor work space would be a bonus.

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Backyard Makeover With Color and Comfort

Posted by: on April 18th, 2014 | 4 Comments

Backyard Makeover With Color and Comfort: Eileen Beaver on her backyard deck with her dog Rowan

Even an interior designer can neglect the “exterior design” when moving into a new house. But the day comes when it’s definitely time for a backyard makeover.

That pretty much describes the situation with Eileen Beaver. She’s all about excellent design, as you’ll see on her blog A Creative Day, but her backyard was kind of underwhelming. 

That is, until she took part in our Patio Style Challenge. That’s where we send some of our favorite design and decor bloggers new patio sets from The Home Depot to generate great patio and deck decorating ideas. 

Eileen’s new, improved backyard is colorful and stylish, but keeps comfort and outdoor relaxation a priority. It’s great for lounging or entertaining. (We’re hoping for an invitation to brunch on her back deck sometime soon.) There’s a hanging herb garden, too!

Take a look…


The mister and I are true South Carolinians–year-long outdoor living is our way of life. The weather is gorgeous most of the year, which calls for many backyard brunches, glasses of wine and grilling. We bought our 1940s bungalow in the winter of last year and spent most of the year renovating the interior, which left our sadly neglected back yard to be tackled this spring.

When The Home Depot asked me to participate in the Patio Style Challenge, it was the perfect push to create a welcoming living space out of an area that had definitely gotten the short end of the stick!

Backyard Makeover With Color and Comfort: Brunch on the deck

Here is a glimpse at the backyard before we got to work on improving it:

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Backyard Patio Ideas: A Pergola, DIY Decor and Family Fun

Posted by: on April 17th, 2014 | 15 Comments


Backyard Patio Ideas: A Pergola, DIY Decor and Family Fun

If you don’t have a patio, build one! Add a pergola over your new patio, and the decoration possibilities are endless. 

Blogger Joni Lay was just brimming with backyard patio ideas… even though she didn’t actually have a patio. That made it a cinch we should invite her to join our Patio Style Challenge. We send awesome design and decor bloggers new patio sets and gift cards from The Home Depot. Then we stand back and let them blow us away with their creative patio decorating ideas. 

Joni (and her husband and her dad) created her patio and pergola from scratch, and then used her DIY skills to turn it into a splendid outdoor living room suitable for family time or easy entertaining.

One more thing: You’ll see from her blog Lay Baby Lay that Joni often gets her three-year-old involved in the decorating process. That’s the case here, too. Prepare to be amazed.   


I’m the mama of two active little girls (3 and 14 months!), and we spend a lot of time outdoors, so I was very excited to participate in the Patio Style Challenge with The Home Depot. It was a chance to do a little work on our backyard and make a space that is comfortable for our family to enjoy. We also recently turned the dining room of our bungalow into a nursery upon Brigette’s arrival, so we are excited to have some more dining space!

Backyard Patio Ideas: A Pergola with DIY Decor

While we have a smaller home, we actually have a pretty great yard with a lot of room (and we love throwing parties!), but we haven’t been making great use of the space. I loved this little area underneath a lovely dogwood, so that is where we decided to build a patio and pergola.

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