Project Patio Begins

May 17, 2011

Some people have written to me asking, “Hey Kate, we’ve seen the close-ups of your flowering plants, but why have you never given us a full tour of your backyard?” 

*crickets* 

Okay, I’ll be completely frank. There are sections of our yard I’m rather proud of, like our grapevines, my lavender plants and my perennial beds which give me gorgeous blooms. Then there are sections that, truth be told, are still in an unfinished state, hence the silence on the backyard tour. 

We have a very nice courtyard area next to the house (will show that on Thursday at the ‘Outdoor Ideas’ par-tay) but we also have a large patio area we’ve never fixed up, times are tight doncha know.  We’ve grown Syrah grapes in our back hill for the last ten years (you can spy them growing to the left) and this is the one area of our yard that has the best view.  But as you can see, as of today, this space has nothing going for it except a pretty good BBQ.  

upper patio before

I have a decent set of outdoor furniture, but my cushions are several years old and the fabric is ripped and in my opinion, pretty gross.  This patio zone has been in need of some serious help for some time.  The other day, I was contacted by American Express Membership Rewards, offering me access to points to show people how to spruce up an outdoor space.  Count me in, cause I have the perfect space that is in dire need! 

The assignment?  Create a stylish outdoor space that provides shade and comfort to relax and entertain guests in the summer months.  Also, we plan to fill in this circular patio (below) I mentioned earlier this year as part of our Home Goals of 2011.   I’m not quite sure how at the moment, but I’m looking at all options, including mosaic tile and various stones. 

fill circular patio

 

I need your advice.  I’m still coming up with a design plan, but I need to know, what do you see happening in this space?  A pergola or cabana?  An outdoor rug, new cushions, planters, a few outdoor accessories?  That’s what I have in mind so far.  I would love to hear what you think I should do.  Those of you who have tackled this kind of patio, what do you recommend?  Tile, flagstone, slate, cement?  Do share your tips.

I will be redeeming points and shopping at these specific retailers: Home Depot, Kohls, Crate + Barrel, Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Restoration Hardware.  There is so much potential here, so stay tuned for all the updates over the next few weeks as we transform this space with a few DIY projects!

Disclosure: I have been provided with 150,000 complimentary American Express Membership Rewards points to spruce up this outdoor space. 

 

 

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75 Responses to “Project Patio Begins”

  1. Roberta says:

    Oh yeah a pergola for some shade would be lovely…I’m a fan of vines growing on a wooden pergola but don’t have the patience…lol We just added a new pergola onto our tiny patio here at the Love Shack and we LOVE it…great effect for the amount of the piece as well. You can check it out here: http://con-tain-it.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/05/patio-perfect.html

    Last year we bought a cantelivered umbrella (spelled wrong?) and it was okay…had big/large amount of coverage but the wind blew it around too much and made us nervous. Also it broke (the crank mechanism) after only one year of use so we didn’t want to go in that direction again. The pergola is so much nicer.

  2. Terrie M says:

    Oh I am so excited to see what you do! The new Pottery Barn catalog for outdoor spaces I received today in the mail is filled with ideas! Enjoy spending those points and I look forward to what you do!! I know it’s going to be wonderful!

  3. Tracie says:

    Oh so pretty! I see a pergola with white lights and a rustic chandelier hanging in the center. With a round table in the center to set drinks and snack. Large pots in the corners maybe with wisteria to grow up the sides. And outdoor rug would be cool. I think a small sectional with canvas cushions and toss pillows. Can’t wait to see!

  4. Brenda Watts says:

    If you saw my ‘patio’ you would not want advice from me…all said however I am lurving the view of your grape vines from it…think Italy or France..with the cement wall…oh the possibilities.

  5. Colleen says:

    Hi! I am a newbie posting, but I have the same problem…boo-hoo! Anywho, for your concrete, have you looked into a stain? My daddy’s a concrete man and he uses them a lot these days. I think it would be an economical way to spruce up the concrete and you can make it almost ANY color you want! WOWSA! Perhaps a deep purple/gray or robins egg blue. You have excellant taste so no matter what you do, I will shake my head in wonder and drown the pangs of envy in a good glass of wine :) good luck I can’t wait to see what you do!

  6. What fun! You definitely need some shade. I think a pergola would be great. I can envision an outdoor dining area with table, chairs, a small bar, and a rug. Lots of flowers in clay pots and some colorful cushions for the chairs. For lighting, hang some lanterns with candles.

  7. For wind and bugs a pergola with drapes would look fantastic and keep out the elements you don’t want on some summer days.

    Its not my blog but check out these images: http://chriskauffman.blogspot.com/2010/04/outdoor-spaces-with-drapes.html. Beautiful!

    I also second the idea of a big table or small tables to set down drinks and food.

    Can’t wait to see what you do with your space!

  8. Christine says:

    Hi Kate,
    What great potential you have waiting for you! I would like to address the circular patio, it looks like it may have a bit of depth to it, towards the middle?
    My thought was to fill in this area with pea gravel and make a fireplace pit? I would add the pea gravel to level the area to the natural rim of the circular patio, place either a wood burning fireplace, Home Depot has some real attractive styles right now.
    If that is out of the budget, I would gather some great pieces of cut wood arrange them in the centre of the pit, layering different types of wood ex. birch, rough sided wood with lots of texture and maybe even some great driftwood in a little cluster, add some sunjel (gelled alcohol burners-canned style, the inserts only for the outdoor burners) in different heights in amongst the layers of wood to create a wood fire look, you could even add some river rock to set a beach theme. Maybe even some folding beach chairs as you gather around the fire to sing camp songs. Anyway that was my vision when I saw your great space. Have fun!!
    All the best,
    Christine

  9. Alexis says:

    Maybe I’m just going against the grain, but with the beautiful colors of your vines, grapes and flowers, I would go with a clean cabana look. Very natural. River rocks for your circle space, textured linens for your pillows and cushions. If it were me, I would keep the focus on what’s growing. Make it relaxing, tranquil and simple. But like I said, that’s just me. :D Lucky you getting free rewards to play with. *sigh* the potential.

  10. Caro says:

    Definately a pergola. Go for it…

  11. Ann says:

    Put something round in the filled up round patio. A table and chairs or a round gazebo thing. Do you need to cover up your patio? You might need the sun. I like blocks of stone with grass or thyme growing through. I KNOW this project will be great.

  12. Deb says:

    I love white lights outdoors. I’m sure you could find something fantastic…maybe little lanterns? Your home is so airy and bright so maybe some light/neutral outdoor drapes on a pergola or something? I’m sure you’d love a feeling of being home in the outdoors. The vines are fabulous so anything to highlight that view would be amazing, you’ll want to spend all your time out there in the beautiful weather. Anyway, some breezy outdoor drapes would give some feminine flair to your awesome grill setup. Have fun with the seat cushions! I’m really loving the yellow/grey color scheme that seems to be popular right now. Lemons always seem so summery. Mosaic tile would make a huge impact and would be beautiful. You’ll also need a spot to roast marshmellows for s’mores. After you’re done with your patio, I will probably be moving into my new home which would need a patio makeover. So in case you have extra money leftover… ;-) Can’t wait to see what you do! Beware, I may be stealing your ideas.

  13. I am a huge fan of covered patios, even screened in. A rug and new cushions go a long way. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  14. Wendy says:

    Why not an outdoor living room like space. I love the idea of a pergola, an ourdoor lantern and colourful annuals around. Can’t wait to see what you decide -

  15. holly says:

    seriously? only a fountain would be right in that circular space; a nice larger 2 or 3 tierd circular fountain–trust me

  16. Jennifer says:

    Don’t forget the lighting! For me, the thing that sets apart “nice” spaces from “WOW” spaces is always the lighting. Not just fire and candles, but actual electricity (string lights, small floodlights, etc.) so that people can truly see each other during those late night parties.

  17. CentsationalGirl says:

    Wow Roberta love your pergola! I’m worried about wind too, we get a lot of that here.

    Tracie you’re creating quite a vision for me, I like it!

    Deb, I like your ideas too! So dreamy! Any $$ leftover we will be donating to our Alma House !

    ~ Kate

  18. CentsationalGirl says:

    Sallie, I love the idea of a space for outdoor drinks & appetizers!

    Yep, Christine, the circular patio has some depth that I have to level and fill. It’s the mid section of the yard and a main path of travel, so sadly no firepit. Grr. But your idea sounds absolutely amazing!

    ~ Kate

  19. Becky says:

    I think the circular portion of your patio is perfect for a firepit. We have one in our backyard and I can’t tell you how much we’ve enjoyed entertaining around it. The kids enjoy it as much as we do. Our pit is propane. Wood is too smelly. Good luck.
    Becky
    Phoenix AZ

  20. Carmel says:

    Honestly – the view of those vines in the background is so beautiful I think whatever you do it will be gorgeous – it’s already the dreamiest setting!

  21. Kristi says:

    A pergola would be awesome here. Add the outdoor drapes to make it feel more intimate. The Pottery Barn catalog I got today had pergola’s in there. There is also a really cool outdoor daybed from potter barn that would be awesome(I actually have an outdoor daybed out by my pool that I got from Walmart.com and it looks identical and I get so many compliments on it! I would also add and outdoor rug and a coffee table. Get natural colored seat cushions and add colored outdoor throw pillows. Also outdoor lanterns with candles in them are great too! Also what kind of flooring is that now, cement? We stained our cement out by our pool and it looks awesome! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  22. Alisa says:

    Pergola all the way! I want one sooooo bad, but sadly, our HOA won’t let us because we live on a golf course. boooo! But yeah, you guys should get one so I can stare at your pictures and imagine it’s mine :)

  23. kathysue says:

    OOOH!!! I see a water feature. A large oversized brightly colored pot made into a fountain. Surround it with pea gravel or river rock and maybe some succulents if you are in full sun!! I love using fun colors in the yard, how about a bright cobalt blue pot. Blue against the green of the vines in the view would be stunning!!! Kathysue

  24. Brooke says:

    Bring some of your colors inside your home outside. Maybe a tile mosaic circle in your blues/whites/creams. Maybe a seating area…or because it seems you have plenty of seating area, a fountain with those colors would be wonderful !

  25. If I had an invitation to partake in some of the bubbly, Id come and help with any project you had available.

    Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  26. Kate, love that outdoor space that you have to work with! Fun project!!

    Could a fire pit fit and chairs fit on that circular patio? If so I just posted some sweet outdoor spaces that I’m lusting after….maybe one of them will float your boat. Love the idea of a pergola over the rectangular space for dining possibly? Have fun with this one ….. can’t wait to see what you do!

    http://www.shineyourlightblog.com/2011/04/gravel-patios-and-landscaping.html

  27. Katie says:

    So jealous of your grapevines!!

  28. Hi Kate,

    If you need any help, I can assist you with garden decors, planters, pots, wind chimes, design posts, wind arts, flamingo stakes, birdhouses, bird feeders, and more. Just visit my blog and my website to see all my product lines. I have almost all sorts of patio decorations that can suit your needs. I’ll give you a special discount.

  29. Haniela says:

    Hello,

    I love your view from the patio, it so beautiful. Amazing job you’ve done with your vines.

    for the round patio, how about a tall wine bar table with nice bar chairs, using uniformed stone on the ground.
    Can’t wait to see what you’ll do.

  30. Andrea says:

    First impression is a pergola, with wisteria teaming over it, new cushions on the already fab outdoor furniture, a built-in type of set up for the BBQ-think outdoor kitchen (cement counter tops would be an ultra cool project for here), and many planters spilling over with gorgeous succulents. For the round area, I would do a stamped concrete (not sure if this would be feasible for the gift card) or pavers. If you went with pavers, I would probably space them such that you could add creeping thyme between them which give off a beautiful scent when stepped on. Lee Valley has a cool form which you can make your own pavers out of cement (I have this in my yard, so you can email me if you’re interested in pictures-sort of a cobblestone effect). Fun project with a fab result. Pea gravel is also a lovely option. I like the idea of a central fountain. Fun project!!

  31. Hillary says:

    Sigh. Plants don’t grow where I live — not like they do where you live. My grandparents used to have a ranch in Sonoma and I’d forgotten how lush and beautiful it was. My backyard looks like the high desert. Oh, wait…that’s because it is! I think your backyard will look gorgeous no matter what you do to it — it has great bones already!

  32. treen says:

    Against all other votes, I say no pergola. If it rains a lot where you are, put up something with a roof. We have a pergola over our patio and frankly, it bugs me because we can’t go outside when it’s raining. I need something solid over my head! Sitting in a covered outdoor area during a rainstorm is one of my versions of heaven.

  33. Peggy says:

    I would consider a circular tiered planter in the center with gravel around for a walkway.

  34. You had me at grapevines.
    As for the patio, I think you should have a focal point at the end of the walkway where the barbecue is now (water feature?). I do like the idea of a pergola for shade. I would have an outdoor sofa looking onto the grapevines opposite to your seating arrangement. The circular patio might be nice as a fire pit and low benches (not sure about the walkway clearance). If no fire pit, then an opportunity for some fire elements.
    An exciting project for sure!

  35. Christy says:

    concrete stain and thumb thru a pottery barn summer catalog and you will certainly be inspired! good luck – i need to do the same!! maybe I’ll live vicariously thru you!!! :0)

  36. Cynthia says:

    Landscape Architect chiming in. I would acid stain the concrete. It’s inexpensive and it will give the ‘Old World’ look you’re after. It’s a DIY project if you’re willing to learn and don’t let the ‘acid’ part scare you- it’s not that bad!

    I don’t know what your climate is (the South?) but consider some of the amazing succulents out there. I am making a Succulent Green Wall right now- frame is built and the planting happens tomorrow. Fun stuff!

  37. How exciting!

    I agree with Cythia, I think the concrete is kind of boring. Personally I would add wood planks on top, to create a wooden deck, because I prefer wood to stone. Then I would place some big (white) planters, a couple of lanternas and add a white/grey cushions to the chairs.

    And a pergola or something like that would be great, but I think it depends on what the climate is like – is there a big risk of wind, sun, rain? A pergola with drapes is a great way to soften the look of an outdoor patio, but that requires more sun than rain and it will not protect you from the wind. If wind is a problem then better put up a wind shield of some kind, maybe one of those with braided sticks in it?

    I think a good way to get a nice patio is to think a bit “feng shui” – how to combine the earth, air, water and fire elements? It really does help in avoiding having too much stone/concrete or too much greenery.

  38. I can picture a pergola too, with Jasmine growing up it! Home Depot is now carrying a new paint for concrete, sorry can’t remember the brand, but it looks awesome and super easy to use. You just clean (no harsh chemicals like acid) your patio and roll it on. And, depending on the roller you can get flat or a textured finish (grea for non-slip). It comes in a TON of colors. It’s great because you can create designs using it to (just tape off what you want).

  39. Janet says:

    The circular area is screaming for a fountain. River rock or crushed granite would be a good base but if you want to bring in a spot of color, use recycled glass (cobalt blue perhaps). Can’t wait to see the finished project.

  40. Carole Carnley says:

    I think the space is already so beautiful with the existing plants that you really should keep it low key. Though pergolas are nice the patio is not very large and it would deter from your garden. I would keep with the feeling of nature and go for a slate patio and then you can put whatever color outdoor rug to anchor your space. In the circular space I would definitely have a water feature, you can make really cool ones with large pots and then it can be personalized. I agree with Janet in regards to using river rock. I would definitely get some type of coffee and side tables for the seating area and maybe a buffet-ish kind of table for food/drinks.
    You can also get (or make in an afternoon as only you could do) some sort of screen to hide your grill. You could even put small hanging lanterns on it so it becomes somewhat of a focal point. It’s a nice grill but when you are enjoying your patio without food there is no reason you have to look at it.
    Lots of lanterns and white lights along the hedge and whala! I will be over to enjoy a glass of wine with you in your new getaway. ;)
    I am so excited to see what you do.

  41. Janel Hutton says:

    I love the outdoor space with the greenery. A full pergola would perhaps make the space feel crowded and not as green and outdoors. A airy cabana on the back side would be perfect. Add some topiary on each side with twinkle lights. I see a vintage looking brick patio with creeping thyme in between the blocks. A few old windows hanging on the side of the cabana (near the hedge) for a fun, quaint addition. And a fountain/sculpture in the center of the pit, with walk ways around. For furniture—if you entertain alot perhaps a rustic looking large rectangular table with mismatched chairs and a candle chandelier? Or for lounging–two larger outdoor sofas and a stack of cushions? Anchor all that with a outdoor rug.
    Whatever you decide to do it is going to be gorgeous!

  42. We did our backyard last year. We really gutted the entire thing cause the old deck was rotted and cracked under my feet as I walked on the planks. You can check out what we did here… http://frugalmomx3.blogspot.com/search/label/Backyard
    Have you considered brick patio and maybe a fire pit in that rounded area? I am not sure if you have the clearance from the house or not.

  43. Kim from NC says:

    Fun! I think a water feature would be lovely in the circular patio. Perhaps a koi pond with small water-based plants and lily pads. (although if you go that route, make sure to buy the mosquito pellets that float in the water so that you are not breeding ‘skeeters) Your kids would love it!

    A fire pit would be great too – smore’s for the kids or a nice glass of wine and some romance for you and the hubs. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  44. Blair says:

    What a beautiful setting to work with! The possibilities are endless, you lucky girl! Have you thought about any ivy covering the walls? That could definitely help spruce up the place.

    Good luck,

    ~Blair

  45. Vicki K says:

    When it comes to outdoor spaces I sort of ‘go blank’ – but you definitely have beautiful basics here and I can’t wait to see what you do. My tendency is always to like something simple and not too elaborate (just because we get so much rain) – but what are your weather conditions typically?

  46. Carole says:

    Wow, great yard! Talk about potential.

    Explore Behr’s concrete stain. It’s amazing. Gorgeous colors, a relatively inexpensive and quick solution. Almost instant gratification and affordable.

    I can see a pergola in that circular area. You’ll appreciate some shade there.

  47. Christina K. says:

    I’m in love with the pergola thing right now…..add some outdoor curtains, squishy comfy cushions, and maybe some grapes from your vines and I’m in heaven! What about in the circular patio adding your family monogram somehow?? Maybe you could tile it….stamp concrete it…??? Best of luck!

  48. Rae-Lynne Spila says:

    My husband and I started from scratch in our back yard and we put our money into maintenance free (beautiful) fencing and concrete stamped patios. You can get almost any color concrete and any design you want and well worth the money. I’ve also heard of (but haven’t seen) stains for concrete, they use them when they stamp as well to create depth…they are beautiful and could spruce up an older patio that is still in good shape. We plan to put up a nice pergola but due to money constrains just put up a temporary metal (ick) and fabric cover for shade. Outdoor fireplaces are fabulous as well!

  49. Lola says:

    That circular area just screams HOT TUB!

  50. Emily says:

    :( Sorry you can’t have a fire pit in the round portion – but a water fountain would be awesome, and leave room to get around. Good idea! The plantings you have are beautiful, so I wouldn’t do too much in the way of planters, but a covered awning/pergola/whatever is a good idea, for a little shade and protecting the BBQ man! :) I love white lights, think that’s a good idea…

    I know you’ll do a great job! :) Foremost in your mind, I’m sure, is to make it a space that’s useful to your family and comfortable to be in – that’s what’s important. I look forward to seeing it unfold in the blog! :)

    Emily

  51. Julie says:

    AHHH! I’ve been waiting for an outdoor feature! I absolutely love doing (well….daydreaming) things to my outdoor landscape. I’ve always wanted to make one of those water fountains out of a pot….if you happen to make one, of course include a toutorial! I think the sound of water is so peaceful. BTW, love the flowers you’ve got going on there….great bones to start with. I’m sure whatever you decide to do will be fantastic, as always! I’m a blogstalker of yours, never posted yet, so this is a first for me. :)

  52. Courtney S says:

    Paint the concrete with a stenciled pattern! It would be like a rug, but not as expected. Do a really pretty italian type pattern to go with your grapes – then if you mosaic the circular patio you’ll have your own little piece of italy! A pergola over half of it, and a long bench along the wall!

  53. alicia says:

    I guess it really depends on the budget you have to work with… A rug, some nice cushions and pillows, along with some small tables with accessories would be relatively inexpensive. Why don’t you move the furniture you have into the circular patio (will it fit?) and then get a table with chairs to put in the rectangle area so you can eat out there?

    We redid our backyard a few years back…made it into a nice living area outdoors and we LOVE it. We eat outside nearly every night in the spring, summer and early fall – and we hang out on the patio all the time. There are pix on my blog if you want to check it out.

    Good luck – and have fun!

    ~alicia
    proof-of-love.blogspot.com

  54. Chuck P says:

    What kind of sun do you get over that patio? The view of the vines is gorgeous, I would be hesitant to reduce that kind of view.

    I think a water feature of some sort would be great in that circular spot – and it complments the vibe of your house. I would certainly recommend you consider how the other side of your house looks (colors, stone, etc) and tie that into the rear. That gives the home balance, esp if you have features inside that are consisten with the outside.

    My two cents. :)

    Good luck!

  55. Kristyn says:

    I think a circular fire pit in the middle would be just lovely! year around s’mores? yes puhlease!

  56. O.K. Um, the potential is wildly unbelievable. In fact the backyard is already unbelievable. I jumped right to the end of the comments in all my excitement so excuse me if these suggestions have already been made. First … I can’t tell if your patio circle is flat or indented. Either way an inexpensive, easy fix to make it not look so much like a slab of concrete would be to fill it in with … wait for it … fake grass. They make beautiful fake grass now. Trust me. Beautiful. To fill it in with real grass would be a bit of a pain in terms of mowing. You could also fill the circle in with creeping Thyme which smells delicious when you walk on it or tiny round stones. You know the kind I mean. I can’t tell the configuration but it might also be ideal for a fire pit. Not an ugly fire pit. A nice fire pit.

    Having lived through the nightmare of outdoor cushions many times I would not go for outdoor cushions unless you can get them in Sunbrella fabric. I’m gradually switching all my outdoor furniture to “non cushion”. And don’t forget outdoor furniture can be indoor furniture too. Like modern plastic S chairs, or anything else that won’t rot to bits when it’s left outside.

    I’ve worked w/ both flagstone and slate in my backyard and the flagstone is much more durable. Slate is very prettier, but shaley and has a tendency to disintegrate over time. Many years of course … but still.

    O.K. I have many more ideas but I already feel completely obnoxious for leaving such a huge comment. Good luck! So much FUN. ~ k

  57. laurie says:

    This is what I see in my mind’s eye:
    1. White pergola for some shade.
    2. Bluestone patio floor
    3. Pretty chandy hanging from pergola.
    4. A huge ceramic vase/water fountain in the circular patio.

    The plants you already have are just beautiful! :)

    Have fun with your makeover!!! Looking forward to your completed project photos!

    xoxo laurie

  58. Teresa says:

    I see a Cabana, with roll up sides, (think Out of Africa) with a outdoor bed for two!

  59. Wendy says:

    WOW! What an amazing opportunity! I see a pergola for sure – but nothing too large or overbearing to change the open feel of the space, which I love so much! Or even hang outdoor curtains somehow that you can pull back for the sun to come in, or leave closed for privacy? Little white lights for the evenings, comfortable floor cushions to balance the metal chairs, one dominant color – maybe green? With cream and black accents. Planter stools with lanterns and a slate surface. Is there enough room on the circular patio to create a fire pit?

  60. ROUND FIRE PIT AND SEATING FOR THE UNUSED ROUND SPACE!!! I KNOW YOU WILL DRAW YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS EACH SUMMER EVENING TO RELAX, CATCH UP ON THE DAY, AND START THE WEEKENDS!!!

    HUGS FROM MY HEART

  61. We have a patio home and in our courtyard, we have a round patiomade out of pavers. There is a walkway going from this area to our side patio door, where there is a square patio, with a walway that leads to a wrought iron gate that leads you to the front of our home. I dont know how to get pictures to you, but we are very proud of how it looks.

  62. Susan says:

    Kate, what a wonderful property you have. Your patios have so much potential and I know whatever you come up with is going to be amazing! Can’t wait to see!

  63. Dawn Gabel says:

    Have you thought about a glass mosaic, I am thinking almost like a terrazo pattern to add some color to the patio, I think it would be beautiful with a pergola of course. Or even a fountain with some glass mosaic around it. A fire pit or outdoor fireplace would be nice too…

  64. ErinJ says:

    I see big zinc (or maybe galvanized metal) planters, an outdoor rug, definitely some sort of pergola structure in the square area. One of PB’s cool outdoor accent tables in between two of your existing chairs.

    And lights in the pergola! PB had round bulb outdoor twinkle lights a few years back that were so perfect. I’m sure HD has something similar.

    Maybe tumbled rock pavers in your circular patio area?? I think a smaller scale stone would add more visual interest.

  65. Fire pit with seating around it. You need a water feature of some kind, perhaps behind and coming over the wall on the left. Use stone it is completely low maintenance and natural. Gorgeous pillow cushions with some soft, cozy, pillows. A pergola with grapevine growing over the top. Keep it natural with lots of live elements. You are lucky to have such a fantastic space and it sounds like some good reward points, etc. to make your dreams come true!

  66. Eileen says:

    I can see a flagstone terrace patio floor where your chairs are now, And also a huge 3 tiered fountain in the middle of the circular patio, surrounded by large river rock or white goose egg rock and pots of hibiscus and palms. I suggest flagstone because it holds up so much better than todays slate which can chip and shred after a few years, unless you can get the really old slate that they used in city sidewalks in the early 1900′s. Stay away from the small rectangular slate sold in todays super hardware stores, they don’t last. I know whatever you do it will turn out awesome. Can’t wait to see it.

  67. Karen T. says:

    Go with a pergola. Don’t obstruct your wonderful view too much. A firepit would be nice, but I definitely would include a fountain. You’ll want the calming, tranquil sound of the trickling water. Can’t wait to see the finished project.

  68. Katharine says:

    I see a gazebo or round pergola in the circle or stones put in a circular pattern. I’d put a round table in that area, weither you cover it or not. If you decide to have a long table in the other area, near the BBQ, I’d put a 3 piece bisto set in the circle. I wish my home had such lovely patios. I still have mud. Even after 14 years, like you said..times are tough. Home Goods has great prices on Outdoor Cushions. Your view of the grape vines is so lovely. Do you make wine? I have friends that have a winery in Northern California. I know that what ever you decide it is going to be gorgeous.

  69. julia says:

    For the circular patio it is a no brainer – a compass rose! Either using paint or tile depending on time and $. The outside “lip” could have some type of inspirational phrase inscribed around the compass rose. Good luck

  70. Sara says:

    Sorry, i’m not much help with suggestions but if you ever feel like giving a “tour” of the perenials shown in the above pictures i would LOVE it! They look beautiful! i’m trying to establish perenials around our house right now and I am so lost….i would love to know the names of all the plants/flowers you have growing! :)

  71. I love the list of stores where you can redeem your reward points. All favorites.

    fondly,
    Glenda

  72. Tracy says:

    I think you should put in a “splash zone” in the circular area. It can be a patio, a fountain, or a mini water park feature for your children. You don’t have to worry about safety and maintenance of a pool and you can turn it off for a dry space or use it with lights at night for a dramatic water feature or back drop for entertaining. I think it would be spectacular! Good luck – staying tuned to watch your progress with great eagerness. :-)

  73. Kathy M says:

    I’m a huge fan of pergolas, so I vote for that over the cabana. Also all the pretty bushes will show through better and your great view. I’m loving the stone work on the round part of the patio, so I would continue that on the floor here, cost permitting, and then spruce up with some beautiful pillows. Go neutral on the chair cushions, and accent with fun toss pillows. If you can’t add the stone to the floor, I’d paint in a similar toned “rug”, or buy an outdoor rug in the same tones as your stone patio.

  74. Marsha says:

    We had some problem areas in our yard, too. Last spring we had an area that stayed kinda damp and with little grass made into a patio area with flagstones. We couldn’t have been happier with the results. Then in October, we ended up contacting a man when we saw the outdoor fireplaces he had built. I had a friend with a lovely patio area and a fireplace that I just loved. Long story short…we have a beautiful fireplace with the patio and then later had him create an additional patio. We feel like we have added two rooms to our house!

    Whatever you do, I would have to make that circluar area a star! I think blue slate or flagstones would look great. Are you interested in putting in a fountain? I like the idea of a firepit with seating that someone else mentioned, too. Good Luck! Can’t wait to see what you do.

  75. Crystal Dahl says:

    Pergola for sure! enclosed by some of that grapevine you have!
    A nice star as @marsha mentioned, design tile/stone design in the circular section, Creeping time between the stones.
    Pallet like table with wheels.
    Depends on what you want to utilize that outdoor area for..

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