Creating Cozy Outdoor Seating Areas

Here in California we are in a bit of a water crisis and so in order to cut back on water, we have stopped watering our grass and using our automatic sprinklers.  This means I have been hand watering all our plants and flowers, an old hobby I once had before my dear husband put us on an automatic watering system.  I'll admit, it adds a good amount of time to my day to water the back and front but I am finding it oddly enjoyable this year.  Being forced to slow down and enjoy the beauty of our yards is doing crazy good things for my soul.

Because I am spending more time outdoors I find myself staring at our yard.  And when I start staring things start getting moved around (I do this inside the house too).  Enjoying the plants has encouraged me to want to spend more time outside besides watering.  So I started looking around trying to see how I could create more intentional and cozy outdoor seating spaces to enjoy.

I started in our front yard.  There is a patch in our flower bed where things just weren't growing due to the lack of sun and our pine tree.  So I decided to give up on finding plants that would work there and instead replace it with an open seating place.  Now I take my older nephew out there to sit and read while the baby plays in the dirt!

Some of our more established trees and plants are getting bigger and are starting to create little pockets of privacy on our porch and through the windows into our house.  It is amazing how one tree can change the whole ambiance of our porch.  Even with cars driving by, it is surprisingly so much more comfortable and cozy now.

I have added a few more red colored plants to our yard to create some variety and contrast.

We have had these roses for a few years now but they are more fragrant than ever.  I can literally smell the roses when I walk across our porch from my car to the front door.  It is absolutely lovely.  

As for the back yard, over the past year I have added a few more flower beds besides our one large one that goes along the fence.  Having these spaces extend from our patio adds some interest as well as a tucked away garden feel.

My long term goal is to find a large farm table style dining table to go on our main patio.  I found that while we often have large gatherings in our backyard, we do not use it very much for the day to day.  Having a dining table would allow us to eat meals more often outside as well as provide a place for me to be with my nephews.  While we have a few outdoor toys, I find that the kids either just want to play in nature or bring out their favorite indoor toys. 

Since I only have them a few times a week, I found myself giving up too much prime backyard real estate to their toys.  Instead I wanted to create seating areas that I could enjoy everyday as well be used when they were over.  Much like inside the house, I have realized they can use and enjoy grown up styled spaces just as much as kid ones.  They don't always want to play in the water table but they can easily find something to do at the table or on cozy patio furniture furniture (read, draw, play with toys, etc).  Finding how the space best benefits all of us makes for a more useful living space.

So out went the water table that always ended up being dirty and needed to be rinsed off before use and then only got used for ten minutes.  And in it's place I moved down our patio furniture.  

This cement slab is much more cozier as it is actually in our yard versus looking down at it.  Plus it gets a lot more shade during the day, making it more enjoyable to sit at.  And the contrast of the navy pillows with the pink roses has me going all crazy happy inside.  It is a dream space and all it took was moving a few things around.  

When I am home, I come out here at least once a day to eat lunch or read.  It is absolutely wonderful. 

After cleaning up and reorganizing our yard I realized that having outdoor things can be hard to maintain.  If they are not covered and put away properly before winter, they are a mess to clean up come spring.  I wanted less items that were high maintenance and more things that are easy to care for and can withstand the outdoor elements.

I got rid of extra gardening gloves that sit out and replaced them with two pairs of nice gloves I actually enjoy using and will take the time to put away in my garden storage box because they are my favorite ones.  I also bought a nice plastic tupperware box for our outdoor chalk so that it wouldn't sit out and get dirty when not in use.  I cleaned and covered the kids' water table so that it is available to use but isn't taking up space that can be used daily.

Our patio furniture is from Home Depot but has sadly been discontinued.  The pillows are from Target and the navy ones are currently still in stock.  

I moved our garden storage box (from Sam's Club) to the top of our patio where I can now easily access my garden tools from the house to use in the front yard.  It also fills in the small empty space that was too small for a seating area but was also an eye sore with nothing there.  Even though it is being used as a storage space, I am happy that it looks pretty nice when organized.

For now we have one small dining table that can be used to eat or play on.  

Creating a more intentional living space outdoors has encouraged us to actually really use it.  With less stuff around collecting dirt, leaves, and bugs we have a clean patio area that can be enjoyed on a daily basis.  I am really happy with how it all came together and am reaping the blessing of enjoying our beautiful backyard as well as the feel good vibes I get from the vitamin D and being outdoors!  I suppose something good has come from being forced to hand water all my plants!  I will take it!