Would you even believe me if I told you I was spending the afternoon writing OUTSIDE while sipping HOT tea and staring at this lovely sky?
Maybe you aren't as shocked as I am. But really. Only a couple weeks ago it was 95 degrees. Fall is here. And with it, a new favorite spot for relaxing, eating, playing, and now writing.
Our patio. Do you remember when it was this? Some sort of laundry room meets compost dump?
A few weeks ago just in time for our fall visiting season, we finally took the weekend to tackle our back patio in anticipation of the falling temperatures we were hoping would make their way to us. We had put it off for a number of reasons, one of which was it was too bleeping hot to use anyway, and the others falling somewere in the categories of low finances and lack of ideas on how to properly utilize the space. But we put an October goal on the calendar, and come the first weekend of we were home in October, I already had my plans laid out and my budget set.
Step one was clearing out all of the dead leaves. Although it is primarily a concrete patio, there are two little trees planted on the edge offering excellent shade and privacy, but also significant unwanted ground cover. And we are pretty sure the two sweet girls who leased before us, bless their hearts, did absolutely nothing to the upkeep of this patio (not to mention many other areas of the home, but that is neither here nor there.) It was amazing how a quick sweep and rake and spray down did wonders to the outlook of this porch.
Then under a $50 budget I headed to the hardware store to add a few large plants for a pop of color, a fun kid space, and classic Austin lighting. I had dreamed of growing vegetables when we first saw this patio. But with the layout of the trees and other building around us, the sun coverage is next to nothing. This is something I have learned never to complain about. Again, did I mention I am writing this while outside at the peek of the sun? But it does damper my Farmer Rachel Gardening plans. I might add some herbs to see how those do. But for now, we found easy shade loving plants. I went bigger is better because they spread out for much less than a bunch of little plants.
I spruced up the little table that you can see directly outside of the sliding doors. A slap of paint we already had turned a drab board into a nice pop of color - a welcome sight to see when peaking outside the windows. Mike uses it as a table for grilling so I'm sure he could care less about the cute factor. At least it brightens my day!
Finally, I really wanted to make this space kid friendly. It is our only private outdoor space. Having a chance to step outside with kids for a change of scenery and fresh air, without the hassle of packing up into the stroller or car, is so necessary. I don't recall my original inspiration but I had in my mind the idea to incorporate a chalkboard. I picked a cheap and thin board for a few dollars and painted chalkboard paint over it (already had the paint.) I also figured out a way to use our wagon as a water/sensory table when not being pulled around as a, well, a wagon. Storage is at a premium so we are always in search of double duty use out of our items when we can.
I'm still in search of a small table situation for nights when we eat outside, but I don't want something taking up room for walking around (I already have to start thinking about adding in another walker in this family!) Also, I eally want an outdoor rug to warm it up. That concrete is gross. But it didn't fit into the budget this time around so we are making do. And I would really love to just take that air conditioner and throw it over the wall. But seeing as we just wrapped up the season of three digit temperatures, I think I better just be thankful we have that ugly eye sore.
Finishing up this small project felt like adding on a whole new room, and lifestyle change. It is just another example of why I love this little home of ours. It is small but mighty. Everyone has a space, a part they can make their own, a place to live. Many a first cup of coffee, afternoon tea, happy hour beer, or post dinner cocktail will be gracing this patio. We are ready for some outside living for a change. Bring it on, Fall!