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Outdoor Living Room and Al Fresco Dining Space 1 of 8

ORC Spring 2021: Week One

Thanks for joining me for the Spring 2021 One Room Challenge!

In these next 8 weeks 20 featured designers and hundreds of guest participants are challenged to finish one room design project. The goal isn’t to win anything though, it’s to encourage each other to make it to the finish line.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic interrupting global supply chains, the challenge this season is 8 weeks long as opposed to the six we’re normally allotted.

Each week on Wednesday, the featured designers will post an update to their blog or Instagram page. Every Thursday guest participants, like myself, will post our updates.

So let’s get started!

I am really excited for this project and to see what all the other participants are working on. Follow along here for weekly blog updates and on Instagram for stories, tutorials, and more!

After much debate I’ve decided to take on my backyard patio area.

Although I originally wanted to redo my laundry room (and then debated the courtyard area in the front of my house), the timing was right for us to redo the back patio.

Several of the paver steps were sunken or loose, we got a great deal on a gazebo that we’ve always wanted, and we spend a lot of time back here during the summer. The last obstacle was getting my husband on board and he definitely preferred this to the laundry room.

So here’s the design. It very much has a sunset at the beach color scheme to it. With travel being so limited this past year, this palette just feels like the right vibe right now.

For this space I want to create an outdoor living room and al fresco dining area. In order to do this, we have to expand our current patio, so that’s where the project started this week.

We’ll be creating the outdoor living room under a large hardtop gazebo on the north side of the patio. The al fresco dining space will be in the open on the south side of the patio.

I’ve been working on the plans for several weeks for this space and gathering all the materials. Most of the supplies, furniture, and décor are taking up all the space in my garage but I am still waiting on a few backordered items.

The first thing I did was power wash the existing patio, making sure to get all the dirt and weeds out from between the gaps so that we can fill and then seal everything at the end.

We also repaired a sunken area where the leveling-sand had washed out over the years and the loose bricks on the steps leading from the house.

Next, we removed all the edge pavers. Since this patio is so old, we are not able to get new bricks in the same size and color so we have to get creative. We decided to use the edge bricks and the border bricks from the flower garden to expand the north side of the patio. We’ll then replace the edge with a new contrasting brick to define the space.

Supervisor's on the job!

We should have just enough bricks to expand the patio about two feet.

The next step was to remove enough earth to backfill the space with paver-gravel and leveling-sand before actually installing the pavers.

We also added a dedicated electrical outlet to get power to the gazebo. (Luckily, my husband is very knowledgeable and handy when it comes to this sort of thing.)

We tucked the power box between two shrubs so that it will be less noticeable.

This week we were able to get the first row of bricks laid but we have a long way to go.

Once the expansion is done, we will add the edge bricks, clean everything again, fill the gaps with polymeric sand, and seal it. Then we get to build the gazebo.

Since my husband and I are doing everything DIY, we’ve got to move fast to squeeze all the work in.

So when we aren’t working on the pavers, I’ve been working on embellishing my upholstery.

I added a cute rope style trim to a few inexpensive outdoor pillows I picked up at Home Depot which give them a more nautical feel.

I also decided to jazz up the chairs for the head and foot of the dining table by making my own 6” wide tape trim and adding it down the center of the chair cushions (also purchased very inexpensively at Home Depot).

You can view short video tutorials for both of these quick and easy projects on Instagram.

I’ve got a few more upholstery embellishment projects in the works that I’ll be sharing throughout the course of the challenge.

In the meantime, check out the featured designers for this One Room Challenge for more design inspiration.

Follow me on Instagram and like me on Facebook for all the updates!

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