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Are you looking for more living space? It may be closer than you think! I’m always surprised at how many people don’t use their backyard as living space. It can be a beautiful retreat, where you can relax and unwind at the end of the day. The perfect spot to entertain family and friends. See how we Created an Outdoor Living Space | on a Budget.

Welcome to our backyard outdoor living space! We have created a place that we love! In fact, almost every night during the summer we enjoy our dinner al fresco. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy day.

Outdoor Living Space

With an outdoor living space we are ready for impromptu get-togethers with family and friends. It truly is an added living space to our home.

But, it did not always look like this. Five years ago when we bought the home, this area was a hill, full of weeds and broken concrete steps.

Before - Creating an Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor Living Space

Can you see the vision? It’s funny but as Steve and I walked around this property when we were considering buying it, we knew that this yard could be amazing!

Our home sits on almost 2/3’s of an acre, with 90% of the backyard being natural vegetation and quite steep. Over the past 4 years we have tamed it a bit and created outdoor living zones.

Today we will share the creation of the outdoor living space, our dining room al fresco.

Excavating the Site

Outdoor Living Space
Outdoor Living Space

Our backyard did have a patio or sorts. If you can call a 4’x8′ strip of concrete a patio. It was only big enough to place a couple of chairs. But I had BIG ideas for this space.

I love the look of a paver patio, instead of a concrete one. So, we used a masonry blade in our saw and cut the concrete at the base of the back porch stairs.

Renting a small bobcat tractor we were able to remove the old concrete. Then we began to remove the dirt and place it up the hill for our fire pit area.

It worked great for about an hour until there was a little accident and it tipped over. 😬

This gave everyone a good scare and that was the end of the heavy equipment. Luckily no one was injured, just a little hurt pride.  We were able to upright it, thank goodness there was no damage on the equipment as well, but Steve had had enough.

Now the original plan was to rent the tractor for 3 days to complete our project. But after one day we returned it and resorted to manual labor.

Excavating with Man Power

Outdoor Living Space

We had to come up with a plan to remove the dirt and get it up the hill. Using the dirt we removed we were able to level off another area up the hill for a sitting area and fire pit.

The idea we came up with was to purchase a bunch of 5 gallon buckets and rig a pulley system between 2 trees.

We rallied our family to come and help and they all showed up on a Saturday morning ready to work. We had a group filling the buckets, one man attaching the buckets to the pulley and others at the top retrieve the buckets and dumping them. Even the little kids helped by throwing the empty buckets back down the hill to fill them again.

Would you believe that in about 4 hours we had moved all the dirt we needed to? With the support and help of our work crew, our family, we completed a task that seemed almost impossible. In fact, I thought it might take Steve and I the entire summer to finish the project and yet in just 4 hours, working together we accomplished it!

The complete tutorial of how we installed the paver patio can be found here. This is our 3rd paver patio we have installed and we have learned a few things along the way. 

We will share how to install it quickly and with professional results.

Create an Outdoor Dining Space

Outdoor Living Space

We pushed back the hill as far as we could, wanting the largest area we could possibly get. Large boulders were used to retain the hill and we have planted ground cover around the rocks.

Entertaining our family and friends is something we love to do, which often means we have 20 + people here. By adding additional tables we can now seat around 20 on our patio.

Outdoor Living Space

Creating a space that is comfortable was important to me. Adding cushions to our chairs not only adds comfort, but also a little style. I have used a fun black and white stripe as well as aqua. I love adding blues into my decor, I find it so relaxing.

Outdoor Living Space

The table is set with a white table runner and embellished with a tray, candle and an old watering can filled with wild flowers.

Each place setting has a wood grain charger and an aqua print plate, topped with a yellow napkin. For the glasses, I am using my grandmother’s milk glass. 

I feel that it gives us a casual outdoor living feel and yet is beautiful.

Create an Outdoor Living Sitting Area

Outdoor Living Space

Every outdoor living space needs a sitting area. While we have a small one by the dining table, we have more seating up the hill around our fire pit.

I choose comfortable chairs and added an aqua pillow for a splash of color. I also added a small table between the chairs for a place to set a drink.

Create Interest with Plants and Accessories

Outdoor Living Space

A garden or patio can never have too many plants. Am I right or am I right?

Outdoor Living Space

My patio is shaded most of the day, so it’s the perfect place to add a beautiful hydrangea. Bird houses and bird cages seem to fit right in on the patio as well.

Outdoor Living Space

On the porch I’ve placed a potted fern on an old farmhouse chair as well as another pot of flowers.

Outdoor Living Space
Outdoor Living Space

I’ve also placed more birdhouses on my flower beds to add a little interest and variety. 

Outdoor Living Space

Under my Japanese Maple tree you’ll find an old rusty coal stove that once belong to Steve’s grandparents. I’ve filled it with shade loving plants.

Outdoor Living Space

Up on the hillside I’ve placed shepherds hooks with hanging flower pots.

Adding Art to Your Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor Living Space
Outdoor Living Space

We have staged the patio as if we were throwing a party, so why not bring out some colorful art. We hung it from eye screws that were placed in the soffit. (No holes were placed in my stucco! I promise!) This was Steph’s idea and I love it! It really brightens up a bland wall. 

Outdoor Living Space

Every space needs beautiful lighting and for an outdoor living space string lights add just the right amount of light. It makes me feel like we are dining at a street cafe in Europe. 

Three strands are strung from the house out to the trees. It creates the perfect mood lighting.

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Outdoor Living Space

Do you have an outdoor living space? Did you get some inspiration for your own outdoor living space or are you ready to create one in your backyard? 

We love our space and enjoy it daily throughout the warm summer months.

Please PIN and share with your friends! If you’re new here, WELCOME! We love meeting new people and having more friends. Say hi in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you. You can also learn more about us here.

Thanks for spending some time with us today!

And as always here at Sunny Side Design


Outdoor Living Space

For more ideas for outdoor styling for summer click on the images below.

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest for even more home decor and DIY ideas.

You can also find our video tutorials on our YouTube channel. 

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