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Spring is the perfect time to give your outdoor living space a bit of love!

Are you looking for more living space? It may be closer than you think!

Transform your backyard into an idyllic oasis that you’ll never want to leave.

Whether you’re looking for ways to spruce up al fresco dining or transform dull corners, these beautiful ideas will help make sure this spring and summer season are full of memories in style.

I’m always surprised at how many people don’t use their backyard as living space.

It certainly can be an amazing retreat, where you can relax and unwind at the end of the day.

Welcome to our outdoor living space and see how we created an outdoor living space on a budget that we love!

In fact, almost every night during the summer we enjoy our dinner al fresco.

It’s clearly the perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy day.

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.

Backyard Before Creating an Outdoor Living Space

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.

Weedy backyard with broken concrete steps before creating an 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 al fresco dining room.

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Excavating the Site

Prepare the area by removing the small  and broken concrete patio.

Our backyard did have a patio of 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 plans for this space.

I love the look of a paver patio, instead of a concrete one.

So, we used a masonry blade in our circular 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.

A small mishap, when the excavator rolled over on it's side while preparing to makeover the backyard.

Well 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 & Woman Power

Family to the rescue! Family member came to help us finish excavating the site and we were able to complete it in less than half a day.

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.

So, 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

Finished Outdoor Living Space with a paver patio, rock retaining wall, outdoor dining area and sitting area.

We pushed back the hill as far as we could, creating 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.

Dining area in outdoor living space with black metal dining set, aqua, black and white  striped cushions. Table is set. for an evening dinner al fresco.

Creating a space that is comfortable and affordable is 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.

Personally I think add adding blues into my decor makes it so relaxing.

Table is set for an evening dinner party al fresco, Wild flowers in a vintage watering can, white table runner, wood chargers with aqua plates and yellow napkins.

Create an Outdoor Living Sitting Space

Backyard outdoor living space with 2 wicker chairs, table. Area filled with potted plants.

Every outdoor living space needs a sitting area.

While we don’t have a lot of space, there is just enough room for a couple of chairs and a table.

For larger groups we do have more seating up the hill around our fire pit.

I choose comfortable chairs where I can relax and read a good book.

Create Interest with Plants and Accessories

Adding potted plants and bird cages add a homey feel to this Outdoor Living Space.

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

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.

For a more beautiful and functional outdoor living space, sitting area with wicker chairs, cedar planter box and wheels with a built in umbrella holder.

And recently we built a mobile planter box with an umbrella stand, it clearly makes our outdoor living space more usable and pretty.

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

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 and I’ve filled it with shade loving plants.

Outdoor Living Space

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

Add Art to Your Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor Living Space

The patio is staged 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. 

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Add Outdoor Lighting

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 and it creates the perfect mood lighting.

Woman sitting in backyard outdoor living space with 2 wicker chairs, table. Area filled with potted plants.

I hope you’ve found a little inspiration here for creating the perfect outdoor living space in your backyard.

While it may seem overwhelming, transforming your outdoor living space is surprisingly achievable when you take it step by step.

So why not give it a try?

Get out there and start creating – paradise awaits!

Shop Outdoor Living Ideas

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Thanks for stopping by and as always here at Sunny Side Design 

WE HOPE TO BRING YOUR HOME TO THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET!

Pinterest Image, Outdoor Living Space, outdoor dining area on a paver patio.
Creating an amazing backyard retreat on a budget.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Mia Evans

    I love that you talked about adding style and comfort when we have cushions for the seats. I will make sure to include that in the outdoor living space design plan we will have. Doing so will make that area relaxing when I read a book there or just to do nothing.

  2. Renae

    Your patio is beautiful. Such a great place to spend a summer afternoon. Just lovely.

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Renae, that means so much coming from you. Have a lovely day.

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