Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A 5-point plan to outfit a make-do boho patio

www.BoHoHome.com @bohosusan
Via Um Brinco

Welcome to my patio! No, not the one pictured above. That's the one I WANT, but...


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

...here's the one I've got: 252 square feet of brand new concrete waiting to be decorated with lounge chairs, throw pillows, a grill, hanging baskets, wind chimes, plenty of potted plants, and a pitcher of sun tea brewing on that knee wall in the foreground. 

But my timetable is delayed this year, and the budget is beat. I need to put on my thinking cap and come up with some low-cost options to whip this wonderland into shape.


Why the delay?


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

This, too, is my patio, only on a drearier day. You are now on the other side of the window you saw in the previous photo, standing in the living room of my condominium, looking out.


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

It rained all night. Do you notice anything odd? I’m talking about that big puddle that hasn’t drained off our beautiful new concrete in spite of drying up everywhere else.

Take a closer look: 

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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

We had the old patio ripped out last fall because of drainage issues. Over the years it had developed severe cracks, which we concealed with an indoor-outdoor rug for a while. In the winter our patio doubled as the neighborhood skating rink. Not really, but it could have. I crossed my fingers every time someone came up the walk. I knew our liability insurance was up to date, but I didn’t want to see someone hurt.

When we finally decided to replace it, we debated about adding a patio drain to tie into the downspout drain we reworked a few years back. In the end, we passed on the drain (co$t!!) because the contractor said he could taper the concrete to drain properly on its own. Obviously, that didn’t work out. Anyway, no sweat. They’re coming back to tear out that slab and redo it sometime in April—on their dime. And I think we’ll have them add that drain while we’re at it, just to be sure, on our dime.

The only reason I’m mentioning any of this is because it’s already spring, but it will be a month or so before I can deck out my patio. So I’ll have to occupy the time in between with planning its “new” look (those are air quotes, BTW, which you should understand if you keep up with political news).

This is my first year having pristine concrete. The exterior was just painted last year, too, and the color changed from a blah blue-gray to this yummy greige, so I’m extra excited. But I’m bummed because I need new cushions for my patio furniture, and the budget’s busted.


Here’s our furnishings and site specifics


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Though not my patio per se, this is my patio furniture—or at least some of it is. It’s Martha Stewart Charlottetown, an all-weather wicker, and we have two of the chairs (no loveseat) and two ottomans. We also have the coffee table and use it length-wise between our two chairs. 


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We also have two of these all-weather wicker chairs sans cushions (no loveseat) and this coffee table, the lid of which is hinged so the inside can be used for storage or display. This was our furniture at the old house, then we bought the MSL set after we moved here. 

Both are in great condition, except the cushion covers are faded, though the cushions themselves are fine. I thought I could buy replacement covers, but suppliers only sell replacement cushions and covers together, and the cost is about half that of the entire piece of furniture.

Of course, I could recover them myself—and I probably will eventually—but waterproof and sun-resistant fabric isn't in the budget this year either (gotta have something left for plants). Before I get into what I intend to do instead, here’s how we usually set up our patio:

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We’ve tried coming up with a new layout, but this seems to work best. Most of the patio is shady most of the day, which we’re glad of. In the morning we sit on the east side or move chairs to the south, and in the afternoon we sit on the west side.


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

I took this photo about 5 p.m., and you can see how shady it is. Where we lived before our patio was completely exposed, and the western sun baked us and glared in our eyes anytime past high noon. So even if this patio isn’t covered or screened, it’s a big improvement.

Anyway, one issue we do have is that the stone wall that divides us from our neighbor catches all the afternoon sun, absorbs it, and releases it as evening sets in, which interferes with our comfort at the very time we most want to sit outside.


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These are our current cushions and pillows. The green, two-piece cushions have matching ottoman cushions and are for the MSL set. The chevron seat cushions I use on the darker brown chairs. I have two each of both pillow patterns and mix them around.


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Here's some of our existing outdoor decor. Imagine the hanging planter, bottom left, filled with succulents. I keep it in the corner by the front door. And yes, I had a bit of bug theme going for three of the four summers we've spent here.


So what’s my inspiration this time around?


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Via Um Brinco

Bigger and better boho, of course! You saw this photo earlier in the post. I just love the hanging lanterns here. I can already imagine candlelight flickering through them in the darkness.


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Via Decor de Maison

The colorful pillows and furniture appeal to me in this one, including a BUG pillow just like one of mine! I also like the profusion of potted plants. Greenery cozies-up everything.


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Via Quirky Bohemian Mama

More colorful pillows in this one (I'm noticing a theme), PLUS the mirror and sconces on the wall.


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Via Designrulz

This one has great color variety in the textiles, plus hanging lanterns. But I also love how the scene is set—tray with teapot and cups, low table with plate, flower in vase, etc.


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Via Malinshop

I love the textile mix used in this one, which gives it a shabby-chic feel.


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Via Designrulz

The textile mix is again what catches my eye in this one (another theme), with throws and even a table runner.


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Norm Plate photo / Sunset

This one also has some beautiful textiles, on the seats and on the floor. But what really pulls me in is the lush surround of greenery.


My 5-point plan to get the boho patio I want without spending much includes…


1.

Wrap existing cushions in textiles I already own (pin in place)
or drape over backs of chairs. 


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Karma Living

These beautiful kantha quilted throws of mine are all now sitting idle in a basket in my living room.


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Karma Living / Zulily

I also scavenged these textile odds and ends I’m currently not using, clockwise from upper left they include:
  • A tightly woven and brightly colored Peruvian-style cotton throw 
  • A gorgeous and reversible kantha tablecloth 
  • A small but textured rug, the perfect size for draping or wrapping a pillow (I’d rather not use it as a rug since the patio is uncovered and shady, which means once it’s rained on it dries out slowly. 
  • Turkish fouta towels, two in each color. 


2. 

 Repurpose items from inside the house. 


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Karma Living / BoHo Home / Karma Living

I was using the two pillows on the end in my living room, but they don't work with my new chairs. They’re the perfect style for a boho patio, don’t you think? And the two pillow covers in the center may fit over my square bug pillows.


Zulily / Zulily / World Market / Zulily

Additionally, I bought these kitchen towels but haven’t used them. The two at either end (I have two of each) must be ironed, which mades them completely unsuitable for dish towels, IMHO. And the two in the center (I have four of each) are a bit stiff. 

Wow! I can already see that elephant towel covering my smaller, lumbar bug pillows, can’t you? Any of these might also work to make a tablecloth or runner if sewn together.


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Susan Lawson photo / BoHo Home

I also have this tea set and tray, which I’m currently not displaying…


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One Kings Lane / Dot & Bo

…as well as these coasters (left), handcrafted in Africa. Hey, I just noticed that they match. What luck! I have a set of the three "bomb" vases on the right. As much as I like them, I haven't found a place for them inside yet. Maybe they'd work on the patio to hold cuttings. They're models of the three atomic bomb prototypes: Thin Man, Fat Man, and Little Boy.


3. 

 Use fabric odds and ends from my stash to re-cover pillows or make runners or other décor.


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Susan Lawson photos / BoHo Home

I found these six prints in my fabric stash. Each piece has close to a yard or more. I used to have much more fabric in that stash, but it was downsized when we were, five years ago. It would be great to use some of these up (and make room for more—hee-hee).


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Ebay / Darn Good Yarn

I also have these trims:
  • 6 + 2 tassels 
  • 9-plus yards of off-white brush-cut fringe 
  • Moroccan felt mirrored and beaded balls 
All of these I bought for other projects and didn't use. They’d look great finishing off pillows or a table runner.


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Darn Good Yarn

And just take a gander at all the colorful yarn in my stash. I see some bright boho pompons in my patio's future, don’t you? Maybe even a wall-hanging for a sheltered spot...


4. 

 Use existing planters and pots to surround the seating area in lush greenery. 


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Via Gardenweb

Remember that stone wall of mine that soaks up the sun then radiates heat all evening? I thought maybe I could cool it down by planting some fast-growing bamboo in pots. If I get the right variety, it will be hardy in our borderline zone 5/6 climate, and I can winter it over.


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Farmbrook Designs

I have two of these beautiful hypertufa planters from Farmbrook Designs, in the largest size, shown at left, that I could use for the bamboo. I also have some large purple ceramic pots—two or three—that I could also plant with bamboo and alternate with the hypertufa pots to cover the length of the wall. 

I had these hypertufa pots on the west side of my condo, but plants haven’t done well in them there because there’s too much sun. On the patio they’ll be a bit more sheltered (and easier to water).


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Farmbrook Designs

I also have the trough and stand set show here, as well as three of the shallow oval bowls at the back left. 


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 Via Pinterest / Gardener's Supply Company

Those I’ll plant in scotch moss (left) and succulents (right), and perhaps add some fairy gardens elements.


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This coffee table terrarium is a cool idea, too, particularly since I have two coffee tables. I'd need Chris' help with building and attaching the planting box, but there's a great tutorial video HERE.


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My absolute favorite shade plant, and one which always makes a spectacular show on my patio, is caladium. Last year was hectic, and I didn't pot up any, so having them this year is a must.


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I like to mix the colors in a pot with fiber-optic grass (left), when I can find it, or boston fern, if I can’t. To see the brightly colored, arrowhead-shaped leaves growing up through the greenery is stunning.


5. 

 TRY to MAKE Moroccan-style lanterns for little-to-no cost. 


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Via Designrulz

Hanging, or simply grouped on a table or wall, these lanterns are gorgeous. As I said, my patio is uncovered, but I have a deep roof overhang from which I hang items. I don’t want them electrified, which simplifies things, but how can I make anything that even comes close?

Well, maybe I can’t. But I’m going to give it a shot.


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Gleeful Things / Shelterness

These jar lanterns are made with T-shirt paint and glass paint. Follow the respective links to make the ones on the LEFT and the ones on the RIGHT. Wire can be added around the jar top for hanging.

 I also found a video on making lanterns with plastic containers, coupled with thrifted items—old plants, vases, jewelry, etc. My thought is to start off in the thrift shops and see how I fare, then go from there.


www.BoHoHome.com @bohosusan
Via Designrulz

These cloth shades are pretty neat, too. I certainly have enough cloth options and could modpodge the fabric around plastic containers.


6. 

How to get a mirror for next-to-nothing.


This one I haven't figured out, which is why I billed the post as a FIVE-point plan. So if you have any ideas, shoot me a comment. (I would even be open to a gifted mirror!)


And if you want more...


...like...
  • How will it all come together?
  • Will it all come together?
  • Will I wimp out and settle for the same-old-same-old faded cushions?

...you’ll just have to stay tuned and see for yourself how everything turns out. And to make sure you don't miss that patio reveal post when I finally roll it out, follow my blog with Bloglovin—a social media platform that customizes your feed with the blogs you want to read all in one place—or get to-your-inbox posts by subscribing, using one of the services at the bottom of this page.


Until then, enjoy spring, now that it’s finally arrived! 


Me? I need to get started on all these projects!

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