Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our 2011 Patio Plans

Well, I was home today taking a bit of a vacation after coming back from Passover with family, and I decided to work on the plans for our patio that I mentioned.  The winter was really hard, especially with our heat going in and out every few days, and our apartment isn't very big.  We took this place because of its sweet patio space, so we are going to make it amazing for this summer.

So this is my vision!  I decided to make a collage because it helps me get a feel for the colors I want, and it also explains it to JewishGuy who luckily trusts my tastes enough to say "I can't picture it, but I'm sure it will look good."  So there you have it, the foundations of a good marriage, right? :)

Read the full description after the jump!

We already have all of the furniture we're going to have out there, although if I see any interesting chairs at the fleas over the next few weeks I might pick some up.  I'd really like an outdoor rocking chair, actually, but we'll see what's out there.  The problem for me is that the furniture we have right now is the same color as the fence, and it got a little weather-worn over the winter since we forgot to cover it and then it snowed a ton.  The plan for the patio table is to clean it and then paint it a distressed blue.  We have the APPLARO table, which I purchased last year at the end of the season and I got a good deal on it because it was the second-to-last one in the store.  We also have the matching adjustable chairs, which I'll painted a distressed dark yellow.  I'm thinking of buying or making cushions (it's not comfortable to sit in the chairs for too long right now), which will be dark browns, bright-muted greens, and deep reds mixed with black and white patterns.  Don't worry, it matches, these are the colors of the inside of the apartment so I know it works!

We were at the flea market not too long ago when we saw these amazing outdoor artworks that looked like huge tiles.  They were so simple but beautiful we thought we should purchase a few to hang around the outside.  There's a huge white wall that we can't do anything with, it would be so great to add some interest by putting up a painting or mosaic.  But they were selling for $80 each, which we can't really afford and also seemed silly considering how easy it would be to make our own.  So that's my project for tomorrow - they will just be pieces of wood with quick paintings, similarly distressed to the tables and chairs but in brighter colors.  I'm also planning to make a few pieces we can hang around the fence, to brighten up the drab, weather-worn wood fence.

We'll have a mix of container garden and planted flowers in the flower bed.  There will be a vertical garden hanging from the spot of the fence that gets reliable sun filled with herbs and flowers.  There will also be potted plants here, which is a mix of flowers, tomatoes, and pepper plants.  I saw a picture of flowers potted in painted tin cans, so I might do that and hang some impatiens from the fence, too.  The flower bed will have wildflowers, a bush that magically survived the winter, vines creeping in from next door, and maybe some bamboo that I can see coming up from underneath.  The sunlight that the flower bed gets is so variable that I can't be bothered to try to figure out how to make a consistent garden in it, so we'll just see what grows.  Also, I need to figure out how to keep the neighbors' cats from pooping in it.

We don't seem to have a plug outside.  SO.  We'll create our own solar-powered chandelier of tree lights hung on a hanging bird-feeder stand.  We'll also string solar-powered string lights around the fence, as well as some decorative ropes I'm planning to make from chopped up fabrics (maybe chopped up umbrellas).  The lights are actually a good plan anyway, because they will come on automatically every night, which means they are Shabbat-friendly (we won't have to turn them on or off).  They won't be very bright, so it's not a substitution for real outdoor lights, but it should be enough to have dinner outside as the sun goes down, allowing us to stay out longer than twilight.

We may also build a structure to hide the enormous air conditioning units that share our patio space with us.  They are not only ugly and loud, they produce a hot wind that is pretty uncomfortable to sit near in the summer.  We're planning a cloth fence that should block some of the heat and the eye-sore, but there's not much we can do about the noise.

It's going to be a busy May as we put all of this together, but I'm pretty excited to have a project to make our patio nicer.  I don't expect this work to cost much money because we already have the most expensive pieces (the furniture) and the rest is a matter of planting at the right time, resourcefulness, and work.  We want the patio to be a colorful, relaxing, dynamic, fun space, so we can start having weekly barbecues and/or shaloshudis as Shabbat gets longer.



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