Colorful Outdoor Living On a Budget

Happy Memorial Day, blog lovers!  I just want to start off today’s post by sending my sincere gratitude out to all of those who have fought or are currently fighting for our country.  Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer and a time for us to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends, but it has a lot more meaning than that for so many in the United States. Dan and I had an amazing morning biking into downtown Madison and watching the Memorial Day Parade, which just got me all teary-eyed (though it doesn’t take much these days).

In addition to the parade, our holiday weekend has been a flurry of activity!  Not to make you all jealous, but it was actually so much fun that we really forgot to take pictures of most of our activities.  We hosted a small barbecue at our house, went to the Garden State Blues, Wine, and Barbecue Festival in Long Valley, and took a trip to the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown today for the purpose of just wandering around the flowers (see above).  It was fun AND full of color!  Which, of course, brings me to today’s post.

I am so excited to chat with you about one (er, two) of my favorite topics: color and outdoor living!  Note that budgeting is not one of my favorite topics, however, I am sure Dan can appreciate that aspect of today’s post.  One of my absolute favorite things about being a homeowner is having outdoor space to enjoy and to utilize for entertaining!  We’ve come a long way from last April, when our brick patio was completely empty save for two cheap Target lawn chairs and a small glass bistro table.  Here are some of our tips and tricks for affordable outdoor living with lots of fun color.  Let’s take a trip to the backyard first!

Furniture first, pillows second

In May of last year, we shelled out $369 in Crate and Barrel gift cards for this dockside dining table from CB2.  I really appreciated its clean lines and simple style – perfect for blending with my pre-existing neutral lawn chairs and adding in some more colorful pieces.  We also nabbed the seating bench for $189 (again, using gift cards from our wedding!).  This table has held up okay so far, but not as good as we would like, since there seems to be a crack in the wood (Dan is filling it with epoxy as I type this).  You can see that we added in pops of color with those two turquoise patio chairs from Target.  We actually got them on clearance for about $30 each in mid-July last year, so if you’re looking to add something similar to your patio, wait just a little while longer for a better price!  Last, but not least, put a pillow on it!  I live and die by those adorable ikat World Market pillows that I threw on the turquoise chairs.  They really bring all of the color together, including the coral ottoman (also  from Target last year) that’s no longer in stock.  Affordable accessories like poufs, pillows, and even beverage dispensers or drink buckets can really tie everything together.

Separate your space

Our patio is not a huge area, but it is big enough to create two separate spaces and utilize all of our lawn furniture.  It also makes for great entertaining because even though we don’t have a huge dining table, we have a separate hangout space near the chiminea (from Home Depot, currently selling for $129).  Even though those two Target chairs are pretty neutral, I threw patterned pillows on them and added in a pretty white garden stool, also from World Market (I’ve been on a shopping kick there lately).  It seems to be removed from the website, but here’s a similar one for $59.  It’s metal, so even if it gets windy or someone gets rowdy at a barbecue… it’ll still be standing.  I am a huge fan of multi-functional pieces, so this stool can serve as a table or an extra seat, depending on what our needs might be.

Think double duty furniture

Speaking of multi-functional furniture pieces, this storage seat from Amazon is super practical and convenient for just $38.  After a pillow shopping rampage one afternoon, I realized that I needed some place to store all of these chair cushions, and the garden stool was just not going to cut it as a storage container.  I did some research and found that Suncast made a pretty decorative 22-gallon bin which could double as a seat or do triple duty as a table.  With over 1,000 reviews, it still had 4.5 stars, so I knew it would be a good option for us.  So far, so good.  It fits all my pillow needs. :)

When in doubt, deck it out

Let’s be real: there’s nothing a pretty table runner, bright colored serving tray, and adorable nautical-themed glasses can’t fix, right?  Right.  Adding accessories to blend in with your color scheme is easy – you might even have a few things already in the house that work with your furniture, or you might just shell out $22 for a bamboo-weave tray, much to the dismay of your budget-conscious other half.  Now that I’ve gotten all of that spending out of my system, let’s move things along to the front yard.

Ground cover and color: Perfect together

Our front yard landscaping is a work in progress this year.  We really loved our front yard makeover from last year, but felt like we needed to add some more color and fun to the mix this summer.  Enter the Emerald and Gold Euonymus that you see in the front of this photo.  Dan and I really wanted plants that would spread out and provide a lot of ground cover, but we were looking for something colorful as well.  Dan suggested juniper, but I just can’t get past the wintry feel of those plants, even in the summer.  The Euonymus were the best alternative recommended to us by the friendly garden center staff at Home Depot (sidebar: did everyone hit up their local garden center this weekend?!  It was PACKED).  These cuties will grow to about three feet tall, but we’ll have to prune them down so they are shorter than the rose bushes.


Highs and lows

I’ve already made my love for Bidens clear in last week’s post, but they really do add a brightness to the garden area, even though they’re primarily low to the ground.  Behind them, we planted Salvia, which is a perennial, meaning that it will come back year after year.  I like that the salvia is taller and thinner, giving our yard some more depth.

Of course, probably the best height in the entire garden comes from our rose bushes.  Aren’t they beautiful?  Here you can see the blueberry bushes we planted on the left as well.

May 25 Blog-10

Add a succulent splash

Last but not least,  I present our very special succulent tray.  In the blue pot is a succulent that we snagged from a fallen leaf at the Arboretum today, so it will hopefully start growing in a few weeks.  I just love keeping plants on the porch as well as in the yard, and having a few colorful pots, along with a spray painted neon blue tray, makes it even more fun.

Well, that was a doozy: color everywhere!  Are you embracing the brights and the patterns as much as I am?  I’d love to hear what colorful outdoor projects you’re taking on as we’ve crossed into the unofficial start of summer!




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