Craftsman backyard patio summer tour


When we had a large concrete patio installed in the backyard years ago, I was determined to create an outdoor space that was as low maintenance as possible. We adored our backyard set up at the old house, but the wood deck and paver patio were more work than we realized they’d be.
We have a covered patio that we used ALL of the time (and still do), but we wanted to stretch out a bit back here. I came up with this concrete patio design that allows for plenty of open space, as well as an outdoor dinging area, my potting bench that I love, our grill and the best part…the round fire pit section that we had dreamed of since moving in. 
patio dining area with string cafe lights
You can see a tour of the patio last summer — the plants we’ve added have made such a difference! 
I can’t believe I didn’t take before photos before we started…but here’s a look at the cement patio with the circular fire pit area right after it was poured: 
long concrete patio with fire pit area
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We considered an aggregate or stamped patio that would have had a little more detail, but decided against both for the reasons I shared here. 

Did I mention no maintenance? 🙂 That was KEY. All we have to do with the basic concrete patio is have it sealed every year or two. Plus, it was way cheaper. SOLD!
For the past couple of years we’ve been adding to the landscaping slow but sure. Last fall we added a few evergreens around the fire pit area: 
round fire pit with Adirondack chairs

And they promptly died the next spring. 😏

We were able to replace those plus a few more (with credit for the old ones) with arborvitaes that will grow MUCH faster. We have tons of privacy spring through fall, but in the winters we lose most of it. My goal is to plant as many evergreens around our yard as is humanly possible. 🙂 
We had these same Thuja arborvitaes planted in our old back yard and they got huge quick!: 
Thuja arborvitae trees for privacy
In a few years we’ll have a lot more privacy around the fire pit. I plan to layer more bushes and plants in this mulched area as well. 
We made one purchase for the patio this spring — a pretty, “X” base outdoor dining table: 
x base outdoor dining table
So far we LOVE it! The old one had a wood top and even though I was able to refinish it last year, by the end of the summer it was a complete mess again. Remember that no maintenance thing? 🙂 
This one has a substantial faux concrete top that so far has held up great to the elements. They recommend oiling the wood base, which I will do soon. It is so pretty, I just love it! Very much a Pottery Barnish look. 
Of course flowers are the detail that finish off an outdoor space beautifully. Because I have so many planters (I get most of mine buy one get one half off at At Home), I like to use flowers that will spread to fill them. 
Petunia varieties are my favorite:
outdoor planter flowers

Any trailing plant like potato vine or asparagus fern are great for filling in dead spots and draping over the sides: 

spilling filler flowers in containers
Remember my favorite plant I shared with you a few weeks ago? The one that is crazy hard to kill and fills in beautifully? Look at it now!: 
sedum plant in planter
I planted those in our cement containers that hold our poles the patio string lights. This stuff is amazing — and it keeps it’s blooms all through the winter too! 
Look for perennial plants (that come back year after year) for the landscape in late summer/early fall. Prices will drop the closer you get to the winter. And plants usually fair much better if planted in the spring or fall. I purchased almost every flowering bush in our landscape for less than $20.
Last fall we replaced our plastic Adirondack chairs around the fire pit (that flew away into the woods during every storm) with these amazing Polywood chairs: 

round fire pit with chairs

They are absolutely the best. Hands down. They’ve been out for nearly a year exposed to rain, sun, wind and snow…and still look perfect. They are an investment but 100 percent worth it if you have the budget for them. (Go to POLYWOOD, there are a lot of imposters.) 
I dreamed of a round fire pit area in our backyard since we decided to move, and it is one of our favorite parts of our whole house: 
round concrete fire pit on patio

fire pit with chairs surrounding
This year we’ve been focused on adding as many trees as our budget will allow. We LOVE our big backyard so much, but have missed the private feeling of our old patio and deck. 
Trees not only add privacy, they soften things a bit and make the whole space feel cozier. So far we’ve focused on near the patio, but we hope to add more in the backyard this fall. 
I always talk about taking your time when designing a space, and the same goes for outdoor spaces. Especially when you’re plantings larger ticket items like trees — think about future plans before planting. They can be moved, but smaller bushes and flowers are much easier to transplant! 
It’s only been a couple years but our patio has come a long way! We have so many plans for the landscaping and more, but half of the fun is dreaming up what you’d like to do, right? This outdoor space is our sanctuary and our favorite place to host family and friends: 
gray house white trim covered patio

Enjoy some before pics and a few afters (my favorites are at night!): 
basic concrete patio design
large umbrella with base over dining table

Long cement patio with cafe lights

gray house white trim back patio
long patio design with dining area

string lights in planters over patio

nighttime patio cafe lights

rear view gray house white trim patio fire pit

Here are some of my favorite products and DIY projects from our patio! Let me know if you have questions about anything! 

  • DIY string lights (when you have no trees!) 
  • Safely build a stone fire pit
  • Easy DIY landscape lighting 
  • Our Polywood Adirondack chairs 
  • DIY wood potting bench build
  • “X” base concrete and wood outdoor table
  • Our blue and white dining chairs are not available anymore, but they now have a white/blue folding version that mach our head chairs with armrests
  • Blue striped outdoor rug under table
  • Jute poufs are from Hobby Lobby but these are very similar 

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