“On weekends, I sit in a lounge chair on my balcony. I love to be outside when the weather’s right. I can stay there pretty much all day.” ~ Sue Monk Kidd
As always, I may receive a small commission on affiliated links at no extra cost to yo, tho it does help me pay for my coffee habit, and maybe that outdoor bar area…Keep reading to see what I am align about :p
All About that
Bass Patio Life
By now, most of you know I am all about that patio life. (said to the tune of All About That Base) With the warmer weather, I have moved my WFH office outside every sunny warm day there has been. I am going to be soaking up the weather to the fullest friends! Heck, I even bring my laptop to the beach with me for some calming, yet inspiring views to get work done. I love being outside, and not just because I grew up in the mountains of New England, or because we are in the midst of a pandemic.
No, I owe this love to my days of travel where balconies graced apartments and you could look down at the city streets and people watch. Or your fire escape was turned into a makeshift outdoor space. (be warned this is NOT legal, though New Yorkers Amy or ay not still do this…oops) But my favorite, was the outdoor dining. Hidden oasis’ in the back of restaurants or street side tables right in the thick of the hustle and bustle. Then there were the coffee shops with outdoor patios I would take my laptop to. I’d grab some java and get to work. The ambiance, the vibes, it was EVERYTHING!
When I came back to New Hampshire, I had to adapt. Outdoor dining was not a thing in cool, damp, and BUGGY New England. Though there were a few places, like my favorite coffee shop (why it is my favorite coffee shop) and my favorite Italian restaurant (also why it is my favorite Italian restaurant) that had built their outdoor spaces up into vibing oasis’ you never wanted to leave.
Alas things changed with the pandemic both for the good and the bad. EVERYONE had to adapt. At first everything was closed, thus I couldn’t even venture out to my favorite coffee shops and work outside and the beach, at least those first couple months, was a no go, so I created my own beach space in my parents back yard. It helped but it wasn’t the same. Laying a towel out on the black top, with a beach chair was a little lacking.
Thankfully as restaurants and coffee shops began opening up they had to adapt and created outdoor spaces for their clientele to eat, drink, and yes sip coffee. I LOVED this. It felt like I was back in my favorite cities of New York and Paris dining and people watching all over again. It was definitely a bright side of the pandemic, and I really hope restaurants keep these spaces going this summer.
Porches and Patio’s in the South
Of course that didn’t solve my patio vibe issues. While things have opened up, creating a cozy outdoor space is everything! We are still spending more time at home then out. Creating that optimal outdoor aesthetic is essential in my opinion for or well being and to be productive. Ultimately it was my visits down south that convinced me (and made me fall in love with that southern charm) it was a necessity. I fell in love with the wrap around porches and second floor balconies decorated with pristine care and filled with comfy sofa like chairs, fire pits, bar areas and even televisions. Unfortunately thanks to our New England weather, stone patios with televisions and essentially a whole other living space set outside wasn’t really possible, like it is in the South. I mean we could, but a lot more planning would have to go into it, as well as it being winterized.
That said it doesn’t mean we can’t have a cozy set-up. Last year because of the pandemic, my parents put more thought into their outside area as we were there most days in the summer. (cue kiddie beach side pool set-up, I kept joking about) This year they with my wannabe design eye, decided to upgrade. While yes things are returning to normal, I think their is a new appreciation to having an optimal living space designed to our individual specifications. Something I think a lot of us didn’t really care about, I know I didn’t pre-pandemic, especially if you were living in the city and only using your apartment for sleep.
The table set
Growing up my parents had a traditional picnic table and benches. It was nostalgic, and greta for when we were little, but NOT really comfortable now as adults with our aches and pains. So last year, my Mom bought what I dubbed a coffee table. It was a small bistro table with two wicker chairs like this one. Even when it was just myself, I couldn’t fully spread out my work. And most days we were forced to use beach chairs when their were more of us.
This year, in what was one of the biggest improvements, my parents made to the patio, they upgraded the dining set to a large rod iron and glass banquet table with swiveling rocking chairs that are super comfy and bring out my inner child because all I do is swivel while I work. They are a must, especially if you are having outdoor gatherings. And with all the space, my work area has improved to perfection!
Another improvement, slash new addition to the patio is a fire pit! I never thought a fire pit would be fun, but here I am unleashing my inner pyro! Kidding, but seriously, it might be my favorite ugrade! New England, even in the summer, can be quite cold, and this makes those days or nights so much better! Not to mention, the s’mores! I forgot how much fun it was roasting marshmallows. And of course yummy too!
I never realized how many different types of fire pits there are, but when we were looking, there were SO many to choose from! Not to mention the vibes! We chose a more portable one that was also lightweight even when filled with sand, which you should put in the bottom to get as much longevity out of it as you can. But they had others that were more permanent, made from stone or iron and with chairs to sit around. They also had more aesthetic type fire pits that also acted as decor.
Grills and Bars
Grilling is something my family has always loved doing, so we have always had a space for our grill. Actually, I think we had a grill even before we had any type of outdoor seating area! From grilling meat to vegetable kabobs, it is flavorful and delicious and the ultimate backyard summer activity. An activity usually enjoyed with a beer or two!
Something that was a happy surprise, was that in the south they didn’t just have second kitchens outside, but they also had a bar area. I was and still am obsessed with that and think it is the most brilliant idea! Heck, if we can’t have a pool, why not at least have a bar, even if just a portable one? A girl can dream friends.
Entertainment and Vibes
It isn’t just all about the furniture, but also the decor. From stringing up fairy lights, or lanterns, or whatever your light style is to outdoor rugs, chair and throw pillows, shrubbery and flowers, decor creates your ultimate vibe which in turn leads to your perfect oasis. While they do have tv covers, you can’t really mount a television outside in New England. I mean maybe you can. But you can get a portable projector as well as portable speakers for some outdoor entertainment and summer movie nights. And side note: speaking of covers, I highly recommend getting cover protectors for all of your furniture, to protect it from the elements!
Speaking of entertainment games have always been something I have loved, even as a kid, I loved a great game of croquet, corn hole or life sized janga. Thanks to my nephews and nieces I have since been introduced to ladder toss, (HOW did I never play this game as a kid?) as well as discovered life sized connect four.
As with anything, the outdoor space is still a work in progress, and my parents have talked about expanding it again, but I love the vibes. If this last year has taught us anything, it is that it is important to cultivate a space that is not only aesthetically pleasing, and unique to YOUR style, but that it also is calming and clarifying. When you love the space that you are in, mentally you feel better, and are more apt to be productive, and more at peace. Not to mention use it more. I’ll say I definitely have been using it more!
DO you have a patio, porch, or balcony? DO you like being outside?
Here are some of my go to outside furniture and decor. You can shop everything HERE on my LIKEtoKNOW.it page: