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One thing that my husband and I LOVE about our new home is the private back patio.  It’s our own little oasis from the city. The entry to our patio is from our bedroom. Immediately upon entering, you walk under a concrete walkway, which is a fire escape for the unit above us.  To the right is a wooden gate, which is our fire escape.  To the left is the majority of the patio, which is open to the elements and covered with outdoor lights.


The right side of our patio, which is also the entry from our unit and the fire exit (wooden fence).


The left side of our patio. The windows are to bedrooms.

Our condo actually has two patios.  One in the front that is the entry from the street, and one tucked inside the building that is completely private.  We actually sold our outdoor furniture before moving, because it felt better suited to a balcony than an outdoor “oasis.”  Now, we’re trying to furnish our outdoor area in time to use it.  The weather is PERFECT right now in D.C.  At first, I checked Craigslist daily, but nothing seemed to pop up that fit our vision.  Here are a few of the things we’re considering for the space.

For the immediate (covered) entrance, we wanted to see something attractive.  The ugly brown fence and concrete overhead is an eyesore, but we think that adding a vertical garden focal point would help offset that.  That particular area is covered in shade all day, so we need to find plants that can survive in the shade that have minimal maintenance.  Let’s be honest:  I would forget to feed and water my cats if they didn’t remind me.  Plants just don’t survive around here if they require daily attention.  I found a great tutorial for a Pallet Living Wall here, but I’m also in love with this inspiration:

pallet wall Pallet Wall2

We used GardenPlanner to create a plan of our patio.  It’s free, and I didn’t have to download anything.  It was super easy to plan out our patio with the website, since you can personalize the size and finish.  I did these plans VERY quickly, which means they are lacking detail.  I don’t mind though, because I was able to input sizes of furniture to see how it would fill the space.


Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.56.43 PMMy husband REALLY wants a hot tub out there, but it would need to be near the shaded area due to the electricity outlet.  Most hot tubs are too large, so I’ve requested a DIY Hot Tub.  He doesn’t seem too convinced!  He also really wants to build a waterfall concrete table similar to the one below, but not attached to a wall.  I love the idea, since the table is versatile and modern.



Idea #2

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.49.53 PMThis idea features the vertical garden that I mentioned, NO hot tub, a grill, and a corner lounge.  The lounge extends all the way across the back wall of the patio and has built in planters.  I still question if the space is being used efficiently in this version.

Idea #3

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 12.45.47 PMThis is probably the simplest (and cheapest version), but it allows space for congregating, dancing, beer brewing, etc.  The lounge is simply flipped in the opposite direction.  I’ve also considered a standing bar along the back wall of the patio.  The trellis is clearly still present in this plan, and I would add more plants.

A few of the DIY bench/ lounge ideas that I’ve loved are:


Which do you prefer?  Do you have a better idea that we didn’t consider?  How about a DIY or sources for money saving?  Our budget is pretty low on this, considering our “To Do” List is ever-expanding!