A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

Kevin O'Gara

Article Posted By: Kevin O'Gara

of Thou Swell

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

This backyard entertaining space is defined by the gravel floor, palm plants for the virtual walls.

Kevin O’Gara, the editor and founder of Thou Swell, remade his patio for our Patio Style Challenge series. He focused on an airy light blue color scheme with contrasting outdoor accessories, all from The Home Depot.

Here, he shares the outdoor decorating ideas behind his new outdoor entertaining space.

A Beautiful Outdoor Entertaining Space

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

Materials seen in this patio makeover


When I started dreaming up my patio makeover, I wanted to create a new outdoor room in a space that was a rather bleak concrete pad. I imagined defining the floor with gravel and the walls with palms to make an inviting space that felt intimate, but accommodating and inviting.

Using these elements and our new Beverly sectional, the patio transformed into an outdoor living room with lush plant life and a splash of color.

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

I love our new sectional because it has a durable wicker weave and simple, contemporary lines that give it a timeless shape.

The Beverly Collection offers 16 options for fabric colors. I knew I wanted to add a subtle pop of color to the patio, so I chose a classic spa blue called Spectrum Mist. It looks beautiful with green plants and the dark brown wicker of the sectional.

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

The black lattice throw pillows pair well with the lighter blue pillows to add some contrast.

Our patio also opens up to the back room of the house with two garage doors, so I brought out the shades of blue in the back room to the cushions.

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

The accent tables provide the perfect place for appetizers, and even provide some storage with a shelf underneath.

Adding flower arrangements – even simple ones like the three hydrangeas on the coffee table – and potted flowers on your accent tables will add life and seasonal accents to your space.

Our versatile pouf also provides a place for a tray to create another side table, or it turns into extra seating or even a footrest. Its woven texture and resistance to mildew makes it perfect for the patio!

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

For the ‘walls’ of the space, I brought in potted palms to define the two areas of the patio and create a lush visual partition and more private setting.

I placed the grill at one end, conveniently located next to the dining table. Our shiny new Dyna-Glo grill is large enough to cook for groups and it has a side burner that can be used like a cooktop eye for making sides or even frying chicken without leaving a smell in the house!

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

With the space defined by the gravel, grill and palms, I focused on the décor.

First, I gave our existing patio furniture a touch up. I used Rust-Oleum matte black spray paint to give our worn-out metal dining set a facelift, and then used the same spray paint to cover an old kitchen cart. The kitchen cart became a potting table or entertaining hub, perfect for serving drinks on or potting some new plants.

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

Enjoying dinner al fresco is one of my favorite parts of outdoor living. As the sun goes down, flickering candlelight creates a beautiful ambiance from the lanterns, string lights, and tea lights on the table.

For the tabletop, I used a bromeliad to create an energetic centerpiece in a pretty pot with an ivy motif, and set the table with lots of green to bring together the patio’s palette with a simple, elegant setting.

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

A Backyard Entertaining Space in Blue

With the dining area right next to our seating area, it’s easy to move from appetizers on the sectional to dinner on the table. I also chose tufted seat cushions with the same color fabric as the sectional cushions to carry the spa blue palette to the dining area.

We will be enjoying our lush new patio all spring, summer, and fall long, and I’m sure it will be the setting for days spent relaxing in the sun with a book and many dinners under the night sky. Ready to tackle your own patio makeover? Consider these tips: add gravel for a chic foundation, use potted palms for lushness and intimacy, stick with dark colored furniture for durability, add ambient lighting with string lights and lanterns, and tie together your space with a consistent color palette.

Kevin O’Gara is editor and founder of Thou Swell. He’s inspired by a mix of traditional and contemporary design. After voraciously pinning interiors throughout his early teens, Kevin decided to write and produce his own content. In 2013, he created Thou Swell, named after the famous jazz standard and inspired by the song’s spirit and nostalgia. In just a few years Thou Swell has become a destination for interior lovers and entertaining enthusiasts.

Check out his companion post, How to Create a Chic Gravel Patio, and see more photos of this patio makeover on Kevin’s blog.

Browse our customizable patio collections, each with 16 fabric color choices and plenty of coordinating outdoor accessories. Follow our Patio Style Challenge board on Pinterest for more great outdoor decorating ideas from some of the most talented bloggers on the internet.