3 Tips for a Welcoming Outdoor Living Space

Alix Adams

Article Posted By: Alix Adams

of A Ruffled Life

3 Tips for a Welcoming Outdoor Living Space

Alix Adams breaks it down for you with three concepts– tips, if you will– that guided her in creating an outdoor living space that’s family-friendly and ready for making guests feel at home. You know Alix from her blog, A Ruffled Life, and this is her contribution to our Patio Style Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog.

We sent Alix some Home Depot patio furniture, and let her loose with her outdoor decorating ideas to finish her outdoor living space.

It is indeed an attractive and very functional living space. Alix made sure there’s plenty of room for relaxing, entertaining, and for the kids to be kids. Take note of her three patio decor tips to get you on the way to your own fabulous outdoor living space.

Creating a Welcoming Outdoor Living Space

Out of all the spaces in my home and yard, my back patio was by far the most bland and sad-looking. If my house were banana bread, my patio would be the walnuts…something to be avoided! The tragic part: it is a spacious area with great views.

I knew that if I continued to avoid that patio, I was missing out on a real memory-making opportunity. I also knew that my home full of rambunctious kiddos, a playful puppy, and visiting friends and family needed a patio area as versatile as we are! It was time for me to transform those walnuts into chocolate chips!

But first…

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how tragic these before images look!

A bland, empty back patio

An empty backyard patio in need of outdoor decor

A dead plant sits on an empty patio

From the dead potted plant, to the absolute blank pavement, nothing here says, “Welcome!” I was almost embarrassed for people to walk into my backyard because that patio felt so unfinished.

Isn’t a patio like the living room of your yard? I think yes. And all I could imagine is how bizarre it would be if all I had in my living room was a hose and a dead plant.

That sounds like the opening scene of a Breaking Bad episode, which doesn’t exactly scream family-friendly living space, you know.

The Cane Crossing Outdoor Collection in a beautifully decorated outdoor living space

The Cane Crossing Outdoor Collection in an outdoor living space that features string lights and an outdoor rug

But alas, with the help of The Home Depot and a good 20 hours of elbow grease, we made something out of that patio that I am proud of.

When constructing my patio space, I created it with three themes/goals/tips in mind:

1. Plants, plants, plants

2. Functionality

3. Design

Shall we begin the tour?

Tip 1: Plants! For real…lots of plants

My first goal with this space was to bring in the greenery—plants just bring everything together indoors and outdoors. They are nature’s accessories to a home.

I knew that if I was going to be spending any time out on that cement slab, we needed to start with some fresh blooms and greens. As you can see below, the trees are still in their spring hibernation mode but have just barely begun to blossom. This week, they look breathtaking!

Potted plants and a decorative lantern add visual appeal to a beautiful patio

A display of potted plants decorate a lovely outdoor living space

I absolutely love potted plants. And whenever I do potted plants, I always make sure to add pebbles to the top of the dirt areas. This trick I learned from my mom serves two very important purposes: For one, it looks amazing and brings a “finished” feel to every pot. For two, it makes watering your pots much easier. The water drizzles between the rocks and down to the roots instead of washing all the dirt right out!

Potted plants with added pebbles decorate a welcoming patio

Succulents, annuals and stones add natural beauty to an outdoor living space

Tip 2: A FUNctional outdoor space!

Like I previously mentioned, I knew my patio would need to serve several purposes. It would need to be a dining and grilling area for the grownups, but also transform into a racetrack and sidewalk chalk canvas at a moment’s notice for the kids.

That is why I placed the beautiful rug and dining furniture set just off-center. This created extra space perfect for rolling out the portable grill, and still leaving room for scooter tricks!

Plus the easy step from patio to grass makes backyard tag go more smoothly :).

A portable grill is stands near a patio sitting area

Tip 3: Functional Design

I’m a believer that kids and function can coincide with good design.

Will that coveted plush white couch ever survive my home crowd? Not likely. But there are plenty of lovely elements that can come together to create a kid-friendly space!

To accomplish this mission I start every room with a rug. This is no different in outdoor spaces. This navy Lattice indoor/outdoor rug totally anchors my patio and gives it a finished look.

Then I layer on amazing patio furniture– the Cane Crossing Outdoor Collection (as cool as it is useful)– along with weather-resistant throw pillows, and dishes for dinner.

A wicker patio furniture set sits on a patterned indoor/outdoor rug

Succulents in a glass enclosure next to brightly colored porcelain bowls

Setting an outdoor dining table

Alix Adams of A Ruffled Life sets a table for an outdoor meal

The Cane Crossing Outdoor Seating Set

Another way that I like to bring design into outdoor spaces is by using outdoor materials in unusual ways. This is exactly what I did with my cement napkin rings. Instead of bringing those formal dining napkin rings out, I cast some cement rings for a rustic play on a dining accessory favorite!

3 Tips for a Welcoming Outdoor Living Space

3 Tips for a Welcoming Outdoor Living Space

3 Tips for a Welcoming Outdoor Living Space

We adore our outdoor space. Every morning it is the first place that kids and dogs want to gather. In the evenings adults grill and chat while those same kids run around our feet. With the help of The Home Depot, I was able to extend my practical living space to my backyard, and we are all big fans of this new living room…I mean patio space!

Alix Adams of The Ruffled Life sits on her backyard patio

Alix Adams has always been a maker-doer. She says that she would literally lose her mind if she didn’t create things. On her blog A Ruffled Life, Alix writes about crafts, entertaining, raising a family and life in general. She lives with her husband and two children near Salt Lake City.

For more ideas for your outdoor living space, see other Patio Style Challenge articles as well as our Patio Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest.

And browse our Outdoor Living Department for everything you need to enhance your outdoor space, including all our patio furniture.