Backyard Patio Ideas: A Pergola, DIY Decor and Family Fun

Joni Lay

Article Posted By: Joni Lay

of Lay Baby Lay

Backyard Patio Ideas: A Pergola, DIY Decor and Family Fun

If you don’t have a patio, build one! Add a pergola over your new patio, and the decoration possibilities are endless.

Blogger Joni Lay was just brimming with backyard patio ideas… even though she didn’t actually have a patio. That made it a cinch we should invite her to join our Patio Style Challenge. We send awesome design and decor bloggers new patio sets and gift cards from The Home Depot. Then we stand back and let them blow us away with their creative patio decorating ideas.

Joni (and her husband and her dad) created her patio and pergola from scratch, and then used her DIY skills to turn it into a splendid outdoor living room suitable for family time or easy entertaining.

One more thing: You’ll see from her blog Lay Baby Lay that Joni often gets her three-year-old involved in the decorating process. That’s the case here, too. Prepare to be amazed.

Backyard Patio Ideas: A Pergola, DIY Decor and Family Fun

I’m the mama of two active little girls (3 and 14 months!), and we spend a lot of time outdoors, so I was very excited to participate in the Patio Style Challenge with The Home Depot. It was a chance to do a little work on our backyard and make a space that is comfortable for our family to enjoy. We also recently turned the dining room of our bungalow into a nursery upon Brigette’s arrival, so we are excited to have some more dining space!

Backyard Patio Ideas: A Pergola with DIY Decor

While we have a smaller home, we actually have a pretty great yard with a lot of room (and we love throwing parties!), but we haven’t been making great use of the space. I loved this little area underneath a lovely dogwood, so that is where we decided to build a patio and pergola.

Backyard Patio Ideas: A space for the family to enjoy

Building the Patio and Pergola

To create the patio where there was none, we used these stone pavers from The Home Depot, which I love. They are much more cost effective than gorgeous natural stone, but it still gives a random look.

My husband Chip laid every one of them–it’s like playing grown up Legos or Tetris (I’m sure he’d agree). We worked really hard with the gracious help of my dad, putting together the gorgeous pergola and getting the patio floor perfectly flat to lay down all those heavy stones.

We built the pergola from scratch using pressure-treated lumber from plans my amazing dad created. But you can purchase pergola kits from The Home Depot, which make building a pergola easier.

We were all exhausted by the end of the weekend, but it was well worth it!

Backyard Patio Ideas: A pergola with DIY decorations

The Patio Set

The patio set we were given for the Style Challenge was the Hampton Bay Pine Valley Seating Set. I love that it’s a seating set, so it’s also comfortable for lounging and chatting–not just dining.

I added two sweet little vintage chairs for the girls (they love them!), and we switched out the top on the coffee table (more on that later) to customize it a little. The chairs and settee are super comfortable, and the chairs even rock a little. I’d take a nap out there, if the little people would let me! I really don’t see that happening anytime soon, though.

Backyard Patio Ideas:

We enjoyed a little afternoon snack of scones, fruit, and cream while we photographed the space. Getting to eat such treats, plus being outside, is always a hit with the girls!

Backyard Patio Ideas:

Customizing the Outdoor Pillows is Kid’s Play

Vivi helped me with the sweet pillows.

I wanted to do something custom, and I found some plain white outdoor fabric. I gave her a paintbrush and some hot pink paint (her favorite!), and she had a blast painting all over it. I added a few strokes, too, and it was a really fun and special project to work on together.

They turned out perfectly, I think! She is getting to be an expert in this department.

Backyard Patio Ideas: A toddler-decorated throw pillow

Backyard Patio Ideas: DIY patio decorations

DIY Patio Decorations

Another one of my favorite details are the plumb bob hangings. I’m calling it “plumb bob macrame”, although it’s really not macrame at all.

I wanted to do some kind of interesting hanging, so I walked up and down the aisles of The Home Depot looking for some inspiration. I came across these plumb bobs, and they were just so beautiful that I had to get a few. I also picked up a few little pieces of hardware from the plumbing department (I think?), which are the little brass fittings. I bought a bunch of wooden balls, strung them together with the fittings on some suede cord, added some tassels (I’ll be posting a DIY on Lay Baby Lay!) and then strung the plumb bobs onto the end.

Plumb perfect, don’t you think?

Backyard Patio Ideas: "Plumb bob macrame"

Triangle Side Tables

My dad was also kind enough to build these custom triangle side tables. I’m in love with them.

The tops are two thick pieces of reclaimed wood from the floor joists of my great-great-grandmother’s home, joined together with a biscuit joiner (which is a pretty awesome little tool if you have never seen one!) . The legs are 1/2″ galvanized pipe screwed into pipe flanges on the base of the top. He added extra support by welding some steel rods at the base and painted all the metal gold.

Aren’t they gorgeous? I love having such pieces around our home that tell the story of who we are and the heritage we are blessed to share with our babies!

Backyard Patio Ideas: Triangle side tables

Adding Plants to the Backyard Patio

I was also excited to try my hand at growing plants. I bought some Double Knockout Roses at the advice of my aunt, and I fell in love with these flowering almond bushes. They are just beautiful, and I hope I can keep them alive.

I love the terra cotta planters from The Home Depot, with their simple, clean shape, and added a “dipped” look with some painter’s tape and spray paint.

Backyard Patio Ideas: Dipped terra cotta planters

The Pergola at Night

The space is also gorgeous at night! We strung outdoor lights across the pergola, and I found a really fun vintage swag light to hang for fun occasions.

It’s going to be such a great spot to have at home date nights. I love that Chip and I can hang out, be unplugged and feel like we are somewhere else entirely, even though we are just in our backyard!

Backyard Patio Ideas: Pergola lit up with string lights

DIY Coffee Table Decoration

As for the top of the coffee table, we took out the tile top, and Vivi helped me paint a bright design on plywood. We added a glass top for a little extra protection. I love the punch of color it adds.

Backyard Patio Ideas: A decorated outdoor coffee table

So, there you have it!

Thank you so much, Home Depot, for this opportunity! It’s been a lot of work, but so rewarding.

I’ve posted more photos and details on this patio makeover on Lay Baby Lay, and I’d love for you to stop by for some inspiration on decor for little ones (and big ones, too!)!

Backyard Patio Ideas: Joni Lay's patio and pergola lit up at night

Backyard Patio Ideas: A Pergola, DIY Decor and Family Fun

Joni Lay offers decor ideas and inspiration, along with posts about raising her babies on her blog Lay Baby Lay. It’s packed with style boards, photos and even some of her own prints for sale. 

To decorate her patio, Joni started with the Hampton Bay Pine Valley Seating Set from The Home Depot.

For more backyard patio ideas and inspiration, see other Patio Style Challenges as well as our Patio Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest. And browse our online Outdoor Living Department for everything you need for your patio, backyard or garden. 

Style Challenge is a series of posts from guest contributors who aim to bring you fresh inspiration and ideas for your home and garden using a single Home Depot product as a starting point. Joni received the patio set from The Home Depot and a gift card. The opinions and ideas Joni expressed are her own.