Empty Backyard Becomes Comfortable Outdoor Living Room

Nicole White

Article Posted By: Nicole White

of Live Laugh Decorate


Nicole White Quinn of LiveLaughDecorate had a giant, very empty backyard behind her South Florida home. But she knew exactly what she wanted to do with it: build a comfortable outdoor living room.

After laying a new paver patio, moving in new outdoor furniture, and even painting her fence, she created her dream outdoor space. It’s great for entertaining and just relaxing. It’s an outdoor living room, for sure.

For our Patio Style Challenge series, Nicole shows us how this remarkable outdoor space came together.

Outdoor Living Room Comes to Life

When we were house-hunting two years ago, having a large backyard was on our wish list. But since we had a modest budget, the wish seemed impossible until we saw this house.

The house needed A LOT of work, so much so that our realtor told us to run away. Fast.

But when I saw the size of the backyard, my heart skipped a million beats. The outdoor possibilities seemed endless.

So you can imagine how hard I squealed when I got the email saying I’d been chosen to participate in The Home Depot’s Patio Style Challenge.

The deadline was insane! But since I always need a tight deadline to get things done around my house, not to mention that I’m a sucker for punishment, my team and I rolled up our sleeves and whipped up a plan.

LLD_PSC_03The goal: I wanted outdoors to feel like an extension of our indoor space, so wanted multiple seating zones. But the real challenge would be how best to create a patio.

I had always wanted cement pavers to define the new patio area that would extend from the back of the house. I’d done these before many many years ago when I did landscape design, and knew it was no easy feat. Our patio would be huge 26 x 20, which would mean making wooden forms for each paver, clearing the entire area of grass, leveling the space, laying out the squares, making sure they were level, then scheduling a cement pour for each.

Lord help us. It would be a doozie, but we’ll have a separate post to walk you through that DIY process.


So here’s what we have after a manic few weeks, with the majority of work getting done in the final week. It was seriously a race to the finish line. For reals.

But the pavers made my heart swoon. They’re large enough to place large and small furniture and accent pieces without worrying about them being unstable.



The Moreno Valley Patio Sofa from Home Depot was perfect, especially since the cushions were in my favorite color— orange.


Outdoor throw pillows and a throw for those chilly nights, are perfect ways to personalize this large sofa.

It’s every bit as large as comfortable as it looks so lemme just tell you that that sofa will be getting a lot of use.


Across from the sofa/living room area, is the new outdoor dining table. We entertain a lot, so wanted a large dining table that could seat at least six and settled on the Vernon Hills Rectangular Dining Table and six of the accompanying Vernon Hill Patio Chairs.


I especially love these wood-look tiles that make this tabletop. The table is sturdy, trendy and perfect for outdoors.



We need to upgrade our lighting in the backyard next, so ’til then, we’re using these Galvanized Metal Lanterns with battery operated candles atop the dining table and scattered throughout the patio.


We also hung these Natural Brown Rattan Ball String Lights from the patio umbrella for additional lighting.

We added succulents from The Home Depot as well for extra tablescape decor, and placed my favorite tulips in glass hurricane vases we DIY in a previous Home Depot Style Challenge featuring holiday decorations.


We finished that area by placing a bar cart next to the dining table, which gives easy access for a drink or two.


While we are planning to add a more permanent shade structure via a pergola in a few weeks, the Hampton Bay Aluminum Patio Market Umbrella will provide enough shade for now.

And yes, you are looking at our very black fence!


I fell in love with painting the fence black from an Instagram post shared by a fellow blogger.

We rented an electric pressure washer from The Home Depot, and my hubby Patrick and his friend Steve tackled that Saturday evening after the cement pavers had been poured.

We painted the fence Sunday morning, after praying steadfastly that the rain forecasted would never happen. It didn’t.

We used Behr’s Limousine Leather (the same black in my powder room and master bedroom accent wall), but mixed for outdoor fencing. Our fence needed ten gallons of paint.

It’s the perfect backdrop for all the pops of color we have scattered throughout the patio.

That includes our four-year-old son Xavier’s new game of hopscotch.


We created the hopscotch play area for Xavier (and moi!) by using old garden pavers from the previous homeowner. Xavier and I painted them with leftover Behr paint we’d used for indoor projects, then spray painted numbers with Rustoleum White Glossy Paint for him to practice his counting skills.


Last but not least, is the cooking zone. The hubs and I love to cook, and so does Xavier, so these Wooden Chalkboard Planter Box were a perfect fit for this outdoor space.


Xavier loves it and helped picked the herbs, so it’s officially one of his favorite outdoor areas.


And Holy Mother of Grilling! A huge addition to this patio project was getting this 4 Burner Gas Grill. It’s going down with some steaks on the grill this weekend. Best believe.


And that’s all folks. We finally we get to hang outdoors and enjoy the tropical weather we are blessed with here in South Florida.

Huge thanks again to The Home Depot for including us in this Patio Style Challenge. Thanks also to everyone on my team— Amanda, Roy, Ximena, Debbie, Carlos, Steve, my brother Shomari and our neighbor Rick, who chipped in to help. Our backyard will be eternally grateful.


If you need me this weekend, I’ll be lounging right here, sipping wine through this straw and pondering how many succulents I can amass throughout this backyard.

Photos by Darryl Nobles of Dream Focus Photography.

Nicole White Quinn of LiveLaughDecorate is the CEO/Design Principal of Nicole White Designs Interiors, a full-service boutique interior design firm, based in Miami, Florida. Nicole is an award-winning designer, whose projects have been featured in various publications including Better Homes and Garden magazine, Apartment Therapy, The Miami Herald and other publications. When not dreaming up new design plans, she enjoys traveling to some of her favorite cities, satisfying her foodie cravings at favorite restaurants, wine tastings, and spending time with her husband Patrick and toddler, Xavier.

Browse our customizable patio collections, each with at least 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.