Backyard Help

I think I’ve mentioned before that some of my very best recommendations come directly from readers like YOU.  I am so thankful when you guys take time out of your day, not only to read this blog, but also to comment and share something with me.  🙂

With that in mind, I’m hoping that several of you fabulous backyard designers and landscapers are reading today.  Haha!  I feel pretty confident in pulling a room together with things I like, but you guys…when it comes to the backyard I’m NO HELP!  Our backyard right now is such a hodge podge of random that I’m hoping you guys will take a peek and then tell me what to do, offer a suggestion, or possibly even send me the exact link to what I need to purchase.  #notevenkidding

Without further ado….the random that is our backyard right now.  Please know….I did nothing to get ready to take these pictures so you’re seeing the REAL life backyard.

Keep in mind, I’d prefer it to look like you’re stepping into the pages of the Outdoor Pottery Barn catalog.  (Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn).

 These are my main questions in this area.

*Due to the sun, our backyard gets a ton of direct sunlight especially in the evening so should we add some sort of shade?

*I have navy/white chair cushions for the table, but should I add a rug?  

*Should we add more seating to that open area in the right?  It gets shade pretty early on because of the trees.  I have four grey adirondack chairs that could be placed back there?

*Should that front area with the planter have something larger?  Or should all the planters match?  

I’m starting to think this should have been a three-part-help-Erika’s-backyard post.  🙂  I have SO many questions!

 My concerns in this location…

*What about those curtains?  The space is so shallow there’s no closing them or they’d be practically in your face.  Do you have any ideas for something else that would provide shade?  What about a big, HUGE umbrella?  The kind that tilts?

*This area gets ALL THE SUN!  Everything in this spot, tends to fade because of ALL THE SUN.  Any ideas???

*It’s pretty shallow and eventually we’ll probably build something but I’m looking for inexpensive ways to help us utilize the space more this summer.

Main concerns…
*Those are the adirondack chairs I mentioned above.  I have two more.  Should we move those to that back corner of the yard?

*Any ideas on what to do with this area by the grill that is a shallow space and happens to get a ton of sun in the evening?

*Where’s your favorite place to get lounge chair cushions?

Ladies…HELP!!  🙂  Did I overwhelm you with that?  Our backyard is a hot, random mess so I guess it totally goes with the blog theme.  But I’d love to change that ASAP.  Please share any helpful ideas you have.  I’d greatly appreciate it!  And remember direct links are appreciated!  haha!

Have a GREAT day!

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  1. 5.17.18
    Mix and Match Mama said:

    You need Andrew to comment. I'm no help. 😉

    • 5.17.18
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I really do!!! Hahahaha!!

  2. 5.17.18
    Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said:

    COME ON READERS! I can't wait to see what their ideas are, especially for dealing with the sun on the covered porch!

    • 5.17.18
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I think everyone reading is as overwhelmed as I am. Haha!

  3. 5.17.18
    Jen said:

    Your yard is lovely! Suggestions from the pics would be to yes, move the ad chairs to the other side of pool. I love an outdoor rug for under the table- they come in such fun colors/patterns now and can really make that space nice. That is also where I would consider putting a big tilt umbrella for more shade or a pergola over the table. The blue flower pot on the stand is lovely- it looks a little poked out there in its current location. Maybe place it by the dining table or closer to the wall of the house? As for all the sun in the shallow space- would you consider a retractable awning? They come in so many fabrics now and can really look nice. It would expand your useable space there, and provide shade. A google search shows there is a wide range of options from a cost perspective if you want something a little cheaper to try out first and see if you like it before investing in a higher quality. Your pool is gorgeous!

    • 5.17.18
      Erika Slaughter said:

      Jen, THANK YOU!!!! I’ve never considered a retractable awning but it sounds like I should!! Thank you for suggesting this!!

  4. 5.17.18
    Amy Heinl said:

    First of all..your home is beautiful…in the shallow seating area by the house where the curtains are…I would put a retractable sun shade…they are wonderful and come in a variety of colors. I would so put a rug down in that area. In the area by your green planter I would put you four grey Adirondack chairs in a circle and I would by a round fire pit to put in the middle..perfect for late night cookout and smore making. I would get a cantilever umbrella to cover that seating area with shade during the day time. Very affordable through way fair. I would put a rug under the dining area and then over in the far corner I would put a small gazebo. Can't wait to see what you do with it. The other thing you may want to try…my friend brings in potted large palm trees every year for shade around her pull. We live outside of Pittsburgh. She puts them all around her pool area and then gets rid of them in the winter for us but you may not have to do that but that's another option. Can't wait to see your finished redo

  5. 5.17.18
    Cheri said:

    I would do 2 rugs, one under your seating area and one in the shallow area that you have chairs. I would also remove the curtains and do shades you can pull up and down or a retractable awning that would extend out beyond the roof line. Put the adirondack chairs back in that shade corner you said was on the right and if you don't have a fire pit I would put one there with the chairs around it. You can easily make a fire pit with bricks in a circular pattern (google or check pinterest). Cushions and rugs can really be any color you choose.

  6. 5.17.18
    Lisa Mazzara said:

    I agree with the awning! Then you could bring that furniture out more. It seems too big and too much for the current space. Also, I'd put an umbrella over the table and a rug under the table. I like the idea of moving all the grey chairs to that back area as well. I'd also put out all the plants in that area by the pool. I"d fill it in with landscaping stone and some stepping stones.

  7. 5.17.18
    Anonymous said:

    I’m not good at outdoor spaces, but I love the idea of putting those Adirondack chairs in the corner!! Your backyard is gorgeous! 🙂

  8. 5.17.18
    Kathleen said:

    My neighbor also has a retractable awning. It provides great shade and rolls in when bad weather comes.

  9. 5.17.18
    Valerie Cox said:

    Instead of the curtains, you should get a retractable screen that drops down. That way you can raise and lower it based on height and still be able to see the pool when the sun is out

    • 5.17.18
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I’ve been googling and those look amazing!!! Why have I never heard of this before? We need this!! Thank you!!!

  10. 5.17.18
    brookerichardson said:

    All I got to say is I’m happy to come chill in your backyard with or without the new design. I’m sure you will get lots of great ideas. 🙂

  11. 5.17.18
    Weight Watcher Momma said:

    If you do a retractable awning- absoltuely go with Sunsetter. I did a ton of research years ago and they are the absolute best! My husband installed ours on his own just fine. It also comes with a remote- so it is easy peasy to open and close. I will tell you if it is an especially windy day- then sometimes you can’t use it. Other than that we used ours a ton. We have since moved, but we used it for about 4 years and no issues.

  12. 5.17.18
    Unknown said:

    Over the small seating area, an awning would be great, provide shade, make the area larger for more seating.

  13. 5.17.18
    Kara said:

    I like the hose not rolled up and the random shoe in one of your pictures- makes me feel right at home.

    No help with design…jealous of those who do know about design! Good luck!!!

  14. 5.17.18
    Bailey Bryant said:

    My 2 cents…take out the big furniture/table from the covered area and move it to the more shaded area of the yard along with an umbrella table to provide more shade. (Open air is cooler than direct sun in a tight space). Fill the covered area with one or two small chairs and more potted plants. Maybe move the grill there? I just think that space is small and needs to be more open. Also, move the potted plant that is directly behind the flower bed and in front of the covered area to another spot.

  15. 5.17.18
    hopechelle said:

    I love getting help from others as well but you have a great backyard!!!I would get a pergola. Move the furniture in the shallow space to the pergola. Paint your Adirondack chairs with Rustoleum spray. They have a variery of colors. You could paint them navy and it would look nice with your other cushions. Get some nice flowers that dont require alot of attention and can stand full sunlight in certain areas and plant in planters and sit outside the pergola. Can't wait to see the end result.

  16. 5.17.18
    Unknown said:

    I have a new pool myself, so the comments are helpful to me too! As far as cushions go, the At Home Stores (former Garden Ridge) have oodles and oodles of cushions, all sizes and patterns and tons of other affordable outdoor accessories, including umbrellas.

  17. 5.17.18
    Amy said:

    Oh my goodness I feel like we could be soul sisters….just looking at my Pottery Barn catalog last night thinking the same exact thing. Struggling with the same problems….love the ideas of a retractable awning or even the pergola. Can't wait to see what you do….quick question…what is the coloring of the marcite in your pool that the water looks that gorgeous blue?

  18. 5.17.18
    jthmas said:

    Look into Sunbrella for cushions. We live in Tucson, AZ so obviously we get tons of sun. Our cushions are by Sunbrella and there is absolutely no fade on any of them! We leave them out in direct sun all year, we never take them off. We have had them for over 4 years and they look brand new! Keep in mind, you pay for the quality 🙂

  19. 5.17.18
    Erin Shanks said:

    I feel like that's a lot of furniture for such a shallow space. I'd move it over to the shady area and just put a lot of pots and color right there. Maybe just a couple of the adirondack chairs and a side table and pots with some color.

  20. 5.17.18
    lacey.henry said:

    Your yard has great bones! Yes, to the retractable awning and yes to a covered dining area with a rug and yes to a fire pit area with the Adirondack chairs. I would also suggest, moving the BBQ pit out from the covered area. You have limited real estate right there, so tuck it around the side of the house. You can even place it on pavers and put a cover on it. We just recently did this with ours and it allowed us to regain some backyard space. Good luck and I can't wait to see the after pictures!

  21. 5.17.18
    Elizabeth said:

    For the shallow space I would remove those curtains and install a retractable awning! You can get it in any color/pattern you want (I think!)

  22. 5.17.18
    Darcy said:

    I'm so jealous of your back yard! You have a lot of good things going on! I agree with removing the curtains, and adding in something that will create more shade. And I think a rug would really make your dining area stand out! My favorite place to go for inexpensive outdoor rugs, umbrellas, chair cushions, etc. is Costco online! So much of their stuff ships for free, is GREAT quality, and very reasonably priced. (You don't have to have a membership to look around the site.) If you don't have a Costco membership….it's worth finding someone who does who will order it for you. 🙂
    All of their lawn/patio stuff is here:
    I love their outdoor rugs (starting at $75!!) here:
    I love the clean lines of the Brasilia awnings, but the SunSetter awnings are like half the price here:
    I've found with Costco, you don't have a lot of options….but the quality makes up for it. Plus they have an amazing return policy (as good as Nordy's) and their shipping is fast!

  23. 5.17.18
    agalandherdog said:

    I agree that the space under your covered porch is too small for the furniture you have there now. You could do the retractable awning, take down the curtains and that would help there. You need a fire pit and should place your four adirondack chairs around it. Lowe's has a DIY kit that I used. It was an easy afternoon project for me and my mom and has held up for years:

  24. 5.17.18
    Amanda @ That Inspired Chick said:

    I am always trying to fix my backyard! Just when I think I've made progress, the boys and all of their friends invade and when they leave, it looks like the Dollar Tree threw up everywhere. It would be a lot cuter if there weren't random water guns, broken toy cars, and every ball known to man laying all over the place all the time. 😉 We built on that sunroom and we totally regret it. We wish we'd have just done a nice covered porch extension with vaulted ceilings. I love all the suggestions you are getting though! Those Sunsetter things always looked cool! Try that!
    That Inspired Chick

  25. 5.17.18
    Kelly said:

    For the shallow seating area, I would move the couch to the window where the single wicker chair is, and turn the coffee table the other direction in front of the couch. Move the two wicker chairs somewhere else–maybe the section where the grill is now.

  26. 5.17.18
    Unknown said:

    I agree with putting a retractable awning in over your shallow seating area with the couch and chairs. It’ll add shade And that area will feel larger. I think an awning that goes out is better than a retractable screen that comes down where your curtains are. I think the screen would still make the space seem small. Putting the four chairs back in the shade is a good idea. If it’s a tight fit then just put two back there. An outdoor rug under your table (target had some CUTE ones recently) and a big umbrella will make your table area look nice. I think bright cushions for sure. A fire pit where your potted plant is now (in front of shallow seating area) will be nice for evenings outside. I’d move the potted plant to another place. Your backyard is beautiful regardless of if you do any of these things! Such a fun space 🙂

  27. 5.17.18
    Nmm said:

    I agree with the retractable awning from Sunsetter, cushions from Sunbrella are awesome, and the grey chairs should move to the open space. In your shallow space – would you consider a porch swing? We have ours bolted to the rafters and it’s my happy place. With the awning I place your bigger porch furniture can move out more and closer to the grill area.

    The grill area should probably shift a bit though it grilling in direct sun sounds horrible. If you get an umbrella that juts out to cover your dining table – you could reuse your current one to create a shaded grilling area.

  28. 5.17.18
    Stephanie said:

    Here are my thoughts….
    Take down the curtains and add an awning (preferably retractable) or see if you could add a pergola on the back of the house.
    Move the grill out of the cove – put it next to the gutter downspout on the back wall
    Place ad chairs in the shallow space next to the house, you have too much furniture in that space.
    Add an outdoor rug under the table and chairs
    Move the furniture back near the trees and add another large umbrella.
    Move the planter, it isn’t needed with the flowerbed there.

  29. 5.17.18
    JustAPeach said:

    What about like someone mentioned moving the furniture from the covered area to another area of the yard and add one of the swing bed things?

  30. 5.17.18
    sarah said:

    Your backyard is beautiful- I,agee with the retractable awning. Have you considered a fence for the pool? I know you watch closely but it only takes a second for something to happen

  31. 5.17.18
    Unknown said:

    Could you flip the seating area with your table? Or is it too shallow for a table and chairs? You could leave the umbrella for shade if you made it a seating area maybe?

  32. 5.18.18
    Unknown said:

    I agree with others about moving the Adirondacks around a fire pit and also moving the big furniture out from the shallow space. I would suggest a smaller high top table with a couple barstools either by the grill or where the big furniture used to be. I've had a lot of luck with lately for outdoor furniture. Good luck!

  33. 5.21.18
    Unknown said:

    Erika, if you haven't shopped there before, Joss & Main has beautiful, inexpensive furniture and decor. If you decide to add a rug, check them out! Very reasonable priced.

  34. 5.24.18
    Kasi said:

    yes, my mother in law's house and pool is set up much like yours.. it has that shallow porch that gets so much sun. They put in one of those sun setters (retractable motorized awning) and we made fun of them at first because the commercial is so silly. It seemed like such an "old person" thing to do but honestly it is wonderful and perfect for the space. It comes out over part of the pool when it is fully extended and really makes their pool more useable. Our pool is shaded in the late afternoon/evening by our house (faces west) so we don't have the problem of having too much sun on it which is both a blessing and a curse. It's great in the mid to late summer but like right now, we wish we got more sun!

  35. 5.25.18
    Brittany said:

    I am late to this comment party, but love a good outdoor space and have similar issues as you: pool, full sun, shallow covered seating area. I would definitely put a rug under your dining table, and move the Adirondack chairs and get a fire pit for the shady area you mentioned. I would swap your seating area under the porch with the bbq grill. The area with the bbq grill looks to be a little deeper and could accommodate the seating space a little better. I would also move that small pot you have out near the pool currently, to either the other side of the waterfall, or up closer to the house, maybe in a grouping with some of the other pots you have. You have a really beautiful backyard regardless if you don’t even change 1 thing! Sometimes i get caught up in what others have that i don’t and it’s hard for me to remember that i have a nice space and am lucky to have a pool in this heat, even if i don’t have shade and don’t know where to put things and don’t have this amazing resort of a backyard that looks like a pottery barn catalogue. And, this has sparked some ideas for me to change a few things in my own yard, so thank you!

  36. 5.28.18
    Kjlb37 said:

    We have been in our home for 9 years and are STILL working on our pool area! You have received some great suggestions, can't wait to see what you decide to do. Please do a follow up post;).