Mid Mod Patio: Before & After

So I showed you the big reveal of my Mid-Century Modern/Boho Patio Re-do, but I thought I’d also share the before-and-after pics because those are always fun. Check them out, with my notes about what went down. It was more work than it appears! But the best kind of work… I believe my real estate agent calls it “sweat equity,” and that is an apt term.

First up is my new fire pit area on the West side of the pool. This side of the house is mostly shaded throughout the day by the large pine and palms. The “lawn” was mostly dead, due to a large, adorable dog that used it as a toilet – luckily my small dog is a city street rat and only likes to pee on cement, so I wasn’t going to have that problem. I debated going with crushed granite like I have in the front yard, but you have to walk on this area to get onto the diving board (and I am not removing the diving board, even though my insurance company recommended it) so I didn’t want to track crushed granite or mulch or pebbles into my pool and therefore into my pool filter. It’s also nice to have a small (it’s less then 100 square feet) patch of grass, and being so tiny it doesn’t require more water than we are alloted (Can you tell I feel guilty for being an Angeleno with a lawn?). So we chose a heartier grass and laid new sod. The one thing I knew I really wanted on the cement pavers was one of these outdoor fire pits. I picked this one from Lamps Plus, and it’s been perfect. The screen on top has kept little hands out of the fire and we have roasted the kind of s’mores memories are made of. I love the modern lines as well, which lent it perfectly to some Acapulco chairs. I was picturing friends reclining around the fire chatting and drinking wine in the winter. Or in the summer. Or pretty much anytime, really.

Before: house-before-80
After: mid-mod-patio-reveal4

Acapulco chairs run about $350-$500 each at furniture stores, so I scoured Craigslist every day for a month until I found someone selling some used ones that he had brought home from his family who makes them in Mexico for $45 each. His sweet wife had just had a baby, and let me meet her at home to check them out, then when they didn’t fit in my car, her husband drove them over to my house! It was a great deal and actually a really fun afternoon. I had originally wanted black Acapulco chairs, but at that price I was like “orange works.” Now I’m so glad I got the colorful ones, as they really pop and work with the bright green of the house’s trim. I also love that two of them rock – Scarlet adores sitting out here with a book and just rocking back and forth in the breeze.

I also did a lot of work back here that might not be as obvious. The garden area above the low cement wall was wild and beautiful, but also a bit of a hot mess – it was filled with dead pine needles about a foot deep, which were home to several brown widow nests (so I called Orkin and cleaned that up), and not one but TWO decomposing possum corpses. That was disgusting, but my new neighbor, who is wonderful (new friends! best part of moving!), hooked me up with her gardener, who came over with his dad and helped me clear everything out and decide what to plant. I kept the palms, mission figs, and a few of the succulents, then I added some new drought-tolerant plants, mulch, and pool-pump-hiding reeds, all of which I will tell you about in another detailed, rambling post about drought tolerant landscaping. I also wanted some fountains, I chose this one originally to put in front of the pool pump to visually block it, but the electricity couldn’t run over to that spot, so I put it by my bedroom window, and now I love listening to it at night. Scarlet loves that it lights up. Then I needed to add a really absorbant door mat, just because of people running inside the house from the pool. The final touch over here is the outdoor party lights. You might not even notice them here, but at night, they are FANTASTIC, because they are very heavy duty – not your average string lights. I chose two sets of these, which, at 100 feet, were enough to string back and fourth four times and light up the whole space with a magical glow. Carleton and I had fun hanging these together, which mostly involved me watching him climb trees while biting my nails, yet still telling him to climb a little higher until they were all perfect.

Before: house-before-83-copy

Over here is the East side of the pool, and also the entrance into the living room/kitchen (where the windows are), and the door to the garage (where the paneling is). The previous owners had built and installed the beautiful red mangaris wood deck, which is perfect. I even asked them to leave their furniture behind when we were negotiating, but it was great, so they kept it (ha). I obsessed over outdoor seating for so long, for months before we moved in, then after we had lived there for a bit. I even asked for your advice on facebook! I had purchase the equipales table and chairs for my previous home just a few months before, so I knew I wanted to keep them, but wasn’t sure how they would work. I had placed them where the fire pit now is for a while, but realized that we never ended up using them because they were so far from the kitchen. We really love to eat outside, so I had to move them over here. In the end, I think it works. I really had to choose between having some lounge chairs or having a table, and I am glad I chose a table, because the pool has a baja shelf and it turns out that the shelf is where everyone wants to lounge anyway. Which is also the reason I chose to get some outdoor umbrellas – there are pre-drilled holes in the deck and the baja shelf to hold them, and the more I live here the more I appreciate the shade they provide. I also just had to grab that candle holder you see on the table. It’s such a great match, right?

Before: house-before-7-copy
After: mid-mod-patio-reveal9

So I knew that I wanted a couch or conversation set of some kind over here. I wanted something big, not a daybed (though I loved the pallet daybed I made for my old house, I also realized over the years I sat on it that I don’t really like to sit on a daybed. They are great for laying down alone, but not so much for sitting with company…everyone’s backs start to hurt). We have a lot of parties with a lot of people, so I wanted a sectional of some kind. I ended up choosing this outdoor sectional which came with all the cushions and the coffee table. I had originally planned to use it in an L-shape, but the deck turned out to be so wide that I think it works all straight like this, which also allowed me to sneak in my old favorite wicker chair from my last house. The quality of this sectional is much higher than I had anticipated. It came flat-packed, so I put off assembling it for a few days, imagining an ikea-like stressful afternoon, but when I finally opened it up, it was just a matter of attaching the backs and legs (I did the entire thing alone), which came with all the tools, extra parts, and even had beautiful matching screw caps, so it really looks like high end hotel furniture from all angles. I like that the wood matches the deck in pattern and color, and the metal has withstood all of the water our pool parties have thrown at it. The two metal and wood stools I have had for several years, also from Lamps Plus, and they work out here as side tables. I added a few succulents potted in cheap terra cotta pots for a little color, and a couple ikea pillows for a little pattern. I also did a lot of planting work on this side of the house, which is not obvious here but will be detailed for you in another post. Overall, this area of our home gets more use than any other spot except our beds.


On the North side of the patio there’s not a ton of space. The pool butts up against the house, with a few feet of decking alongside low cement barriers that contain about 30 inches of pretty pebbles meeting the walls. Cement pavers are randomly spaced on top of the pebbles. I thought I could create more outdoor seating in the area underneath the office window, and add a potting bench with all of my beloved succulents. The bench was about $120 and is my most favorite thing in the entire yard. I love the way it looks, the color, the height, everything about it is exactly what I wanted. I also needed to pull out all the crazy grass around the palm tree and wanted to put a planter on top of the random cement square by the pool. I originally purchased the tall planter for that space from a place around the corner called Jackalope Pottery, but it proved to be weirdly too tall, so I moved it back onto the pebbles against the wall and love it there. Fun fact, the plant that is in the tall planter was originally a tiny little clipping I used in our succulent wreath DIY. The wreath blew apart in a windstorm a year or so after I made it, so I replanted the succulents that were in it, and now I still own almost all of them, and they are huge like this one! I also managed to find some room for my wicker lounge chair in this corner of the pool. There’s a small seating shelf in the deep end of the pool that has a hole in it to hold an umbrella. It works out perfectly to lay back in this lounge chair to enjoy the shade and the view of the pool. This is right outside Scarlet’s room, so she tends to cozy up here with that stripey blanket and a book in the evening.

Before: house-before-31-copy
After: mid-mod-patio-reveal19

So that’s most of my rambling thoughts about this redesign thus far. Did I miss anything? Have any questions or thoughts? Want to come over? Tell me everything!

Before: house-before-2-copy
After: mid-mod-patio-reveal8

Lamps Plus provided me with some of the products I selected for this post. Thank you!



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