Craftsman backyard patio summer tour from Thrifty Decor Chick Leave a comment

When we had a large concrete patio installed in the backyard years ago, I was
determined to create an outdoor space that was as low maintenance as possible.
We adored our backyard set up at the old house, but the wood deck and paver
patio were more work than we realized they’d be.

We have a covered patio that we used ALL of the time (and still do), but we
wanted to stretch out a bit back here. I came up with this concrete patio
design that allows for plenty of open space, as well as an outdoor dinging
area, my potting bench that I love, our grill and the best part…the round
fire pit section that we had dreamed of since moving in. 

patio dining area with string cafe lights

I can’t believe I didn’t take before photos before we started…but here’s a
look at the cement patio with the circular fire pit area right after it was

Did I mention no maintenance? 🙂 That was KEY. All we have to do with the
basic concrete patio is have it sealed every year or two. Plus, it was way
cheaper. SOLD!

For the past couple of years we’ve been adding to the landscaping slow but
sure. Last fall we added a few evergreens around the fire pit area: 

round fire pit with Adirondack chairs

And they promptly died the next spring. 😏

We were able to replace those plus a few more (with credit for the old ones)
with arborvitaes that will grow MUCH faster. We have tons of privacy spring
through fall, but in the winters we lose most of it. My goal is to plant as
many evergreens around our yard as is humanly possible. 🙂 

We had these same Thuja arborvitaes planted in our old back yard and they got
huge quick!: 

Thuja arborvitae trees for privacy

In a few years we’ll have a lot more privacy around the fire pit. I plan to
layer more bushes and plants in this mulched area as well. 

x base outdoor dining table
So far we LOVE it! The old one had a wood top and even though
I was able to refinish it
last year, by the end of the summer it was a complete mess again. Remember
that no maintenance thing? 🙂 

This one has a substantial faux concrete top that so far has held up great to
the elements. They recommend oiling the wood base, which I will do soon. It is
so pretty, I just love it! Very much a Pottery Barnish look. 

Of course flowers are the detail that finish off an outdoor space beautifully.
Because I have so many planters (I get most of mine buy one get one half off
at At Home), I like to use flowers that will spread to fill them. 

Petunia varieties are my favorite:

outdoor planter flowers

Any trailing plant like potato vine or asparagus fern are great for filling in
dead spots and draping over the sides: 

spilling filler flowers in containers
sedum plant in planter
I planted those in our cement containers that hold our poles
the patio string lights. This stuff is amazing — and it keeps it’s blooms all through the winter

Look for perennial plants (that come back year after year) for the
landscape in late summer/early fall. Prices will drop the closer you get
to the winter. And plants usually fair much better if planted in the
spring or fall. I purchased almost every flowering bush in our landscape
for less than $20.

Last fall we replaced our plastic Adirondack chairs around the fire pit
(that flew away into the woods during every storm) with
these amazing Polywood chairs

round fire pit with chairs

They are absolutely the best. Hands down. They’ve been out for nearly
a year exposed to rain, sun, wind and snow…and still look perfect. They
are an investment but 100 percent worth it if you have the budget for them.
(Go to POLYWOOD, there are a lot of imposters.) 

I dreamed of a round fire pit area in our backyard since we decided to move,
and it is one of our favorite parts of our whole house: 

round concrete fire pit on patio

fire pit with chairs surrounding

This year we’ve been focused on adding as many trees as our budget will
allow. We LOVE our big backyard so much, but have missed the private feeling
of our old patio and deck. 

Trees not only add privacy, they soften things a bit and make the whole
space feel cozier. So far we’ve focused on near the patio, but we hope to
add more in the backyard this fall. 

I always talk about taking your time when designing a space, and the
same goes for outdoor spaces. Especially when you’re plantings larger
ticket items like trees — think about future plans before planting.
They can be moved, but smaller bushes and flowers are much easier to

It’s only been a couple years but our patio has come a long way! We have so
many plans for the landscaping and more, but half of the fun is dreaming up
what you’d like to do, right? This outdoor space is our sanctuary and our
favorite place to host family and friends: 

gray house white trim covered patio

Enjoy some before pics and a few afters (my favorites are at night!): 

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