How We Made Our Outdoor Living Spaces Low Maintenance- The Patio & Deck Makeover – Shine Your Light

outdoor living

This post is in partnership with Raymour & Flanigan, who I am proud to work with for their quality, customer service and community care!
All opinions about this company and their products are 100% my own.

Summers for us right now mean two of our kids are home from college, our nest is full again, and there are tons of friends and family around. Nothing makes me happier than a warm night with friends, food, music and laughter around the fire, the kids throwing the football around, playing corn hole or laying on the trampoline looking at the stars!! These sweet, ordinary, often unplanned times are what life is all about and I know we will look back on them with such fondness through the years.

Even though all through the winter we can’t wait for warmer weather, every spring Mark’s and my enthusiasm are tempered with ALL THE THINGS we have to do outside before we can relax out there – mow the lawn, clean out the gardens, mulch and plant flowers. We are grateful for our home but sometimes it can feel like endless work! Can you relate? Before you can enjoy, you have a million projects to tackle first? Add to our list the 30+ year old rotting deck that needed boards replaced just to be able to get to our grille safely, and the teak table and chairs that needed to be scrubbed and oiled at the beginning of every summer. Since replacing our deck this year became a MUST with one board after another rotting right through….

….this time around we decided to make it as low maintenance as possible and went with Trex composite decking that has a 25 year warranty and can stand up to our harsh New England winters and hot summers better than natural wood. What a difference!!

As much as we love the look of natural wood, we decided it was also time to say goodbye to our teak table and chairs that I had scrubbed and sealed every summer for years, and find something we could set up at the beginning of the warm weather and just enjoy from Day 1. 

I shared a bit about our new table, chairs and benches from Raymour & Flanigan last week when my rhododendrons were in bloom and we had brunch out here for Hannah’s birthday. They are easy to set up, easy for me to move around on the deck, neutral AND the exact style I wanted, we LOVE them! 

The table and benches are lightweight aluminum but the finish on them is so pretty, just like a driftwood-stained wood. (Holy pollen by the way! I had just hosed off the deck and furniture the morning I took these pictures and when I was editing I could see it had a fresh coat already!)

I opted to go with woven resin wicker armchairs for the ends and these are comfy for lounging after dinner. The chairs and benches came with cushions and I added a couple throw pillows for some color.

The tiled table top is pretty and easy to wipe down.

Also majorly noteworthy about all these pieces – they are all from the Raymour & Flanigan outlet online! There are other pieces from this line that can be bought as a set but I pieced together what we wanted (benches were a must for squeezing lots of people around here in the summer!)

Now onto the patio!

Our deck overlooks our patio and fire pit, and this area got some new low-maintenance seating too! If you’re new here, this is what the view looked like when we moved in – very dark, with tons of trees right up to the deck and a large fenced-in pen for dogs to one side.

We had a bunch of huge pine trees taken down, brought in loam, planted grass and then three summers ago I installed a pea stone patio and built a stone veneered fire pit.

Adding the Adirondack chairs this year was what I had always envisioned for this space and they are perfect here!

A year or two ago I wrote about my search for chairs for this patio and a few of you mentioned that going with a composite material was a total game changer for you, so I took your advice! These chairs are made of a heavy material that is similar to the Trex decking, and won’t warp, rot or need painting through the years! 

At first I thought “composite” Adirondack chairs were the stackable plastic ones you can buy at the hardware store. Those are just fine if you have them by the way, but we were looking for something heavy duty that could withstand the elements for years. These are solid and so comfortable! And it makes my heart beyond happy to see my people hanging out here together!!!

Over the summer this garden of hostas, tiger lillies and seagrass against the house, and the ornamental grasses and spirea I planted around the patio, will all grow tall and fill in, making this area feel a bit more like an outdoor room (in fact I took down the flower boxes that were under those four windows because they eventually get eclipsed by all the plantings in here!). My clematis on the trellis I just built is starting to bounce back from being moved so that will fill up this wall with greenery too.

This fall or next spring we’re planning on having a mature river birch tree or pear/cherry/apple tree that flowers planted in the garden bed around the patio that will grow and give this area some dappled sunlight and shade.

I picked up a couple of these pretty, soft chenille throws this year…..

….and I could not resist this “picnic blanket” too – I’m such a sucker for blue and white stripes!

Blankets, summer cocktails, stacks of wood and s’mores…..what else could we need for an evening by the fire?

Have you ever had Ghirardelli chocolates (little blue packs) in s’mores by the way? I buy the variety pack but next time I have to hide the caramel ones from my kids because they devour them. Those are my favorites!

One last peek of this area when the sun goes down – that’s when the real magic of an outdoor space comes alive! We haven’t put up string lights yet this year but I picked up these cute woven candle holders with glass inserts and put citronella candles in them. They were so pretty as the day’s light faded away! 

I’m obsessed with the woven texture and pretty light they give off, as well as my little hydrangeas that I picked up for only $20 each and put them in pots after reading this post by Jessica at Four Generations One Roof. I’ll plant them in the early fall when the weather cools off and they are done flowering. 

We love our whole outdoor space from the deck to the patio where we will spend a ton of family time this summer and in the years to come. Even though it’s taken years it has been so gratifying to see our visions for this house and yard unfold little by little!

A FEW QUICK TIPS TO MAKE YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES AS LOW MAINTENANCE AS POSSIBLE

• ONE • Use building materials that can withstand your climate. In New England, synthetic materials are far more durable than wood for freezing cold winters, ice and snow as well as summer heat that can be into the 90s. 

• TWO • Consider all-weather furniture that doesn’t need annual staining or sealing. Natural teak and other woods are beautiful and classic but how much time or money do you want to put into maintaining them every year? With so many pretty all-weather furniture sets to choose from, you’re not really giving up a lot to go with a composite material.

• THREE • If you’re installing a pea stone patio, I highly recommend at least one but preferably two layers of weed-blocking landscape fabric under the stone! You can read more about the installation of our pea stone, and what I learned from the experts, right here. Who needs to spend their summer picking weeds? Not us!

• FOUR • While there are so many beautiful annual plants out there, choosing perennials that will come back year after year is great investment of both your money and time. This year I’m opting to use hydrangea plants in pots and hopefully next year they will be adding color to my gardens. Choose perennials that work well in your lighting situation (full or partial sun or shade) and then put it in the ground in the early fall while the soil is still relatively warm. Read more about when to plant here.

Many thanks to Raymour & Flanigan
for collaborating with me to share some of their outdoor furniture and help me create a low maintenance outdoor living area that we can enjoy through the seasons! Although I did check out all the outdoor furniture in their showroom, I truly felt comfortable ordering online from the Raymour & Flanigan outlet after seeing the quality of their furniture first hand. For in-stock items Raymour offers free delivery in 3 days or less, 7 days a week, with no assembly required. Everyone at this this company, from the associates in the showrooms to the delivery guys, couldn’t be nicer and more accommodating and I love that with their huge inventory, there are lots of different price points and something for everyone.

These are some of the products we used for our outdoors spaces (and love them so much we went back and bought another piece for the deck!)

Cheers to low maintenance fun in the sun this summer!! If you have any questions about our new furniture or decking let me know, I’m happy to help!

This week is all about reveals!! Hint hint….there’s another one you’ve all been waiting for coming at the end of the week 🙂 

This content was originally published here.