I participated in a campaign to create an Outdoor Oasis Party on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pier 1 Imports. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating.
We’ve been hiding a dirty little secret from you. Our backyard was a mess! Sure, I was able to hide many of its flaws by painting the grass green in photos and blurring out the sad old furniture, but while I could hide it in pictures, there was no hiding it in person.
It’s not that we’re lazy. Our front yard always looks fabulous – the grass is green, and the beds weeded. But the back yard has been suffering for years simply because we didn’t deem it important enough to put on our to-do list. It had become so ugly that we rarely went out there because it was just a giant reminder of our failure and the amount of work we needed to do. But it’s hard to ignore it when it’s the view from your living room window.
Creating an Outdoor Oasis: Clean & Refurbish
We decided this summer we’re going to makeover this tired space, but we had to do it with a tiny budget, and our own labor. I all started with my husband painting the siding and deck last fall – that was a huge step toward remaking the space. We took off from there and finished the deck painting (rains came in the fall before we were able to complete all of the railings), and we put a second coat over the entire deck. Then we worked on bringing the grass back by planting and seeding the entire area, and we put in a brick path.
Next, we looked at our furniture and realized it was time to go. I scoured Craigslist and found and refurbished an outdoor furniture set and plant stand. That set the basis for the fun part, the decor!
Creating an Outdoor Oasis: Decor
Since the siding is sand colored and the deck gray, opting for oceanic blues and glorious greens in a nod to coastal seasides seemed obvious. I shopped Pier 1 Imports online looking for fabulous accents, and I was rewarded with so many choices.
I opted for an incredible set of indoor/outdoor Aria Blue Floral Lumbar Pillows and the coordinating Aria Blue Zigzag outdoor pillows. All of them are mildew resistant which is a must here in Seattle. I added some fun coordinating blue paper lanterns with led lights and to add a soft glow, and since I didn’t read the description correctly (just add batteries), I also bought a Light My Lantern® LED & Remote Set which I didn’t need. I’m thinking up a craft to use them with so that I can hang them high up in the trees, but that’s for another day.
To really set the theme and make the space feel cozy, I picked up a small outdoor rug (Persian Rug – Turquoise 4×6 – Item No: 2682181 – about $30 but sold out online, you may find it at your local store or check out the new rugs they’ve recently added) that should survive even our rainy summer.
I used the pattern on the pillows and matching lanterns to inspire me, and I painted nine terracotta clay pots to coordinate with the theme. I filled them with delicate white and pink flowers that remind me of the soft colors of a beach-side villa.
Outdoor Oasis: Add People!
To celebrate the new look of our backyard, we invited our family over for a BBQ. I used the seaside inspiration of the deck decor to help form the menu and the look of the tables. I incorporated seashells, starfish, candles, more to evoke the calmness and serenity of the sea. I used the stunning Capiz Shell Vase and filled it with pale pink and white peonies (the vase is supposed to be used only with dried flowers, but I put a can in the bottom and on top of it a quart canning jar that I filled with water. I surrounded the supports with plastic shopping bags to prevent it from spilling and filled the vase with flowers). I put this beautiful flower arrangement in the center of the table so that the amazing fragrance could be enjoyed by everyone.
Then we noshed on a Spinach Salad with Strawberry and Feta with Poppy Seed Dressing that I served in an Alabaster bowl I picked up on one of my recent trips to Pier 1 Imports. When I purchased it, I didn’t have anything particular in mind for it, but once I saw it with the capiz shell vase next to it, I knew they had to be together.
Our BBQ went fantastically, but because it was a work night, it ended much too soon. We ate, laughed, and drank and reconnected, and I couldn’t have loved it more. With the refresh of the deck and yard, I hope it becomes a place to hang out, relax, read, and even work. Sure, we have to remember to bring the pillows and vase in every night, but it’s worth it because they’re so beautiful.
I ended up ordering online and picking up half of my orders from my local store, and the rest was shipped to me directly. I loved being able to see the full line of products, including some that were sold out or not available in my store online in addition to touching and feeling them in the store.
Coastal blues not your thing? Pier 1 has summer brights and living alfresco neutrals with subdued patterns, so there’s something for every taste and budget.