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  1. Tuesday, May 13

    How to Make Your Patio Part of Your Home

    As I type I am sitting in a hotel room in Chicago. One of the hotel employees was saying she doesn’t even care that the weather here the last few days was completely hot, humid and uncomfortable because it was finally NOT WINTER. It was really cute. It also made me grateful (once again) we ended up settling in San Diego!

    patio makeover by @janemaynard

    Regardless of where you live, however, the warm weather is finally here (okay, maybe too warm, but don’t forget that snow!). Warm weather means we can all finally enjoy some time outside. Nate and I (with the help of my sister Anne) recently gave our patio a makeover and it has made all the difference. Just wanted to share it with you and maybe give you some simple ideas for your own patio and backyard sprucing!

    We purchased our home from the original owner. She lived her for over 40 years and took great care of the house, including putting in a beautiful yard and backyard patio. The patio area has a pergola, a gas line running out to the patio area, a fountain and beautiful plants all around. Every time I even look at the patio I feel beyond grateful.

    patio makeover by @janemaynard

    When we moved in, all we had was an outdoor table and some chairs. It’s taken us almost a year, but we have finally given our patio a makeover and I cannot tell you what a difference it has made in our enjoyment of the area. We are definitely spending more time outside, especially for meals. And, we finally have a grill, which means we’ll be cooking outside more, too! By adding a few functional as well as decorative features to the patio, it really has become an extension of our indoor living space. AND I LOVE IT. Here’s what we did!

    allen + roth fire pit | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    allen + roth fire pit | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    allen + roth fire pit | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    allen + roth fire pit | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Fire pit: We bought an allen + roth wood fire pit for the backyard. We are planning to use it for the first time this week and the kids are ecstatic! The one we chose is lightweight but really pretty, so we’re keeping it stored in the patio area, but it is easy to move out from under the pergola into the yard for when we actually do a fire. And it was only $139! You don’t need one of those fancy built-in fire pits to enjoy the benefits! And we chose wood so we can roast food over the fire.

    comfortable outdoor seating | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    comfortable outdoor seating | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Comfortable Seating: I think my favorite addition to the porch was adding comfortable seating. It was nice having a table and chairs, but they weren’t great if you just wanted to go outside and read a book or chat with a friend. We added a cushioned bench as well as an allen + roth cushioned outdoor rocking chair. I loooooove the rocking chair, just so you know.

    outdoor pillows | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Pillows and more pillows! Not only do the pillows add some comfort, but they just look super cute and make the space look a lot more finished. If you do nothing else, spruce up your patio with some pillows! The girls fell in love with this allen + roth outdoor pillow with a bird on it. They insisted on getting that pillow, so I used it to set the color scheme for the rest of the pillows, which matched the cushions we already had.

    allen + roth lanterns | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Lighting: I had already strung some clear bulb string lights on the pergola, but we added a few glass lanterns that hang from the posts and found these really pretty wood and glass lanterns by allen + roth (one is 11″ and the other is 8.5″ – please note that the lanterns online are natural wood color – we purchased ours at the store and the wood is much darker).  I have pretty LED candles to go in all the lanterns. The large pillar LED candle I found at Lowe’s even has a timer setting, so if you forget to turn it off, no biggie!

    succulent garden | patio makeover by @janemaynard

    • Plants: We started a succulent garden for two reasons. One, succulents are hard to kill. Two, they’re gorgeous. We bought a whole slew of succulent plants at Lowe’s and set them up in front of our fountain, in a spot where we had torn out some strange and messy plants. We also put a few succulent planters on tables throughout the patio.

    succulents for patio makeover by @janemaynard

    Spring is here, go have some fun with your patio!

    Lowe’s provided me with a gift card to purchase items for our patio makeover. All opinions are our own.


  2. Thursday, September 5

    Shopping for a Gas Grill: Share Your Tips!

    One of the very best features of our new house is the back patio. The landscaping in the yard is beautiful, complete with lighting at night, and the patio is large with a beautiful pergola, from which I will be hanging twinkle lights.

    shopping for a grill | back patio view | thisweekfordinner.com

    Ever day I count my lucky stars that we ended up getting this home. The previous owner lived here forever and took such good care of the home, looking out for every detail. Once such detail that we discovered a week or two after moving in was the gas line wired out to the patio. How cool is that?

    shopping for a grill | back patio view | thisweekfordinner.comThe gas line comes up on the left side of the patio, near the post you see on the left in this photo.

    I never thought a gas line could look so beautiful, but it does!

    shopping for a grill | built in gas line | thisweekfordinner.com

    Over the next few months we are going to be working with Lowe’s to put in a grill and an outdoor shower in our fabulous new yard. We have started the planning process and I am really itching to get the grill installed!

    I started browsing the Lowe’s website yesterday to see what’s available before we hit the store, and I honestly felt a bit overwhelmed. I figure if I feel overwhelmed, other people must, too! And I know that some of you have knowledge and opinions about gas grills that would be very beneficial for the clueless ones among us.

    So, we’re doing a Call for Recipes, except there are no recipes involved! Today we are calling for your tips and advice when shopping for a gas grill! Which features are “must-have” and which are not so important? What do you love most about your grill? What do you hate most about your grill? Any and all tips at all different budget levels are welcome!