Moving Outdoors

We are currently taking a little breather from the interior of our house and focusing a little more on the exterior- the back yard to be exact.  I love to spend as much time as humanely possible outside in the summer and so I am beyond excited to have my own yard now! The one thing we are missing is a patio!  So we’re planning on installing one in the next month and have decided on stamped concrete for a few reasons- 1) budget 2) ease of maintenance.  And while concrete doesn’t sound very natural and pretty- think again.  This is a stamped concrete walkway that my dad’s firm installed at a project recently…..


Looks like slate, right???  A few more images of stamped concrete patios:


We took out a big tree to make room for it while still leaving plenty or lawn for dog wrestling…. not mention, we have big plans for more plants and trees for a smidge of privacy.

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I also have been wondering what color to paint my shed (and I need to get my Grandma’s vintage Brown Jordan patio set powdercoated…)

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After seeing Erica Cook’s instagram photo of her yard I am thinking black with white windows!  I want it to fade away a bit, but this will make it look modern and match our house too!

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Some more patio inspiration images- both grand and doable:



A firepit would be nice, no?








Patio is the city are super charming too- plus no mowing!




27 Responses to “Moving Outdoors”

  1. Laura M says:

    I have the same Brown Jordan Calcutta chairs. I had them powdercoated a few years ago. They look amazing. Think about adding a clearcoat gloss over the color. That’s what I did. Sort of like top coat on your fingernails.

  2. HannahJ says:

    Awesome images- that fire it is one of my all time favorites!! I can’t wait to see how it turns out!!

  3. Your inspiration photos are stellar! Love the idea of doing the shed in black and white. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out!

  4. Dana says:

    Love the concrete patio and the inspirational images. The Brown Jordan Calcutta chairs are going to look stunning. There is a book on designing outdoor spaces that I have been using called Understanding Garden Design by Vanessa Gardner Nagel. It must be exciting to start out with a blank canvas. I hope we get updates to see the beautiful progress.

  5. Martha says:

    Erin, do you recommend a local firm for stamped concrete? I have bluestone on my front walkway but would prefer to try this for my backyard. Fewer weeds to peek through:-)

  6. Amanda says:

    Wish I had a backyard and patio – one day! For now I can live vicariously through your pics – it is going to look great!

  7. we are moving into our new place on friday, and for the first time ever will have a small backyard!
    i couldn’t be happier :) love the rustic table and chairs by the way!

  8. Kelly says:

    We built our house in 2001-2002 and didn’t finish our back patio until 2011. Took us a while to figure out what we wanted in this space, and then to save money to build what we wanted. I’m so glad we took our time to get it right – because the space is so wonderfully “us” and we spend ALL our after work and weekend time there. So do take the time to get exactly what you want! We had several iterations in the space in the interim – sometimes just plastic chairs next to the grill- but each iteration brought us closer to the final version. Good luck – enjoy your summer in your new back yard!

  9. Caroline L. says:

    Amazing inspiration photos! Hope you get the backyard of your dreams :)

  10. We waited to finish our back yard area for several years as well. We finally did a multi level deck with rocks and flower beds. We built special boxes to grow bamboo in for a privacy screen.

  11. Tracy says:

    Coincidentally, I was just talking with family about this pressed concrete technique last night. They did it for a path in their yard and actually really regret it. While less maintenance for weeds and cheaper than, for example, brick, the freeze/thaw of the winter has caused it to heave in multiple places after one winter and they’re having to re-do the whole thing. They’re doing ground mortar (?) with bricks this year to replace. Don’t know if your dad has had this experience, but now that it’s happened to them every time they bring it up someone else complains about the same thing happening so anecdotally, seems widespread.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Love the idea of a black shed with white windows. Can’t wait to see what you do with this space!

  13. Krysta says:

    Thank you for posting this! We just got a quote on having a brick patio installed in our backyard and I nearly choked after seeing the huge price tag (totally unprepared for the cost)! My husband brought up stamped concrete after talking to a few friends who have similar patios and I kinda scoffed at the notion and all but decided we would just do it ourselves. But wow, those pictures look pretty great, and now I am definitely getting a quote on having one at our place!

  14. Donna says:

    I love all your pictures, befores and afters, and I’m sure your patio will be amazing. You make a great case, but I just can’t get behind that concrete! It’s probably my conservatism and where we live–in a federal house in Salem where it’s all brick, brick, brick. We saved up for our brick courtyard (for quite a while), but were able to source reclaimed bricks so that brought the price down a bit (plus they have a great “patina”).

  15. Ashley says:


    We did stamped concrete last summer and I regret it. We did a light gray herringbone pattern. I am happy to discuss my pros and cons if you would like!
    It looks really good at night but during the day it looks really bad.

    (I am your biggest fan, the one that offered you the Christian Louboutins!)

  16. Susan S says:

    Ooh, ooh, I’d like to add my two cents here against concrete. First, it’s not environmentally friendly and if it cracks—which it eventually will(a good job will take awhile though), it’s labor intensive and expensive to fix, whereas brick or pavers(even concrete) allow for better drainage AND can be repaired easily if any sinking occurs. There will be little to no issue with sinking if the underlying foundation is done well. We have a brick walk and terrace that have held up superbly for 14 years with only minor incidences of repair due to ants and it still looks great!

    Good luck with your project!

  17. Susan S says:

    Oops, meant to add that the pavers wouldn’t be concrete mortared, but rather have sand (proper type) between them.

  18. smash says:

    It’s so refreshing to start outdoor decorating! I love your little shed. I think you should add some little window boxes! xo

  19. Jennifer Slattery says:

    i think stamped concrete is the best idea! who wants to weed each between individual stone. bleck.

  20. Lisa V. says:

    Talk to me about powder coating. Where can someone go to get that done? Is it costly – I have a few pieces that would look awesome with a powder coat. Is it one word or two :)

  21. jessica delaney says:

    what a fantastic project ~ highly highly recommend some kind of fire pit! finally bought one this spring, and it’s magical having one, sitting around, glass of wine in hand, chatting it up with friends and family! and those chairs are amazing!! good luck…

  22. Holly Irwin says:

    So gorgeous….all of them. I’m especially loving that old brick townhouse with the city garden/patio outside in crisp black & white. Ditto that amazing fire pit. Thank you!

  23. Franki Parde says:

    I’ll have the iron screen, please, and whatever “that guy” is having!! franki

  24. seema Krish says:

    Erin- where is the image in the middle with the hydrangeas on the patio? it has one of our pillows on the couch!
    Looking forward to seeing the progress of your patio.

  25. Sara says:

    I hope this doesn’t seem spammy, but I did a stamped concrete alternative last year — and I wrote about it here, if you’re interested:

  26. Diane says:

    We are installing stamped concrete as we speak for the same reasons you did, low maintenance! It will create a beautiful extension of our family room and kitchen and I can’t wait to spend summer evenings out there. Also cant wait to see your finished backyard and love that little shed!