Explore A Couple’s Patio Renovation—
Just in Time for Fall

By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

Kat and Josh spent the summer taking on one of the final tasks in their home renovation—the backyard and porch. From new fencing to uprooting plants to DIY door repurposing, the couple tackled the entire project themselves.

Now, their back porch is the perfect stage for hosting friends and family—a warm bowl of chili on a cool evening is a favorite in their home.

Backyard Oasis This newly renovated space is a quaint getaway for the homeowners and their guests

Entertaining The cozy outdoor seating area allows for easily hosting guests

Sprinkle color Bright perennials dapple the backstairs, balancing a neutral color pallette

Neutral tones The neutral colors of the porch make for an easy transition from house to yard

Fencing The couple's battle with fencing saw them balancing aesthetic appeal with practicality

Herb garden Potted herbs make it easy to transition plants indoors when the temperatures sag

Herb garden Clear herb labels make for quick identification and inject personal charm

DIY repurpose A bar repurposed for Kat and Josh's homemade herb garden

Mums Semi-double mums are a hearty variety of chrysanthemum that flourish in cooler temperatures

After dark String light illuminate the patio from overhead at dusk

Evening glow Easy lighting and cozy seating make the porch ideal for outdoor entertaining

As told by Kat

Why did you take on this project?

I have to be honest, when we moved into the house the yard and back patio were absolutely beautiful! The previous owners had incredibly green thumbs, and we don’t. We’ve actually spent most all of our time the past several years updating and renovating the inside of the home little by little, so the outside was put on the back burner (and it really showed). Since we’ve almost finished updating the inside, we finally got serious about showing some love to the back patio and yard!

How long did it take to complete?

Several weekends during the spring and summer.

Where did you find inspiration for this project?

I spend way too much time on Pinterest, so I’ve been pinning like crazy over the past year on my Lawn and Garden Lovin’ board! I’m incredibly visual, so sometimes I would just stand in the backyard and look at the porch to get an idea of furniture placement and such. I’m sure the neighbors think I’m crazy.

Describe your decorating style.

World Market meets Magnolia Market…I feel like I’m somewhere in between! That specific style didn’t show as much on the back porch, but I feel like our kitchen and living room really reflect my aesthetic.

What are you most looking forward to on this patio?

Being out there in the fall when the bugs are far away and doing whatever it is that bugs do in the fall. The mosquitos have been brutal this year! I can’t wait to get out there for dinners and drinks with friends and family. We love entertaining, and even when things looked rough out there last fall, we still had a blast eating chili on the porch. This year we’re looking forward to having a really inviting space that we don’t have to apologize for!

What work did you do yourselves?

We did everything ourselves. From building the ugliest fence-within-a-fence you ever saw to demolishing it three years later in the sweltering heat so we could finally have our yard back. Why did we build this ridiculous fence? Our mischievous Corgi, Hobson, who has incredibly short legs likes to explore places that he shouldn’t. It was a nightmare taking that thing down this summer, and I sat down and cried a few times during the process, but I’m so glad we got rid of it. I love looking out the window and seeing what actually sold us on this house six years ago.

After taking down the fence monstrosity, Josh moved to the lattice that was above the already-existing arbor. The previous owners were incredible with Wisteria, and they put lattice on top of the arbor to support the enormous vines that were up there. The Wisteria was absolutely stunning when it bloomed, and we still have some over the arbor outside of our breakfast nook (and it’s gorgeous when it blooms each spring), but we had no choice but to cut down everything on the back arbor a few years after we moved in.

For the potting bench, I actually repurposed an old metal outdoor bar that the previous owners left. We hadn’t used it for several years, and the screens started to mold while the metal began to rust. I kept threatening to toss it, but after taking a closer look, I realized that the screens were quite easy to pull off! I threw those away and gave it a good cleaning. I grabbed a can of Rustoleum copper paint and got to work. I’m really proud of how it turned out!

Any stories that can serve as cautionary tales?

They say that fences make good neighbors. We’ve learned that fences within fences make good neighbors make fun of you.

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