Although summer 2018 is officially a closed chapter (what?!), you’re likely grasping every opportunity to still enjoy the outdoors. No matter where you live. And I can tell you that’s what we’re doing here in the Bay Area. Our summer temps generally extend into the first several weeks of fall. This week our daytime highs have been in the 80s / 90s, but the morning and evening temps are incredibly comfortable – which makes going for long walks and entertaining outside very nice.
Fall is a great time to entertain outside, work in the garden, complete outdoor home improvement projects while it’s not too hot, but also declutter and organize those well-loved summer toys, floaties, pool towels, and more.
Yep – your professional organizer friend wouldn’t let that declutter elbow-nudge slip. Decluttering is not only a great idea for your fall indoor project list – getting organized extends outdoors too!
HOW-TO WITH LOWE’S
Could not be more excited to announce that for the next several months we are partnering with Lowe’s Home Improvement to deliver some serious how-to inspiration! Really – someone pinch me. Hard. There could not be a better partner than Lowe’s for this DIY / Home Improvement / Organization blog!
Us = loves to use tools, create organizing solutions that work, complete home improvement projects and add that pretty factor.
Lowe’s = sells everything we need to do all of the above…and more!
We have fun, easy, exciting how-to’s and ideas to share and we’re kicking off this series by sharing tips for how to organize and update an outdoor entertaining area.
If you’ve been reading Simply Organized for a while, you know the drill…settle in and get comfy – there’s a lot of images, ideas and content in this post for the absorbing!
Since the sun will begin setting earlier and the cooler evening temps make for perfect outdoor dinners (ahem…cocktail hours), there was no better space to begin our how-to series than in this dreamy backyard patio…
With only a table, we wanted to up the warmth and beauty of this space to make it really inviting. Outdoor dining areas extend your interior real estate. And this space planner loves adding more livable space!
The side path, which is a frequently used walk-through and view seen by guests, was also on our update list…
The landscape lighting was in need of updating and the landscaping itself needed sprucing…
THE IMPROVEMENT PLANS
With a built-in BBQ and table in place, our improvement plan was to warm up the space with in-ground outdoor lighting, overhead lighting, updated plants and flowers, an area rug, cozy throw blankets and more. And of course, organization was top of mind for your girl. I’ll organize anything … and anywhere – including outdoor spaces. Nothing is off limits! Here you’ll see how we organized pool towels, throw blankets, and outdoor cups and plates. Simply. But most importantly, we’re sharing how to extend the life of your outdoor investments as well!
As a full-time organizer, I see far too often items being donated or tossed simply because they weren’t contained safely through the off-season. No greater wear and tear is evidenced like outdoor items that weren’t organized or cared for. It’s such a shame when I pull away from a home with a trunk load of items that could have been spared were they only stored away safely. With thought and care.
Read on for simple ideas to keep your investments safe for seasons to come!
UPDATED TREES, PLANTS & FLOWERS
Standard operating procedure when we’re organizing a space = we first make a mess. But the end result is incredibly beautiful, serene and peaceful. No greater mess to begin with in a yard than by updating the landscaping a bit. We love getting our hands dirty – what can we say?…
We started our project by removing and updating trees, plants and flowers that didn’t survive the hot summer weather or just required relocation to a better spot. Fall is the ideal time for moving rose bushes, for example, which there were quite a few of in this yard.
The Lowe’s garden center employees were so helpful in pointing out which plants and flowers would work well in the sunny versus shady areas of the yard / path. It’s always nice to have an expert join you in the nursery to pick just the right plants and flowers for each space. We chose a wide variety to give the yard / path interest and variations in color – gardenias, azaleas, roses of all sizes and varieties, magnolia trees, and small ground cover plants are a small sampling of the mix we hauled home…
With the plants, flowers and gardening supplies now at the house, we set items in place to get a feel for the spacing / location. From there it was just a matter of getting everything in the ground.
We discovered vines growing along the side path fenceline. To begin to train the vines to grow along this fence, we added 3 long wires – each about 100 feet in length. This created an incredible view from the kitchen window…including the new flowering trees nearby. What an amazing backdrop!
IN-GROUND LED LIGHTING
Lighting changes everything! With everything planted, we spaced out path lights for walking paths and ground-level features and placed spotlights below the trees.
Updating outdoor landscape lighting is a simple outdoor improvement project that makes a huge impact. We updated the previous in-ground path and spotlights to LEDs. Why? LED lighting is energy-efficient, lasts longer, is more durable and offers comparable or even better lighting than traditional lights.
Basically – we love anything that is better for the environment and lasts longer. Honestly, there is no better or easier improvement investment you can make.
Lowe’s offers an incredible variety of landscape lighting – so much so that we stood in the lighting aisle for about 30 minutes debating which style to go with. Ultimately we chose this Portfolio Path Light and Spotlight.
This low-profile, yet classic, path light is all-weather aluminum, has a 5-year warranty and is easy to install with the included connector. It’s perfect for lighting up a path or providing accent lighting.
The spotlight we chose has an easy twist connector which made install a snap and illuminates the new trees beautifully!
These 2 lights truly are a beautiful combo. This path light style is so pretty and timeless.
ADD AMBIANCE WITH STRING LIGHTS
The area above the table was the perfect spot to hang string lights.
This not only gives the space more lighting, it’s also romantic and adds ambiance to any outdoor event. Yes, even if that event is just you…curled alone with a glass of wine…listening to
kids screaming in the background country music.
We chose the allen + roth string lights for the perfect warm glow and love that the string is brown, which blends in with the home’s wood shingles.
Up to 6 strands can be connected – we needed just 5 here. Gorgeous!…
To add comfort and warmth under the table, we searched for an outdoor area rug at Lowe’s.
We found this soft, beautiful option…
Yes, this rug is from Lowe’s! And we are obsessed with it!
It’s 9×12 size more than covers the ground to keep bare feet comfortable but it’s durable enough to hold up to the elements. It’s stain-resistant and doesn’t shed. Really made a huge improvement – and again, so pretty!
Did I mention we are in love…
For those mornings with coffee or evenings with a glass of wine (just me or have I said wine too many times…no? Good!), a throw blanket is all you need to stay outside a little longer … to get a little more cozy…
These allen + roth throw blankets are soft, light-weight and such a beautiful color!
To keep them organized and accessible to company, we contained them in this pretty antique brass iron basket…
Of course we had to label it…hello, we organize for a living…
And of course it has more uses than we can list – when the season is over, re-purpose the basket to contain something else until next season!
ORGANIZED POOL TOWELS
Pool season may be coming to an end, but if you’re lucky enough to have a hot tub keeping pool towels accessible is key. And when we organize, it’s simple and beautiful. Nothing better than this gorgeous set of 3 woven baskets to contain your towel collection…
They have a nautical look which I thought was perfect for this poolside space…
These baskets have handles for easy transport and because they’re soft, can be repurposed anywhere – including a playroom!
END OF SEASON ORGANIZING TIPS
When the season ends, protecting your outdoor items is critical. Take care in your valuable investments with just a few simple ideas. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself in the spring when it’s time to get outdoor ready again!
POOL TOWELS & THROW BLANKETS
If you don’t have linen closet space for pool towels and throw blankets, consider using some vertical space in another closet. These awesome hanging organizers were just the answer!…
This hanging organizer easily hangs from any closet rod and maximizes ertical space in a closet…
The 6 spacious squares are perfect for thick, folded pool towels…
Surprise to us = the throw blankets arrived on this beautiful wood hanger!…
What a great way to easily store your throw blanket collection! Or if you choose not to use the hanger, just fold neatly in the hanging organizer or keep in your wire basket…
Most pool owners have a collection of outdoor plates, cups and utensils. Storing these items in fabric bins is a great option for keeping these investments around for a long time…
This set of 3 fabric bins was perfect for our collection plus they fit like a glove in the cabinets where they will be stored during the off-season…
PROTECT YOUR OUTDOOR FURNITURE
Outdoor furniture and cushion prices are not for the faint of heart. Even sale prices make this budget-conscious girl have full-blown panic attacks. This is a huge investment and one we want to protect for years, if possible.
I’ve tried bins and containers for cushions…but then where do the bins go? In most garages I have organized, there isn’t a great space for these bins and they tend to take up a lot of room.
What made the most sense in this case was outdoor furniture covers. Lowe’s has a great collection, but Classic Accessories brand in particular came highly recommended with great customer reviews on the Lowe’s website. We couldn’t resist…and they actually look very nice on the furniture.
This improvement project was a labor of love and couldn’t wait to share all the details with you. From before…
To after…I loved every second…
Unbelievable. It’s warm, beautiful, inviting, updated for fall entertaining…and simply organized.
This outdoor area is well-lit, organized and ready for company…
SHOP THE POST
Feeling inspired by this outdoor area? Everything we chose for this project can be found at Lowe’s. Just click to shop! These are not affiliate links and you pay nothing more by clicking any of them…
I hope we’ve inspired you to get organized outdoors and work on a few landscape updates. Completing these projects will give you more time outside this season and keep you on track to be organized and ready to go next season as well! We are really looking forward to more DIY projects with Lowe’s over the next several months. We have some pretty big ideas that are going to take some serious muscle…but we can’t wait. And really can’t wait to share it all with you!
While this post was done in partnership with Lowe’s and they sent us the products we chose for free, all of the labor and our opinions are 100% our own. We appreciate our partnership with Lowe’s…but we truly appreciate you reading the blog and joining us here! Thank you for reading!!
Back soon with more!
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