Before and After: Pea Gravel Patio on a Budget

Summer in Minnesota! Such a beautiful thing. After being cooped up inside all winter, when springtime hits we are ready to be outside. This space was born out of a desire to make being outside way more comfortable.

DIY Modern Pea Gravel Patio

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen a few peeks of this space. This is one of my favorite projects we've ever completed because it feels like we have added a room to our home. Having a comfortable place to sit outside is such a treat and allows us to enjoy our yard all the more.  It also gives me a semi-private spot to feed the baby while keeping an eye on the girls.

The project was especially satisfying because we redeemed unused space, got our hands good and dirty, and did it all on a very tight budget. Want to see what it used to look like?

Pea Gravel Patio Before

This spot had been an eyesore of rocks and weeds. I am going to save the planning and construction details for another post, but as you can see, this was a pretty fun transformation.

DIY Outdoor Pea Gravel Patio
DIY Pea Gravel Pation with IKEA VAGO Chair

A friend on Instagram asked about the IKEA VAGO chair. It is super comfortable! I even found it comfy last summer when I was pregnant. It is low so kids can easily get on it, and there is a drain hole in the seat for when it rains. I was thankful to have found this one in the as-is section, so I saved a few pennies there.

The outdoor sofa was the biggest hurdle for me. I had some money saved up and I wanted to buy something quality, but I didn't want to spend a ton. I looked and looked but couldn't make a decision. My sister helped me figure out a good price point. I considered an L-shaped sectional, but opted for this one from Target instead. I truly love it. The white is a bit risky, but the fabric came Scotchgarded and has held up well even in rain. I also considered that white fabric might not fade in the sun like a dark color would. My husband likes lounging on it, which makes me really, really happy. All in all, the sofa is super comfortable and I would definitely recommend it. (I caught it on super sale and I also applied some gift cards.)

DIY Pea Gravel Patio
Modern Outdoor Patio Coffee Table

The coffee table is an instance of the beauty of Craigslist! I had been eyeing this one from Target's Modern by Dwell Magazine line. On a whim I searched for it on Craigslist and what do you know! It popped right up—brand new, already assembled (!!!), for $50. Yes, please. It is a really heavy piece, great for snacks and even sitting on by the littles. The base is really cool, too, although here it is buried in the gravel.

Last but not least, my parents gifted me a few strands of these string lights for my birthday in May. They add such a lovely ambiance.

Outdoor Patio String Lights Twinkle Lights

Like I said, budget was a big concern here, so I filled in with planters I already owned. I relocated some of my beloved indoor plants out here for the summer, where they seem to be happy. I split off some of a thriving perennial sedum from my front landscaping and potted it back here. For now, I don't have any throw pillows because I haven't found any I love. But looking at these pictures, I kind of like the simplicity of the space without them. What do you think?

Pea Gravel Patio Outdoor Lounge Space

I plan to write another post sharing the details/instructions of how we put down the pea gravel. If you have any specific questions on this space, please let me know!

One Corner, Two Ways

One Corner, Two Ways

First, Ben taught me how to make GIFs and my life may never be the same. Keep reading for some awesome GIF action.

Second, if you follow me on Instagram, you saw that in May I found this amazing mid-century chair at a garage sale for $20. It was in really great condition (especially the under-seat supports) but it didn't come with any cushions. I've seen some chairs like this on Craigslist for hundreds of dollars, so I was super happy to scoop it up. I only wish there had been two. :(

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Easy DIY Outdoor Bench (from Cinder Blocks)

Easy DIY Outdoor Bench (from Cinder Blocks)

So many have gone before me on this one! This project is certainly not an original idea—I saw a cinder block outdoor bench in the pages of Better Homes & Gardens a few years back (this one, I believe) and then the googling and Pinterest-ing followed (check out this one and this one). There are a million of these out there in different configurations and that's the beauty of a cinder block bench—it is inexpensive, easy to customize, and simple to assemble.

I made this a few years ago and we used it as seating for our outdoor dining table. At first, I left the cinder blocks plain, but last year, I painted them white. I changed up our table and chairs a bit on the patio and moved this bench to a corner by the fence. Ben was teasing me the other night that it got demoted. :)

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A Garden Tour around Our House

A Garden Tour around Our House

Gardening is a relationship and boy am I getting in deep! I don't know if it is the stage of life I'm in, genetics, or just living in Minnesota but I am falling in love with caring for plants.

During a long Minnesota winter, green life indoors is just so helpful. And when the snow melts and the sun comes out in the spring, I just about die of happiness to see little green sprouts in my garden. The girls and I have started to habit of going out after breakfast to “check on our plants." In the early spring, we would see what was coming up, and now we can see what is blooming! I tell them the name of each plant and we talk about the flowers. And I have two good helpers for watering!

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Our House: Jane's Room

Our House: Jane's Room

I spilled the beans on Instagram, but in case you haven't heard: We are expecting baby #3! I am 20 weeks along with a due date in late September. First trimester absolutely wore me out, which is the main reason I took a break from blogging. :) But I am feeling so much better these days, praise God!

I shared in our House Goals post that we plan to move the girls into a shared room, and this is the reason why. Our home has three bedrooms, so the girls will share to make a spot for the baby. (We will find out if the new baby is a boy or girl in a few weeks.)

So now that I have some energy back, I'm planning the girls' room with a little more urgency and realized I never shared all the pictures of Jane's room here on the blog. I took these photos last fall for my Design Mom post/interview, but everything is about to change. Even though her room was set up knowing it wouldn't last that way for long, I really love it. And it's amazing how young she looks in these photos!

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A Whole-House Color Palette: Lessons Learned

A Whole-House Color Palette: Lessons Learned

We have had a beautiful spring here in Minnesota! What a gift from God. Does anyone else get the itch to rearrange the house and freshen up this time of year? With the sun streaming in the windows and the weather changing outside, it feels right to me to change things up inside, too.

Some of the rearranging was necessary because my potted palm had grown so well it had become too big for my kitchen window! But where to put it? As I moved some items around, I realized something about our home that I really like and I wanted to share it as a Lesson Learned.

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Life Lately (Coming Back from Vacation Is Hard to Do)

Life Lately (Coming Back from Vacation Is Hard to Do)

At the end of January, we were able to spend a week on Sanibel Island with Ben's family. What a wonderful vacation it was! But this past week after vacation has been one of the most challenging in recent memory. It ended with me silently weeping through most of a women's event at my church last night. Some of the tears came because of things going on in my life and in the lives of those I love, and some came as a result of hearing one woman's testimony of God's faithfulness throughout the seasons of her life. It was beautiful and hard and just what I needed. On the drive home I cried out to God, asking Him to help me know Him more—especially through the difficulties.

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Kid-Friendly Dining Chairs

Kid-Friendly Dining Chairs

Last week I wrote about dining chairs with young kids, and I received some great feedback from you guys! I'm thankful for that. That post mostly talked about what to avoid, so I wanted to follow up to let you know some better options!

When I think of what would make for a really practical chair with young kids, I prioritize smooth and hard surfaces that are easy to wipe down, very few nooks and crannies, and something super sturdy. While woven chairs like these are gorgeous, I can just imagine peanut butter and jelly stuck between the fibers. That's the stuff housekeeping nightmares are made of!

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