Hello and welcome! More than a few of you requested seeing the transformation of our outdoor spaces, so today I have pulled together photos of our patio and screened porch renovation. When we purchased our home, it had sat vacant for a year. But even before that year of vacancy, the landscaping had gotten out of control. This aspect of the overall renovations felt the most overwhelming. So, let’s start there.
Before: When Nature Takes Over
Our home is at the end of a cul-de-sac and it sits in a little bit of a gully. While the front yard had some degree of intentional shaping to it, the sides and backyard were not really used by the original owner and so didn’t have any shaping, or landscaping aside form the little patch of grass shown below.
In the image above, you can see the original screen porch with a flight of stairs leading down to the little patch of grass.
We wanted to transform this area into a side yard, with a space for outdoor cooking, relaxing and entertaining – an outdoor extension of the screened porch. The first order of business was to tackle all of the overgrowth, and remove the diseased tree in the center of the side yard.
Once the overgrowth was cleared out, we removed the staircase from the screen porch. You can see how steep the grade is on that side yard. To create the side yard, we had to do some earth moving to build a retaining wall. This retaining wall will give us a clear distinction between the side yard and the backyard.
The Side Yard Takes Shape
The landscape crew found a tremendous number of giant boulders hidden under the soil in that side yard slope. Some of them were too large to move. So we worked with the designer to integrate them into the design of the retaining wall.
When the retaining wall was in place, it was time to build the decking. The new deck would extend out from the screen porch and step down to a longer deck. The top deck would become the outdoor cooking area, while the lower portion would be for lounging and entertaining.
This was an exciting period of the renovations. A lot was happening simultaneously. The exterior of the house was painted between the last two images, and that was a gigantic transformation. We could really see the new design taking shape.
Above is an image of the view from the backyard looking up, toward the side yard. We added a privacy screen along the top of the retaining wall. In the image below you can see how we further utilized the boulders we found to shape the backyard. We created a fire pit area, with steps leading down to the fire pit. We also had enough boulders to run most of the length of the backyard to create definition between a walkway and the wooded area along the back of the property.
Framing the upper side yard, we have that privacy screen on the retaining wall and then we have a privacy fence that runs from the garage to the edge of the property, along the very top of the side yard, with steps leading down to the backyard.
After: The Patio and Side Yard
In the image above, you can see the new side yard, with the decking and the sod in place; with the privacy screen on the left side.
This is the view from the patio deck. Dante is a fan of lounging! This photo is from when we first moved in, in March 2020. Those of you who follow the blog will know that this view looks quite different now, with the wood fired oven in front of the privacy screen. Our yard and patio area is a work in progress; we are constantly moving plants around, adding new plants – it’s one of the best parts about owning a home with an outdoor space. You can get as creative as you want to; changing it around as often as you like.
Before: Screened Porch
The screened porch wasn’t much to look at before; It was very basic. But with a few cosmetic changes, new fans and screens, we were able to design a space that fits with the aesthetic of the rest of the house. A screened porch was a must-have for me when we were looking at homes in Georgia. So for me, this was a fun space to design because I knew we’d be spending a fair amount of time out there. And it’s right off the kitchen, with two large picture windows and a sliding glass door, so the screen porch is super-visible from the kitchen and dining room.
After: Screened Porch
In the shoulder seasons, it’s really nice to keep the sliding door open all day, so I wanted the space to feel like a natural extension of the kitchen and dining room. We chose a ceramic tile that is a lighter shade of slate than the tile throughout the kitchen and dining room. By using the same style of tile we create a cohesive look, and the lighter color creates just enough separation to delineate the space.
It’s All in The Details
We are big baseball fans so having a TV in the screened porch was a must. We have an outdoor furniture set covered with Sunbrella fabric, so we don’t have to worry about the occasional rain drops that find their way through the screens.
Jessica Webber of Webber Coleman had the genius idea to use horizontal steel cables instead of spindles under the railings that surround the room; the steel cables provide protection and they basically disappear against the screen, giving a more open view.
This is a view of the space from the screened door that leads to the upper part of the patio deck. Other than the overhead lighting in the ceiling fans, I have several ceramic and enameled metal lanterns with battery-powered candles to give softer ambient lighting.
Our screened porch is a long and narrow space which made it challenging to decorate. But I think the concept of having it be an extension of the kitchen and dining area worked in our favor. Positioning the couch so that it faces the entryway, specifically, made the rest of the furniture positioning flow a lot more smoothly.
Thank you all so much for joining me for a tour of Our Patio and Screened Porch Renovation! I hope you enjoyed this before and after look at our most-used outdoor spaces. Be sure to follow my stories on Instagram for even more up-to-date images of the patio, as we’ve made a lot of changes since we moved in! For more tours of our renovations, check out the Home Design Series. Take care and be well, everyone! xo Kelly
Calling All Cooks!
I’d love to feature some of your takes on Djalali Cooks recipes, so for the month of September, if you make any Djalali Cooks recipes, take a picture and send me an email with the picture of the dish you made.
Be sure to include any comments you have about the recipe and the process and your first name. If you’d like me to mention your town, please include that information too! Send images to email@example.com, or just save and reply to this email with your image.
At the beginning of October, I will compile your images and feature your dish as part of a reader favorites round-up on the blog!