Jessica Doll / Hej Doll

A California Outdoor Living Room

This post is sponsored by World Market.

Last month I shared a modern tropical moodboard to help guide and inspire me with my indoor-outdoor planning, and since I’ve made major progress. I’m happy to say that for the most part all of the work is done! Today I’ve partnered with World Market to help make my vision come to life and to share some of the major progress we’ve made in our side yard, as well as some tips I’ve learned along the way. Do you remember what the yard looked like before? Hint: see above photos.

Renting a home is so tricky sometimes, and while our landlord is very laid-back and loves to see us take charge with projects and be creative, we have very much crossed most people’s line of investing in a rental property v.s. owning your own home. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is one of the highest priced real estate markets in the United States right now, perhaps even the world. Buying a simple starter home here would mean a sale price of well over a million dollars, which sadly isn’t in our budget unless we’d like to give up the quality of life we enjoy. We’ve looked at other rentals but haven’t been happy with the value v.s. cost ratio. Simply put, we’re not ready to be house-poor before we’re actually house-poor so we’ve vowed to make improvements to be happy where we are.

The side yard has been a big work-in-progress for us since we moved in over 7 years ago, and while it has never been officially completed, it has been what we needed when we needed it. It has housed stock tank swimming pools, sandboxes, gardens, and judging by what we dug up in the dirt when we had to level it so many other projects long before we lived here. Now that we’re ready to settle down, we’ve put in hours and hours of work to finish the job and aside from a few finishing touches, it’s ready for us to sit back and enjoy.

Above: Clear Bulb String Lights, Small Assorted Succulents, Praiano Outdoor Collection, Fringed Hermosa Outdoor Pillow.

The plan I had in mind has so far gone off with only a few issues, mainly that we had no experience in actually installing pavers like I wanted. Maybe I’ll share a behind-the-pavers post later, but I still don’t feel like we are knowledgeable enough to do a how-to by far. Since we are only renting, we try to stick to a lower budget with any improvements we make to the house or yards, while still maintaining the type of aesthetic and quality that we would want for a home that we actually own. We did our best to level the soil and double-lined under the pavers with a natural weed blocker fabric.

Although the sedum seeds have not yet sprouted to grow in between the pavers, we’re happy that the bulk of the work is done and are excited to share our progress.

My takeaways and tips:

  1. Have a plan. It’s best to do lots of research about similar projects ahead of time and to have a well-thought out plan so that you can do the bulk of the work over an appropriate timeline. Your plan should include how your space will function, and what type of look you’re going for. Include lists and estimates for any larger projects, and a mood board for the final look.
  2. Make a materials list. You will probably make lots of trips to the hardware store, but we could have cut down on quite a few if we had planned farther ahead and rented a big truck. I hauled a ridiculously heavy load (960lbs) of pavers home in the back of my small SUV quite a few times. Measure, re-measure, and measure again to estimate how much you will need and try to do it all in one big trip. If you have little ones, save yourself some sanity and hire a sitter for a few hours while you sort it out.
  3. Don’t order decorative items too soon. Or have a place to store your goods before they’re ready to assemble. Spring here in California has been full of rain. I’ve had to keep covers on my furniture almost every week since it arrived a few weeks ahead of our project schedule.
  4. Complete large projects first. We had to wait until we finished our grid paver area before we could bring in the furniture. It sat in other areas of the yard patiently waiting it’s move to a final place. Do any larger projects you need to first like pavers, painting, etc. before bringing in any decorative items.
  5. Bring in furniture, then decorative items. Just like decorating a room inside your home, bring in the larger furniture before going crazy with decorative items or plants. You’ll want to see how it fits in the space before buying lots of accessories you might not end up using.

Shop The Look:

What are some of your favorite ways to bring the indoors out?

This post was sponsored by World Market, a place I’ve loved and shopped at for years. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you so much for helping to support the sponsors that make life here a little sweeter.

The post A California Outdoor Living Room appeared first on hej doll - travel blogger, lifestyle blog, and personal style.

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