One exciting component of moving to D.C.? Having our own (!) private (!!) backyard (!!!). Where we can open a door and traipse around in our bare feet without the threats of city sidewalk detritus. Where I can let the children play without needing to trail them by a couple of feet. Where we can send Tilly to take care of business when the weather is inclement without needing to bundle ourselves up for a walk around the block. Where Mr. Magpie can grill, and we can enjoy private dinners al fresco, and I can cut meandering paths while talking on the phone! There will be kiddie pools, sprinklers, coolers of beer, bushels of blue crabs, birthday parties, Easter egg hunts, long and slow conversations with my sisters, sun-kissed afternoons of reading while drinking iced tea, the focused face Mr. Magpie makes when weeding and the preening pride he wears when showing neighbors around his garden (“that’s lacinato kale, actually–“), and all while a couple of footsteps from the rush of cold air, the promise of the fridge, the phone I left inside. I am delirious with joy at the prospect. The privacy! The space! It is all tradeoff, of course, and I know myself well enough to apprehend the imminence of my “new york me manque” reminiscences, but still — I am ready for this shift in gears, this expansion.
I have enjoyed nosing around the backyards and garages of homes we are considering and imagining the options. Below, a few finds for a lovely backyard setup:
+I adore Aerin’s East Hampton collection from Williams-Sonoma. A splurge to be sure but gorgeous. I’m not opposed to the idea of mixing materials, by the way — in fact, I might prefer it. I was pleasantly surprised by the result of mixing woods and styles in our dining room, which is centered by a gray dining table (will not link because I have not in fact been impressed with the quality despite spending a fair amount of money on it) with brass inlay around the edge and flanked by white wood French oval backed chairs. Anyhow, I might buy two of the East Hampton chairs and then pair with a sofa in a metal/iron, like this.
+I have consistently heard incredible things about Better Home + Gardens backyard collection — the entire set (sectional, table, two ottomans) is under $900. It reminds me a lot of this high-end Frontgate collection. Classic, handsome, gracious.
+This pagoda bench! It would totally make a little backyard nook! Such an interesting and artful focus point against a brick wall or hedge. If that’s too ornate for your taste, a classic LL Bean bench in green is timeless.
+I am drawn to this unexpected concrete and rope side table.
+For dining — such a great price on these on-trend wicker ones (love them around this matching table), but if you’re going the mix and match route, you might consider this great table (upgrade pick here) with these bistro chairs (look for less) or these chic woven chairs. For a smaller dining situation, I like a simple bistro table like this or even this with these chairs. If you’re after a pop of color, I love these sage green chairs and these chippendale-style ones with great coral pillows!
+Adore these chaise longues.
+For a small patio or even porch, these chairs pack such a big punch on their own!
+Many of the brands above offer tailored outdoor furniture covers, but Amazon also has some attractive, simple outdoor furniture covers from their Basics collection that would meet a range of needs — sofa, chairs, etc. Incidentally, I featured these Amazon Basics covers a few years ago and they were one of the most popular items I posted the entire year!
+Miscellaneous other garden and backyard finds:
HOW ADORABLE ARE THESE WOVEN LANTERN STRING LIGHTS?
I LOVE THESE TERRACOTTA PLANTERS
P.P.S. Musings on highbrow vs. lowbrow.