Our new outdoor living space -- the patio reveal!

Hey there! It's patio reveal day! I've been working so hard on this outdoor space and I'm excited to share it with you!
There's still so much we want to do out here (most of it is landscaping -- TREES), but wow, we are in love with it!! We've had two friends say it looks/feels like it was always there to begin with, which is the ultimate compliment.
You can see the patio right after it was poured and all the reasons we went with plain, basic concrete here. We're already so happy with the upkeep, I can't even tell you how nice it is to just take the hose or broom and clear it off when we have company. Even that isn't even needed much. It's been a DREAM as far as maintenance so far! We did find out it should be sealed once a year, but compared to stamped, aggregate or wood, I'll take it! 
OK, onto the pics! I took WAY way too many. Couldn't help it. I took all of the pics at my favorite time of day -- dusk. I love the moody feel of that time in the evening. 
I think our favorite spot this fall will be the round fire pit area. I designed the patio so that spot felt separate, but still connected to the patio: 
We haven't had a night around the fire yet -- we did this one for my photo shoot (and to test out our fire building skills since it had been awhile!). It got warmer and stickier at night right when I finished it, so we'll have to wait a few more days. 
You can see how I built the fire pit here -- be sure to check that out for the things you need to add to make it safe. 
I've always wanted one of these circular wood holders! I was so excited to finally get it: 

We got a cover for it too, so it doesn't look quite that cool most of the time. ;) I'll share sources of everything at the end of the post, so check that out for a link. (It's really affordable but a pain to put together!)

My vision for this spot has always been a circle of Adirondack chairs, but GOODNESS they are so expensive. Especially because we need so many. So for now, I found these plastic versions at Lowe's for half off:

The timing was great as far as finishing up the patio -- so much was on clearance! I found all the planters weeks ago at At Home and HomeGoods for great prices. The Adirondack chairs were $12 each:
Someday we'll probably replace them with wood, but for now these work! And they're super easy to stack up and store for the winter:
I placed the arching umbrella and table on the long part of the patio: 
So far I'm thrilled with the outdoor table I picked! It was great price and looks great! I would totally use this table inside by the way. 
Those chairs from Target were not cheap but I fell in love with them!:

They were a splurge for sure but they are holding up great and again, will be so great because they fold up for winter storage. 
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The wood table will age with time I'm sure. I'll probably put a protective coat on it soon to preserve the pretty stain though. I'll let you know how it holds up over time!:
We got that large umbrella years ago at Lowe's (I'll link a similar one below) and we LOVE it. When we had a table with the umbrella in the middle it would always get scooted around in bad weather (even when down) and was always a mess. 
We prefer this one because it's SO big! It was protected from a lot of wind on our old patio, so hopefully it will do well here. So far so good! It's already been through a couple storms out here: 
One of my favorite things about the patio is the loooong step we had added off of the covered porch: 
Just that simple detail makes it feel more grand. And it makes getting down to the new patio even easier:
It was SO nice to get the garage emptied out after two years! And fun to see items we've had put away for all that time. I'm so happy to have my DIY potting bench out on display again (I've been using it as my work bench in the garage since we moved in): 
I built that with my Dad and it's one of my favorite pieces in our house! I have a couple fun little updates planned for it soon. :) 
Some of you will notice we went with mulch instead of rocks. I planned to do rocks so we wouldn't have to redo the mulch so often (I hear it's more money upfront but you save big time over the years). A friend gave me an important warning about that though and I'm SO glad he did. 
He said certain plants won't grow well (in our summer heat) because the rocks heat up so much. I didn't even think of that! One of my favorite plants are hydrangeas, and they are one that wouldn't do well in it on our hot days. Sooo we went with mulch instead. I do love the look of it!:
We'll extend the beds out in certain spots as we plant more trees. We plan to add a bunch more...mostly evergreens for privacy. I don't want it to get too disconnected from the rest of the yard though, so I want to take our time and do it right. 
We already have some on order for behind the potting bench, but the rest will wait. I already found three small evergreens and two knock out rose bushes on MAJOR clearance and planted all of those. They are all small, but I only spent $70 for $350 worth of plants!:
All of the potted plants on the patio were the same -- I found them all on big time clearance! 
Yesterday I finished up the landscape lighting -- for me no outdoor space is complete without it! I've shared how to do it a couple times, but this DIY landscaping tutorial should help the most!: 
Once you've done it a couple times, it's even easier to do. I was able to get all of these laid out and connected in 30 minutes. (It sounds like a big DIY with major skills needed, but I promise you, it's not!) The most time/work goes into digging the wire into the mulch! 
OK, I think I covered everything! If I didn't let me know! 
Here's a look at the patio a few weeks ago right after it was poured: 
 And here it is now, after lots of work and major sweat! :)

OH! And we saved a TON on landscaping rocks (they are so expensive!) because they were free, from our own lot (when they dug out the basement). I love adding rocks to landscaping!

Next up are a few more trees and then stringing the outdoor lights like we had over our old patio. I can hardly wait!

Source/project list: 
Wood outdoor dining table
Fold up patio chairs
Build your own potting bench
Outdoor rug on covered patio
Outdoor rug on patio, Lowe's
Similar arching umbrella
DIY landscape lighting tutorial
Circular wood holder and cover
Similar large deck box
DIY firepit tutorial and sources
Landscape lights -- Lowe's
Similar galvanized tray (on major clearance right now!)

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DIY BeforeAndAfter Lighting Exterior