As a designer, I’m very sensitive to my surroundings at home.  I need to feel both comfortable and happy with my space.

For the first four years I lived in my suburban San Diego townhouse, aka Chez J, my patio was a small empty rectangle.  It wasn’t an eyesore; it just wasn’t inspiring.  Every time I’d walk up to my front door, it would mock me with its emptiness.

Townhome - Exterior Elevation

One of these looks just like mine!
(Photo Courtesy: Shea Homes)

When I’d turn my desk chair from my computer to my patio, it would remind me that it needed attention.  I had even painted the walls of my office to coordinate with the patio walls to create some indoor/outdoor flow.  The flow was basically dammed at the doorway, other than those brick red walls.

FullSizeRenderNew view from my home office/design studio
(Photo Courtesy: Jamie Gold)

The challenge is that while I live in a safe neighborhood, we’re not immune to petty theft and planters have been known to disappear on occasion. Therefore, I wanted my patio to look pretty, but not with any elements that would kill me if they walked off.  Affordable, comfortable and reasonably attractive was the triple mandate. I’m happy with what I’ve achieved.


New view from my entryway
(Photo Courtesy: Jamie Gold)

Here are a few product close-ups:

Patio RugHappy striped rug ties in all the colors
(Photo Courtesy: Lowe’s)

bird pillow

Birds delight my heart and eye
(Photo Courtesy: Lowe’s)

CJ4 - Planter Table - Lowes

Turned this upside down as a side table
(Photo Courtesy: Lowe’s)CJ4 - Ouytdoor ChairsPrettier than the average plastic chair — and comfy, too
(Photo Courtesy: Lowe’s)

Privacy Screen - Taupe

Section of the fence hiding the AC unit
(Photo Courtesy: Improvements Catalog)

Here’s a rough breakdown on what I spent, too, and where it went:

  • Chairs and accent pillows – Lowe’s ($85 for chairs and $30 for pillows)
  • Upside down concrete planter/side  table – Lowe’s ($40)
  • Planter on side table – Pier 1 ($6 – tiny chip in back)
  • Area rug – Lowe’s($75)
  • Fence hiding AC unit – Improvements Catalog ($115)
  • Other plants and planters – Home Depot ($55)

Total Investment – $406

Enjoying the new views: Priceless