Originally this side patio was simply a barren cement patch that was cold and uninviting (see the BEFORE picture). It has a basic stone and concrete patio floor, with concrete brick walls. There was some natural bamboo behind the wall, but otherwise no plants. The house sits down in to the property, and to get to the front door you have to descend a steep set of stairs. This patio area is one of the first things people see as they descend the stairs to the front door, so we wanted to make it as inviting and cozy as possible. Plus, with all the natural tree coverage, it's a perfect place during hot days to curl up with a book or glass of wine under the shade.
Not wanting to spend money on a massive renovation, the goal was to create a cozy niche for both entertaining guests and personal relaxation, reminiscent of an India-meets-Bali exotic retreat. We created something that was organic and natural looking, in harmony with the relaxed environment of Laguna Beach.
To keep it budget friendly - and better for the environment - we also opted for recycled and pre-owned items we found on Craiglist and eBay.
I chose to first mask the barren concrete walls with an carved wood screen from India, to add depth and interest. I placed two large daybeds with heavily padded cushions in an “L” shape to entice people to curl up and sink in. Rather than opting for a regular square patio table, I found a one-of-a-kind custom oak tree slab table (a fantastic Craiglist find!) that added a beautiful organic feel. The Moroccan lamp I brought back from one of my trips to Marrakech, and it added the perfect personal touch, in addition to personal sacred objects such as an antique Kwan Yin statue (great eBay find), crystals, and shells found at the beach.
Finally, various plants were added — including both a satsuma orange tree and grapefruit tree that add lovely bursts of color when in season. And makes for a great quick snack when lounging about!