By Diana Elizabeth Steffen
Last year we renovated our backyard just in time for a milestone birthday soirée. We’ve enjoyed the new patio spaces our landscape designer designed and filled each space immediately with fast furniture (as I like to call it) from a popular big box retailer. It worked because we got everything in an instant, but we had not really considered the small scale or comfort. Though it was comfortable to sit on, it lacked a luxurious, oversized welcoming comfort, or even an inviting look, so we rarely went outside to enjoy our new backyard.
Here’s a photo of how we lived with it for the past year.
My husband Benjamin mentioned wanting to get some new furniture or, rather, “More furniture,” he said.
I am thrilled to share with you the process of working with Paddy O’ Furniture to make our outdoor space an extension of our home. Our lifestyle outdoors has already changed since the new furniture was delivered!
Preparing To Visit Paddy O’
I checked out paddyo.com to see the collections of furniture offered so I had an idea of what I liked, which was the Rancho Collection. There are new products coming out regularly so you should visit a showroom location if you can.
I headed to the showroom, prepared with measurements and photos for my two patio spaces: The “island,” located near the back of the yard, was 15x10 feet, and the larger, main area by our house was 10x19 feet.
Taking Advantage of the Free Design Consultation
You can walk into Paddy O’ and ask for a free design consultation on the spot, schedule one online, or call a location. I worked with Jill, who showed me all 13 colors of the Bliss Cushion and its soft but strong fabric—and told me about the Rediscover Your Bliss program, which basically allows you to re-cover your cushions for free*. That’s like a brand-new patio set!
I could also change my mind and swap the cushions and frames for a new color. Paddy O’ actually gives you 30 days to change your mind and allows you to swap out cushion colors (it can be overwhelming, I get it, I loved both the Fern and Spa colors!). Being able to make these kinds of changes gave me so much relief—in case I decided it wasn’t right. This is important with any investment.
My Paddy O’ Furniture Choices
I shared some of the very specific pieces of furniture I was interested in with Jill, and she took me around the showroom, sharing insights into furniture styles and showing the unique aesthetics and durable features found within Paddy O's collections. She had some recommendations, and I agreed that the Rancho Cushion Collection, and the rectangular, Dekton fire table were the right choices for what I wanted for our backyard. I also decided to throw in some additional seating with two wicker-style ottomans from the Loire Valley Collection for the other side of the fire table. I knew adding additional texture makes the space look well designed, kind of like mixing furniture in a home and not buying the entire matching bedroom set.
For the backyard “island,” as we call it, the Patriot Swivel Club Chairs were a must-have, and we decided on the color Fern (one of two greens) for the cushions. As soon as you see these chairs, they say, “I’m comfortable!” and they are! I like that they swivel around so you can sit and face the bench behind or see what’s going on in the yard, which is often games or enjoying the view.
Last winter, we had to remove a sick, large tree from our backyard, which shaded most of the concrete on the main patio against our home. We were worried about heat potentially baking into our garden room. Earlier, I had inquired about retractable awnings, but they were around $10,000-$15,000! When I saw the large 13’ canopy umbrella in the showroom, I knew that was the solution to our problem! It swivels and tilts so easily, you can adjust the shade coverage and close it with the pull of the handle. It also comes in 11’ width. Friends use these large umbrellas to provide shade over their pool.
If your patio furniture is not sitting under a covered porch, I recommend a large canopy umbrella. It will provide some comfort under the glaring sun, and at night, when opened, it will make you feel cozy, as if you have a ceiling instead of the open sky. Jill also told me having the canopy open while using the fire pit will keep the warmth in! I didn’t even know I could keep the canopy open over a small controlled fire, but it is fine and works for heating up our conversation set.
Complimentary On-Site Design Consultation
We scheduled a day for Jill to come over to our home to make sure the patio furniture I selected would fit properly like I envisioned. After she confirmed the measurements, I realized the scale was much larger than I thought, but everything fit, and it was even better that it took up more space.
Jill also had a mock-up using the furniture I liked and the items I had chosen in a sketch in order to reconfirm my design choices.
Just look at our old outdoor furniture. It looked like doll furniture! This was going to be so much better in terms of design, comfort and scale.
Sometimes having that expert eye helps just so there are no surprises. Jill recalled the measurements of furniture off the top of her head—I was impressed! Again, after the delivery, if you decide a piece doesn't seem right and you want to swap the furniture or cushion colors out or return it, you can!
Having the help of a Paddy O' exterior design guide like Jill made me confident in our choices for furniture styles and balance. We have another patio area in the kitchen garden we are now contemplating redoing (it's where our old small scale furniture went, and we are not using it now because the main backyard space has the BEST furniture!). We have ideas, and I know to measure the space for another design consultation.
Fortunately, with Paddy O’, there is not a long lead time on furniture orders, which is so wonderful! Some lead times I have seen with other furniture companies are well into 6 months, or you must pre-order, which sounds a bit crazy! Thankfully you should be able to get your outdoor patio furniture within a reasonable time.
The Bliss Cushions are made in the USA, which I love, and as I mentioned earlier, I debated between green (Fern) and blue (Spa).
We committed to the Bliss fabric in the Spa color, but I have to admit green (Fern) looked very calming—and they say green is a neutral in an outdoor space! But I’m a color girl, and I want more color, and Spa Blue is one of my favorite colors. But if we decide we are tired of it and want something different, we’ll definitely take Paddy O’ up on their free cushion cover replacement.
The first day we had our patio furniture, my husband and I sat outside in the evening with a fire going in the fire pit coffee table and fell asleep in the cushions of the Rancho sectional. We woke up around 9:30 pm and went to bed, but we laughed because we had never felt so comfortable or had so much space to both lay down—nonetheless nap! Remember, our old set was pretty small and not inviting.
The next morning I woke up with a cup of coffee, took it outside and listened to the birds, smelled the citrus blossoms in the orchard nearby, and answered emails on my laptop.
Our friends have come over since the patio delivery for many hosted dinners, an Easter gathering and garden parties, and all are impressed by the way our backyard has changed. They are most impressed by the way our furniture looks, the large canopy umbrella and (when they hear about it) the Rediscover Your Bliss Program—I think every friend now knows about this program! There are moments when there are eight of us (with room for more) gathered around the fire, chatting away. I take a photo in my mind. I realize this patio setup has enriched the way we entertain, inviting guests to linger into the evening.
We spend so much time making our backyard our private retreat, a personal oasis, and the more comfortable we can make it for ourselves and the company we have over, imagine how many more wonderful memories await. Outdoor entertaining and living can enrich our lives, make us go outside to get our daily Vitamin D, and allow our backyards to be a livable outdoor extension of our home life. I’m even blogging about this with you as I sit outside on my Rancho sectional now!
If you’re contemplating how important it is to invest in an outdoor patio set, I say it’s worth it. I can’t cheer enough about the ability to recover your cushions, which prolongs the longevity of your outdoor furniture. If you want to use more of your backyard, make certain you get furniture that is comfortable and comes with an incredible warranty. Consider your furniture on the outside as important as the inside because so many of life's most memorable moments will be lived outdoors.
* Terms and conditions apply. Go to our Rediscover Your Bliss page.