Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.comHappy Friday! I originally published this post in April 2019, and it has been fun to see what items we’ve crossed off the list since posting this! My plans remain the same and next month we’ll be getting a new roof, so my brain is back on exterior design and improvements. At this point, we had only been living in our home for four months.

I’m pretty sure spring is finally here in Utah. You can never get too excited too soon because one minute it snows, then it’s 70 and sunny, then it rains,…you get the point. This nice weather has been super distracting. Even though there is plenty to keep me busy with our kitchen renovation, the only thing my brain wants to think about is our outdoor living areas. It has been really fun to see what type of landscaping is growing and blooming. Since we moved in December, we weren’t really sure what the landscaping situation would look like at our new house until spring. We spent last weekend cleaning everything up, raking, pulling out dead plants, and mulching. Things are looking really good and the potential has me very excited! I wanted to talk through my hopes, short term goals, long term goals, and what you can expect to see in regards to our outdoor living spaces this spring. Click through to read all about it and see how things currently look (before we mess with it)!

This is the first home we’ve moved into that actually has landscaping. In both of our previous homes, we’ve had to demo everything outside and completely start over. Our first house was an overgrown disaster- it took an excavator to pull the Jumanji-sized ivy off of the home (it was so bad it grew down the chimney, through the fireplace, and back out the windows). Our second house basically had nothing salvageable. The plants, trees, and grass were all dead, brown, and dried out. This house feels like a dream come true in terms of outdoor living and landscaping. It already has gorgeous landscaping and looks really nice. I’d love to tweak a couple things, but I honestly pretty much love it as is.

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.comThe outdoor living spaces here are going to be a different kind of challenge. Emmett and I were chatting about how excited we are that we can actually use our outdoor areas immediately after moving in. They’re livable. Even better- they’re in great shape and we can eventually turn them into beautiful spaces that are more representative of our aesthetic, on our own time. I’m going to break down each outdoor area below, with my thoughts & plans…


Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.comLet’s start in the front… the front porch is pretty large, but my textural planters are already helping the vignette feel a little better.


  • Add planters (obviously that’s already done).
  • Buy a better door mat that is more appropriate in scale.
  • Add another set of smaller planters to better balance the door & columns.


  • Replace the door.
  • Replace the door casing & millwork.
  • Replace the sconces.
  • Replace the house numbers.

Eventually, I’d like to totally transform the way the front entrance looks. It currently has a 90’s vibe and feels pretty dated. I’d also love to paint the exterior white (or whitewash the brick)! Who knows… maybe some new black windows? We’ll have to see how things play out and where the budget needs to go.


Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.comThis garage is everything we’ve ever dreamt of… it’s honestly a must for our renovation. It doubles as parking, a place to store tools & equipment, and our workshop. It has been a game changer using this space to keep projects on track- even when the weather is bad. Although it’s amazing from a functional standpoint, I have big plans for the aesthetic. Right now it looks pretty basic and boring.


  • Add a planter between the doors.


  • Replace the garage doors.
  • Replace the exterior lighting.
  • Add a trellis.
  • Install a flower box under the dormer window (grab the DIY tutorial here).

I think our garage could be really charming! I already have the vision in my brain and am looking forward to the day I get to execute my plan.


Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.comThis is probably my favorite outdoor area as of now. It’s also the space that will need the most work. There is a big 12′ x 11′ balcony off of our master bedroom. I didn’t realize how much I loved this space until spring came along. I leave the sliding glass doors open and let the dogs run in and out. I’ll find Cash out there sunbathing. The views are gorgeous and I’m thinking this might be the first area I tackle outside. I can’t wait to sip coffee here in the morning or wine at night in my pajamas and watch the sunset. It’s really a special spot.


  • Clean the railings, columns, soffit, and ceiling.
  • Paint the floor.
  • Paint the brick.
  • Add outdoor drapery to the side (to block the view of the neighbor’s yard).
  • Buy an outdoor area rug.
  • Add outdoor seating.


  • Structurally reinforce / rebuild the lower columns.
  • Replace the subfloor.
  • Install floor tile.
  • Update railing.
  • Add a ceiling fan.
  • Replace the doors with larger sliding or accordion ones.
  • Install gutters for proper drainage.

This balcony actually needs rebuilt. Is it going to fall down? No, but it could definitely use some reinforcements. One corner is a little squishy and the existing floor has water damage. It’s safe to walk out there, but I certainly wouldn’t host a party or have multiple people hopping around. Our home inspector basically said, “It’s fine, but I’d replace the subfloor and beams within a year or two”. I have big dreams for this space and really want to install new doors that capture more of that gorgeous view and give us a true indoor / outdoor master suite.


Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.comSpeaking of the bedroom balcony, this is a view of the backyard looking down from there. The backyard snakes all the way around the house. Given our elevation and location, we have three tiers of boulders that serve as a retaining wall. The dogs love hopping up and down these and playing chase. Our yard is basically like a doggie playground and they’re constantly zooming around back there… that’s the reason for the trekked out grass. I didn’t get photos of the other sections, but they have more fenced grassy areas to play in too. I’m just thankful we have a backyard that is big (and flat) enough to be fenced for the dogs. Lots of homes in our neighborhood / area do not because it’s too steep. I’m planning to divide the main backyard (what you see above) into two sections… a lounge area and a dining area (under the pergola). Let’s chat about the lounge area first.


  • Buy outdoor speakers
  • Add lounge furniture (sofa, comfy chairs, side tables, fire pit or fire table)


  • Maybe tile the space? Emmett is totally against this, BTW.

The concrete is really nice and is in great shape… it just feels boring to me, so tile isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I do love the fun curvature and think a curved outdoor sofa could be a unique way to section off the space.


Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.comI’m planning to use the same dining set we’ve used the past two years…. you can see it here under our previous carport. It has held up really great and I still love it, so why not?


  • Pull the rest of our dining furniture out of the shed and put together the dining space.
  • Roll out an outdoor rug.
  • Install string lights.
  • Add a buffet / console table.
  • Install some sort of shade fabric to the pergola.
  • Add some potted plants.


  • Again… maybe tile the space someday?
  • Build an outdoor kitchen (built-in grill, etc).
  • Plant some sort of creeping plant that could crawl up the edge of the pergola or cover the top.
  • Install permanent outdoor lighting & replace existing sconce.
  • Install a flower box under the window.

This area truly has a ton of potential and it should be interesting to watch it evolve over the next few years! I’m REALLY wishing for that outdoor kitchen or grilling station, but in the meantime- I think it’s going to make a beautiful setting for summer dinner parties.


Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.comLastly, let’s chat about the back entryway. These french doors lead into our formal living room, which is currently covered in that mountain of boxes I showed you last week in the kitchen reno post. We use these doors about a hundred times each day, letting the dogs in & out as they please. I HATE these doors. Not only do they look ugly and dated, but they’re broken. You really have to wiggle it and pull upward to get them to shut properly. I just think this balanced vignette has so much potential and replacing these doors are a must.


  • Add some plants.
  • Order a longer door mat.


  • Replace the doors (and maybe even the windows).
  • Potentially tile.
  • Replace the sconces.
  • Install some flower boxes.

Obviously we just moved in four months ago and things take time… I’m envisioning these projects to span over years. That’s just the reality of home renovations- indoors and out. Regardless, I’m excited to tackle some small projects this year outside and I’ll welcome future opportunities to tackle the larger ones. As for right now, I feel like we have an incredible blank canvas, can take things at our own pace, and begin enjoying these outdoor areas NOW. I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comment section below!

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  1. Holy cat! You really have a lot of beautiful, interesting spaces. I’m exceedingly envious of your master bedroom balcony, so yes please tackle that first. 😉 An outdoor kitchen would be dreamy, and I’d love to see what you create. Hmmm, tile does sound amazing, but the concrete looks in perfect (boring) shape. I’d be interested to see tile choices for such a traditional house-I’m sure you’ve got a vision! And, non-working doors make me want to punch myself in the face-avoidable aggravation! So much good stuff to come! Happy spring Monday!🌸🌷

    1. Lololol! Sarah, please save us all a lot of face-punching. Doors first! That little backdoor area should be the quickest project of all of them, right? Very excited for y’all…you have a beautiful exterior to work with!

      1. HA! That had me laughing too. lol! I wish that could be the first project because it’s so annoying, but that area is currently a mess inside because of the kitchen renovation. Building materials and stuff is coming in and out of the doors and I’m worried that new ones will get banged up in the process of renovating the kitchen. I’d love to wait until after that projects is finished if I can hold out. And thank you :) I’m really excited about this house. I told Emmett I’m never going to leave. Haha! xox

    2. Hahaha!! I’m cracking up at the door aggression. It really is infuriating. I think the master bedroom balcony is going to happen first because selfishly- that’s where I want to hang out the most. My short term goals for that space are more cosmetic and would be easy for me to tackle. Have a great week :)

  2. I would love a post/more information on your thought process behind painting the brick! I’ve always thought of it as a little sad to cover original character like brick (like painting original woodwork), even on a newer home, and would be interested in a different perspective. I’m sure whatever you do will look beautiful!

    1. I’ll definitely share a post on that when the time comes. I’m with you… usually I’m a purist and like to keep original details as is- and I DO love a classic brick home, but I definitely think this house could be enhanced with paint. We shall see :) Regardless, I’ll post all about it! Have a great week Danielle!

  3. Meagan Puterman says:

    Hi Sarah! I love all these plans. I was chuckling that Emmett is against you tiling the concrete because I’m currently in the exact same predicament over at my house. I’ve been really inspired by LVEB Design’s patio stencil tutorial in Instagram (lvebdesign) where she basically painted it and it looks sooooo classy and modern. I just need to work up the courage. You should check it out, I can see you pulling something off very similar and may be a good compromise for you and Emmett.

    1. Thanks Meagan! Ha… he is SO against it. I’m glad I’m not alone in this battle. I’m going to have to check out the stencil tutorial you mentioned- that might be the best of both worlds (if it holds up). Thanks for the tip! xo

  4. You have a beautiful house, and such potential in all the outdoor spaces. I would NOT paint the brick, though. It’s a fairly neutral shade, as brick goes, and really lovely with the crisp black and white. Also, painting brick is VERY in right now, so while it may be to classic to be technically “trendy,” it will date your house to this moment in the trend cycle, and it’s hard to undo.

    1. Thanks so much Kristin! I’d argue painted brick can be timeless too, depending on the way it’s done. I’d love to see some contrast and right now, every house in our neighborhood kind of has the same vibe, so I’d love to go in a different direction. I do enjoy a classic brick exterior though! It all depends on what aesthetic best fits the home when updating. I know it’s a controversial topic :) haha! xox

      1. Funny thing is, when I see a brick house this color I assume it’s a newer build! Most of the older brick houses where we are (DC area) are either the natural darker red brick or painted. I guess it all has to do with what you’re used to!

        1. Exactly! I think that’s why I’m leaning toward paint… this exterior just looks newer (90’s new). Ha! You’re right- it all depends on your surroundings.

  5. I love painting bad/ugly/dated brick but your house doesn’t seem to need it! Unless you want it to look a little younger vibe I guess… it is very traditional and stately in feel. If it’s too much burgundy for you then as a green tree lover I cautiously submit that you might want to consider changing out your two dark trees in front for something with actual green leaves…?

    You are blessed with great outdoor possibilities! We live in a temperate climate and I’m a SAHM & homeschooler so indoor/outdoor living is our reality all day long. We have a south, north, and west exterior door each with its own patio type of area and I really want to pick ONE to concentrate on and actually finish, as they all have been in use with random improvements.

    1. That’s definitely an issue I’m having- good eye! I love those japanese maples though- they’re so gorgeous in person. I don’t anticipate painting or overhauling the exterior anytime soon, but I’d love to take a stab at it in the future, for sure! I see so much potential for multiple areas outside. I think that’s a great idea… choose one area, focus on that, then move to the next later on when time / budget allows. I say prioritize and go for it :) especially if you use the space frequently.

  6. You’ve followed Young House Love’s house-painting journey, right? She has had some great insights about if you should do it or not, and the product they used seems pretty incredible!

    1. I think I need to revisit those posts!! She always has the best insight… going to check it out right now! Thanks for the reminder :)

  7. Thequeenofhighhorses says:

    What about staining the concrete? You can get the tile feel and Emmett can keep his concrete.

    1. That’s another great option! I don’t know a lot about that process, but I should definitely look into it and research.

  8. Love where this is headed! I’m just curious as to why you called the French doors ‘outdated’ (obviously the hardware is) ? They just look like a standard set of French doors to me.

    1. Thank you! Yep- you hit the nail on the head… the outdated brass hardware and just the condition of the doors. They’re not energy efficient, the seal is dry rotted, they just seen better days. As for the aesthetic and shape- they’re fine. I’d love something that had larger windows to let more light in or a style that’s more traditional with center styles or mullions. Hope that helped to clarify :)

  9. “I’m planning to use the same dining set we’ve used the past two years…. It has held up really great and I still love it, so why not?”

    Can I just say how refreshing it is to read and see this attitude lived out, especially given what home blogging is like these days? Thank you for being an inspirational but relatable breath of fresh air!

    1. Thank you so much Betsy! I’m all about buying furniture that withstands the test of time- from a durability and an aesthetic perspective :)

  10. Katie Ryan says:

    I’m team paint that brick white! It would be so gorgeous!!! Can’t wait to see your vision come to life. Thanks for taking us along for the ride Sarah. Your style and work ethic is unbelievable.

    1. Yay!! I love hearing that. Our last house was brick and I’m just ready for a visual change- I think it would be beautiful :) Thank YOU so much for following along. I can’t tell you how much that means. xox

  11. You have already accomplished so much from this list!! Not to mention the shed and leveling the backyard which aren’t even on it. (And new garage doors, too, right?) Reading through reminded me of the French doors exiting the living room. If memory serves, you did not replace them during the epic living room overhaul. Did changing the hardware do the trick? Also, this view shows that you have steps down to the back patio. I never feel that from the inside perspective; it seems much more expansive. It’s funny reading about exterior plans in October. Will you be getting your new roof before winter? That seems to come so fast to SLC! I imagine you’ll have a roofing company complete the work? Or maybe not, you guys do everything! I hope your upholstering is going smoothly (and straight!). Happy Pizza Friday! Have an amazing weekend!💜

    1. Yes! I felt proud to re-read this post and feel accomplished in lots of our outdoor areas! I didn’t realize we had tackled so much outside. Woohoo!! As for the living room doors- I like the look of our existing doors (with the new hardware), but they aren’t efficient. They’re old. Eventually it would be great to replace those, but from an aesthetic point-of-view, I have no problem with them as is! Yep- we have steps outside the french doors that lead to the patio. We’ve decided to change those someday because they take up awkward space and are annoying. Who knows when that will happen though! We are getting a new roof BEFORE winter, if all goes as planned. I want it installed before the snow piles up. I’m currently waiting on estimates to come back from a few different companies (my least favorite part of the process). The roofing company will do the install for us. I want something professionally installed with a warranty- and I don’t completely trust Emmett crawling around on our roof… makes me nervous! The bed turned out AMAZING!! I’m putting it into a blog post right now :) Can’t wait to show you! xo

  12. I liked looking back at your home when you first started planning the outside. Your new front doors are beautiful and welcoming. Love that beautiful tree that changes color this time of year.
    Your backyard is such a nice retreat now that you have a sitting and dining area. I am sure the weather makes it that much more enjoyable. Would love to see a side by side of your front and back areas now that they have been updated.
    When you have your new roof installed are you planning to replace the garage doors then or later. A trellis over the garage door will be a great addition. I have always wanted one for ours.
    Hope your week was as productive as you wanted it to be. Can’t wait to see your new business. Have a great pizza night!

    1. Thanks Danna! I love hearing that :) I definitely need to get my camera and snap some before and after images of the outdoor areas we’ve already updated. I love a good before & after! We actually replaced our garage doors last year because one broke (I just didn’t blog about it… I guess I was super busy, haha). Check them out in my security post today for a peek (they’re black). We still want to add the trellis though! I hope your weekend was beautiful and your week is off to an awesome start. xo

  13. It’s incredible looking back and seeing what has been checked off the list. You two have tackled so much!! Not to mention the projects that were unplanned: rebuilding the retaining walls, new sod, the garden area, the shed…it’s all truly inspiring to see where you started and watch the change over time. So much has been tackled in under two years! Reading this post has me thinking that I should make my own list of interior/exterior spaces with short term and long term goals. That might center my brain a bit more and give me more focus. The list definitely lives in my head, but perhaps putting it on paper will allow me to see where I can tackle smaller things, plan for larger things and keep ticking away. It was a productive week, yesterday was particularly inspirational around here. It feels good to feel like super mom for once this year! Haha! Cheers to pizza Friday and a little free time to center my brain on my home. Thanks for sharing this one: I needed this one today!!

    1. It was fun for me, too! I didn’t realize just how much we had accomplished outside in the span of two years. I vote yes to list making! It’s always fun to look back and see what you’ve accomplished and is a great incentive to keep pushing forward. I feel like it also helps me prioritize and budget. I’m glad last week was amazing for you- way to go Lauren! You are a super mom and your kids are so lucky to have you- you’re doing an amazing job :) Cheers to another great week ahead! xo