The Backyard : One Year Later

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comIt’s been just over a year since completing our GIANT backyard project. We moved to Utah for one main reason- the outdoors. The landscape here is unlike any other! Emmett and I both love spending time outside, so it only made sense to overhaul our yard. Over the course of a year, some things have changed, but the majority of the yard looks the exact same. We planted a tree, touched up the landscaping (fresh mulch is a game changer), but the biggest change you’ll notice is the new Article outdoor furniture surrounding the fire pit. Things got a whole lot more comfortable. Click through to see how it looks today, as well as read about things we’re still loving and three items we’d change if we could do it all over…

If you’ve been following along for awhile, you might remember- over a year ago, I participated in Article’s “A Night In” with some of my favorite design bloggers. Check out that post here! It’s crazy to see how much our house has evolved in a relatively short period of time. Our bare living room wasn’t even finished yet and we hadn’t even started on the backyard. Anyway, that’s when I fell in love with Article products. I remember thinking, “they are shaking things up in the furniture industry”. They don’t have showrooms or salespeople, but offer their beautifully designed (and comfortable) modern furniture at fair prices since the middle man is removed. It’s really pretty smart. That’s why I was excited to partner with them once again for our outdoor space- so without further ado, here it is!

Per usual, I tried to shoot right before sunset into golden hour so you’ll notice the lighting and mood change drastically! It’s actually one of my favorite things about the backyard.

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comThe most recent addition to the space is the updated seating around the fire pit. After having friends over on multiple occasions, it became clear we needed larger, comfortable lounge chairs as opposed to our previous small settee. I landed on the Ora Lounge Chair from Article for a couple different reasons…

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comThe first and primary reason was the seat hight. Since the chairs are positioned around the fire pit, I wanted to make sure it was functional- sometimes we’ll prop our cold toes against the edge, or lean over to roast marshmallows for s’mores. Much like a coffee table, the existing fire pit influenced the low chair height. These ended up being the perfect scale!

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comThe second reason was the charcoal color and aesthetic. After painting our veranda black, I knew I needed something on the opposing side of the yard to balance out the moody and dark outdoor dining area. These chairs totally fit the bill.

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comRemember my planter DIY from earlier this spring? Look how much those succulents have grown!! Have any of you attempted the DIY? I hope yours are thriving and doing as well as mine. They’re seriously the easiest outdoor arrangement to keep alive.

The Backyard : One Year Later -

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comI also got this cute outdoor side table because every seat needs a place to sit a drink. I also like lots of surfaces to scatter my citronella candles around the yard because mosquitos seem to LOVE me (unfortunately). The candles really ward them off and do the trick.

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comOn the opposing side of the paver patio is the outdoor sectional. This permanent, DIY outdoor sofa is still my proudest project to date. Everyone who hangs out in our yard asks about it, and it’s something I could talk about forever. I loved the process, the overall aesthetic, and of course- the end result. It’s holding up SO well. Sure, I added a fresh coat of paint, but this thing is my pride and joy.

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comPlease tell me some of you have attempted the concrete sofa DIY? Definitely comment at the end of the post, because I want to hear all about it!

The Backyard : One Year Later -

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comI have a basket of throws I tote in and out as we use the backyard. Living in Utah, the evenings can drop into lower temps. I love finding a seat and curling up under a blanket. I could sit outside like that forever! The alpaca throw shown above is one of my new favorites. It’s medium weight, super soft, and I’m smitten with the tassel fringe detail.

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comI have to say… there’s something magical about our backyard in the evening. The twinkle lights come on, the mountains turn pink as the sun sets, the air cools down, music is playing, the dogs are doing their thing, and Emmett & I have our best conversations. It’s an inviting and charming spot I’ve loved from the very beginning.

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comThe backyard has really become more of an evening hangout for us. We’ll usually eat breakfast or dinner under the veranda if we’re in need of fresh air, but when it comes time to lounge- THIS is where we end up.

The Backyard : One Year Later -

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comWe’re lucky to have a fairly secluded backyard. We didn’t have much to work with and it was in terrible condition, but we’ve really turned it into a great green space…. of course that wasn’t without a LOT of hard work. Here’s a couple images of how it looked when we purchased the home, followed by a shot of the newly installed privacy fence (prior to sod).

To be honest, I really can’t even remember this space before we transformed it. Maybe my memory just blocked out all the bad? I can certainly remember all the work though. Ha!

The Backyard : One Year Later -

Quite the difference, right? So… after a year of having a totally finished outdoor living space, Emmett and I both agree there are lots of things we absolutely love and a few things we’d definitely do differently.

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comT H I N G S    W E    L O V E   (aka, I’d make these same design decisions a million times over):

  • the privacy fence (a must for households with dogs)
  • the sod, because I’m a barefoot kind of gal
  • the pergola WITH the fan & shade panels (life in Utah is HOT during the day)
  • the paver patio (which made designing this space so much easier)
  • the concrete sofa (obviously)
  • the fire pit hangout area (everyone gravitates to that spot)
  • landscaping (I’m convinced Emmett should’ve been a landscape designer- it’s 100% his creation)
  • all the accessories (outdoor heater, grill, string lights, pillows, throws, candles… we still love it all)

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comOn the contrary, there are a few things we were less than stoked about. I’ll touch on each of them below…

T H R E E    T H I N G S    W E ‘ D    D O    D I F F E R E N T L Y :

#1 : Irrigation // We added a sprinkler system prior to installing sod and to be totally transparent… despite very careful planning- we didn’t do a great job. Although it’s efficient and we’re big on conserving water (remember, we live in Utah), it doesn’t cover our entire lawn. Therefore, dry spots have occurred which results in dead, crispy grass. Emmett is working on solving the problem and is planning to add additional sprinkler heads, but it’s probably something we could’ve avoided. If we could do it over, we’d both swap those brutal hours digging and installing pipes, and let the professionals handle it.

The Backyard : One Year Later - : Landscaping // After a year, it’s very evident that we should have fenced in our emerald arborvitae trees (the shrubs along the fence line). Obviously it would be a short (3 foot or under) wrought iron style that is hopefully minimally noticeable. The sole purpose of this would be to keep the dogs out. We have two male dogs, and as you might imagine, there is a certain contest that occurs… one pees, the other pees, the cycle repeats- our poor plants. We’ve tried a variety of things and a fence is our last resort- at least until the trees mature. The dogs also like to run around the back side of the sofa and the result is black mulch scattered alllllll over the paver patio. It’s not pretty and I hate sweeping it off. The fence is happening, mark my words! Hopefully soon.

The Backyard : One Year Later - : The DIY Sofa // I know what you’re thinking! Why would I change my most favorite DIY?! I actually already have… I wish I would’ve painted the sectional from the get-go. It looks SO good and the paint actually increased the durability. A year later, it’s painted and I’m loving it even more. I wish I would’ve just taken the time to research and do it earlier. It’s a thousand times easier to clean and I love the way it looks. See that tutorial here.

The Backyard : One Year Later - roomfortuesday.comThere you have it! Our backyard, one year later… it’s safe to say I’m loving it more and more each day. One last touch I added was the woven coffee table basket. It comes in handy for napkins, matches, candles, etc… basically anything I want to carry outside when entertaining. I love the organic look, but the scale is most amazing. It’s really large, sturdy, and functional!

If you want MORE of the backyard… there’s no shortage of blog content when it comes to our outdoor living space. I’ll link everything below for easy reference. If there’s something you’re curious about- odds are, there’s a post about it! Anything else? Drop me a comment below!

*This post is sponsored by Article. As always- all content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy! 


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  1. I adore what you’ve done with this space!! Such great attention to detail—I love your style! That concrete sofa is such an awesome idea.

    Sara |

    1. Thank you so much, Sara!! The concrete sofa is definitely my favorite. xo

  2. We just got a set of the same chairs last week in the lighter shade. They are so comfy, I love how I can curl up in one.
    Your back yard is looking fabulous Sarah!

    1. No way! Great minds ;) I’m loving the chairs. Thanks for the sweet compliment, Holly! xo

  3. Your garden is so inviting – an enormous change for the better in a really short time! Such a shame we don’t have Article here in the UK, those new additions look fantastic (and work beautifully with your previous choices).

    1. Thank you, Sally! Definitely a drastic change from what it used to look like. I so wish it was available to you as well. On a side note… I’ve been meaning to tell you a funny coincidence- my parents have a boat named “Sally R”, haha! Thanks for the comment, as always! xox

      1. Those are some excellent naming skills. Clearly, for luck purposes, they will need me there on their next voyage!! 🛥

  4. calcandide says:

    We’re in the middle of building our own concrete sofas that I based on yours! I finished the larger one yesterday, and for the smaller one I just need to drill and bolt in the supports for the wood platforms that hold the cushions. The only problem is I’m not sure I made them deep enough…

    1. Omg, this made my day!! Please please please message or email a photo when it’s finished- I’d love to see. I hope you love it as much as we do. In regards to your question- not sure how deep the screws or rebar should have been? Happy to help answer any questions! xox

      1. calcandide says:

        Oh! Not sure how deep the seats themselves should be! It might be because the back cushions are pretty big, but I feel like I’m sitting awfully close to the front edge of the seats… I’ll send you a few pics of the in-progress couches, I’m hoping to finish this week!

        1. Yes!! Feel free to email me: and I’ll send you specific measurements and images of ours! We’ve even walked someone through it on FaceTime. haha! I just love seeing people complete this project because it’s my fave. We based our seat depth on the outdoor cushions we purchased.

  5. Did you have to anchor your pergola in the ground?

    Love your backyard!

    1. Thank you, Lindsay! We did anchor the pergola into the ground. The four legs are set in concrete. The kit instructions were very specific, so it was an easy installation. Hope this helps! xo

      1. Can you share which kit you used? My husband and I are having a hard time finding a style we both like, and we both love this one! Perfect blend of modern and traditional.

    1. Thanks so much, Monica! xo

  6. I am OBSESSED with your DIY lounge and I am going to make one for my backyard, come hell or high water. Currently it’s high water as it has been raining for MONTHS, but once it dries out and cools down (October-November), I’m going to build it!

    1. Yessss!!! Send some of that rain our way. We desperately need it. Ha! You’ll have to let me know how it goes this fall :) xo

  7. How do you protect your grass from dog pee? We have one male and try to limit his peeing in the grass, and also spray water down when he does go, but I wish I could just let him out to do his thing! Any tips?

    1. I wish I had amazing tips, but we have the same issue with two male dogs. Ugh! It’s a struggle. Haha! xo

  8. Hi Sarah! How are your snowball viburnum holding up? Have they gotten any bigger? I’m thinking about adding a few plants next to my fence to act as a sort of hedge eventually, and would love to know how you like yours. thanks!

    1. Hi Lauren! I need to do an updated post on landscaping- such a good idea. They’re doing amazing! We had one die (thanks to an excessive amount of dog pee- thanks boys), but the other 3 have tripled in size. They even bloomed this year- it was gorgeous! We’re planning to add more next spring. Hope this helps. xo

  9. Hi there, I just found you!! And Im so happy that I have, everything you have done is all my style and taste, I hope I can draw from your spaces. We are designing our backyard right now, 75’ wide x 100’ long backing onto a farm fields. It’s almost a blank slate. We also have a male dog that pees on everything , we are currently ripping an entire house apart . I wold love to see what your spaces look like , i thing i am going to get for sure is your planting furniture piece and use it also for the outside buffet.

  10. So gorgeous!!! Did I miss it, but where is the fire pit from???

  11. I ABSOLUTELY love this! I have had the photos floating around my house the last month trying to work out how to apply the same to my garden and then I found your blog!!! I don”t suppose you have your original drawings/ measurements and would be open to sharing? I am in the UK so have the challenge and trying to finder suppliers, nothing quite lives up to your picks though!

  12. amber ferl says:

    Where did you get your cushions from? I’ve been looking and coming up empty!

  13. Natalie H. says:

    Hi! You may have shared this previously, so I’m sorry if I missed it… I was hoping you could share what kind of fabric you used as shade for the pergola? We just built a pergola and we’re looking for something like you had here! Thank you! :)

  14. Amy Simonsen says:

    Can you tell me the stain color for your pergola? Love your space! Live in Beautiful Utah as well.

  15. So excited to finally be in a place to tackle this sectional. Hoping to have it finished by the end of the month before it heats up in Alabama. Do you mind sharing your thoughts on the decision to only put an arm on one side of the sectional? I assume it has to do with the metrics of your cushions and the cinderblock dimensions but I wanted to double check. Thank you so much for always sharing your creativity. You have been an inspiration of mine for yours but this will be my first DIY on my own home.

    1. Woohooo!! Love hearing that, Kylee! Happy to share. It mostly had to do with our measurements and dimensions in our backyard. We wanted it to be situated in a certain way with the paver patio between the pergola posts. I will say, having lived with it for a couple of years… the side with no arm was also the side people ended up sitting on and sliding into. I think because it allowed us to squeeze a side table next to it. It was more convenient to sit a drink on the table, rather than the arm because of its bulkiness. We tested a side table on the arm side of the sofa there for a bit, and it was difficult to reach. You really can’t go wrong either way! Hope this helps :)

  16. Hi! We are doing a patio currently and I keep going back to your photo! It just has this warm and cozy feel! I was wondering how your pergola is holding up? Has it changed in color? Have you treated it? Or stain it to protect the wood from aging?

    1. Thanks so much, Diana! We actually moved from this house, but I’ve been the area and occasionally drive by for a glimpse- it looks the exact same. It is treated wood made for outdoor or wet environments, but it will patina over time (years). I actually like a patina or weathered look… it just gets better with time!

  17. Hi Sarah – love your backyard design and trying to replicate something similar in our small backyard. Do you recall the size of the pergola? The one you got from Lowe’s is no longer available. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Katie! It was 10 feet x 12 feet.

      1. Perfect- thank you so much!

  18. Angel Martin says:

    Hi Sarah, I love your pergola. We just got one. What did you use for the cover? And where did you get the fan?

  19. Oliverlin Reyes says:

    Hi Sarah! I love what you did with your backyard! My family and I are currently trying to do something almost like yours, but I wanted to know what was the concrete/pavement area size?

    1. Thank you so much, Oliverlin. The paver patio was around 14 feet by 22 feet.

  20. Hi Sarah,
    I love what you did with your backyard, we’re trying something similar. Where did you get the coffee table thats by the couch from?

  21. Where is the pergola from? Did you buy it or did you build it?

    1. It was a kit from Lowe’s, but it does require assembly and building.

  22. Hello! Love your blog. Do you have a link for the outside heater?

  23. Hi Sarah! I am mid build on my own concrete sofa. I finished about half the wallcrete last night. Question, did you sand the pieces of fiberglass that stick out?

    1. That’s so exciting, Crissy! Great job on your progress. You can definitely sand and trim the fiberglass pieces that stick out. I did that in a few spots! Painting it (see that tutorial here) will also help smooth those out and keep them down. I hope that helps!

  24. Such a beautiful patio!

    1. Thank you so much, Katie!