Monday, June 4, 2018

Big Reveal: Our Backyard Makeover Before & After

I'm just going to start right out by telling you guys that this is officially my favorite post so far this year. This project has been a dream, and I'm absolutely thrilled to finally be sharing it with you.

Those of you who have been reading here for a while know that Robbie and I searched for our first home to buy for several years. The process felt endless, but we finally found the perfect home for us, and closed in January. One of the things I've been most excited about is having a yard where our kids can play and we can hang out and relax as a family. This is something I've been envisioning for longer than I can remember, and I was profoundly grateful for the opportunity to finally make it happen. The yard itself was a complete blank slate when we moved in. There was no landscaping at all (not even a tiny shrub), no patio or deck - nothing but grass.

We decided that the first big project in our new home would be to add a patio, and then use furniture and decor to create our own backyard oasis. And I was incredibly lucky to be able to team up with one of my favorite brands, TIKI Brand, and the truly amazing designer (and one of my new favorite people ever), Tyler Wisler, to do this.

A couple of months ago, Tyler and I began brainstorming the design for our new backyard. We sat down and discussed what I wanted out of the space - a cozy, bohemian-inspired, inviting outdoor oasis for family and friends to gather and relax. I sent him some images and ideas that were inspiring me and some measurements for the patio itself, and he got to work designing a mood board. I also hired a local company, Lay Concrete, to create a stamped concrete patio for us. Stamped concrete is the coolest thing ever you guys. There are so many design possibilities! I chose a large bluestone pattern and color, and it turned out absolutely beautiful. Tyler suggested we add some sort of vertical structure to the patio as well, so Robbie, my dad and I designed a cedar slat wall and built it ourselves. (Stay tuned for a DIY post about this.)

Tyler and I held a few more meetings to go over the details of his mood boards and design plans, and he put together a list of potential furniture and decor items for me to purchase. We narrowed down and finalized the list, I purchased the items and also received several TIKI Brand products to bring the space together. We started getting excited for him to fly here to Chicago from New York in May so we could work together to create the final space!

On the day Tyler and the TIKI Brand team arrived, we immediately got to work. (Check out the video above for a recap of the entire process. So fun!) We began by arranging furniture and rugs (Tyler is an area rug guru, guys), followed by smaller decor pieces, plants (you all know I'm a crazy plant lady and the patio was to be no exception) and finally, the TIKI Brand pieces that would tie the space together and create the perfect ambience for my new outdoor oasis.

Tyler knew that color tends to scare me and I cling to neutrals, but that I also wanted a boho vibe on the patio with hints of the kind of colors you might find at a Marrakesh flea market. He brilliantly found ways to focus on neutral shades for the bigger furniture pieces and add pops of bright colors, patterns and textures in the rugs and decor to actualize this for me. The more everything came together, the more emotional I became. Once everything was in place, we added the final touch with the TIKI Brand items. When we lit them, we all gasped. (Dramatic much? True though!) The TIKI table torches are what truly made the space, by creating a cozy, warm atmosphere that literally radiates.

My favorite of the TIKI Brand pieces is the Huntington Patio Torch, which is just gorgeous and feels like a really fabulous patio fire pit (with way less hassle).

I'm also smitten with the Cordoba Patio Torch, which we placed on the opposite side of the space to balance it out. Both torches are really beautiful and produce spectacular, rich flames that burn bright without excess smoke, thanks to TIKI Brand's Clean Burn Fuel. (I'm also loving the BiteFighter Torch Fuel, which is a lifesaver in keeping the mosquitos away!)

I also chose three different Table Torches for the new backyard space, each of which brings something visually different but equally lovely to the patio: the Geo Globe Table Torch (how about that gold?), the Mixed Material Votive Table Torch (love the clean design), and the Pineapple Paradise Glass Table Torch (Essley's favorite and possibly mine as well - so fun).

To finish off the space, we added some more traditional TIKI Brand torches in a fantastic new design that really blends well with the boho vibe of our new backyard - the Fire Island Metal Torches in Copper.

We have been spending almost every evening on our patio since we set it all up, just hanging out and enjoying the rich, bright, long-burning flames of the TIKI Brand products. It's pretty wonderful.

I can't really put into words how grateful I am for our new backyard. Robbie and I were talking the other night about how long we've dreamed of having a space like this someday, and it's a little mind blowing that it's finally become a reality. We are so stoked to spend the summer out here and to have friends over to enjoy it with us.

Backyard dreams really can come true, friends.

This post is in partnership with TIKI® Brand. All opinions are mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.



  1. I just love how this space turned out, Melissa! It's so colourful and vibrant but still relaxed and it just couldn't be more, well, you. I just know you're going to make so many wonderful memories in it :)

  2. Wow! It looks incredible! You guys did a spectacular job transforming it! I love the bright accents and lighting. It's gorgeous!

  3. LOVE your new space it's absolutely incredible and what a wonderful spot to lounge, chill and drink wine. Plus you're absolutely adorable... loved seeing that vide of you!!! xo

  4. Dream patio! And you are a natural on camera!

  5. I am so jealous! Can you come design my patio too?

  6. What a transformation! I thoroughly enjoyed watching the video and it is nice to put a voice to a face :) The overlapping rugs is a great idea!


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