caring for your outdoor space

Hello lovelies! Brace yourselves… we have one more (important) aspect for our back yard  stuff today. (To see all of the posts in our backyard bliss series, be sure to check it out, here!) table_setting

Recently, we received a message from a sweet reader Lisa, that went a little something like this:


Hey guys! …I adore your back yard redo. I LOVE everything about it. I’m in the process of starting plans for our own yard that is in much need of some love so I appreciate all of your detailed tutorials. We can not wait to get started! I’m so impatient I want to go out in the snow and build a pergola yesterday. …But I have a question. Does it really look like that all the time? What kind of upkeep does your porch area require? How do you take care of it? Any tips you can share would be really appreciated! I’m curious to know how much work is involved in the upkeep of it all :)


This is actually a really great question. As much as I would like to live in a glossy magazine with flowers and rainbows with unicorns in forever sunshine, I think we all know this just isn’t reality.

Everyone’s location, and climate are different. While our winters are fairly mild in the deep south, we definitely have our cold streaks… and because of that, our “off season” when it comes to all things back yard love. There’s muddy days and because it’s humid here, a nasty wet cold. Sometimes we have rain that feels like it will last for an eternity. (See: It’s eating away at my soooouuullll.) ;} In between, we can still enjoy our impromptu back yard soirees, but the s’mores fests are a bit spontaneously sprinkled for now.


Outdoor spaces are a funny phrase to me. They’re literally an outdoor room. Just like any room in your home that is regularly pummeled by those who live there (or in this case, the every day weather) it requires a little maintenance in between.

Leaf sweeping and pecan elimination, are just a few of the small things we do about every other week to keep it fresh on our porch (see also: right before people come over). In the spring, we will probably lightly scrub the painted part of our patio with soap and a brush, as well as our hideaway porch and railing to brighten it up a little and help fight the dirt and pollen that seems to settle over time in all those little grooves. It sounds uptight, but it makes a huge difference in the way it all looks over time. And there’s something about being able to step outside barefooted that just feels nice. Especially with three little kids.

We usually just work it into our home cleaning routine. But it’s also important that we protect our furniture in the meantime. This will be a year round thing for us.

We want those pieces we love to last as long as possible. That’s why we use furniture covers.


Enter Empire Covers. We’ve definitely used them in the past and we were already impressed with their product, but we absolutely love this company. They were awesome to send us some covers to use on our back porch, and we were thrilled to put them to good use.

Empire Covers really carry some durable pieces. We love their covers, in a great selection of sizes and finishes. They are UV treated, and 100% waterproof. These covers can double the life of our furniture, and I can rest easy about leaving our pretty pieces outside, protected. It’s just a dependable aspect we really like.They come complete with ties to keep that ever present wind from blowing them away. They have held steady through quite a few heavy storms now, and that just makes me feel good. The photos below are when we’d first opened our newest additions, so they are actually quite smooth and wrinkle-free at this point. ;}


An additional small step we took, is placing our furniture on wooden blocks below to support each leg of our furniture. Even the metal pieces. It helps keep the moisture from seeping underneath, and preserves it even further. This definitely helps with the whole potential wood rot/rust issue in all of our pieces. It only takes a few minutes, and we put these underneath every time, before we place our covers to help escape gathering puddles of water in the rainy season.

furniture_coversAs far as our pillows are concerned, we placed all of them in an additional protective cushion storage bag, and then in a protective storage box. It’s like double protection and a great option for all of our pillows. I’m kind of in love. This frees up our garage/closets/other various areas in our home for other much needed space… and I don’t have to worry about them in the meantime. I don’t think there’s anything more frustrating than having something nice, ruined. We all known possessions aren’t everything, but it’s nice to be able to take care of our little investments. I learned that the hard way with our last outdoor cushions. Even though they were “outdoor” grade, they got a little moldy over time, and that was my bad. They just weren’t protected properly.


This little system we use makes for fast access when we have a sunny day and want to take advantage of the pretty weather. I simply step around the corner, and grab all of our cozy little pieces for an instant back porch restoration. It makes life pretty easy. And our outdoor life realistically doable. There’s no dirt, mold, or the ever present and absolutely terrifying wee beasties that tend to settle in over time. Blech. Hibby jibbies.


It’s a great option for caring for your furniture, without having to bring it indoors to dominate your much garage/closet/anyareayoucanthinkof storage space. I was buried in an avalanche of pillows for a while, every time I stepped into our closet. It’s kind of a relief to reclaim that real estate, and know its nicely protected in the meantime.


Now we’re geared up for the great yellow death of spring, while being able to throw off our covers for an insta-party in the meantime! I’m ready, yellow death. Bring it. Maybe. (See: sinuses. But this helps that, too.)yellow_door

(Just a side note for reference : Empire Covers carry more products to protect a lot of your outdoor items, so be sure to check them out. If you love their pieces be sure to use the coupon code WINTER15 right now for 15% off your purchase.)


So rainbows and butterflies and magical glossy magazine moments aside, we simply keep our furniture covered, and have it ready whenever we have a chance to have fun outside. It’s a quick switcharoo, and definitely worth it for our back porch.

I hope this helps with any questions you guys may have had! It’s totally doable, and worth it in our book. Here’s to keeping it real! And manageable. ;}

Have an inspired day, everyone!

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Responses to caring for your outdoor space

  1. Layla K says:

    So good to know! Thank you for keepin it real. It still looks doable to me! :)

  2. Anna says:

    We have awful allergies in the spring, and we never know quite what to do with our furniture. I’m ready to invest in some nice pieces so this helps me out a lot. I’m going to check them out. Thanks for all the tips!

  3. Jenna says:

    Can I just come get your tipi and put it in our back yard? Thanks :)

  4. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for all of this. We were wanting to do something pretty similar so this is gret to know as far as taking care of your stuff. My husband will be glad to know this too. It was kind of his hold up but it definitely seems doable. Thank you so much again

  5. Jessica Anderson says:

    Thanks for all the great info!! Planning to do a hideaway for our kids this spring. How is that holding up and how much upkeep is there(washing the curtains?) ?

  6. Your home is ridiculously awesome. I am AWW-inspired! Love everything about your style. And as was said above, “Thanks for keeping it real”!

  7. Holly mercer says:

    I am in love with your backyard redo!!! Is the patio painted, stenciled? Was it difficult and what colors did you use:)

  8. Nancie. Karuza says:

    Thanks for an idea you gave me. I’m going to buy a plastic bin and know right where I’ll put it, and in all my pillows and cushions they will go. Great article!!!!!

  9. Amanda says:

    Hi, i love your bungalow, i was wondering if you’d be willing to give me dementions and what i would need to build this? I’m a single mother of three little ones and was hoping i could make something similar… Please help… thank you so much…

    • Hey Amanda! You can every single one of our tutorials for our back yard series (including the hideaway) under this link, here. Just scroll down to the bottom. I’ve updated it to hold all of those. Hope that helps! Thanks so much!