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I grew up as a So Cal girl. We lived outside, practically year-round, and I spent more time in my backyard than anywhere else. It's one of the reasons I wanted Evie to grow up here - some of my favorite memories are of warm summer nights spent with with BBQs and inflatable pools in our backyard.

This year brought about an opportunity to be even more intentional about creating a space we want to live in outside, since we are currently under a Safer At Home order with the Covid-19 pandemic. While things are beginning to loosen up just a bit, I'm sure we'll be spending most of our time in our own yard this summer, and I wanted to create a space we couldn't wait to spend time in. Here are my five tips for creating a space you'll love:


For me, summer has always been all about the smell of Jasmine - fresh and crisp in the morning, heavy and warm in the evenings - so we created a wall of Jasmine to hide our patio from the neighbors. Five simple trellis panels with a Jasmine plant to climb up each one. It's the perfect way to add some privacy and the smell of summer.

We also added some intentional lighting for our evenings. We have a fire pit which I love not only for the look, but also because the propane tank is stored inside the fixture, and we replaced the lava rocks with this black reflective glass. It's such a chic look. We also have two tiki torches that we fill with a mosquito-repelling fluid (because nothing puts a damper in your evening quicker than bug bites). Market Lights hang from the inside of the pergola, a couple of faux candles sit in lanterns, and some twinkly lights go back and forth above Evie's playhouse beneath the trees.


It gets HOT here, especially during August and September, so we need spots that stay shady to drop the temperature and protect us from sunburn. Fortunately, we have a beautiful big tree that protects half our yard in the morning, and our home shades our backyard in the late afternoons. To create some shady spaces for the middle of the day, we added a sail shade over the corner where we put the blow-up pool and some shade screen on top of the pergola. It makes the patio feel 10 degrees cooler, and was such an easy addition.


We love Palm Springs for one very specific reason - the pools. They make being outside in the hot summer sun glorious. And, personally, I've always found water to be relaxing and restoring for me. That's why we added misters to our patio (keeps everything up there so nice and cool) and splurged on a fairly epic inflatable pool. It comes with cupholders, a built-in bench, and is just over seven feet long. I absolutely adore lounging in it while Evie splashes around (we also finally purchased an air pump so I didn't pass out trying to inflate said pool - this one comes in at just under $20 and works like a charm).


Our family loves to watch golf on the weekends, and to be able to do so outdoors is a big plus. We finally had the brilliant idea to see if our screen from the game room in Houston fit on a shaded/protected from rain wall on our patio and it did(!!!). We added this projector to the mix (5500 lumens so you can see it during the day) and have so much fun watching outdoor shows! We also have a handful of portable blue-tooth speakers (these are our favs) that we take outside with us.


My three favorite things to do are shop, eat, and travel. So it's really no surprise that this made the list. I personally love to grill (I'm the pro, not G!), so we often do meals outside. Our grill has held up so well for the past two years, and has a simple side burner so I can make entire meals outside while watching Evie and G play. We also splurged on some outdoor dishes (I love these dinner plates, these salad plates, this pitcher, and these cups) and have gotten a ton of use out of them! I also have several killer grill recipes, and I plan to start sharing them here on Thursday this week. If you're looking for some snacks to munch on while grilling, I highly recommend my Almost Tableside Guacamole and Family Salsa.

And finally, I'm sure many of you caught this, but my five tips hit all the senses (scent, sight, touch, taste, sound). Having a space that hits those five things in a way that speaks to you is the key to having a space you can't stop spending time in. I hope you all create some amazing hang-out spaces this summer! Share them on Instagram and tag me @simplicityandcoffee so I can see & share them too!


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