Our basement has been flooding for the last week.

Our streets are torn up—there are no storm drains—and we’ve been getting inches upon inches of rain. There are constantly four construction trucks directly outside our house during the week. They’re all backing up and the beeping creates this sort of doppler effect. I work from home and none of my coworkers will take calls with me anymore. It’s pretty bad. I think I’m slowly descending into pure madness.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

But this weekend. This weekend it was quiet. The trucks were—to quote Theo—“sleeping,” and Jason and I jerry-rigged this terrible, non-permanent solution to keep the water contained in the basement. It’ll hold until they fix the streets we’re telling ourselves—and we just enjoyed the weekend.

But I’m going to back up to last summer, when we first started work on our patio. We’ve lived in the house for almost four years now and it took us until last August to finally figure out what we wanted to do with the outside space. First order of business was lighting it up—we knew we wanted string lights but we needed something to support them. I wanted the lights to feel like they were a permanent part of the patio—not just strung up on some poles—so we decided on building a planter box.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

When I was photographing the building of all this last year, I had every intention on documenting the exact specifications and process we went about constructing the whole thing. But it’s a year later, and so now I remember nothing that can’t be seen in pictures.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

We also purchased some outdoor furniture and lights—a dining table with a bench and chairs and some lounge furniture to place by the grill. The table and chairs—I’ve loved those from day one—but I was instantly skeptical of the lounge furniture we chose. What I should have done is returned them when I first saw them, but I wanted this complete patio, so we kept them and lo and behold, they fell apart before the summer was over.

I could go into a rant about how pissed I was that I didn’t trust my instinct and return it, but instead, I’ll remind you of Theo a year ago, because I miss those blonde curls so much.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Early this summer we filled that planter box that’s been sitting empty for a year with dirt and flowers. As soon as the vines started growing up the poles we started eating every meal outside. And finally last week, my new and much sturdier patio furniture was delivered.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Jason gave it a proper test. The new love seat is comfortable enough to nap in, even if your feet do hang off the end (mind do not). Theo agrees that the chairs are better too—they now fit one and a half full sized humans so he feels like there is always room for him.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

With all that, we were ready for a backyard party, which is exactly what last weekend called for. We got garlic scapes and bok choy in the CSA last week. Dinner practically planned itself.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

If you ask Theo, he’ll tell you that the key to every quality party is a good charcuterie board to start things off. That way, even if you’re running around pulling together the last details of what you’re going to serve and what you’re going to serve it on, your guests can sit and enjoy the cheeses, crackers, meats, nuts, and jams at their leisure. Also the olives. Always olives.

I made the mistake of putting the board out a few minutes before everyone arrived and Theo went from deeply concentrated on his dirt pile in the corner of the yard to front and center at the table. I guess I can’t blame him.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

What I love about our patio is just how comfortable everything feels now. I love that the dining table isn’t brand new anymore. It’s got scratches and scuffs and water stains on it. Its been used and it sits outside in Wisconsin weather three quarters of the year. This table lives with us, and it shows.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Despite my best efforts to keep our backyard beautiful and tidy, the plastic kids toys will always make an appearance. Especially when friends come over and Theo oscillates from showing off his cool new ride to telling his friend Leo—yup, it’s Theo and Leo—to get out of the way because he wants to swing his shovel around.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

I think that’s the way this is all supposed to work though, so I’m not complaining. And dinner—well, we all fit around the table. We dragged chairs from the dining room for some extra seating and we passed each plate around multiple times. It wasn’t fancy, but it was perfect.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

And while Jason washed the dishes, I decided to go back outside and get a view of this perfect little space we built with the lights shining. I really, genuinely love it out here. I can’t wait to spend the whole summer outside.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

And before you go—this guy. Almost exactly one year apart. My heart just grew one Theo size.

Finally, A Proper Patio | Things I Made Today

In case anyone is interested, a source list:

 

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