Backyard Oasis.

By: Jen Shoop

Though Mr. Magpie and I speak with less and less frequency about our former home in Chicago, as we thaw into spring, we find ourselves revisiting our backyard often in conversation. Mr. Magpie talks about the first grills of the season on his beloved Weber kettle grill (a great gift for any dude, though it does require a primer in lighting a chimney, etc.), and I can see him out there, through the sliding glass doors to our stone-paved terrace: the plumes of smoke perfuming his requisite UVA sweatshirt, an IPA in a koozie at his side, country music blaring through our speakers, a look of satisfaction on his face. I often caught him idly looking around our backyard, probably taking stock of the trees and mulch and plants, plotting changes and additions, or maybe thinking of nothing but how happy he was standing in the middle of our backyard oasis, that small plot of land we called our own.

Though Central Park’s proximity across the street is not a paltry substitute, we miss having a private outdoor space. We spent most evenings out there in the summer, grilling, eating, sitting on the steps enjoying aperol spritzes, idly tossing the tennis ball to our rambunctious airedale. During the day, I’d sit there with an iced tea and a book, and, after she’d arrived, mini in her boppy or stroller bassinet at my side. There was the shade of an enormous maple (one Mr. Magpie endured a love-hate relationship with — it shed those propeller things all over the place), the seclusion of a tall fence separating us from our neighbors, the tidy hedge of boxwoods.

Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite backyard finds for those blessed with such a space of their own, one of our greatest treasures as homeowners.

+Patio umbrella — I love the trim on this one. So old world Hollywood.

+String lights. Mr. Magpie would hang a few strands of these across our backyard in the warm months and I loved the cozy glow it afforded our al fresco meals. These are a bit bigger in size, but they get insane reviews.

+Wicker dining chairs (on sale for $99!) — love the different colors these come in. So fun! I like the soft blue or coral.

+I love these urn-style planters.

+Outdoor club chair.

+Wicker chaise lounge — love the spa blue cushions! How stunning topped with these indoor/outdoor cushions?!

+Cane tray. A well-priced alternative to the Serena & Lily one I’ve been spying all over.

+Woven sofa — probably best for a screened-in porch, but I love the vibe.

+A great price for a great outdoor rug.

+Set of four wicker dining chairs.

+Mint outdoor bench. Imagine these flanking an outdoor table! Chic!

+Tassel throw pillows — a classic.

+This pendant lamp is incredible! And the price?!

+These decently-priced patio furniture covers get solid reviews and I rather like their simple styling.

+Whimsical cheese board.

+These planters would look fantastic with potted boxwoods in them.

+A wicker throne for a mini me.

+A patio egg chair. Love.

+Love the rustic vibe of a pitcher of water or lemonade or sangria on an outdoor table. This is lovely, and you know I love anything chinoiserie. I also own a monogrammed acrylic pitcher like this, which is not only lovely for showcasing a punch or water infused with diced fruit and herbs, but a perfect housewarming gift.

+We frequently filled a galvanized metal tub with ice to stow beer, sparkling water, and wine when entertaining. I’m IN LOVE with this style (on sale!), which comes with a stand! Amazing.

+Melamine plates! Love this set from Aerin (duh) and these elegant floral ones from Lenox.

Finally, a couple of outdoor cookout fashion finds for you:

+These bow-bedecked sandals ($25!!!) in the taupe and white stripe.

+This stunning voile midi.

+This linen blend jumpsuit. (And more linen and linen-like scores here.)

+This chic printed jumpsuit, or this similar-in-ethos dress. Both feel like a picnic in fabric form.

+This voluminous midi, or any of the caftans here.

+This gingham jumpsuit, marketed as a cover-up but…I’d wear it at home.

+This bee and butterfly clutch!

P.S. My favorite finds for home, some great Amazon scores, and my favorite gear for small apartments.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

8 thoughts on “Backyard Oasis.

  1. You are welcome to hang in our backyard whenever you’d like – as long as Landon teaches me how to use our grill (which I’ve probably used twice in the 2 years we’ve owned it).
    A huge thank you on the AmazonBasics outdoor furniture covers! I’ve been on the hunt for new ones that don’t break the bank, and I love the reviews and the look of these! Our outdoor space is getting a bit of a facelift tomorrow (we’ll be in the city for most of the summer because of the baby), and I can’t wait to enjoy it.

    1. Haha – I think the grilling lessons can be arranged 🙂 Landon has held many similar sessions for friends over the years.

      YAY for the furniture covers! Love the look of those and am always swayed by a strong Amazon review base. xxx

  2. I don’t know if it’s a sign of aging – or settling into a home – but I am obsessed with my backyard right now. After hiring a crew to do a big Spring clean up (and seeing it all neat and tidy after winter) I feel like sweeping the deck every night to keep it clean and upgrading our patio furniture! Although I think I would trade my suburban Virginia backyard for Central Park! Beautiful and no upkeep!

    1. Haha – good point on the low-maintenance aspect of using a public park as my backyard. Maybe I should count my blessings…

      But YES. I found the same the thing with our house — I absolutely loved our backyard.


  3. Not having a private outdoor space, a little slice of green I can call my own is the biggest sacrifice I make to live in NY. Yes, I’d love the space to entertain outside, but more than that, I miss having the opportunity to walk outside in my PJs with no shoes to greet the morning and get a feeling for the weather and the direction of the day. Somehow, sticking my arm out my window of my apartment doesn’t quite feel the same. SIGH. Some day!

    1. Totally — had forgotten about this little bonus to outdoor space. I find I need to rely on Siri to tell me what’s happening weather-wise — or Landon’s early morning report after walking Tilly. But having a little parcel of land to step out onto…


  4. Having an outdoor space is truly the dream for someone like me, who has spent the past 13 years living in city apartments! We have a small outdoor space now with enough room for a (tiny) grill, but no room for a table/chairs, so no entertaining out there. I love visiting my parents and having access to their patio 🙂

    I love your recommendations for outdoor fashion finds as well — give me all the midi/maxi dresses!

    P.S. Your comment about Mr. Magpie’s UVA sweatshirt reminded me that I am currently without a sweatshirt from my alma mater. (And while this becomes less important the farther I get from college, it might be nice to have one for cozy moments!) Have you heard of the company Hillflint? They make really nice-looking retro-inspired sweatshirts & sweaters.


    1. It’s the dream for us, too, right now. Having a grill space is a step in the right direction though — I feel like we used to grill about half our meals back when we had access to a patio! Grilled food is the essence of summer…

      Thanks for the tip on Hillflint, too!!


Previous Article

Next Article