In the summer, I spend as much time as I can on my back deck and patio. I've worked really hard to make the back area an inviting space, with lots of color and comfortable places to sit, read, work, and eat. The patio is shady enough that even on the hottest D.C. summer day, it's still quite pleasant.
When I moved into my house, my back "yard" was in a sorry state. A previous owner had poured concrete where there was probably once some grass. The rusted fence and abandoned ladders were the only ornamentation. (Do you recognize a certain four-legged someone in the second picture below?)
I have grand plans to put an addition on the back of the house, so I don't want to put a lot of time, money, and/or effort into landscaping the back patio until I have a better sense of what's going to happen to the back of the house. But obviously I had to do something with the back to make it a space where I would want to spend time.
So I had a temporary deck built, planted some trees and shrubs, and got some furniture and great cushions. I'm super happy with the overall result, given the minimal investment on my part, though--like the rest of the house--it continues to evolve. My latest and greatest ideas are to stain the deck a fun color or to have a couple of pieces of old metal furniture painted PINK. And when I look at that concrete slab, in my mind, I already see a lovely brick patio . . . .
I particularly like the black and white cushions. Note that there are three different black and white patterns, but the stripe is definitely the dominant patterns. I think black and white complements all of colors in the flowers, rather than completing with them.
But what I love most of all are all of the potted plants. Each year, I go crazy buying plants for all of my flower pots, and I usually buy a few new pots each year, which of course means I need to buy more flowers. (There must be a support group for people who buy too many plants.) Probably even when I have my beautifully landscaped back patio, I'll still fill up any empty space with flower pots.