How’s your patio looking? Is it all spruced up and ready for a season of summer dinner parties, barbecues and picnics? If you’re still needing some inspiration on how to take your patio to the next level, we’ve got a stunning before + after for you from one of our favorite designers, Emily Henderson. Filled with easy decor ideas, cool color choices and even a little area dedicated to the kids, this patio is positively enviable and totally achievable.

Emily Henderson’s deck is open, which is great for the views, but not so inviting for cozy entertaining. With her makeover, Emily wanted to add intimacy and warmth and bring more greenery from the hillside onto the deck itself. She went bright with concrete planters of all sizes and heights, from tall stands to miniature containers, to add interest. The sculptural, Mediterranean-style plants also play off the cool color palette and contemporary mood. This deck is all about low-maintenance entertaining with lots of laughter and vista views.

As her son Charlie got bigger, he wanted to go outside more and Emily wanted to give him (and the new baby coming this summer!) the perfect area for safe outdoor play. Naturally, she didn’t just hang a swing; she went all out with the “dedicated Charlie area” and created a little nook complete with a playhouse, a synthetic lawn, a wall of greenery and a pillow-covered crawl space.

In a quest for “visual peace” in her chaotic life, Emily stuck with neutral furniture so she could layer on fun colors every season. In addition to a big sectional couch, she added two club chairs to create more of an intimate seating area. She went with blues and grays for a very relaxing and stylish look.

A variety of wicker texture is a great option for outdoor spaces, especially when left natural or painted white. From tables to chairs and even planters, Emily brought in several different wicker pieces for a playful look. All the furniture is outdoor furniture, so the kids can’t ruin it and it will stand against the elements. With soft plastic, rugs and lots of cushions, the adults can sit back and enjoy their cocktails without worrying about kids scraping their knees and banging their heads on glass and metal furniture corners.

How adorable is Chez Charlie? The fake grass gives little knees a softer place to play and a fun area for him to call his own with all his toys.

The patio makeover didn’t involve a lot more furniture, since Emily decided that the open layout was better for the kids. She said that one important thing she has learned about parenting is that less furniture equals more play area and fewer injuries, so side tables and coffee tables were kept to a minimum and a pouf was added as extra seating instead. When it comes to placing outdoor rugs, Emily suggests going with the biggest rug your patio will handle to help create a cozy conversation area and make the whole outdoor space look bigger.

Even though there were some trees surrounding the patio, the mess they made was not so welcome. Instead of constantly cleaning up the piles of debris, Emily decided to trim the trees and bring back the shade with a couple giant blue umbrellas that offer shade over all the seating areas.

Instead of painting the concrete pots, Emily decided to leave them natural because the cool gray tone looked so good with the blue and white color theme. Concrete is surprisingly fun and easy to work with, so if you’re looking for a DIY project you can do in a weekend, try a few concrete pots, which can really add a lot of texture and style to your deck.

What do you think of this patio makeover? Did you get any ideas for your outdoor space? Talk to us in the comments below!

(h/t and photos via Lonny)