The Washington Post

House Calls: A postage stamp backyard makeover


Clarksburg, Md., resident Kim Walker is ready for big changes to her 20-by-20-foot back yard, which she calls “postage-stamp-sized.” Walker would like to use the space for entertaining and reading, but she’s not sure how to design it. She wants a country look on a budget.

Kim Walker’s patio. (Leah L. Jones/For The Washington Post)


Kelly Millspaugh Thompson suggests flagstone flooring for the entire back yard, giving wicker-style furniture, flowers and colorful accents a neutral background. Thompson, of Stylish Patina (703-663-8428,, is based in Falls Church.

The solution. (Julius Goyanko for the Washington Post.)

Opt for a simple stone patio for a neutral look that’s low-maintenance.

Separate the seating area from the dining area with a colorful area rug.

Mount flower planters to the fence to maximize vertical space.

Pick furniture made with resin wicker, a synthetic material, for a classic look that can withstand the elements.

Save money by using simple white outdoor cushions and add color with accessories such as pillows.


Furniture: Saybrook wicker sofa and cushion set ($1,189), Saybrook wicker wingback armchair and cushion set ($594), Saybrook wicker ottoman and cushion set ($254) and ottoman cushion slipcover in Jade green ($39), all from www.potterybarn.
; Holden patio dining set ($1,036,; Mississippi coffee table in antique bronze ($149,

Accessories: Kingston horse trough planter ($47 for 36-inch planter) and butterfly plant stand ($200), both from; Ana paisley pillow in Cool ($23) and solid 18-inch indoor/outdoor pillow in jade green ($19.50) both from; Beacon lantern ($99 for 22-inch lantern,

Flooring: Indian multicolor Versailles pattern slate tile kit ($5 per square foot,


Mali indigo indoor/outdoor rug. (Layla Grayce)

Round umbrella in eucalyptus finish and Peridot. (Pottery Barn)

Mali indigo indoor/outdoor rug ($1,142 for 8-by-10-foot rug, www.layla

Round umbrella in Eucalyptus and Peridot ($499, www.

. . . OR SAVE

Geo print rug in blue. (L.L. Bean)

Aluminum patio umbrella in green. (Target)

Geo print rug in blue ($349 for 8-by-11-foot rug,

Aluminum patio umbrella in green ($79,

More from The Washington Post online:

See past room makeovers by local designers here.

Tell us about your design challenge.

Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@

Margaret Ely is a digital editor for Lifestyle. Previously, she was an intern for the Post’s Metro section.
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