I also got very practical about chaise lounges for the pool area. The hotel style plastic ones will work just fine and I can get seating and side tables for a nice price with a discount. Done deal.
I also started watching sales and looking at Craigslist. Craigslist, comically was extremely overpriced for the used furniture people were selling. I could buy new for a better price. I'd been watching a few patio chairs at Target anticipating there would be a sale toward the end of May and found them on sale this past weekend. I was looking at a different chair but when I went into the store to give them one last try I ended up picking up the Southwest Wicker Club Chair which I liked a lot better and was just five dollars more.
So I grabbed the gray with gray cushions and found a way to pack them into the back of my Volkswagen Golf. IT has a pretty amazing cargo area when you put the back seats down. I also had three huge bags of soil that I had to move to the floor of the front seat because I needed the height to get the chairs in. But it all worked and I actually still had quite a bit of space in the back.
I also picked up two of these pillows which are great. I like the funky pineapple image and on the back it's a fun, bold black and white pattern so you can choose a side, use one of each or whatever you like.
For right now these chairs are going on the front patio, until we get a table out front. I'm almost thinking about picking up three picnic tables and putting two in the back and one on that front patio. Because it's an East facing patio, it's a great place to sit in the mornings or to get away from the sun in the afternoons and early evenings. It's also next to the driveway so there's room for other activities like bike riding, giant bubble wanding or throwing ball with the dog as well.
Once I got the chairs in place and all the wrapping off them and tags cut off the pillows, I pulled out the super cute solar silk outdoor lanterns I picked up at IKEA in February. You can see them at the link, scroll down a bit. I had planned to put them in the backyard, but I going to use them in the front for a while. I also have three strands of white and black small round lanterns that I can use in the front or back. I might put those in the front yard and then bring the larger silk lanterns to the back yard where I think they will hang better from the larger trees.
So far my initial planning budget has plummeted by a thousand or more dollars, which is good. We can always upgrade later and we we may find that picnic tables fit our mountain home just perfectly. We can get all three tables for less than the price of one dining set with chairs. I like that idea right now. There are still so many things we could invest in for this house and that need attention, so it makes sense to be budget conscious but also get the house in a place where we can enjoy it more and entertain, etc.
Working outside the house has been fun and it's encouraging us to spend more time outside which I think is hugely healthy for the mind and soul. It seems like if you start the habit of spending time outside at the beginning of the summer you spend more time outside over the course of the summer. I'd like to do that this year. I always think those summers where you realize mournfully in mid-August that you didn't make the most of it are rather sad.
So it's headlong into summer now, fingers crossed. Now we just need some summer weather two days in a row. The weather certainly has been fickle this Spring! I may regret my complaints come early August after it's been 100+ for a month straight. Ha.