It was nice for laying out, but the smaller chaise lounges weren't very comfortable, the pillows faded quickly, the heat was scorching, and it wasn't a convenient place for eating. Once we cleared all the furniture out, here's what we had:
The area was a good size, so we decided to get a pergola installed. We used Lawnmaster through Home Depot. We liked their options and thought they were affordable. Once we met with a rep and decided on the features, they sent us renderings for approval. After we signed off on those, installation was scheduled. That process took about 5 weeks, in total. They told us it would be 3-4 weeks, but whatever. The actual installation was done in 5 hours, so that was nice. The crew was efficient, answered all my questions and provided suggestions, and cleaned up after themselves. I was happy with their work! Here is the finished product:
It's a 12x14 Deluxe Pergola with upgraded stripping. That means we got more wood slats on the top, so that it would provide more shade. I love the red stain on the wood and the end-cuts on the headers. We had them start the first header at 7'6" high instead of 7' so that we could add a fan or misters later, and it wouldn't feel too close to your head.
Now that the pergola was installed, we needed furniture! Considering how long it took us to pick out our indoor dining furniture, I was dreading this task. I looked at a few stores in person, and then checked out a lot of sites online. I came across Chair King in Plano, and decided to stop by there on the way back from an appointment. They were about to close, but I got a good feel for how many options they had and figured it would be worth a return trip on another day. When Meezy and I found time to go the next day, I realized there was a location closer to our house. We drove there instead and discovered the store was closing that next weekend. The inventory was quite limited, but they were offering 50% off! Score! We had figured we would spend a few thousand and get a small table with 6 basic chairs. Thanks to the sale, we were able to get a huge table with 8 upgraded chairs.
The table comfortably seats 8, as shown, but this is with just one of the leaves installed. If we have more guests, we can add the other leaf (that is stored conveniently under the table), and have room for at least 2 more.
The end chairs are upgraded swivel chairs.
The side chairs don't swivel, but they're all sturdy with nice, decorative arms and fade-free fabric.
I'm so glad we went to the location that was about to close, because we either would've spent double on this set, or not gotten the one that we really wanted, to save money. We put the new stuff to use immediately, with a family meal on Friday night - homemade pizzas! I'm looking forward to more outdoor fun this summer and fall.
Furniture: $4,200 (total also included a large serving cart, not pictured)