a mini refresh for our mini backyard

hello everyone! after somewhat neglecting our backyard...okay maybe not neglecting, but definitely not loving on it like we used to...we decided a mini refresh was in order. typically, that's what happens with me when i want to refresh any space - i just let it sort of let it pause where it is. i don't let it fall apart, but i don't make those extra attempts to make it shine, if that makes sense. it sort of freezes in time. we were still enjoying, grilling and spending a ton of time in our yard, but i knew i wanted to make some changes. the mirror, peacock chair and peace wreath had served their time, the lion fountain needed some attention (a new water pump) and it needed to be raised/elevated...as my mother suggested ever since the fountain made its way to our home. i knew she was right, but sometimes things just land in a spot around here and then we just leave it there until we realize how ridiculous that negligence/avoidance/laziness, whatever you want to call it, is. anyone else guilty of this out there? bueller? basically, i craved more simplicity in our pint size yard, much like i did indoors this past year or so.

i am often asked if we store our outdoor cushions when we're not outside or when it rains? the answer is not typically, but it doesn't rain a whole lot around this desert of ours. although, we are in the midst of our summer monsoon, so my instagram stories may make it seem that way; however, it really doesn't. ;) we do have storage bench though for harsher winter weather. so, usually i leave the cushions out and then my sweet husband scrubs the heck out of them about once a season...except we both neglected them a bit longer than usual this time around and it showed. the mildew spots (although washed and bleached) simply wanted to stay put. luckily, i have been wanting dark grey cushions for about a year now, but new outdoor furniture or cushions weren't exactly in the budget, so it dawned on me that we should simply dye the cushions. i remember using rit dye when my husband and i were first married and basically crazy broke (although we didn't know it then...oh young love) to lengthen the life of our black clothing. it worked like a charm btw! remembering its magic powers, i told dominic that we needed some rit dye for these bad boys and he was totally on board

since some of those pesky mildew spots refused to disappear it confirmed my color of choice...dark grey, and in particular (there are many shades to choose from) we went with graphite. i wanted something rich and dramatic and i think that's exactly what we've achieved! you guys, after washing and scrubbing our cushions (thanks, boo) it really was so simple and easy. dominic and i tackle many projects together around here and this one of them! it was fun!

what you will need:

- somewhere/something to dye your fabric in - this could be a washing machine, tub, or bucket. we used an old galvanized tub outdoors due to the size of our pillows.

- rit dye in the color of your choice - there are many to choose from! oh the possibilities!

- rubber gloves

- dish soap

- water - if your project requires hot water then be sure to use something to submerge and stir fabric so that you don't burn your hands. we used a clean stick we found in our yard, ha!

here are the basic steps we took to achieve our dyeing goals:

1. clean fabric well prior to the dyeing process; especially if choosing a lighter color. we washed, scrubbed, and bleached our outdoor pillows, because of the negligence. the bottom pillows have slipcovers that simply unzip and come off. however, the top pillows do not. so we had to dye to top pillows individually, due to space in our galvanized tub, and we dyed the three slip covers together.

2. following directions add water (in our case it was boiling water), dish soap, and dye. we opted for a teaspoon of dish soap and two bottles of dye for our initial batch. we added another bottle of dye, as we felt necessary in an effort to continually the strengthen the solution (after we had removed and added the additional pillows) rather than dumping the water, etc, and starting over again. basically, we just kept adding to our initial mixture. remember to use gloves and something to stir the pillows/slipcovers in the hot water.

3. allow pillows/covers to soak in tub, or whatever you are dyeing fabric in. we allowed ours to soak for an hour total (flipping/turning the pillows/slipcovers halfway through; since they are going to be outdoors, and i wanted the color to be darker due to the sun and elements. we simply put them in the tub, used large flagstones (because we had spares in our yard) to weigh them down, set our timer, and worked on the yard, or did whatever we needed to elsewhere in our house, while they soaked.

3. remove from tub and rinse out dye until water runs clear. we simply did this on the side of our house with a garden hose in an area we didn't mind the dye possibly staining. it didn't stain the rock but we wanted to be mindful of that, just in case.

4. allow fabric to dry and voilá! if you desire a darker color, simply repeat the process. we did end up repeating the process because i was a little nervous the first time around to go too dark, but wanted a deeper hue, so we repeated the process to achieve that. all in all, each cushion or round of slip covers soaked about an hour total - 30 mins each time.

here are some photos of our mini refresh. just in time to enjoy that crisp autumn air!

we love having throw blankets for our backyard. it's such a nice way to cozy up!

remember, it's all in the details - even in your outdoor spaces...

we also planted a climbing rose bush in hopes it will eventually consume our fountain! look closely to see that tiny, pale pink rose...

i've had that rope in hopes of draping it just like this for over two years now! it's just been coiled up on a hook in our back porch. we are loving how it looks...

we also added this colorful japanese maple. i love its colors and lines. it's so sculptural.

i love how my cushions now mimic linen, thanks to rit dye!

i told you guys it was simple! did i mention rit dye is inexpensive as well? especially in comparison to new cushions or furniture! i was hoping to finish our refresh in time for my favorite season to sit out here...fall, and we did! rit to the rescue! now to grab a book, a cuppa coffee, a nice throw blanket and simply enjoy! our yard may be small, but that's never an excuse to skip out on the magic! it really is an extension of our home and we are thankful. so, get some rit dye of your own and go to town, guys! i'm seriously walking around my house wondering what else i can transform, ha!



*a big thank you to rit dye for sponsoring this blog post!