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French Quarter Patio

French-Quarter flair takes this New Orleans native's backyard from blah to wow.

Host Susie Coelho, designer Brian Toffoli and friends Joel Bronson and Sylvia DeKnight conspire to surprise homeowner Michelle Thomas by using French-Quarter flair to take this New Orleans native's backyard from blah to wow. They want it to be low maintenance for Thomas so she can enjoy sharing it with friends and family.

Before: This plain and underused back patio is a clean slate that can take a little southern charm and the hot water tank is an eyesore that needs to be camouflaged.

After: Wrought iron accents on the pergola are a wonderful and subtle cue that reinforces the New Orleans theme and a three-sided painted lattice screen with wrought iron pot holders on the front beautifully hides the tank.

Before: Michelle Thomas is a homesick southerner who would love a New Orleans-style veranda for entertaining in her currently plain California backyard.

After: Enhancing the existing pergola with scrolled accents adds visual weight to it and the wrought iron touches throughout are a nod to the French Quarter.

Brian Toffoli's plan is to add wrought iron accents throughout the patio (to the pergola, the lighting and the floor using several rubber rugs) and to incorporate a new seating area along with a comfortable glider swing. The color palette includes black and gray plus purple for a punch of color.

Pavers set in sand and surrounded by gravel extend the patio on two sides. After being painted gray, a round piece of iron is used as a stencil for black spray paint to tie the two end pavers into the New Orleans theme (rubbing a dry paintbrush over the paint softens the edges).

Black nylon zip ties secure several rubber mats together, forming what looks like a large wrought iron rug. The black enhances the theme and also won't show wear as much as other colors.

A paddle-boat pooch paradise will make Thomas' dog Bailey feel right at home on the new patio.

glider (Costco)
china (Macy's)
dinner plates (Ross)
medium French urn (antique crackle gray), black zinc pedestal and planter, zinc rectangular mirror (Asian Ceramics, Inc.)
baker's rack, hanging lanterns, black lantern (Home Depot)
Estate tea light, Estate pot bowl, Twist salt and pepper set, garden spheres (Pottery Barn)

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