L.A. interior designer and blogger Emily Henderson brings an all-American vibe to her outdoor digs with easygoing furniture, striped textiles, and festive touches.


Part patio and part shaded lawn, the outdoor space is what drew designer Emily Henderson and her husband, Brian, to their Tudor-style Los Angeles home. After living in outdoorsy Oregon, they wanted a place where kids Charlie, 4, and Elliot, 2, could run wild.

emily henderson and children on patio
Emily has fully embraced the indoor-outdoor Cali lifestyle: French doors in her dining and living rooms open onto the patio, where you’ll find potted plants, statement tiles, and, at the moment, her daughter and son playing with toy cameras.
| Credit: Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

The space wasn't always #backyardgoals; initially the patio was 50 shades of greige, and the yard, despite its old-growth trees, kinda standard fare. But Emily, a former magazine stylist, decorator, and Target's resident Home Style Expert, loves a decorating challenge (and documenting it for her readers at her blog, Style by Emily Henderson).

So Emily quickly got to work; she splurged on bold geometric Granada tiles, which established a cheery blue and off-white color scheme, and then separated the patio into eating and lounging zones with comfy neutral furniture from Target

"It's such a happy, inviting space," she says. "My friends joke that it's 'America's Patio' because it's all over Pinterest. Not sure about that, but it's definitely perfect for a Fourth of July shindig."

To spruce up the garden, Emily and her landscapers added hearty, colorful plants throughout and built a raised stone seating area in the grass for morning coffee (or evening cocktail hour).

For the littles, the Hendersons commissioned a playhouse castle, painted to match their fencing. The projects took time, energy, and, yes, money, but since the yard has become a daily hangout spot and party central on the weekends, Emily has no regrets. 

emily hendersons family in backyard
Credit: Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

"The garden is for intimate conversations, whereas the dining table is for a louder group," says Emily. "There's room for everyone, including the kiddos."

emily henderson and daughter on patio with flowers
Credit: Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

Fresh flowers are a no-brainer summer party decoration.

emily henderson and daughter arranging flowers
Credit: Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

Emily clips some from the garden; Elliot (above right) helps arrange them in jars. 

outdoor patio hydration station and decor
Credit: Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

One easy hosting tip? Set up a hydration station away from the food to prevent a logjam.

emily hendersons tablescape and cocktail
Credit: Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

For the dinner table (above left), Emily goes casual, serving cherries in a colander and setting out stacks of tempered-glass plates from Made by Design, Target's new line of classic home and kitchen decor, which launched June 23 in stores and online. A flag brings a dose of "USA, yay!" to a bouquet (above right). See more about the products here.

hand-drawn july fourth scavenger hunt map
Credit: Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

Striped blankets and pillows in the yard create a loungey area for guest overflow that's also a great spot for hanging with babies and keeping an eye on the bigger kids. Family fun is at the top of Emily's party to-do list. Today it's all about a Fourth of July scavenger hunt using a hand-drawn map.

emily hendersons children playing outside
Credit: Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

Elliot and Charlie search for their first clue and play cornhole while Emily finishes decorating. 

Get the Look

emily henderson's favorite festive products
Credit: Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg

For a killer alfresco Fourth, steal Emily's shopping list.

  1. All ages can get in on the fun with the Hey! Play! Lawn Bowling Game ($50).
  2. The White Company Poplin Bunting has mileage beyond America's birthday ($29).
  3. When things get rowdy, the Threshold Stainless Steel Round Serving Bowl won't break ($17).
  4. Trade the heavy tablecloth for a summer-weight Threshold Striped Throw Blanket ($20).
  5. Stool or table? This Threshold Wicker Patio Pouf is both ($59).