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Create a Provence-Inspired Patio

South-of-France flair meets casual West Coast style in this open-air dining room that’s equal parts elegant and easygoing

Provence-Inspired Patio

Photo by Alec Hemer

Twinkling lights overhead. The crunch of gravel underfoot. Olive trees on all sides. This idyllic scene, at interior designer Jann Blazona Capone’s Sonoma Valley farmhouse, showcases French country style—but through a distinctly low-key California lens. Call it “pared-down Provence,” with clean-lined rather than carved wood furniture, plain linens in place of prints, and simple dishware instead of scalloped. A custom pergola gives the outdoor room its structure, with a canopy of flowering wisteria to soften its lines. The antique pine table and all-weather wicker chairs offer an invitation to sit and sip. And for when those leisurely meals extend into the night, string lights lend an atmospheric glow, while an oversize pendant provides additional light—and a handsome graphic accent—to the romantic space. For ways to make your own patio this picturesque, read on.

Ceramic Pitcher

Photo by Andrew McCaul

A ribbed profile gives this pitcher the charming look of hand-thrown pottery. Its size is ideal for water refills or holding fresh blooms from the garden.

Sophie Conran 24-ounce pitcher, about $24; Bed Bath & Beyond

Pedestal Table

Courtesy of Pier 1

The homeowner stores her weathered pine table, an antiques store find, in the garage in cooler months. This one, with a simple turned pedestal base and a white-washed finish, is a good match at a nice price.

About $383; Pier 1

Flowering Vine

Photo by Julian Elias/Shutterstock

American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is noninvasive and matures to blooming age sooner than its Asian cousins, which can run rampant.

To find specific cultivars suited to your zone, go to Monrovia.

Check out our USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Hanging Lantern

Photo by Andrew McCaul

This outdoor pendant has simple lines and proportions similar to the homeowner’s lantern, but it earns bonus points for seeded glass panels—and a pleasing price tag.

Sutton Lantern, about $215; The Home Depot

Accent Pillows

Photo by Andrew McCaul

Throw pillows in outdoor fabrics resist stains and fading. A lightweight throw offers warmth on cool summer nights.

Striped pillows, two for $54; Wayfair (out of stock)

Solid pillow, about $20; Pier 1

Throw, about $28; Target

Globe Lights

Photo by Andrew McCaul

Stringing bistro lights from the pergola’s edges toward its center is a quick way to add ambience and a soft, warm glow.

About $14; Amazon

Wicker Chair

Photo by Andrew McCaul

This wallet-friendly, handwoven-rattan and bamboo chair is stackable—a boon for off-season storage.

A coat of Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch in Winter Gray makes the natural fibers outdoor-ready.

Agen chair, about $60; IKEA

Serving Tray

Photo by Andrew McCaul

Made of acacia wood, this tray’s built-in handles and sturdy construction make it ideal for ferrying food and wine.

About $20; Target