When the coronavirus hit, shutting down businesses and confining people to their homes, Tara Paige decided to find a way to keep herself busy, by tapping into her love of outdoors to redo her backyard.

“The pandemic made us all stop and look around at some of those things that, you know, we’ve probably tapped into in our earlier years. And one of the things that I really always enjoyed doing was being on the patio, so I decided to focus on my patio.”

When she sought others to share creative ideas with, she couldn’t find anything that met her needs.

“I really wanted to create a space where Black women can get together and share creative ideas of being on the patio. But I couldn’t find anything. My mother always told me, ‘if you can’t find it, create it!’” she said.

Tanisha Harris BEFORE and AFTER

So she created the Facebook group, ‘Black Women Who Love Outdoor Living Spaces,’  encouraging women to “make their outside a beautiful living space together.” Members focus on patios, balconies, porches, poolside and gardening projects – all things outdoors. In fact, many members have been inspired to completely makeover their bland backyards.

“I’ve had members tell me, ‘I’ve been in my house 14 years and I’ve never done anything with the outdoor space.’ It was like a blank little concrete space and now it’s this amazing space. I don’t think it was a focal point for many people before, and I think now more than ever we’re looking for ways to extend our home.”

Tanisha Tate’s BEFORE and AFTER

The group has evolved into more than just an exchange of ideas. Women get shopping and decorating tips, advice, inspiration, and Paige’s favorite, love and support one another.

“The sisterhood is amazing. I love the positivity, the empowerment, the love.”

“The sisterhood is amazing. I love the positivity, the empowerment, the love,” she said. “In many cases, it’s even helping with mental health during these trying times by giving people a space to relax. It just makes all the difference to have your own space outside as an extension of your home.”

Paige started the group in March. And it has now grown to more than 200,000 members, reaching as far as Thailand, South Africa and beyond.

Stephanie Johnson BEFORE and AFTER

“I was shocked as the membership kept growing. Honestly, thought I was going to meet a few like-minded women, Black women who wanted to just be out on the patio and hang out and I’d never knew it would be this massive,” she said.

A retired teacher, business coach, and mother of eight, Paige not only started the group, when she saw its impact (stores would sell out of items within hours after someone posted about it), she tapped in a new business idea.

“I created The Patio Chic, an online platform where members can contribute their decor and design inspirations. I am now working my first Patio Chic line, we will do a soft launch in 2021 with outdoor living accessories. I am working with a couple of retailers right now to carry those lines and then I’ll be working on a furniture line in the upcoming year. So I’m excited about that.”

Michelle Kennedy’s backyard

Visit www.ThePatioChic.com or Black Women Who Love Outdoor Living Spaces group on Facebook.