Finally it was time to turn our attention to the tiny inside/outside area. There are no "before" photos, because there was nothing but dirt to photograph. The previous owners had staged it with a fancy cement birdbath that bore no resemblance to anything modern, but they took it with them when they left.
The fix turned out to be very simple and inexpensive. First we put down a layer of pea gravel, then added landscaping rocks and stepping stones. After a few shots of paint, vintage Russell Woodard patio furniture was ready to move into the space. New greenery was added to the corrugated metal planter I used at the "modernist nest," and the boys and I painted some rocks for a little color.
Now we have a cozy little spot for coffee on weekend mornings.