Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Yard Crashers on a Budget

So do you guys remember a few months back when I was talking about completely renovating our backyard? I know its been a while, but I finally have before and after photos to share with you!
We have lived in our home for 3 years and the backyard has never been touched. It has stayed the same 'builder grade' typical housing development backyard. a.k.a a barren wasteland!
When we received our tax return this year, we said we were going to use it to make our backyard a warm and inviting space that we wanted to spend time using. So, during my husbands spring break, we demoed and completely redesigned the entire yard. We kept calling our selves yard crashers on a budget. We were obsessed with that show for months before the project getting as many ideas as we could, the only difference is they spend tens of thousands of dollars and have so many people working on it!
I had drawn out exactly what we wanted it to look like and planned out our shopping trips, budget, and daily priority list weeks in advance.
I took a million photos from start to finish and here they are!

Here is a before and after side by side!

This is a before view from the back of the yard looking at the house.

This was our TINY patio. It barely fit our BBQ and a couple chairs...let alone people!

And here it is after! Since we were able to move the BBQ out we can now fit a small table and chairs. We eat dinner outside almost every night now! This cute little set was at IKEA for only $99!! Can you believe that price! That was for all 4 pieces!

This was the side yard where the water spout is. It was completely overgrown with weeds and muddy grass. All of the water in the backyard drained right into this corner. It was a disgusting mess!

And here is the side yard now! We dug up the grass and filled the area with pea gravel. This allowed for a great spot to store the hose, use the BBQ, and when it gets wet, it is no longer a marshy mess!

Here is another view of the side yard. We used lots of potted flowers to give color to that area and in those small pots to the right I am growing mint and basil! Nice to have around anytime I want a mojito!

This is after step 1: Removing the sod. We rented a sod cutter from Home Depot for the afternoon and cut up all the sod in the areas where we did not need grass anymore.

Here is a picture of my hard working hubby! Believe me, you don't want to see a picture of me...
This project was NOT fun, it was hard work, hard labor, and very messy! I didn't think I would ever be able to use my hands again!

This was the new patio after we had laid sand and the paver stones. This photo shows the sand setting on top of the pavers so we could fill in the cracks.

Here is a close up of the pavers

This is a back view of the new patio

We decided to build a rock bench around the curve of the patio for seating and to give the patio an enclosed, cozy feel. This is the hole for the cinder blocks which would be the base of the wall.

Here is the wall after we covered the cinder blocks with stone veneers.

This is the stone wall completed!

Here is an after view from the back of the yard.

I found these 2 lounge chairs at Ross for only $50 each!

This photo shows one of the tree/flower beds we put in to break up all of the grass as well as the raised vegetable bed on the left. We are currently growing cucumbers and peppers!


We left a nice grassy area on the left here for our little one to be able to play when he gets a little older!

Planting trees is not easy either! They weigh a ton and 2 of them died after 2 months, but luckily we had a warranty and were able to exchange them for new ones! So if you ever buy trees make sure they come with a warranty!

This side of the house is the entrance to the backyard. We also filled it with pea gravel and stepping stones.

Here is a close up of the stepping stone walk way

This is now such a relaxing spot to lay out during the day or enjoy a glass of wine in the evening!

This project was a huge undertaking! We did pretty much all of this in just 9 days! And we did it all on a major budget! The quote we got for the patio alone was WAY more than our budget for the total project. Yes, it is hard work, but it is totally worth the end result! You can save so much money and then you have the gratification of knowing you did it yourself! My husband and I really enjoy working on projects together!

Since then we have been tending to the flowers, garden, and grass. It looks even better with the flowers growing bigger and bigger! I really love having a space now that we can all enjoy. I am telling you the truth when I say that we never spent time in our backyard in the 3 years we have lived here, it has been a long time coming, but we are so happy with the end result!


  1. Great Job Jennifer. I can't say I have the patience for yard work, but like you said it's worth it.

    1. Thanks Kristin! I have always said I DO NOT have a green thumb, I pretty much used to kill everything I touched, but I am getting better at it! And, if you want something bad enough, you just make it happen! We wanted a beautiful space to enjoy and thats what we got!