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Backyard Ideas

Backyard Makeover Ideas

Tips from professionals on how to makeover your backyard

Do you rarely spend time in your backyard? Do you have a dilapidated deck or worn out patio? Do you hate wasting time and water to care for a large lawn? Is your backyard lacking space for entertaining?

If you answered yes to any of these questions it sounds like you may be ready for a backyard makeover. Start by thinking through the main landscaping considerations, such as the desired purpose of your backyard, the people and pets that will use it and how climate will impact your enjoyment of the space.

Backyard Makeover Ideas

Time / 03:25

This large backyard makeover provides ideas for the beautiful marriage of multiple materials.

No matter the challenge, an experienced professional with access to the right resources can help you take your yard from bland to beautiful. Check out the ideas below to discover how your backyard can be made over into an awesome outdoor living space.

Replace Outdated MaterialsThis backyard was stuck in the '80s. It featured exposed aggregate concrete with brick bands. The concrete had settled in areas, so the patio was demolished and replaced with sand-washed, beige-colored concrete with bluestone bands. A fountain was also added with dry-laid flagstone surrounding it. To connect the patio with the new pool, a pattern of random concrete rectangles were poured.

See more about this backyard makeover: Bay Area Backyard Landscape

Backyard Patio Remodeling Tips

Time / 02:18

Watch this video and save thousands of dollars by getting your patio right the first time.

Enlarge Your Patio A common backyard mistake is making the patio too small. When working on a backyard makeover consider enlarging patio areas to accommodate larger furniture and provide walk around space. According to landscape designer Maureen Gilmer, "To err is human, but it is better to do so on the side of overly large than too small (check out more common landscape design mistakes)."

In the video at right, garden artisan Scott Cohen discusses plans for remodeling an undersized backyard patio. Originally 10' by 10' the patio could not accommodate a table and chairs and leave room for the doors to open wide allowing people to comfortably walk around. Get more patio sizing tips from Scott Cohen.

Backyard Paving Remodel

Time / 01:08

See how to dress up a plain-gray concrete patio with acid stains and then carve it to look like paving stone. Coordinating brick steps and borders complete the makeover.

Remodel Your Paving Ordinary grey concrete can be quite boring. Giving your backyard paving a makeover will transform the feel of the whole yard. When redoing paving you have two options: tear out the existing pavement or dress up what you have. One option, seen in the video at right, is staining and engraving the concrete to look like natural stone. Opting to dress up your existing paving will save you money on materials and labor.

Check out all your backyard paving options.

Narrow Yard Landscape Design

Time / 02:49

Landscaping a narrow lot can be difficult, especially if the you want a pool, spa, fire pit, swing set, lawn, patio, and deck.

Don't Let Small or Awkward Spaces Limit You Narrow lots can pose a challenge and often end up going unused. However, by working with a landscape designer or architect, you can turn a narrow space into a useable backyard fully equipped for outdoor living. Creative layouts and space saving techniques can be used to fit more features into a small or oddly shaped backyard than you realize.

The video at right proves that you shouldn't limit yourself because of lot shape or size, go ahead and dream big for your backyard makeover, more than likely you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

DIY Backyard MakeoverRedoing your backyard can be a big project for a do-it-yourselfer. Demolition and installation of new hardscaping can be back-breaking work that takes the average homeowner weeks to complete, while a professional crew can have it done in a few days. Additionally, projects that involve running water, gas or electric lines can be complicated. If you want a fountain, built-in grill or lots of lighting it is best to hire a licensed professional. However, if you are looking for a DIY option that will save you some money, consider doing the planting yourself. If you go this route, make sure you know the requirements of each plant so you can pick the best location.

Pro Tip:

When renovating a backyard it is important to consider what existing elements you would like to preserve and communicate that to your designer.
- Matthew Schmuker, Apex Landscape in Grand Rapids, MI

Related Reading:

See four examples of backyards that underwent amazing transformations

Browse photos and profiles of backyards from across the country

Get tips and ideas for transforming your front yard from professionals

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