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Backyard Transformation with Simple Changes

Backyard Transformation with Simple Changes

Backyard Transformation with Simple Changes

Your backyard can be a haven or a source of stress—it's all in the eye of the beholder. I moved into my home on August 1, 2020, and the backyard was acceptable but not a place where I wanted to spend a lot of time. In fact, it was the opposite. Every time I went into the backyard to let the dog out (let's say 4x per day for four years = 5,800 times), I looked at how much work needed to be done to make it a place I would enjoy and want to sit down, have a cup of coffee, or entertain friends and family.

I had put off updating it because when I originally moved into the house, I had wanted to put a pool in the backyard, which was going to be a very large investment. As time went on, my priorities changed, and I became less interested in that, but I still needed a plan to turn my backyard into a little oasis in the middle of Omaha. Sometimes it's the “little things” that can make a HUGE impact.

Key Challenges:

- There were way too many giant trees in my backyard, and as a result, there was zero sun that ever reached the area, and therefore, the grass was in bad shape. Plus, I love the sun, and if I couldn’t have a pool, fine, but I still wanted a lounge chair to sun tan.
- The old wooden fence was leaning in places and needed to be repaired or replaced.
- The house needed to be repainted. In addition to the paint falling off the house, I hated the color. If I was going to sit in my backyard and look at the back of the house, I would think about how much it was going to cost, what color I was going to paint it, and how badly it needed to be done.
- The patio was comprised of ⅔ brick and ⅓ mismatched concrete pad that looked out of place. Should I tear it out and replace it with brick? Tear out all of it and pour a new pad? Leave it and live with it?
- The landscaping was a mess. Most of the bushes were ugly, and the spaces had lost their definitions. There was river rock in places that should have been mulch and vice versa.
- There was a little wooden shed that had the potential to be cute but was going to need a lot of work and certainly be repainted as well.
- I wanted to spend as little as possible to get the biggest impact. As a result, I was willing to do as much of the work myself as possible—I love these kinds of projects!

My Plan:

1. Remove two trees—a Maple that was over 50’ tall and growing like a weed too close to the fence and an Ash that was being threatened by the Ash Borer. I was told it would be cheaper to remove it alive versus dead. Let’s say “cheaper” is a relative term. Total cost to remove two trees: $5,800. 😩
2. Repair the fence with new posts: $350
3. Restain the fence: $400
4. Repair siding and repaint the house: $6,500 😬
5. Redefine landscaping, install commercial landscaping fabric, and lay 138 bags of mulch: $400
6. Update back patio stairs from old painted fake Trex to solid wood: $65
7. Repaint shed, rescreen, and install shelving: $400
8. Install solar landscaping lighting: $75
9. Purchase outdoor furniture (sofa sectional), coffee table, two lounge chairs, outdoor rug, umbrella, and TV. Holy moly, nice outdoor furniture is expensive: $3,000
10. Miscellaneous decorative accents: $100

Total investment: $17,000. My level of peace and enjoyment sitting in my backyard having coffee right now: PRICELESS!

I’m an “all or nothing” kind of girl, but by no means did I do this in a single weekend. I had the trees removed last summer and the fence repaired. It took me about a month to get the rest of the projects done this spring, which is relatively quick considering the amount of work. I hired someone to repair the siding and repaint the house. I did the rest! I sat for hours picking rocks out of the yard and random places they had migrated to. I bought a “weed sprayer” for my stain and did it all day on a Saturday. The rug and the furniture were no doubt the biggest impact and the easiest part! The whole project made the backyard feel as though it’s an extension of the house. I drink coffee out there in the mornings, have Zoom calls in the afternoon, and enjoy wine at night. My kids come hang out and watch movies. We lay in the sun together. No one cares there isn’t a pool. A “mister” might be my next investment! I added a minimum of $25,000 in value to my home and created a sanctuary that I wish I wouldn’t have put off for four years. 

If you are interested in learning how to do home improvement projects yourself, please click here to learn more about the new community I am building, Hammers & Flip Flops, to empower women with the tools, skills, and confidence they need to do the work they’ve wanted done for years. I was blessed to have a father who was a carpenter and taught me so much. I’m here to share it with you. I promise, none of the work is as hard as it looks, and you can do anything you put your mind to!

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