Total Backyard Overhaul: Part 1

Total Backyard Overhaul: Part 1

Well folks, we may have taken a couple months hiatus from projects but we are officially back. This week we are excited to share our next project: the total backyard overhaul. If you’ve been following our Instagram stories, you’ve seen how excited we are to be kicking off this project and how much work we’ve put in thus far. So let’s walk you through our first weekend of work.


Trust us, there are many more weekends in store but we thought we would give you the run down of how the first one panned out.


Clearing the Way

Let’s start by showing you where we started. The place was a bit of a mess. Overrun with weeds, scrappy trees, a derelict canopy structure and a random asphalt walkway, this yard needed some serious love. We kicked off the weekend with the demolition of the asphalt path. And oh boy did it feel good to see that thing go. Our necks and shoulders might not agree with the feel good notion but I stand by the statement.

Next up was tackling the removal of the wooden canopy structure. This was by far the funnest activity of the weekend. Knocking down beams and kicking over posts is a fantastic way to let out a little stress. It all came down shockingly easy as well. I kid you not, I think we had that thing on the ground in less than 5 minutes.

Thinning the Trees

The backyard is surrounded by a good number of Norway maple trees that are great for providing privacy but needed to be cleaned up a bit. We have specific plans for this yard and as such wanted to let just a bit more light in for all of the plantings that will be going in. The other main reason for taking out some of the trees is the fact that these particular trees will suck up any and all available water in the ground, leaving our future new plantings vulnerable to drying out. We identified 5 trees that we would remove. Owen got out his reciprocating saw and got to work. We officially now have plenty of firewood to kick off the season once we get the fire pit installed.

Defining the Plan

So let’s talk about our wish list and how we ended up with this design. The backyard is quite shady so we knew immediately we had to work with that in terms of plant selection. The overall aesthetic we are shooting for is a woodland / forest floor with some Japanese temple garden influences.

We looked at lots of references images and sketched up several iterations but ultimately landed on the plan below. From a functional standpoint, we wanted a paver area near the house that could have space for a grill, have enough space to pull out our table saw onto when we’re doing projects, yet wasn’t going to break the bank. We also wanted a separate area further from the house, more so nestled into the garden, that would have a dining space as well as a lounging fire pit area. Lastly, we wanted a defined open space that was large enough we could set up a game of corn hole in and also gave us the ability to not have to plant the entire yard. We will be doing a separate post in the coming weeks that is all about planting selection so stay tuned for that.

Setting the Budget

So I guess the thought on everyone’s mind at this point might be, “wow, that seems like a lot of work and a lot of money.” And you are probably right on both fronts but we’ve done our best to be diligent about setting a budget and trying to figure out the most economical approach. The goal is to have a big impact in terms of increased house value and overall enjoyment of the space but not go overboard. We’ve outlined our initial budget below. We look forward to sharing with you all at the end how close or far off we land when the final numbers come in.

Budget Breakdown

Here's how the materials break down for the project:

Paved Areas
Stone Dust - $65 (1 ton bag)
Pavers - $1530 (4 palettes at 110 sf/palette; unit cost of $3.47/sf)
Delivery - $85
Gravel Area
Pea Gravel - $60 ($0.25/sf for 230 sf area)
Delivery - $30
Dining Table - $300
Dining Chairs - $315
Loveseat - $415
Grill - $200
Mulch - $200
Plants - $800
Irrigation System - $150
Total: $4150

We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on what you think of our future design plans for the space and if you all have any tips or tricks you guys have learned on your own backyard projects!

Tenant Kitchen Revamp

Tenant Kitchen Revamp