Designing and Building A Great Backyard

Let's try to set the scene. You have a beautiful home that you have spent time and money decorating with great thought…on the inside. It has become the perfect representation of who you are and your friends and family comment on how good it all looks. Then you look outside into the backyard area and hang your head. It’s barren with little or no plan for completing it. You’ve often thought of an outdoor structure and total backyard landscaping, but have not known how to go about it. Maybe the backyard is overgrown with weeds or just a blank slate of grass and/or dirt. What do you do?


All I see is dirt. What now?

Bare backyards are the perfect slate for an outdoor design.
Bare backyards are the perfect slate for an outdoor design. | Source

Diagram And Draw – Get a piece of blank computer paper and draw a two-dimensional top view of your backyard. The drawing does not have to be exactly to scale but try to get it somewhat close. You may add trees and bushes, grassy areas, patio areas, planters, and outdoor structures. Draw a few of these so you have some different renditions to compare. Share them to get other people’s ideas too. Going online for picture ideas will get your design juices flowing and will give you some added inspiration. Find resources that will help you complete your design such as DIY construction plans as they will make your job easier. Guess work is sometimes not as much fun if engineering is required.

Price Out Your Plan – Once you have decided on a basic drawing and plan, go online or to a big box store to price out some of your ideas. You will be surprised at how achievable a design can be if you do the job yourself. DIY is a great tag to add to your resume also.

Figure Out Your Plan Of Attack – When you have finished your pricing and know what you want to add to your backyard, pick one or two of the larger phases of the design to start. This will usually be hardscape like planters, patios, and structures like an outdoor grill or fireplace. The finish work of the backyard, such as rock and grass will be better done at the end.

Start Slow With Construction – Don’t try to get too much done too soon. This may burn you out and the immediate price tag of a completed backyard can be high. Spreading that cost out along a few months will make that financial burden a bit more palatable.


Outdoor kitchen with all the amenities for a great cooking experience.
Outdoor kitchen with all the amenities for a great cooking experience. | Source
Stunning outdoor fireplace with storage voids covered with a stone veneer finish.
Stunning outdoor fireplace with storage voids covered with a stone veneer finish. | Source

Borrow and Rent Tools - Chances are that you won't own all the tools you will need to complete a backyard construction project. Think about the tools that you'll need and make a list so you don't forget them. Go through your arsenal of tools on hand and start marking the list off. If you are like most people you have that one friend who has one of each tool imaginable. If you're nice and you offer something in exchange, like a six pack of his/her favorite beverage, you may be able to borrow most of what you need.

So many tools are not practicable for most people to own, such as tampers, cement mixers, concrete saws, etc. For these, look into a home improvement store's rent shop. They will almost always have these items for rent and they are in very good condition as they have to be returned to them in the condition they were rented. These tools have historically been very reliable and somewhat new as well.

With forethought, your construction experience will be rewarding and fun. The only bad thing with DIY construction is that when you finish a project and realize how simple it truly was, you will want to start another...and another...and another. Happy building!

DIY Outdoor Construction Confidence

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Think of Space When Designing

Great outdoor living space with amazing color.
Great outdoor living space with amazing color. | Source

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