Complete DIY Backyard Transformation (And How You Can Do It Too!)

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I spent the entire summer turning my backyard from an eyesore into something that I can enjoy spending time in. Because of monetary restrictions, I couldn’t afford to hire anyone to do the work for me, so every bit of this backyard was DIY! I’m absolutely in love with my backyard now, and I want to share the steps that I took to make my backyard look like this, so hopefully you can too!

Step #1: Fence it in!

The first thing we did in my back yard was put up a 6-foot privacy fence. When I bought the house, the only fences that existed were all the different neighboring fences (5 total!), and it looked terrible. There was also NO privacy, and when you live in an area where everyone basically lives on top of each other, a privacy fence is necessary.

Because this entire backyard was being done on a very tight budget, I went with an unfinished, treated wood fence from Home Depot and stained it using a medium-dark brown stain. This was so much cheaper than buying vinyl fencing, but also a lot more work. However, now I have a beautiful fence that cost less than $3,000!

Putting up a fence immediately made the yard look so much better, and I would recommend doing this as your first step as well! A detailed description on how we put up my fence can be found here.

Step #2: Build a Patio

Building a patio yourself is actually relatively easy! The hardest part is digging out the area you’ll be putting the patio in at. We dug out a 10 x 20 area, about 8 inches deep. I chose for the patio to be on the side of the yard, along the fence and not directly connected to the house.

I bought the pavers from Home Depot (make sure you buy them at least 2 days in advance of when you’ll need them so the store has time to put the pallets of pavers together that you need). The stones I bought were in 3 different sizes, and were very easy to put together in a pattern. We also included 3 places for wooden posts to go in to hold the pergola we would later be building.

I’ll be uploading a post with details on how we built my patio soon!

Step #3: Lay down sod

Once again, this is another time where DIY saves you a TON of money. I was quoted $1200 for someone to come lay down sod in my yard (and that was the base price, they hadn’t seen how un-level my yard was yet). It was $400 to just buy the sod and install it myself. Now, I will admit, it was a lot of work to lay down all the sod ourselves. We rototilled the entire yard, then leveled it out, and then laid down the sod. It took us about 3 full days to do this (However, we also put irrigation in the yard, so at least a 1/3 of this time was spent digging tranches for the hoses to go in).

For more details on how we did leveled out the yard and laid down all the sod, click here.

Step #4: Garden and mulch

We put mulch down along both sides of the fence, about 2 feet wide, and put in flowers and plants every few feet or so. I also put in a garden that runs along the back-left side of the fence, and it ended up being about 5 feet wide, and 10 feet long. What plants you choose to put in will really depend on where you live. However, I chose almost entirely perennials, so that it would be less work over the years. I didn’t want to put in all new plants every year!

Step #5: Build a Pergola

The last step! Woohoo!

This surprisingly wasn’t too hard to build, but you will definitely need a few people to help you out. If you’re going to make it fancy (like my dad did), you’ll need some extra tools not everyone has lying around. But if you don’t need fancy ends, you really just need basic tools. (But you will need a wood saw!)

A detailed description on how we built my pergola will be coming soon!

And here’s the final product!

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