2018 Backyard Makeover Update

Backyard Makeover Update

As you know, we had a little detour and did not get much of our backyard makeover completed last summer.  Fortunately, the break resulted in a much better plan. This is a large project that keeps getting bigger!

Why attempt a backyard makeover?

3 great reasons to do a backyard makeover:
1. We are creating a usable space that we love (and is easier to maintain)

The yard has some great features and interesting, mature plants and trees. Unfortunately, it’s more of an arboretum than we would like. We really wanted a vegetable garden, a space to relax and a play area for when our little one is old enough to play outside. We also don’t want to spend every weekend maintaining it.

2. It increases the value of our property

Increasing the usability of a backyard will help the overall property value. HouseLogic claims that landscaping boosts values by 267%. The Washington Post found the return on investment is at least 150%. It’s undisputed that landscaping affects a home’s curb appeal but it is entirely up to the buyer what value it adds. Regardless of exact values, tidying up the yard can make a real difference on your home’s value.

3. We get to work on something together

Lastly, we enjoy working on projects together. It’s a fun challenge coming up with ideas and making them come to life. Not only does it give us something to do together, it helps strengthen our relationship by working together to create something.

Where we started:

As you can see, there is a lot of work to do. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day and this job won’t be done in one either.  Check out the photo sphere and take in the untamed glory (extra points if you find the floating dog):

What has changed in 2018

2018 Backyard Makeover Update
Cutting down the jungle

First things first! We cleared out many overgrown shrubs and lower tree branches that had died. This really opened up the space, allowing more light to get through to the lower plant bed.

2018 Backyard Makeover Update
3 of 6 beds finished

Since this time last year we have decided to use this upper area for a set of 6 raised beds. So far, we have only added 3 as we ran out of free building supplies.

2018 Backyard Makeover Update
Gateway to the fire pit area

The most exciting part of all of this will be the fire pit area that will go here for those evening hang outs with friends and family in the warmer months of the year.

Originally, the fire pit and raised beds were in opposite spots.  We decided to switch them so the garden is now in a sunnier spot and the fire pit is closer to the house. Unfortunately, it will be farther to go to get fresh veg from our garden but the sunnier spot should be better for growing. As well, with the fire pit closer to the house, it’s easier access to the kitchen and bathroom. There will also be better lighting for walking back and forth in the evening.

One side dug up

We also had to redo some of our drain tiles right before going into labour (looking forward to sharing that story). We would have ruined the grass if we had planted it last year as planned. Instead, we got a jump start on clearing the area of weeds and plants and will be putting the grass in this fall when it is cooler.

This summer’s revised project list for our backyard makeover

With being on maternity leave, we’ve had to adjust to less income. This hasn’t changed our plans for the backyard makeover overall but it’s certainly encouraged us to find cheaper ways of getting our projects done. We’ve also had to make decisions about what is going to be done this year compared to next.

What we’ve completed:
What we’re still working on:
  • Re-position 2 arbours
  • Create fire pit area
  • Plant mosquito repellent plants
  • Fix the gates
  • Build pallet love seat
Future backyard plans:
  • Add a rain water harvesting system
  • Create privacy/protection screens around the basement windows by the grass area
  • Redo the deck
  • Repair/replace the fence
  • Add a bar area near the fire pit

The Experience

We’ve both enjoyed seeing the progress we’re making.  We’re definitely not done but it’s starting to take shape. Getting out in the evening has given us a chance to talk about our day without the distraction of our little one. It’s been fun reminiscing about other projects we have done together as reminders come up during projects. An unexpected bonus is how good it has felt to work up a sweat.  This has definitely relieved some of the tensions that come with having a newborn. Admittedly, we have been too tired some nights to do more than water the garden. We want to enjoy our yard but aren’t willing to kill ourselves doing it.

What projects do you have planned for the summer? Let us know in the comments below.

-Sean and Denise


Backyard Makeover 2018


  1. It’s coming together well! We’re also on the middle of working on our backyard and deciding what we want to do now, next year, and long term. The old owners of the house let everything over grow so much we had no idea there was a beautiful rock garden underneath!

    This year has been all about clearing weeds and building /repairing fences. Next year we will be doing raised beds. I’d love to see a post about you finishing your needs!

    Xo Jannine | http://www.happystylishfit.com

    • Denise and Sean

      Jannine, Good for you for being able to see beyond the jungle in your backyard to the potential – always great to find something beautiful under the mess 🙂 Ugh – fences! my least favorite thing to do but something that can make such an impact! We can’t wait to be done the yard projects and share the finished look! Good luck with the rest of your projects – I hope you took some before pictures 🙂

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