Backyards
May 2, 2013

Backyard makeover: A DIY renovation

By: Karen Bertelsen

Backyard makeover: A DIY renovation Author: Style At Home

Backyards
May 2, 2013

Backyard makeover: A DIY renovation

By: Karen Bertelsen
Fourteen years ago, I bought a house based mainly on the beauty of the backyard. The kitchen, the bathroom and the basement were a completely different story, but the backyard was a calming oasis of slate and cedar, highlighted by a natural-looking pond and moss-covered boulders. It was breathtaking, until I realized, some years later, that it wasn’t anymore. I don’t know when it happened exactly, but one morning I took a look outside and faced the facts: The slate was crumbling, the planter beds had rotted and the pond was leaking and falling in on itself. I quickly added up how much it would cost to get everything fixed by professionals and, just as quickly, crossed that thought off my list of options.

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Before the backyard makeover

Click on this image to see how this backyard was transformed. backyard-makeover-new-patio.jpg
New patio

Sleek square-cut flagstone makes up the new patio. Staining the raised planter beds the same colour as the stone lends the space a seamless feel while allowing the varying tones and textures of the greenery to take centre stage. The lush foliage also softens the hard contours of the patio and outdoor furniture.

Thinking of adding a patio to your backyard? Check out our helpful guide on how to install a hardscape patio. In order to afford the backyard I envisioned, I knew I’d have to do everything myself – tear down, clear out, rebuild. A complete overhaul meant I could do whatever I wanted, and what I wanted was a sleek, contemporary backyard. I liked the slate but needed to find a more climate-friendly solution that wouldn’t flake and disintegrate. Enter square-cut flagstone. I also liked the planter beds surrounding the backyard, but this time I’d use pressure-treated wood and plastic lining to protect the wood from the soil and make the planters more modern-looking by staining them the same colour as the flagstone. The pond would need to be ripped out and rebuilt as well; a clean, rectangular shape would echo the look of the flagstone nicely. I had some time off in the spring, so I figured I could get this sucker wrapped up in about three weeks, maybe four, if I took things at a leisurely pace. It took longer – and there was nothing leisurely about it.
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Contemporary retreat

After 127 days, the completed project looks like it was done by a team of pros, right down to the furnishings, which continue homeowner Karen Bertelsen’s vision of having a contemporary retreat. backyard-makeover-revamping.jpg
Revamping the backyard

Karen took on the challenge of revamping her derelict backyard with gusto. From digging to sawing to levelling, there was no job she couldn’t handle. backyard-makeover-pond.jpg
Pond waterfall

Karen reused leftover pieces of slate from the old patio to create the waterfall in the pond. To make things interesting for the fish and pond plants, she made the pond two levels deep. backyard-makeover-showpiece.jpg
The showpiece

When Karen’s real estate agent first took her to view this property many moons ago, she brought her through the back door because the yard was the showpiece. The outdoor living space is now just as beautiful as it was then – but even better.

For more outdoor decor advice, we have the top backyard design tips and essentials.
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Backyards

Backyard makeover: A DIY renovation