Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11:23 AM EDT
Real People, Renovating. Today we conclude our seven-part series written by Katherine Scarrow, who decided to renovate an original condition 1940s bungalow with her boyfriend, Chris. “It didn’t seem like such a big fat scary deal to him,” she says, while she brought “abundant enthusiasm and profound naïveté” to the project. Why the difference in attitude? Chris was born into a family of builders and designers, while Katherine “grew up in a home where no one was even remotely deft with a hammer.”
Part 7: The Backyard
Summer garden by the sea.
The challenges? How much time do you have? Look at those before pictures, as well as the mid-reno pics. For this project, we decided to go DIY (Do It Yourself). Read on to see if we were crazy... Probably the biggest challenge, BTW, was removing the old driveway that extended to the backyard, which we discovered included two layers of thick and very heavy asphalt.
Pea gravel: $1,000
Plants and soil: $1,000
Realistic time span of project:
Six months, and still ongoing...
The original backyard, with a driveway running straight through from the front
The original backyard, seen from the house: proof that the driveway went all the way back, and (why??) widened
The backyard, mid-reno: learning the hard way that we were the not-so-proud owners of TWO very thick and heavy layers of asphalt
The backyard, mid-reno: far-from-finished, but already a world of difference
The backyard, mid-reno: the undeniable, immediate, beautifying power of grass
The finished backyard: our regal deck, which we almost didn't build — what were we (not) thinking?
The finished backyard: a sculpted stone path, minor landscaping, a small storage shed, a second patio — our little slice of heaven at home
We absolutely love:
The deck extending from the house. We didn’t originally budget for this, but we’re glad we went ahead with it. It’s an ideal place for casual entertaining, and the added height lets you look out over your backyard like it's your estate!
What we would have done differently:
We should have made the shed slightly bigger, since there was enough space at the end of the backyard and we could definitely use extra storage.
Potential for DIY Disaster?
On a scale of 1 to 5 Bryan Baeumler heads — 5 representing the highest potential for disaster — we give this space a 4. As there were so many projects in the yard (shed, deck, fence, etc.), there was a very high potential to mess up — which could mean something as simple but devastating as smacking your thumb with a hammer, like Chris did one blistering day.
We strongly recommend:
If you’re determined to DIY your backyard, be realistic about the amount of work and time it will require; make sure you’re 100% committed, because a project of this scope is not for the easily discouraged. We spent an entire summer, weekends included, on this one — and we’re not even finished. Be warned: It can feel like a never-ending battle. But what a victory!
Thanks for reading this Real People Reno series. Let us know your thoughts in the Comments!