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#ShowEmYourDIY: 10 Totally DIY Ideas to Transform Your Sad Backyard


Welcome to another edition of #ShowEmYourDIY. The feeling about these seem to be mutual: we love seeing/showing off all of our readers’ amazing work and homes, and you guys seem to be loving reading all about it, so we’re back with a no-brainer topic: backyards! We’re in the FULL swing of summer-y things now (heat wave included here in LA), so sprucing up our outdoor spaces is pretty imminent. I know it can seem daunting to look out into a yard that is crying out for help and not know what to do about it/think it’s going to cost a fortune or need a professional, but if these 10 projects are any indication, it’s very doable, I promise. Get ready to sit back, sip a cold drink and let that charred smell of grilled sausages all up into your nostrils.

For the first transformation, we’re just dipping our toes into “outdoor” but it’s actually a sunroom because that’s kinda outside, right?

Emily Henderson Showemyourdiy backyard design 1

Fun fact, we actually have already showcased Avery’s handwork in the DIY kitchen post where she transformed her kitchen for $250. But when she heard about our DIY outdoor space callout, she emailed us this room and it was too good to pass up. We play by our own rules and definitions here. This awesome transformation took six weeks and cost $650 (minus the rug and curtain dye). She first painted the space with Sherwin Williams’ Extra White, the accent wall with Aubusson Blue from Annie Sloan and the floors with gray epoxy paint. She then, with the help of her brother-in-law, built a bed swing, transformed free tree stumps into coffee tables, and then made custom olive drapes by dying basic white IKEA curtains. For the rest of the pieces, she either owned them or thrifted. My biggest question to her was how did she feel secure about the swing and her advice was to just make sure that “you screw your eye hooks into ceiling joists.” Noted for the future. It looks awesome and if you want more info go here and for the swing DIY go here.

Shall we officially head outside now?

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When Melissa and her husband bought their 90+-year-old home they knew a lot of love was needed for their backyard. So over the past 2.5 years, their yard went from falling apart to looking brand new. The first thing they did was tear down the old fence. Instead of rebuilding it, they repurposed some of the pavers from the ground and created a small retaining wall (needed due to the sloping of their yard). They then dug out all of the grass and built those great garden beds and added pea-sized stone all over. The last DIY was that awesome cedar walkway. Since the rest of the yard had gotten a facelift, they decided to say goodbye to the cement walkway because it looked out of place. It was definitely the right call and the whole space looks fantastic. Like I said before, this project took them about 2.5 years and a rough total of $2,700. Well worth the wait!

Now I’m pretty excited to show you this next DIY because I feel that A LOT of people deal with similar less-than-ideal backyard plaster walls. This is how Anita made her’s nearly disappear.

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Anita decided she was tired of looking at her old plaster walls so she and her husband DIYed these very cool modern wall panels to help disguise them. They started by digging holes for the posts followed by pouring a bit of cement into the holes to create a foundation. Next, they sanded the posts down, set them into the holes and finished by securing them with filling the holes with gravel. Once the posts were all set, Anita and her husband painstakingly sanded the rest of the slats with an electric sander and then decided to leave them natural instead of painting which was the original plan. Once the slats were up, she added the flower boxes to add some more visual interest. They also wanted to give their cement pad a fresh look so they painted it with a soft grey. In addition to that, Anita learned how to limewash brick so the previous ’90s red bricks that would have been in front of the wall now look brand new! Now for the grand total…the fence (all materials included) was $244 and the plants/planters came out to $481. Anita said that weather prolonged the process but that someone could easily do this over two weekends or even a long one (weather permitted). This is really such a clever and budget-friendly DIY.

Want another killer wall idea but for a patio??

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Bev is one of the lucky few in New York (Brooklyn specifically) to have outdoor space. But as expected in a big city, it lacked privacy. In a stroke of genius, she decided to figure out a way to create a green wall and I think it’s safe to say she nailed it. With a bamboo fence, a faux trellis and zip ties, her patio looks like a slice of serene outdoor heaven. She calls it “The Easiest DIY Green Wall Ever” but it’s also the smartest. Since NY experiences all of the seasons, her bamboo and faux greenery should hold up beautifully. This is incredibly renter-friendly (no tools needed), small space friendly and for a rough total of $500, you can make one yourself. She wanted to point out that the $500 is for two panels so if you need only one panel then slash that price in half. 🙂 Head to her blog post to get the full how-to.

Did you even summer if you didn’t go into a pool? Bri thought, no…

Emily Henderson Showemyourdiy backyard design 8 Updated

After being inspired by other DIYers on Instagram, Bri decided she wanted to put in a stock tank pool in her backyard. While she and her husband are already very handy, she still did a lot of research, read blogs and watched YouTube tutorials. After all that, she and her husband were confident they could make it happen. To add more style and avoid the pool looking “like a giant cake pan” as her young daughter so lovingly described it as, they decided to build a little deck. Bri said, “from there it was calculating our plans on how to build the deck, level the pool with sand, purchase the wood for not only the structural base but also the top decking that I wanted to have a more modern feel. And then we sealed it.” You now may be thinking, “but how does it stay clean?” Well, they put in a pump system and use chlorine tablets. The pump is hidden underneath the deck and is hooked up to the nearest outdoor electrical outlet.

Wanna know the craziest part? It only cost roughly $650 all up. To be able to have a very chic pool for just over $500 is mindboggling to me. They did such an incredible job and I now really wish I had a backyard.

Now let’s get into some entertaining DIYs shall we…

Emily Henderson Showemyourdiy backyard design 10

For the last #ShowEmYourDIY post, we shared two of Sarah’s incredible DIY bathroom transformations and today she is back with a total genius and chic outdoor DIY…the succo sofa. Again with her handy husband Emmett, they were able to build this custom stunner in three days for about $1,000. By using cinderblocks, cement and few other materials they made such a special accent to their already beautiful yard. She has a whole blog post on the exact how-tos of the project. While I love my little place, seeing this sofa makes me SO sad I don’t have a yard that I could replicate it in. Someday, right?

Is it dinner time? Well, it is on Erin’s patio.

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Erin and her husband built this awesome large table for about $200 (instead of the $1,000 it would have cost to buy brand new). They used this tutorial as their guide and once it was all built and beautiful, they finished it off with Superpaint (an exterior grade primer + paint) from Sherwin-Williams in Extra White. Now they can have endless summer large dinner parties on their awesome new table. Head here for more info on her process.

Let’s now talk pergola and firepit…that is next to a waterfall?! (dreams)

Emily Henderson Showemyourdiy backyard design 7 Updated

Audrey, her husband and two boys tackled these two awesome DIYs. They started by ripping out the grass (which was mostly moss). Even though it was very pretty, they wanted to make the space more drought-friendly, sustainable and drain better during their Seattle winters. So they hauled in 24 yards of pea gravel to cover the area.

For the firepit, they stacked paver stones around an iron ring, laid iron mountain flagstone on the ground and set granite boulders to help create a fire pit zone. To make the area soft and inviting, they landscaped with ferns, hosta, moss, and flowering groundcover. Now for the pergola, they wanted it to be the main statement in their backyard so they chose to use 8×8 posts. For how they installed the posts, she said her husband “raised the posts by himself and I would steady the posts while he mounted them to hidden brackets attached to cement pillar bases he had dug three feet down into the ground.” Easy right? Ha. Once they finished putting up the rest of the structure, the whole family painted the posts Sherwin-Williams Caviar but kept the cedar slats a natural tone. To keep everything looking consistent they also used the iron mountain flagstone underneath the pergola. In total, the two projects took them three months and they spent about $6,500 for materials. A last minute project Audrey emailed about was the outdoor dining table. Kevin used 4×6 cedar pieces for the base with left over stain from the pergola. They then spray painted an old table top and chairs to give it a fresh look. It looks brand new! All that hard laborious obviously paid off. 🙂

In need of garden/patio inspiration on a budget? Well, Cathy is here to fix that.

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This DIY is seriously impressive, not only for how beautiful it turned out but it only cost $2,000 (not including the furniture). Cathy and her husband kept the deer fence, grapes, and fruit trees but cleared out the debris, added gravel, made garden beds, created the stone patio added a gate and styled the whole thing. Plus, get this…it only took four weeks to complete. This just goes to show that while this yard had beautiful bones, it’s completely possible to fully makeover a space on a reasonable budget and timeline. Head to her blog if you want the total breakdown of the costs and process.

Lastly, we have another familiar face, Leigh.

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You might remember Leigh from our DIY bathrooms post and her awesome mint green vintage tub. Well, that was just one of MANY projects because she and her husband are renovating their entire home (backyard included). Again, there were a couple of things they hired professional help for like resurfacing the pool and installing an outdoor shower. But the rest was her, her husband and some very kind friends. While her husband resurfaced the pool deck, she DIYed that flower pot wall by painting inexpensive terracotta pots and gave some much-needed love to her vintage patio furniture.

For the furniture, she painted the glider navy blue but wanted to keep the circle chairs lighter for visual contrast. To do that she painted the bases white then replaced the old broken vinyl herself (after watching YouTube videos). “It was actually very fun and easy to do. You measure, subtract about 10%, then boil the vinyl strips and they get stretchy.” Very cool and everything looks great.

I don’t know about you but I want to be outside and preferably in a pool of some kind RIGHT NOW. A frozen drink sounds pretty nice, too. But the good news though is that it’s Friday so that is a real possibility for all of us in the very near future. However, in all design seriousness I, as always, hope you feel inspired to DIY your outdoor space if it needs a little makeover. Also, let us know what you want to see next in the DIY world and we will do our best to deliver. 🙂 Lastly, thank you, thank you to everyone that submitted and Happy Friday! GO OUTSIDE.

Love you, mean it.

REMINDER! If you are looking for more even renovation goodness including posts and shopping options head to the Rooms and Shop page.

Fin Mark


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For the sunroom DIY, i believe the woman’s name is Avery, not Leigh. I recently found her blog and love that sunroom!! It’s creative and beautiful!!


Yes, her name is Avery not Leigh….credit where credit is due 😉


Wow, these are all incredible and so inspirational. Thank you for sharing!


Love posts like this! Thank you! And definitely pinning some of these ideas! ??✨


Loved this post! Every single project is fabulous.

Sarah Gibson @ Room for Tuesday

Thanks so much for the feature!! xox


Great ideas and great inspiration. I’m also looking for ideas for my patio. It needs less sun but a tree is out of the question because of the septic tank and a roof of any kind would have to be free standing. Hubs already took that down. Solutions? Btw, Melissa and her husband have a sloping yard not a slopping yard.


Swiped up just to see Mellisa’s backyard. What a beautiful labor of love! (You may want to correct slopping to sloping)

Erin Kestenbaum

Thanks for including our dining table in this post! So much great inspiration in this round-up!

Paula Carr

Did you really mean to call Sarah’s sofa “succo?” 🙂

Love all these! It’s so nice to see creativity trump bucks.


Great & inspiring projects! I LOVE all the pillows Leigh used, especially the mix on the hammock.

Mari Beth

Hey Emily! Do you have any ideas for what to do with an old cement patio (besides taking it out.) Can it be covered or finished with something?? Ours is all cracked and not beautiful. Thanks!


Hi Mari Beth! This is Leigh from the last project in this post. The concrete deck around our pool was original and is 65 years old. It was not pretty! Look into concrete resurfacing products. There are a lot out there that help you repair chipped and cracked concrete. From there you can also find different paints or sealers specifically for concrete that can give you an updated look. Hope that helps 🙂


Wow, I love summer and this is a great post. My fav is the DIY stucco outdoor sofa, it’s really awesome.

XO Anna From Italy

[…] Tolle Inspirationen für den Garten gefällig? Here you go! […]


Thank you so much for featuring our DIY Pergola and Fire Pit project. It’s definitely an honor to be included among the others in this post!
Audrey @wildwoodmodern

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