Lisa Carolla’s backyard was a real dump when she moved in. The previous owners were serious gardeners but their backyard had eventually fallen into disrepair.
It was basically a rubble pile of that was overrun with rats.
“Our yard was a high-maintenance relic of an avid gardener. Looking for a way to hide an ugly garden shed, the previous owner thought it wise to build a six-foot concrete wall directly down the middle of the small yard,” Carolla told Apartment Therapy.
“The area behind the wall had become a real-live rat’s nest! We also had a small, oddly shaped nook in our side yard with no real purpose.”
But Carolla wanted to make her backyard an inviting space where she and her guests could enjoy themselves.
But it would take a lot of work to get there. Even just removing that concrete and getting rid of the rats would be a huge improvement.
But she did a lot better than that. Now her backyard looks like a beautiful vacation getaway.
She was even able to incorporate the old fence.
Now you can really enjoy the backyard’s beautiful views of the incredible trees that offer lots of shade and privacy.
“After a big storm took out the fence between us and our neighbors, we decided to take the opportunity to make a yard that would work for two young surfers and working professionals who like to entertain and hang out with their dog and chickens,” Carolla explained.
They installed a new pergola over a platform and illuminated the space with some string lights.
They placed a cozy couch and extra rocking chair seating under the pergola.
They also added a coffee table and some eclectic side tables.
There’s also a ton of extra pillows stored under the pergola for extra places for people to sit.
They also decorated with a ton of potted plants in colorful planters to give the space a sophisticated and vacation-like feel.
The string lights also help to create this mood.
“All of the plants we added are in pots or large troughs, which gives us a lush look without frequent maintenance—and helps keep our chickens from destroying them all,” Carolla says.
Remember that random nook?
They turned it into a spot to house everyone’s surfboards and wetsuits.
“We’ve never had proper surfboard storage, so our surf shack and wetsuit washing station feels like such a luxury! Plus we got to use a cool hammer drill to attach it to our concrete exterior wall. The backyard was the least complex project we took on in our house renovation. If you have the physical ability, highly recommend DIY outside! The stakes are low and there are generally fewer moving parts.”
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This project was not easy. Unlike most outdoor space projects, it involved plumbing, electrical, and flooring work.
But Carolla said it was absolutely worth it.
“We did most of the grunt work ourselves, including making over 300 wheelbarrow trips from the front yard to the backyard to distribute granite fines,” she said. “We ended up bring in a contractor to help us with the gazebo once we ran into issues with retaining walls, but are now confident in the fact that it won’t be sliding into our neighbor’s yard anytime soon! It’s everyone’s favorite place to hang out and it really does feel like we added a room to our house.”
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