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HongKate |

Well, the day has finally come! It’s crazy how some projects take much longer than expected. The important thing is that we made it to the finish line and we are in l-o-v-e with the new backyard.

Before we get to the goods, let’s backtrack and take a look at all of the before photos and gameplan for the space.

Backyard Before

So, these above photos are from May 2019.

Over the next two years, we didn’t exactly prioritize the backyard, but we did make a few upgrades…

  • We got a new white vinyl fence. It was such a gamechanger for privacy.
  • We stained our deck a dark brown.
  • We removed the vegetable garden area and replaced it with rocks.

We lived with that for the past two summers while we dreamed and schemed of all of the cool stuff we could do back there.

Backyard Gameplan

Last winter, we decided that the backyard would be a Spring/Summer 2021 project so we got to work making a gameplan. This was our first time tackling an exterior, so we decided to bring in the pros and hired Yardzen to mock up some renderings of our ideas. Here are their awesome plans…

This was super helpful as we narrowed in on the exact changes we wanted to make and figured out our priorities for the backyard. It was also a great tool to show these images to prospective contractors and landscapers when we were hiring out the project.

These renderings helped us narrow down our ultimate goals for the backyard space…

  • Build a smaller and more open deck area.
  • Add stone so we could utilize the space better.
  • Keep all of the grass in the side yard for the kiddos to play.
  • Create a dining zone and a relaxing zone.
  • Add trees, plants, and greenery!

All of the Projects…

The crew got started in May and demo’ed the backyard completely. They then slowly started to build it back up, putting in a new drainage system, adding the stone, and rebuilding the deck. Here’s a list of all of the blog posts I’ve written this summer outlining the entire experience…

And that brings the backyard makeover reveal. Let’s take a look around.

Backyard Makeover Reveal

It’s kinda hard to believe that this is the backyard. It feels like a fancy restaurant when we sit at that table, or a cool hotel when we lounge on the couch at night. I am over-the-moon happy with how it turned out. It wasn’t easy getting here, but we made it to the finish line.

Plus, we were able to hit all of our goals for the backyard. Let’s review them one by one.

Build an Open Deck Area…Check!

Yep, I’d say we definitely accomplished our goal of creating a more open deck area. Now, these wide stairs go all the way down to the patio and it doesn’t feel as closed off as before.

The deck itself, isn’t huge and that’s exactly what we wanted. We’d rather have more patio space for our large outdoor table than an awkwardly sized deck that no one uses.

Add Stone…Check!

We add stone back here! Before, it was all grass, which was fine, but it wasn’t very functional. I’m so happy that we opted for these pavers. It makes the space much more useable.

Even though we had a fairly large yard before, we didn’t have a spot for a large outdoor dining table. This is my favorite part of having a backyard…eating dinners (or really any meal!) outside.

It took a bit of time to arrive, but our table and chairs finally came in and they’re fantastic! The table officially seats six, but we could easily fit up to eight out here – and we have! I made sure to protect the new teak table by sealing it and you can find that full tutorial right here.

And I’ve gotta mention the new outdoor TV which really makes the dining experience even better!

Adding stone to the side of the garage was also a great call. Before, it was a grassy mud pit that was really tough to mow because the slope was all off. Now, it’s another useable space for a family.

Keep Grass in the Side Yard…Check!

Because we were adding so much stone back here, it was extra important for us to keep the side yard full of grass. This is the ideal spot to splash in a baby pool or water table and to just run all around.

Add Trees & Greenery…Check!

It’s still wild that our 100-year-old home had zero trees on the property. Not one! We ended up adding five trees, plus lots of plants, bushes, and flowers. It feels nice to actually have some greenery out here!

Patio at Night

Ahhh, the backyard makeover reveal… They make any outdoor patio feel magical.

Between these string lights and the solar lights on the fence, we have more than enough lighting out here!

And here’s a shot of TV, tuned to a favorite show.

The back corner, cozy area is dark and moody at night! We just have the glow from the lanterns and the lights on the solar fence and it’s perfect.

What’s Next?

Nothing. Ha! Well, at least nothing else during 2021. I’m sure we’ll be eager to get back out here next spring and personalize this space more with DIY projects. We’ve discussed adding a trellis to the right of the TV to bring in some height and greenery. We’ve also discussed adding a long row of thin planters behind the couch.


Beautiful decorative addition


This is the best Patio Umbrella I have ever had!

mid Michigan,

This was a great buy. Sturdy, big, awesome sun coverage.

Melissa Lemon Evers,

This umbrella does all it should. It is a great quality at an amazingly low price. I have it up now for a month and it has survived winds and storms without being cranked down.

M. Zajic,

I love it! What a beautiful decorative addition to my patio…

L. Stevens,

I compared many umbrellas in our local shops, and would not purchase them. I mainly purchased this umbrella for the UV factor – protects very well.


I like the quality. The pole is better quality than most and the overall product is excellent. Shipping was super fast, well and pkged.


Attractive umbrella, arrived quickly and easy 1 step set up.


We have 2 of these umbrellas. One for our table and one in the pool. They work great! Super easy to assemble, provides great sun protection and looks good to.

April Johnson,

I was worried about finding a good quality fabric and a sturdy pole. This is being used in my swimming pool. I was pleased when I opened the box and found the fabric wasn’t thin and didn’t look cheap. The pole is sturdy and not too heavy.


Very pleased with this umbrella, which is a replacement for another brand that fell apart before it was even put together!

Tante Emma,

Used this all summer, loved it – was super essential in our backyard with no shade.


Great huge umbrella for the price. Crank gear seems solid and seems to work smooth. Tilt function seems a little gimmicky.


Wanted an umbrella I could use both with our patio table as well as a portable base so I can move it around while working on outdoor projects. This umbrella fits the bill perfectly.

Weekend Woodbutcher,

Before buying this one in particular I did a lot of research, and looking around for a good quality (and decently priced) outdoor umbrella for my backyard table. I really needed one during that time too because I was having a lot of outdoor parties, and it was very hot last summer so I wanted an umbrella that would do a good job at keeping everyone cooled off… At least somewhat cooled off. This umbrella did the job! I’ve had no problems with it so far, and I even forgot to put it away this year during the rainy/windy season (oops); however it’s still holding up really well. It may look a little more faded now (FYI I picked the forest green color) just from it getting wet, and then drying up in the sun, but other then that its working out great!


I needed shade for our backyard since every tree we planted back there has died. The umbrella works nice.


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