Today is the day, Friends!
I’m so excited to share my exterior makeover reveal with Yardzen – the full process, links, and all the juicy details coming right up…
Let’s Start Here
When we bought our home seven and a half years ago, the one thing we were really bummed about was the lack of a backyard. Our house has a large fenced in front patio and a skinny back deck, but there is no yard with grass. We love hosting and entertaining, so we made a few small upgrades to the outdoor space over the years including a large built-in bench and this dining table, but other than that, we’ve pretty much left it alone. Once every six months or so, I’d get restless and reach out to a local landscape designer, but for one reason or another, things stayed pretty much the same.
The Yardzen Process
When Yardzen reached out to see if I would be interested in working together, I was instantly charmed by the simplicity and transparency of their process. Here’s how it works: you provide some photos of your outdoor space, a narrated video tour, and fill out a questionnaire breaking down your budget, priorities, and style preferences. They then create a 3D rendering of how your space could look complete with design plans, plant selections, and a full layout plan with dimensions. What I love most is that you can take the plans and DIY it, or you can work with the Yardzen build team to fully install your project.
OK. Let’s look at what we had going on before Yardzen worked their magic – basically, a lot of wood, some neglected plants, and not a lot of design vision.
Here is the front of our house Before:
And here is the back of our house Before:
We live in a very urban area, surrounded by medical buildings and apartments, so our number one priority was to create a more private and serene urban oasis that we would actually want to spend time in.
The Yardzen Vision
Here was the Yardzen design for the front of our house:
And here was the Yardzen design for the back of our house:
When we saw these renderings, we were stunned. In all the thinking we have done on our outside areas, we were never able to produce a vision for the space that felt exciting or attainable. This proves my theory that sometimes you have to bring in an outside eye to be able to see what is possible for your space. The best part was that almost all of the changes they suggested (fresh paint, potted plants, pea gravel, cozy cushions, and a hammock) felt easy to implement without breaking the bank. We ended up passing on the wooden trellis for budget and permitting reasons, but we were still able to get the look and feel we wanted without it.
I had a painter that I’d already worked with, but didn’t feel confident I could nail the exact colors from the rendering. I’ve learned that paint colors can look completely different based on light, your surroundings, etc., so I set up a consultation with Angelisse Karol Color & Design, so she could help me select the exact colors we were looking for. She brought tons of swatches to play with, and within an hour we had nailed great options for the deck, benches, and fence. Painting all of the fences, benches, and deck made a massive impact and immediately transformed the space. Next, I ordered large, ceramic pots, rugs, throw pillows, and a hammock to help make the outdoor spaces feel more layered, inviting, and cozy. On install day, the Yardzen team arrived to remove weeds, level out dirt, and create a simple landscape design with plants they assured me I wouldn’t kill in the first three days (so far, so… well, most of them are still alright).
The After (drumroll please…)
Enough prattling on! It’s time for the big reveal.
Here is the front of our house After (I even wore a dress which happens every five years):
Here’s the view from the other side for perspective (I had just landed four beanbags in a row FYI):
And here is the back of our house After:
Our whole family loves how it turned out (even Patches!).
We’ve been mainly sheltering in place since March, and our 1200 square-foot home was feeling awfully cozy recently with everyone here all of the time, but this makeover has truly made us feel like we have two brand new rooms in our home! We have been spending so much more time outside – eating meals, reading in the hammock, hanging out on the cushioned bench, even hosting the occasional social-distance date with close friends and family.
A huge thank you to Yardzen and Angelisse Karol Color & Design for partnering with me on this project, and Vivian Johnson for somehow managing to capture great images on a day filled with surprise storms and a heat wave.
My biggest takeaways: It really helps to have a set of fresh eyes on your space so you can consider new possibilities you wouldn’t have come up with on your own, and you don’t have to mortgage your home to make some impactful improvements – pot a few plants, add a rug and some pillows, consider painting fences, benches, or patio furniture you already own.
I’m linking to all of the products and paint colors we used for our transformation below!
Patio Rug / Patio Table / Patio Bench / Patio Chairs / Patio Umbrella / Patio Bench Cushions / Patio Pillows 1, 2, and 3* / Black and White Plant Pots / Small White Plant Pots / Patterned Plant Pot / Bean Bag Toss Game / Back Deck Rug / Back Deck Black Patio Table / Black Patio Bench / Black Patio Chairs / Hammock with Stand
*Please note that the pillows and rugs I choose are NOT outdoor pillows and rugs because all of the stores were out of everything that was both meant for outdoors and attractive (plus, I like to live on the edge).
Image Credit: Vivian Johnson Photo