our house

our backyard : the reveal


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finally, finaaaally can share the finished backyard with you guys! sorry for the photo overload, but i wanted to show you every tiny little detail. 

i was also going over everything we’d done in the before posts, but we’ve done so much now it’s hard to even know where to begin.

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we poured an additional six feet to extend the existing concrete patio, and also a large wraparound step. we removed the posts and put up an engineered beam — and then had the amazing pergola built off of that. we painted it the same color as the trim of the house, and my stepdad came up with that louvre idea to provide some shade.

i’m obsessed with it. it cost us so much money to construct, but it really is incredible.


remember we planted that tree?! it’s a big monster now. i can’t believe how much of an eyesore the studio used to be, and now how much it blends in. we also planted a bunch of that feather grass into the rectangular hole we cut from the concrete. once that bougainvillea blooms, it’ll look even better.

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i got 1000 of these disposal coasters, and i’m so glad i did. not only do they match the palm springs hotel vibe we were going for, but i don’t have to worry about collecting them or losing them. i can just toss ’em when they get gross.


after we planted all our plants everywhere, we decided to go hard with the desert theme and we got a whole bunch of huge heavy rocks to scatter around. rocks are insanely affordable and made such a huge difference in looking finished and designed, in a good way.

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the wraparound step comes around the corner, and again — what was once such an eyesore is now so beautiful. i still am in shock. we also cut out another rectangle in the concrete here and planted some more grass and bougainvillea.

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we also finally covered that AC UNIT!!! F YOU AC UNIT!

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the string lights made the biggest difference of anything. we put them on a switch so i can easily switch them on every night, it’s crazy but the yard basically goes from pitch black to well lit with them on.

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it’s been so exciting to have the yard, but also to go outside and see things blooming and growing and flowering. maybe i’ll do photos again in a year when it all is filled in and looks even better. this yard was soooo much work that it actually feels a little weird to be done.

andddd, in case you want an ugly refresher, here was the backyard when it was the most ugly. (and here it was last time i showed you). and if you have questions about anything, let me know!








57 comments on “our backyard : the reveal”

  1. Beautiful backyard! I’m really jealous. It looks so simple and clean. Would you mind sharing how much this cost to do? Specifically ripping out the lawn & putting in gravel. I am thinking about doing the same thing so we can stop wasting water. Additionally, and just a tip, you might want to spray your string lights with some pest deterrent. I hung up some similar lights and some a-hole squirrels chewed them up.

    1. thank you stephanie! we didn’t actually tear out the grass, we moved in with just dirt and weeds so it just took a few months of killing the weeds before then grading the yard. the grading was just a day of labor, but we had to pay close to $1000 to have the soil removed by a junk hauler. the least fun way to spend $1000 for sure. the DG with delivery was only a couple of hundred bucks, but again we paid for labor for a few days of installing along with $75 for the vibrating plate we rented from home depot to lay it down. nothing was cheap and we spent a bunch of money lol. hope that helps!

      1. Would you mind sharing who did your grading? We need the same done to our side yard and it’s been really hard to find some one to just do that. Everyone I talk to is a landscaper and wants to do a bigger project.

  2. Eeek, the backyard looks BOMB! Well done lady! I was wondering if you can share the sources of your larger plant pots, like the terra cotta ones by the couch. I’ve been looking everywhere for simple, large pots but to no avail! Many thanks, xx.

  3. This looks amazing! What a transformation! I can’t believe that sofa is from World Market. Also, it’s crazy how much of a difference the rocks make. I love it all!

  4. This space is just incredible! I mean, what a dream! I wish I lived in an environment where I could use cacti and the other plants you’ve used. It’s such a good look!

  5. Looks beautiful!
    Is your DG completely hard? Are you having any problems with neighborhood cats or possums using it as a litter box?
    Enjoy your yard

    1. lol no! it’s been fine so hard. we have one punk neighborhood cat but he hasnt messed with it luckily. its super super hard.

  6. Oh my goodness, your backyard turned out BEAUTIFUL. I want every piece of it – although, I don’t have a backyard of my own, and none of these choices would make much sense here in Oregon ;)

  7. This is so beautiful, congrats!

    Complete web design nerd gripe, apologizes in advance… I love your blog, and the photos are gorge, but is there a way you can control the ad placement? The ad on the bottom of the page makes it so hard to view the content on this post, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to close it out. (It’s overlaying the image, so I can’t view it fully) Just wondering!

  8. Your backyard is so beautiful! The string lights are my favorite. I had a question–if they don’t connect, how did you get so many? I am planning to redo my backyard in the spring and string lights are an essential part of the plan. Everything looks lovely. Enjoy!

  9. Looks insane – I will just warn you that the DG does slowly die into a pit of dust and mud (depending on weather) – I look as ours as a temporary measure… especially because it gets stuck in your shoes AlWAYS and therefore demo’s the wood floors – BUT the great news is that once u get to a point when u are sick of it, it’s actually easy to add in some fun water resistant ground cover.

  10. Hi,

    I have just come across your blog and love it! Can you tell me if you spray painted your Russell Woodard table and chairs yourself? If so, what color brand did you use? Also, did you add that glass? We have a similar set right now that seems to have a fiberglass top. I would love to replace it! Thanks:)

    1. thanks stephanie! i bought the set as is, pretty sure it came in white and was never spray painted — it also came with the glass top, if you go to a local glass guy, i’m sure he could make a top for you! good luck!

      1. hi. love your style and simplicity so much. first time commenting, but long time admirer. curious where you found the chair cushions for your russell woodard set? mine have gone bad and are in desperate need of a refresh. i could probably DIY them, but it’ll be winter by the time i’m done. :)

  11. Hello! Insane makeover. So good. I was wondering what type of plant that is that lines your fence/wall. It looks kind of like bamboo, but not sure. Any info you can give is much appreciated. Thanks and congrats. I’d spend countless hours in that backyard for sure!

  12. One thing you don’t go into, is how that ground base was done before you put the big squares on it and plugged the plants in. Did a landscaper to it? It looks like it would need proper layers for drainage and maybe machine tamping on top. What is that top layer? Is it pretty hard or do your feet squish into it when you walk?

  13. Beautiful! I’m curious about whether if there are a lot of spiders/insects in your backyard after the change? I love the look but worry that it may attract spiders/insects– I’m curious!

  14. Looks great. A few questions…Is that podocarpus growing along the walls? If so, what variety, ahd how close did you plant them together? I’ve heard they produce berries? Is that your experience?

  15. I’m here via Apartment Therapy. Congratulations on a wonderful transformation! Absolutely gorgeous and very impressive! I’m not sure you could ‘photo overload’ on such a fantastic space! Sounds like you are enjoying it to its fullest! Bravo!

  16. I wish I’d done my backyard like this as well! Was looking for a good lawn less low maintenance design. Did u construct the pergola yourself? And do the louvres move?

  17. Hi! Did you construct the pergola yourselves? If not, who did you hire and do you have plans you can share? We are in the process of putting a pergola in our yard.

  18. I’m wondering how those white cushions are holding up? I can’t get myself to want anything other than white outdoor cushions and I sewed myself a prototype cushion with white sunbrella but it seems like it’s already so dirty. :( Is there a secret?

  19. I look as ours as a temporary measure… especially because it gets stuck in your shoes AlWAYS and therefore demo’s the wood floors – BUT the great news is that once u get to a point when u are sick of it, it’s actually easy to add in some fun water resistant ground cover.

  20. Your yard is absolutely gorgeous! You all did such a great job. I especially love the way it looks so clean and inviting all at the same time. You added modern elements that will definitely stand the test of time and will always look great!

  21. All of it.

    The pergola could be its own post! I want it. More please!

    Best wishes to you and your growing family. :)

  22. hi, i was also going over everything we’d done in the before posts, but we’ve done so much now it’s hard to even know where to begin. Really?

  23. This is exactly what we want to do for our patio!!! Are you able to share your plan for the louvered shade? Any resources or planning tips or starting points would be great! Thanks!!!

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