our backyard : the reveal

amp_backyard-94 amp_backyard-88

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.


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.

amp_backyard-73 amp_backyard-70 amp_backyard-69 amp_backyard-40

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.

amp_backyard-59 amp_backyardaddtl-5amp_backyard-49

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.

amp_backyard-13  amp_backyard-3amp_backyard-36
we also finally covered that AC UNIT!!! F YOU AC UNIT!

amp_backyard-35 amp_backyard-28 amp_backyard-43amp_backyard-25 amp_backyard-18

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.

amp_backyard-17amp_backyard-19amp_backyard-6 amp_backyard-20amp_backyard-5

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!








Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Stephanie Luke says:

    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. Elizabeth Bannister says:

        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. This looks amazing!! How much in total for the DG install? We’re hiring landscapers to do DG install for a relatively small area (20 X 20) and are being quoted around $4k. The area only has dirt and some weeds, no grass.

  2. Ashley Quang says:

    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. you are a superwoman!!!

    it looks SO incredible!!!

  4. 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!

    1. they make the biggest difference!!!

  5. Holy crap that’s a lot of work! I’m so impressed that you guys were able to make your vision come to life, from moodboard to now. Way to go!

  6. kimberly Telfer says:

    Brilliant! Just absolutely perfect in every possible way. Enjoy!!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. Gorgia!!

    I think you’re my spirit animal. This is everything I want in a backyard and a home improvement project.

  10. 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 😉

  11. The secret to landscaping with boulders is to bury them halfway.

    1. yeah we planned on doing that but decided we like as is. 🙂

  12. 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!

    1. thank you!! and sorry about that! was trying to have it removed immediately – the ad is different now. yay!

  13. Wow, beautiful! Can I ask where you where the string lights are from?

    1. thanks maya! the link is in the sources above.

  14. Your backyard is sooo beautiful! Seriously, it all looks so natural and magazine-worthy! Thank you so much for sharing it 🙂

  15. Stephanie says:

    Wow!!! So gorgeous!! I admire your restraint, this is so beautiful in it’s simplicity.

  16. Everything about your backyard is dreamy! What tree is that in front of your studio?

    1. Definitely looks like a standard (single trunk) California Pepper Tree – Schinus molle (botanical name)

  17. I’m obsessed with your blog and diys! I can read your blog all day.

  18. This is some serious inspo right here ! In love!

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. stephanie Rieber says:


    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. alexandar says:

        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. 🙂

  22. How many feet does your concrete deck extend outward?

  23. 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!

  24. Lori Cayer says:

    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?

  25. 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!

  26. Leslie Turnipseed says:

    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?

    1. Those guys look like Podocarpus gracilior. They do get berry’s, but as they grow they usually need pruning and that takes care of the berries.

  27. Midmodtom says:

    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!

  28. 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?

  29. 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.

    1. Yea I’d love to hear more about this!

  30. 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?

  31. 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.

  32. Wow! I am amazed as to how beautiful your backyard looks.


  33. 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!

  34. All of it.

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

    Best wishes to you and your growing family. 🙂

  35. 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?

  36. 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!!!

  37. If that were my backyard, I’d want to have a water feature like a small waterfall. And a fire pit would be really great too. But wow, what an amazing transformation.

  38. Where did you find the seat cushions for the round dining set?

  39. 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. Your yard is absolutely gorgeous! You all did such a great job.

  40. Jacques A says:

    Your pergola is aluminium, Steel or painted Wood.? Roof boards are mobile? À beautitul job.

  41. Hi! I love how you did the the covered part of the patio with those slats- could you please share how you did that and/or what you asked for if someone else did it? Was this feature very expensive?

    Thank you so much for sharing your space- looks so pretty!

  42. Love your backyard! You did a beautiful job! I am curious to hear more about the pergola? We are in the midst of planning our backyard remodel. We are working on a budget so would also love to hear more about costs. It was helpful, for instance, to hear how much the AC move cost. Thank you!!!

  43. Beautiful job all the way around! Thank you for sharing! One question: did you paint or stain the concrete? it looks perfect.

  44. This looks so beautiful! a little Oasis! How has your hammock held up? i am in search of a pretty one that is also durable!

  45. Hey there Molly,

    How did you guys design your pergola without any hardware showing? It looks AMAZING! If you’re willing to share your design I would LOVE that (:

    Everything looks wonderful!! My husband and I just overhauled our backyard and hope to get it done before winter comes to Denver!



  46. this is stunning! what a great job. Im definitely sending people over here to your blog post to show them how amazing this is. hope you don’t mind. I’m giving full credit to you

    on heals of The Pole Yard

  47. I love your backyard! What type of sand / gravel did you use? Any tips on how to achieve that nice clean look with it?

  48. What a stunning backyard – you’ve done a great job! It has such a zen, relaxed vibe around it – I particularly love the hammock and the fairy lights overhead! There are so many different entertaining zones here – you’ve literally thought of how every space can be used in a different way, no matter the weather or what time of day (or night) it is. Awesome work 🙂

  49. Vanessa Arp says:

    Hi! Gorgeous home, yard, patio…everything!! Do you happen to know the paint color on the body of your house?

  50. I love the exterior paint color! Do you recall the brand and color ?!

  51. The floor looks great, how did you finish it off to get that look?

  52. Hello, I love the landscaping of the back yard! Did you add a stabilizer to the DG?

  53. Beautiful! What is the material of your trellis? Is it wood and metal? Just wood?


  54. All beautiful. Very inspiring to see. I like the backyard very much gives me great ideas to decorate.

  55. This looks fantastic!! We’re currently in the process of revamping our patio and I’m gettig idea to cover our AC unit, did you DIY that or buy a piece to go around it? Thanks!!

  56. Hello! What string lights did you use? Are they juts the standard round ones with a white cord? Link doesn’t show them in amazon. Thank you!!!! Beautiful yard! Love!!!

  57. Wow. Too many pics? No way! You live in a resort… minus the staff 😉
    I really like the minimal water usage too. Wonderul.

  58. Very impressive, Molly! We are following your brilliant idea with the pergola/trellis design. We are trying to figure out a few details. Would it be possible to get in touch with you?

  59. Gorgeous job!! 2 questions:
    Have you supplied your cactus plants any water source under the ground or will they thrive without it? Secondly what is DG??


  60. Christen Bakke says:

    Hi Molly,

    My husband and I love your yard! We are about to start our own landscaping and yours is our inspiration. Question: What type of plant is on the fence line? Also, did you use some sort of rock for the fence line or mulch?


  61. We are studying designs for patio covers and wonder if you are happy with see-through acrylic panels. Have they held up? The photos are great

  62. The layout is so beautiful, it looks simple but it is really beautiful, I really like it.

  63. Hi Molly, Completely blown away with this redo and like many of the commenters here, the pergola is blowing my mind. Can you provide any further details? Is it wood or aluminum? What specs did the fabricator use? Many thanks and congratulations.

  64. I personally like your post, you have shared good article. It will help me in great deal.

  65. Great post,Thanks for providing us this great knowledge,Keep it up.

  66. Your backyard is beautifully decorated and warm. I really like this space.

  67. Your backyard is beautifully decorated and warm. I really like this space.

  68. Hi Molly, your house looks amazing!! Do you mind please sharing the color of your exterior paint? Thanks!!

  69. Beautiful! I’m wondering if you could share the name of the trees along the fence? Thank you!

  70. I love it!! I had a question do you know the model of the Ikea duding table? I clicked on the link but it lead to the Ikea homepage.


  71. This is what I love to call – a clean and minimalist, no-nonsense backyard. I can’t imagine how amazing the sunrise and sunset must be, relaxing on those sofas 🙂

  72. Kandise Belsher says:

    Hello. Great job on the gorgeous backyard transformation! I was curious if your pergola is made of wood or if it’s metal?

  73. I’m seriously in love with your decorating! And those coasters are so flippin rad! Do you mind me asking where you got the holder for them to sit in?

  74. I would like more information about this, because it is very nice., Thanks for sharing.

  75. What a dreamy desert inspired oasis right there, we love the transformation made to this yard.

  76. Sarah Bietsch says:

    Wow! Love this minimal, drought resistant yard! How do you like the DG? Is it messy? Would you suggest getting DG to others in the yard?

  77. Andrea Hernandez Remers says:

    Did you power wash the old concrete part of the patio? It matches the new concrete perfectly.

  78. Thank you for posting your progress throughout; motivating my husband. I also live in Southern CA (more inland than LA)… Although rare, how has your upkeep been with rain throughout the years? Have you noticed any issues without the DG without the stabilizer? With an open patio do you cover your furniture? Thank you for the inspiration and insights.

  79. Powerwashing concrete is a great way to bring it back to life, did you seal it when you cleaned it?

  80. Hi Molly,

    Lovely job on your backyard. Like others, I’m interested in learning how you did the pergola. I don’t see any brackets. Also love the color of the paint if you can share that too.

  81. pikachu chu says:

    I know there will be many difficulties and challenges but I am determined to do it. If it fails then it will also be a lesson for me: bmi calculator

  82. Monica Malave says:

    Hi, I’m in love with your backyard. Anything to stay away from dealing with grass and watering. May I ask, when it rains does it get messy? Not sure if that’s sand, gravel or just dirt…but it looks so clean that I wonder how well it keeps when it rains. I just poured rock all over my backyard and keeping up with it it’s sometimes hard with the weeds and when fall comes OMG it’s covered in leaves.

  83. When googling “Pavers Modern Walkway DG” your yard came up. I am pretty sure I have seen it before and I always go back to it for inspo. I love how you staggered the stepping Stone/Pavers. Great way to add movement to the flow to the firepit area!! Great job. just curious, for scale, what size are the pavers, 24′ x 24″ or 30′ x 30″? And I am guessing you bought them precast rather than pouring in place.

  84. Hi,
    I love your backyard. Can you tell me how you add Louvres to the pergola. Is it a diy or did you hire a specific pergola company? Would love to hear from you.

  85. Hi there!

    Absolutely loving your transformation! My fiance and I are in the beginning stages of doing our own backyard transformation and love the concrete pads, did you pour these or did you buy them. Would you mind sharing where from if so?


  86. Valerie Alderman says:

    WOW. What type of gravel did you use?

  87. Your backyard is beautiful!! Did you have a smooth finish with concrete or a very, very light broom? Did they add color to concrete?

  88. Hi! What a gorgeous backyard you’ve created. Congratulations. I’m interested to know about the steps to make the concrete. What is underneath it? After living in California, we moved to Portugal, bought a house there and refurbished it. The outside concrete has stains, very bad stains, like rain stains. It wasn’t done properly. It is not microcement but It is a wannaby as I just found out from one of the builders that the top layer has a microcement top coat type of thing that is peeling off! Please, help! What are the layers of your concrete? Many thanks.

  89. Hi! Love what you did to the back yard. We are also in southern california also. What was your process for killing the weeds? We have a lot of weeds in our back yard and would love to put DG down as well on part of yard but definitely don’t want weeds to come back or at the very least minimal weed growth.