Before-and-After: Fall Backyard Makeovers You Can Do This Weekend

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Spring gardening is so six months ago—and after putting in all that work, you want to continue your enjoyment of your lawn or patio as long as you can (as well as prep it for the winter ahead). We asked our favorite designers how they’re setting up their yards to enjoy right now, getting their insights on weekend backyard makeover ideas you can tackle before the cold or rain takes all the fun out of our own little piece of the outdoors. Who knows, you might want to just keep planting or continue to assemble your gardening equipment just for the fun of it.

Stressed? Maybe You Should Take Up ‘Rage Gardening”

backyard makeover potting table
Hallie Goodman

Create A Potting Station

“As a lifelong treasure hunter, I've acquired more than my share of what I like to call bucolic clutter,” says writer-designer Hallie Goodman in Hudson, New York. “But nailing that cottagecore look is really just about arranging collected objects to look purposeful and considered. A neglected corner behind my 150-year-old farm house became a potting station with an old enamel table pulled from the garage, some gardening tools and a stash of aged terracotta vessels.”

Get the Look

backyard makeover pots

1. Earth Fired Clay Dish + Saucer, Set Of 3

Buy It ($60)

backyard makeover hose

2. heritage Garden Hose

Buy It ($68)

backyard makeover tool

3. sneeboer Traditional Dutch Transplanting Trowel

Buy It ($48)

backyard makeover lavender1
Garden Goods Direct

4. provence Lavender

Buy It ($18)

backyard makeover staghorn backyard
Staghorn NYC

Install Diy Decking

Katherine Aul Cervoni, founder and principal of full-service landscaping firm Staghorn has an unexpected source in this re-worked backyard garden: Ikea. “The big transformer for this space was putting down these wooden interlocking decking tiles from Ikea. They're super affordable and super easy to install. Just give your patio/deck a good cleaning beforehand so no dirt or debris gets stuck under them,” she cautions. While these tiles won't last forever and won't fix any major uneven spots in your space, Cervoni says they are a tiny fraction of the cost of a new patio or deck. To complete the look, add some lightweight composite planters that are durable, look contemporary and clean, and perhaps best of all, are easy to move around. Shade-tolerant plants planted in clusters (here, ferns, sedge, clethra and ligularia) and a pair of lounge chairs (with ottomans, because why not) really create a chill vibe.

Get the Look

backyard makeover decking

1. ikea Runnen Decking

backyard makeover huron chair
West Elm

2. west Elm Huron Chair

Buy It ($649)

backyard makeover planter
West Elm

3. west Elm Planter

Buy It ($300)

Paint Your Deck

Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess renovated an elevated deck to make it safer for small children and more appealing overall. She wanted to keep the expense of the project to a minimum since future home expansion plans might impact the deck, so a fast refresh was in order. With the help of a local carpenter, the wood railing was replaced with a tighter horizontal wood pattern so that dogs and kids would be safe. She replaced black lanterns with white ones to blend in with the new white palette, and added white planters and fresh-looking rattan furniture. Read more about the process here.

Get the Look

backyard makeover light
The Home Depot

1. acclaim Lighting Mariner Collection 1-light Textured White Outdoor Wall Lantern Sconce

Buy It ($50)

backyard makeovers tulum lounge chair
West Elm

2. tulum Lounge Chair

Buy It ($499; $474)

backyard makeover white matte planter

3. wade Logan Pelfrey Fiberglass Pot Planter

backyard makeover palm
Garden Goods Direct

4. majesty Palm

Buy It ($80)

backyard makeover deck
Staghorn NYC

Add Privacy And Color

Before, this deck was totally bare and devoid of color, Cervoni says. What’s worse, it offered no privacy. To turn that around quickly, she added tall evergreen shrubs in lightweight planters. “We like using Skip laurels as we did in this project, as they are tolerant of sun and shade,” she said. “Fun, flowering vines like native honeysuckle and clematis are great for adorning railings and attracting pollinators. Since this is a very sunny back deck, we chose plants that all love full-sun.” With the addition of some bright chairs and an outdoor-friendly rug, you’ve created a new outdoor room.

Get the Look

backyard makeover red chairs

1. Hashtag Home Kannon Patio Chair (set Of 2)

Buy It ($276; $208)

backyard makeover rug

2. novogratz Umbria Indoor/outdoor Rug

backyard makeover fiberglass box

3. joss & Main Hendrick Fiberglass Planter Box

backyard makeover skip laurel
Garden Goods Direct

4. skip Cherry Laurel Shrubs

Buy It ($70)

Create A Hang-out Corner

Bri Moysa, the SoCal-based design force behind Emerson Grey Designs, could reasonably called the woman who launched a thousand stock tank pools two years ago when she installed a black-painted one in her back patio. After a few seasons of enjoyment, she rotated the pool out and rearranged the area to make more room for her family. Best of all, Moysa was able to pull off her completely new look by just re-arranging items she already had, and only buying a new umbrella.

Get the Look

backyard makeover daybed

1. loon Peak Outdoor Teak Patio Daybed With Cushions

Buy It ($446)

backyard makeover umbrella
Home Depot

2. laurel Canyon 9 Ft. Market Umbrella

Buy It ($58)

backyard makeover tall planter
Home Depot

3. Kante 24.4 In. Tall Burnished Black Lightweight Concrete Rectangle Modern Tapered Outdoor Planter

Buy It ($53)

backyard makeover snake plant
Garden Goods Direct

4. Black Coral Snake Plants

Buy It ($70)

backyard makeover dracaena
Garden Goods Direct

5. Dracaena Marginata

Buy It ($60)

backyard makeover string lights

6. Commercial Led Light Strand

Buy It ($88)

backyard makeover tree rug1
Claudia Mauriño

Lay Down A Tree Rug

Designers at the Dora Daar consulting firm were inspired by Senegalese families gathering late in the day under trees in a communal spirit. In order to re-create that spirit, they’ve designed a wide woven fiber rug made to unroll around your favorite tree and leave during the warm months. Just roll it up and store it for wet or cold weather.

Get the Look

backyard makeover circular rug
Claudia Mauriño

1. Oráculo Carpet

backyard makeover stool

2. Trestle Stool

Buy It ($98)

backyard makeover incense

3. Madison James Flyaway Sticks, Pack Of 40

Buy It ($42)

backyard makeover firepit
Before: Judy Kameon/After: Eric Otsea

Install A Fire Pit

Los Angeles-based Elysian Landscapes collaborated with architect and interior designer William T. Georgis of New York-based firm to turn a neglected corner into a garden highlight. For this exterior nook at Georgis’s West Coast home in La Jolla, a vintage fire pit is the focal point, set amid a simple hardscape design of solid stone stairs with gravel and lush plantings. Wood timbers painted black set off the greenery as well as help retain soil. The simple palette of subdued colors of furniture and upholstery turns this area into a little moment of zen. While a manicured and perfectly executed seated area such as this is too much to handle without professional help (and certainly will take more than a weekend), the idea of throwing down some gravel and installing a firepit atop it, encircled with seating, is a doable goal.

Get the Look

backyard makeover plain air firepit
Plain Air

1. Plain Air Firepit

backyard makeover shiny stool
Home Depot

2. Safavieh Modern Ming Silver Ceramic Garden Stool

Buy it ($98)

backyard makeover chairs

3. White Indira Outdoor Modern Patio Chairs (set Of Two)

backyard makeover graphic pillow

4. Sunbrella Outdoor Pillows

Buy It ($99)

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...