Home ProjectsExterior YARD REVEAL- SUMMER 2017


by Amber

Good Morning!! Something about the summer time just makes me happy.  It’s light out from 6am-9pm, and the sound of the birds in our backyard, it just recharges my batteries.  Daniel and I spend so much time outside, we can’t seem to get enough. We are always grilling something, having fires, and enjoying movie nights on our patio.  All of this inspired us to work really hard on our backyard before we focused a lot of time and money inside.  Some say that is a poor investment of our money but trust me, it is a huge investment in our happiness, which is always money well spent.

This is what we started with, lots of trees, poison ivy, not a lot of space, no grass, but a completely blank canvas to make it our own. Below is what the space looks like now.


This is a breakdown of what we have done to our yard along with the cost associated with it.  I really hate to talk about money however I’m sharing this information because I am guilty of finding the prettiest backyard that Pinterest has to offer and never in a million years realize what it would cost.  Take me for example, I dream of a stone fireplace off of a screened in back porch that I see on Pinterest and say, “I want that.”   The reality of adding a screened porch with a stone fireplace off the deck would cost $15k+, which is not really in the budget at this time.  Most of our projects were small or were done in multiple phases to help with the financial side of it all.  We also divided them into needs and wants, making sure we focused on things we needed to do before things we just wanted to do.

So anyways, for anyone looking to do anything we have done to our backyard, here is some of the breakdown of what it cost us and the general order we went in:

  • Stone fire pit: $1,544.00- Professionally installed, Vision ScapeDetails here
  • Tree removal: $750.00- Two phases, Craig Robinson, 803.370.2374
  • Stumps removed: $180.00- Professionally done in multiple phases, Dennis Morris, 803.242.7155
  • Sprinkler system: $3,000.00- Professionally installed, Vision Scape
  • Seed/ aerate/ fertilize lawn: $400.00- Fall 2015 & 2016 Professionally installed, Vision Scape
  • Front yard replanting: $125.00- DIY, we had to redo this because we didn’t really know what we were doing
  • Gutters run underground in backyard: $20.00- Professionally installed at time of retaining wall
  • Retaining wall part 1: $3,700.00- Professionally installed, Vision ScapeDetails here
  • Retaining wall part 2: $3,115.00- Professionally installed, Vision Scape– Details here
  • Outdoor shower: $1,200.00- DIY & Professionally installed plumbing, Odds-N-Ends Handyman, 803.242.6536
  • Under deck fencing: $50.00- DIY
  • Stained back deck: $154.00- DIY
  • Wood fence: $4,520.00- Professionally installed, Details here
  • Built wood planter box/ trash can holder: $215.00- DIY- Details here
  • Installed riff raff in front of retaining wall: $0.00- DIY- Gifted to us
  • Plants in backyard: $350.00- Spring 2016 & 2017 (Some were gifts)- Some details here
  • Bird houses, metal signs, lights, etc.: $0- Most were gifts or things we had from our previous house
  • Stained fence: $465- DIY– had no idea it would cost this much, very expensive project when you have a large fence
  • Front yard part 1: $1,484.00- Professionally installed, two trees and 3 bushes, Vision Scape
  • Front yard part 2: $1,125.00Professionally installed, all other bushes, Vision Scape
  • Path at the gate in front: $100.00DIY, purchased stone at major discount because it was used
  • Stone patio around fire pit & path: $3,500.00 Professionally installed, Vision ScapeDetails here
  • Patio furniture around fire pit & decor/ flowers: $340.00- DIY finishing touches
  • Back porch dining table & chairs: $485.00- DIY- Details here
  • Remaining decor: $85.00- Torches, garden stools, candles, etc.

Total: $26,907.00

We have a lot of other items that aren’t listed that we have done but those are the major things.  The other things that aren’t included are the maintenance costs of keeping up our yard such as: our water bill from April-November to keep the grass green and the plants alive, laying pine-straw three times a year, the cost of someone to pressure wash the house every other year so it stays clean, the weed spray, and tools we use, etc.  We put a ton of time and effort year round into keeping up with our yard, both front and back.  We often fall behind, but try really hard to keep this space looking nice.


This is an overall shot of the front yard to show all the work that took place.  

We replaced or moved all the shrubs, added two new trees, seeded the grass multiple times, installed a fence, added decor, and planter box you can see through the gate in the fence. 


I’m starting with my favorite part, our patio area!  With Fall quickly approaching I know this is about to be the most used space that we have.  We have a fire almost every weekend and just sit and relax after work to enjoy the beautiful weather.

I am guilty of complaining about our Carolina heat but sitting in this space at night with the sunlight coming through the trees after a long day, it just doesn’t get much better for me. For all the info on installing our fire pit and patio feel free to check out those post.

Fun fact, if you didn’t know this about me yet, I love to work in the yard! I’m sure you could guess that from the amount of stuff we have done over the past two years, but I find it to be therapeutic.  Some people will think I’m crazy, but I really enjoy deadheading all of my flowers and adding new clearance plants from Lowe’s any chance I get.

Yep, see more flowers and plants on the other side of the yard.  My husband Daniel says that I have a problem, I don’t see it just yet! :). I will say one of the things that means the most to us in our backyard are these bird houses in the corner.  Daniel’s grandpa is turning 90 this year and he made us these as a Christmas gift two years ago when we bought our house.   In addition to these, he made us 4 other houses and 2 feeders.  Nothing means more to us than family and these are really special since we see them every time we go outside and are reminded what is important in life.
Since family and friends are such an important part in our life we entertain a good bit.  We like to have cookouts and relax with friends.  That is why we recently built this table.  I may have sold our dining table inside without finding a replacement so since we would rather eat outside anyways, we built this to buy some time, oops!! 

These two Adirondack chairs on the deck also get a lot of use, I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee I have had sitting in that spot.  Saturday and Sunday mornings I like to sit and wakeup in this spot and just listen to the birds.

This year the theme to all our potted plants was red, white, and blue.  

One of the biggest DIY projects we did was to install an outdoor shower.  We don’t have anywhere that we can give or 85 pound dog a bath downstairs, therefore when we go on adventures he has to be carried up the stairs.  You can imagine that this doesn’t work so we came up with this solution.  It has hot and cold water so during the cooler months we can still use it.  It also helps with my husband Daniel who happens to be very allergic to poison ivy.  Since our yard has a lot of it this is the perfect spot for him to get it off his skin as soon as he comes in contact with it.  We are currently trying to repaint/ seal it but a lot of the details are to come on this later.

The last major difference was installing the fence.  It has been a lifesaver as far as our dog is concerned.  He couldn’t be trusted not to run into the creek in the backyard before this was finished. 

We chose to do privacy on the front and sides and picket across the back so that we didn’t mess up the view.

Lastly is the garden box to help hide our trash cans when you pull into the driveway since we have such a big gate.  The gate was picked of course, for our dog. We wanted to make sure he could see out so that he didn’t try to dig out.

The list of items and the cost associated with them at the top is included for reality purposes.  I can’t tell you how many times we started one of these projects only to be shocked at the cost to complete them;  things as simple as staining our fence. We never dreamed it would cost close to $500 in materials alone, much less almost 4 full weekends to stain the entire thing.  We often budgeted time and money to do something we felt was important only to find ourselves stressed because our estimate was so off course.  This yard has taken us two full years to complete, save for, and work towards.  Countless weekends and late nights after work staining, digging, watering, etc. to get to where we are today.

This yard was a total mess, then we would make some progress, only for us to make a bigger mess again… to make some more progress.  Don’t get discouraged because you can’t afford to complete a project or you don’t have time to do something you have been putting off all at once.  Home progress takes a lot of time and doesn’t always happen overnight or look like Pinterest.  Wherever you live, and whatever your yard or house looks like, enjoy it!  Embrace the unfinished projects and the messes you make and just enjoy the memories that you make along the way. I plan to fully enjoy the last little bit of summer that we have and to be honest I’m already looking forward to Fall and football season in this space as well!

Hope everyone enjoys the remaining days of summer!!!  Feel free to leave comments or ask questions below.