interiors & styling

Our Backyard Reveal

Backyard Reveal I’ll start by saying this backyard project has been a work in progress and a long time coming! As you probably know, we’ve been busting it in the backyard for just over a month. I’m excited to finally share the fruits of our labor, the successes, and even the failures along the way. Click through for the entire backyard reveal (plus a ‘Get the Look’)! This week I’ll share a different yard related project every day, so keep checking back… especially if you’re interested in any of the DIY tutorials. 

Believe it or not, we started planning this project in April. If you missed the plans or the terrible before photos, check out that post here. I’m not going to lie… it’s been a long two months of doing nothing but yard work. It’s been challenging, laborious, and has tested our strength- both physically and mentally. We’ve mixed over 10,000 pounds of concrete and have put in over 300+ hours to get our yard to this point. Initially when planning the project, we had decided to hire out the work. We still have so much to do inside the house, it seemed like paying someone else to help with the yard was our best bet. After four meetings with different contractors, we then decided to tackle the yard ourselves. Why? Mostly because of the lead-time and budget (the highest quote was $35,000!)… and one contractor told me my design plan was stupid and he’d have to ‘check with my husband’. Ha! I sent that one packing pretty quickly. Long story short- this project was all us. In the end, I’m happy we took that route and am so proud of the space we’ve created. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Pergola and Outdoor Seating Area We started the project with a TON of demo and installed a new privacy fence (click for that post and tutorial). I knew I wanted a pergola or some sort of shade, but it was actually Emmett’s idea to place it in the far corner of our yard. After the pergola was up, we added a paver patio and custom seating. Next came landscaping and sod, and now the space looks like this!

We now have a place for grilling, entertaining, lounging, and even a spot for a cozy fire.

Weber Grill My favorite part? Definitely the seating. It’s one thing to have a place to sit and hang outside, it’s a totally different ballgame to be comfortable. We weren’t really planning our ‘first official barbecue’ quite yet, but friends showed up and we made it happen! We sat outside for hours and everyone complimented how surprisingly comfortable the outdoor sofa is. That’s a big win in my book.

Outdoor Seating

Patio Entertaining I made a big batch of margaritas, brought out some cold beer, and Emmett tossed his favorite ribs and vegetables on the grill. While the food was cooking, friends played cornhole and caught up.  We also had house guests visiting from the midwest, so this ended up being perfect timing for a little get together. New friends meeting old friends! It was really the best impromptu barbecue, and it helps to depict how we actually use the space. Everything about this post is realistic and honest…. styled exactly the same as it still is today.

Outdoor BBQ

Grilling

Grill and Succulents I mentioned shade at the beginning of this post, and a lot of people have asked on Instagram how we shaded the pergola. We have hot and sunny summers here in Utah, so having a place to retreat from direct sun is super important. We bought tan shade fabric and affixed it to the top of the pergola with these clips. Not only does it provide shade, but it’s designed to block harmful UV rays, wind, and cools the temperature underneath by 15 degrees. In the winter, we’ll remove it, wash it, and reinstall next spring.

Pergola

Fan and Shade Under Pergola In addition to the shade fabric, we installed a Haiku overhead fan. You might be wondering why and how we landed on this. I’m devoting an entire post devoted just to the fan, because yes- we ran electrical to the pergola. To give you brief reasoning… this fan is wet rated (it can get rained on, live in 100% humidity, and take thunderstorms like a champ), low profile, looks amazing, and most importantly- cools the space so quickly. You wouldn’t believe the amount of air this baby produces. It really makes you more comfortable sitting outside in the dead of summer, enjoying this space before the sun goes down.

Outdoor Area Back to our little barbecue.. I brought out some music, and once the sun set, lit a few citronella candles to keep the bugs away.

Outdoor Coffee Table Styling This bluetooth speaker is perfect for entertaining in this space. I love the organic aesthetic and my ‘tech-iest’ friend commented how amazing it sounded. The little handle makes it easy to carry around if you’re moving from one spot to another.

Outdoor Speaker

Lighting Candles on the Patio Believe it or not, Utah went a few months without rain and the day I put out all the furniture and cushions, it rained four(!) days in a row. I’m talking torrential downpour and thunderstorms. I felt like I couldn’t win. I was certain all of that hard work was ruined. Luckily, everything held up perfectly. I’m looking into some furniture covers just to be safe, but everything is outdoor rated, weather and fade resistant.

Patio Set

On the opposing side of the paver patio, we also have freestanding seating around a fire pit. I loved this patio set and it’s actually really affordable, as well as comfortable.

Pergola and Outdoor Entertaining Space

Outdoor Patio Set

Firewood Holder As I was shooting photos and the food continued to cook, friends kept socializing and playing yard games. I can’t wait to share this cornhole set DIY with you later in the week… I think of it as art for your yard entertainment. I’m not into the ones that look like they came straight from a fraternity. Ha!

Cornhole

Patterned Cornhole Decal As it started to get darker out and the appetizers were disappearing, everyone transitioned onto the patio for dinner. Eventually we’ll finish the outdoor dining area, but it won’t be connected to the pergola or paver patio. We’re thinking a separate courtyard after the add-on, about 20-30 feet away from this vignette. It’s close proximity to the kitchen would be more functional. In the meantime, everyone was content just hanging out on the lounge furniture to eat.

Outdoor Grilling Station

Chips and Salsa Friends brought their dog to play with ours, and they tried their best to behave and not beg. I might’ve given them a couple samples to snap these photos. Ha!

Giant Schnauzer Remember Roxy from this post, in her beautiful kitchen? I think the four legged family members also approve of the patio, pergola, and backyard makeover.

Hound

Mid Century Candle Holders I probably turned the twinkle lights on a little prematurely, but I’m excited to finally have a spot for them! If that doesn’t scream summer night, then I don’t know what will. These are also weather rated, industrial, and heavy duty. Living in a place like Utah, it’s important to find items that can withstand the harsh weather.

Twinkle Lights

Margaritas As the evening wound down, I took a couple photos after dark to show you how this space really changes. It surpassed my wildest dreams. Candles and lights glowing, a little fire rolling, drinks in hand, and lots of laughter. That’s really the best way to describe this space and the memories we’ll make here once the sun goes down.

Outdoor Entertaining at Night Emmett snuck this shot of my gal pals and I sharing a laugh. Looking back on these images made all the hard work and sweat for this backyard worth it. To see the people I love enjoying each other’s company in a beautiful space made my night… probably my summer. We didn’t get to entertain or enjoy our last backyard at the Ohio house. This really makes me glad we tackled the yard sooner rather than later.

String Lights The guys caught up around the fire pit under the stars and we called it a night. Our first time entertaining in our backyard was a success and Emmett and I exchanged giant smiles as everyone was leaving. We’re so happy with how everything turned out.

Outdoor Fire If you’re wondering about the sources, I’m linking everything below… mostly everything is from Lowes! Hover over the image and click the items to be directed to the link.

So… here’s what you have to look forward to in regards to backyard content! I’ll be sharing these throughout the remainder of the week into the following:

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear feedback! I know a lot of you have been following along on Insta stories and have been so encouraging. I really appreciate all the love, support, suggestions, and compliments!

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Lowes. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we truly use and enjoy! I also have to thank my friends for being super cool and allowing me to take their photo for the blog.

45 Comments

  • Reply
    Kim @ Yellow Brick Home
    July 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Sarah, your yard is just stunning! When can we come over?! Your hard work is so evident.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 31, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      Thanks so much, Kim!! Anytime ;) … we love everything you guys do. xo

  • Reply
    Courtney
    July 31, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Absolutely PERFECT!! I love every detail and already showed my husband the built-in seating…we are going to recreate it in our yard!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 31, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Thank you, Courtney! I’m posting the seating DIY on Wednesday. Please share photos… I’d love to see how yours turns out!! xo

  • Reply
    Robyn
    July 31, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    WOW! This is absolutely beautiful! It looks both inviting and classy. I love how everything is pulled together. Your hard work clearly shows. And way to write off that sexist contractor – gross!

    I can’t wait to read the upcoming DIY projects you listed.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 31, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks so much, Robyn! I hate sexist contractors… it happens way too often, sadly. Thank you for following along!! xo

  • Reply
    Holly
    July 31, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    Looks wonderful Sarah. I laughed so hard on your IG story today with Finn peeing on your newly planted cedar.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 31, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Hahah!! Those crazy dogs. Thanks so much, Holly!! Hope your week is off to a great start. xo

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    July 31, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Looks amazing! This is so inspiring as so many times I hear inflated prices from contractors and think “I’ll just do it myself”. I am curious if you will share a budget breakdown, specifically about your hard scapes – the paver patio, pergola, and bench. Thank you in advance!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 31, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you! I’ll definitely get the budgets together and share those as well. We had a running tally for the entire backyard, but I’ll try to break it down by project. xo

  • Reply
    Alex
    July 31, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Goodness gracious, it looks SO GOOD! I can’t wait to see more about the custom seating. Very impressive!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 31, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Thank you, Alex!! That’s getting posted on Wednesday. xox

  • Reply
    Lauren
    July 31, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    I would literally put every last thing in my own yard! I looove it. Oh, and that contractor?! Seriously?! 😡

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 31, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks, Lauren!! Yes… super disappointed in meeting that obnoxious guy. Ha! Hope you and your babe are doing well!xo

  • Reply
    Cyndi J
    July 31, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    So impressive! Both in looks and the fact that you guys did it yourself. A big raspberry to that sexist contractor!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      July 31, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Thank you, Cyndi! …and yes- what a jerk!

  • Reply
    Dana Moss
    August 1, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Sarah! It’s stunning! I can’t stop scrolling through the pictures. You and Emmett did an amazing job and I’m so happy you get to enjoy it now :-) Tell me about those pillows. I think I remember you mentioning on your IG they were under $9 (not sure if that’s right)? Where can I find them? Can’t wait for all of your upcoming posts!

  • Reply
    Linda
    August 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Its absolutely gorgeous and you should be so proud of what you’ve accomplished. You’ve taken a small, run down house and turned it into something really classy! Amazing!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 1, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Thank you, Linda! We still have a long way to go, but making progress feels good! xo

  • Reply
    Kylee
    August 1, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Looks amazing Sarah! I can’t wait to come see all you’ve done :)

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Yes, please!!! Book a flight ;) Thank you and miss you!! xo

  • Reply
    Lauren Christel
    August 1, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Absolutely stunning!!! Easy for me to say, but it was definitely work all of your hard work! You’ve done such beautiful work with your space.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 1, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you so much! xo

  • Reply
    Lillian
    August 1, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Sarah, you should feel SO proud. The space is a dream! I can’t wait for the other posts you have planned.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 1, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Thank you, Lillian!! I really appreciate it :) xoxo

  • Reply
    Tracy
    August 1, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Beautiful! Beautiful! Looking forward to all of the details on the pergola and seating. You and Emmett rock!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 2, 2017 at 12:04 am

      Thank you, thank you!! :) You made my night with this comment. Ha! xo

  • Reply
    Michelle @ And Then We Tried
    August 2, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    We shared a cornhole DIY this spring. Adding a custom design to the top definitely elevates the look beyond frat-house! Robin used a mix of stain and paint to make this color blocked version: http://andthenwetried.com/2017/04/one-room-challenge-week-4-cornhole-diy/

  • Reply
    Allison H
    August 9, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    so so so so so so beautiful! sorry i’m commenting up a storm today! I’m catching up on everything in your back yard! this is so gorgeous! I can’t say it enough! Rhett and I love being outdoors so this space is right up our alley! You took your vision and really transformed this space! Hello outdoor living!! A+ work you guys! Cheers!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      Thank you, Allison!! I really appreciate it. It was a long two months of physical labor, but we’re finally enjoying it. Everything was well worth it. Good luck with your new home! xo

  • Reply
    Allison H
    August 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Is the wood holder from Lowes as well! love that style!

  • Reply
    Beth S., Realtor Extraordinaire
    August 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Perfection as always! You guys are busting with talent!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 9, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      Thank you so much, Beth! Hope you’re doing well :)

  • Reply
    georgia
    August 11, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    i’m so inspired and can’t wait to do more with our back yard based on your inspiration! AMAZING!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 14, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you so much, Georgia! I really appreciate it :) xoxo

  • Reply
    Dee
    August 16, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Hi! Love the pergola! What Type of stain did you use for it and color?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      August 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Thank you! We didn’t have to paint it or stain it (super easy!!).. it came like that. It was a kit from Lowes. You can find all of the resources at the bottom of this post (just hover over the roundup) and click on the pergola- it will direct you to the exact product we purchased.

  • Reply
    Ericka Barrera
    October 6, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Hi there! Beautiful space! Just wondering if you can share where you got the free standing tall skinny black candle holders at the end of your custom couch? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      October 6, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks so much, Ericka! They were a lucky vintage find. I’m sorry! xo

  • Reply
    Jaya
    November 10, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Oh my goodness -what a beautiful makeover! And your blog is so honest -I had given up plans of doing anything with our big backyard because of all the quotes that we got from landscapers (all 15 k plus for very basic patio and firepit) -learning from you the actual time , effort and money it took you plus the detailed steps makes me believe I can do something like this. For our Seattle weather, I don’t think I can do anything before mid March next year but will keep visiting your blog and reading up till then. Am so glad that Lowe’s website pointed me to your blog. Thanks for sharing all your experiences!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      November 10, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you so much, Jaya! We had the same story… lots of high contractor quotes. So happy you found me through Lowes- happy to have you here. Have a great weekend! xox

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