If you follow me on Instagram and have seen my stories, you may know that our current renovation project is…the backyard! We’ve been holding off on this one since there were some updates to the interior that we wanted to accomplish first (it’s all about the list of projects), but now that fall is right around the corner this is the perfect time for a backyard makeover. Want to know what I’m looking forward to the most? Cozying up by a nice warm fire. :) But before that happens (we’ve still got a long way to go), I’m going to share with you some words of wisdom around DIY and the first stage of the process.
First off, this is not an easy project. Well, no projects are ever “easy,” but this one is definitely a beast. And the best part…we are taking this on ourselves! I say that is the best part, but I may be changing my mind soon J We clearly love us some DIY, but I’m not going to lie, after digging up a few thousand pounds of grass/dirt (STEP 1), we started second guessing this whole project. But that’s what makes the project even more exciting in my opinion. We are doing this by ourselves. And the labor and love that will be put into this will make it unique and ours. When we’re going through renovation projects, whether they are small or big, it’s easy to want to give up and just want to hire someone to do the rest. Sometimes that is the best solution, but it’s always good to take a few steps back and think through what you need to get through this project. The key is to be positive, because when you are positive you will start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Also, think about all of the money you are saving! We have an estimate of what this backyard renovation will cost us and what we would pay to hire someone to do it, and let’s just say it’s at least a 50% difference..50% guys..that’s not a small percentage, and it may be more than that. I’ll be sure to share the breakdown at the end of the project. But for now, I’m going to share with you the first stage of the process and that is planning.
When you are about to take on any project, it’s important to plan. Instead of taking a hammer to a wall, you have to think through all of the details, big and small. Here are some steps to my planning process:
Draw/outline a sketch
This really depends on the project you are taking on, but for renovation projects it’s important to sketch out the plan for the project. This sketch doesn’t have to be perfect by any means, but it should include at minimum the layout and measurements. I’m going to admit something here..I’m not a perfectionist, but guess who is? Yep, Patrick, my husband definitely is one so when he sketched out the plan for the backyard (which is wonderful by the way), he measured this out to the tee. Below is the sketch we will/have used for our backyard.
Pinterest, Google and magazines will become your best friends as you’re getting inspiration for your design and building your vision. I like to create what I call inspiration boards. Sometimes these are digital and sometimes I like to print them on a poster board to really see the vision come to life. Here is one of my sample inspiration boards for our backyard. This doesn’t mean you have to stick with this (I’ll admit I’ve changed my mind just a tad for our patio furniture), but it helps to determine the style you want to achieve.
For every project we take on, we like to keep a spreadsheet/tracker of budget estimates. We include a column for estimate and actual to calculate the final cost at the end. Make sure you do your research, whether it’s online or making phone calls to companies, on estimates. In this research, it’s important to look at a variety of options and get some different estimates. So for our backyard, we’ve researched multiple companies for all of the different items we will need (i.e. materials such as stone, gravel/sand, fire pit supplies, patio furniture, etc.)
I am so excited to showcase the progress on this project. If you are on Instagram, follow me @housetohome_design as I will be sharing most of the day-to-day updates on there.