Before and After: This Tiny Backyard is Now a Full-Blown Living Room

While it’s always exciting to have any outdoor space at all, the owners of this particular outdoor space found it to be “tiny, messy, and not functional.” After six weeks of work, this backyard is now the dreamy oasis they were hoping for.

Let’s hear a bit more about the inspiration behind this makeover, as well as the challenges it posed:

Our backyard is small and on a grade, but we knew we could make it nice. [It] was tiny, messy, and not functional at all for us. The area around the back door, HVAC unit, and utilities was especially gross. We hadn’t really done anything to it since moving in a few years before other than trying to bring the grass back to life. We are also very close to our neighbors, so we wanted something that felt like a little oasis, even if it was just an illusion of privacy. We wanted it to essentially function as another room in our home. After our daughter came, we also wanted a nice outdoor space we could relax in after work, and this definitely wasn’t it.

Wow, what an amazing upgrade. I’m impressed that the backyard is now both so attractive—love the black, white, wood palette—and multifunctional. What looks like a simple patio incorporates a swing, a climbing tree for the cat (on the column in the foreground), mounted plants, hanging plants, a seating area, and the HVAC screen that also serves as an accent wall. It’s all so lovely and so pleasingly simple. The gravel border is elegant but restrained, the black and white pots maintain a level of sophistication and let the plants shine, and the pale gray paint looks great with both the gravel and the black-and-white decor.

Brittany Goldwyn Merth of By Brittany Goldwyn is responsible for this renovation and did an all-around excellent job.

Here’s that accursed HVAC area, before being hidden—the new screen conceals the unsightly necessities, adds beauty, and will keep a curious toddler away from cords and such.

Brittany shares what it took to take this yard from not functional to super fun:

This transformation took us about six weeks to complete, and the biggest cost was the platform deck. We had a licensed contractor put in the deck for us because we didn’t want to do a paver patio and definitely didn’t want to tackle a DIY project that big. We did everything else ourselves—all of the landscaping, the HVAC unit screen that blocks the ugly stuff but can easily slide out, all of the plants and garden beds, and the matching coffee and side table made with pavers.

Did Brittany choose the paint and gravel color based on the cat in the photo above? I prefer to think so. And seeing the HVAC screen up close—and knowing it slides easily out—makes me even more impressed with such a solution to a totally relatable problem.

Fortunately, this outdoor space is not just pretty, it’s comfortable and relaxing:

I love making the most of small spaces, and I think we did a great job with that here. It’s a beautiful space we can relax in. We got a great deal on the furniture, and it’s so comfortable. We also love the cat-climbing platforms we put up along one of the deck footers. Our cats are indoor kitties, but we let them come outside when we’re hanging out on the deck.

We wish we would have put up outdoor curtains to add more privacy and block out the sun, but it wasn’t in the cards for us to tackle at the time. It will probably be the next thing we do.

As always, string lights up the dreaminess quotient by approximately 500 percent. This space was already quite inviting, but the lights make it irresistible.

If you’re tackling a similar project—or really any project—Brittany has some great advice:

Break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks and hire out the bigger projects. Don’t be frustrated when your initial plan doesn’t work out—you can always change course, and the new result might be even better than what you’d originally planned.

Thank you, Brittany Goldwyn Merth of By Brittany Goldwyn!


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