Before-&-After Backyard Makeovers

Take the party outside with a one-of-a-kind backyard oasis. See how these creative exterior makeovers turn bland backyards into character-filled spaces for entertaining, dining, and relaxing -- plus, find inspiration to update your own outdoor room.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • BEFORE: Unfinished Business

      A rear addition to this humble 1926 English cottage provided an opportunity to start fresh and blur the boundaries between indoors and out.

    • AFTER: Cottage Charm

      French doors lead to a new flagstone patio that accommodates an outdoor eating area with room to spare. Flagstone pavers draw the eye into the grassy backyard, and lush greenery invites year-round relaxation.

    • BEFORE: Screened In

      A screened back porch consumed precious square footage in this small family bungalow.

    • AFTER: Stepped-Up Style

      By replacing the screen porch with a new dining room, the formerly boxy bungalow gained breathing room -- and a better outdoor living space. The new patio accommodates modern family gatherings with ease yet retains the home's charming architectural character.

    • Give Your Backyard a Boost

      Learn how to maximize your backyard's style and function with these smart, space-savvy outdoor living tips.

    • BEFORE: Lacking Character

      Awkward structures and seating made this backyard feel like an afterthought.

    • AFTER: Garden Getaway

      A boring backyard was recast as a lush, inviting garden. Use landscaping to give presence to a lackluster outdoor space; here, traditional garden elements like an entry arbor and a white picket fence beckon visitors. Add a touch of whimsy by changing a garden path from pea gravel to brick.

    • BEFORE: Plain Jane

      Large trees gobbled up this small patio, making it feel too cramped to relax and entertain.

    • AFTER: Entertainment Central

      Parties are always best with a good mix of people. Likewise, a well-designed living space relies on a good mix of materials. Retractable glass doors blur the line between inside and out, while textured, pigmented concrete flooring coordinates with the exterior color scheme. Though the entire patio is connected, one side has a lower ceiling to create an intimate space for small gatherings. An outdoor kitchen creates an informal divide between the areas.

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      BEFORE: Room Without a View

      An enclosed porch cut the rest of the house off from beautiful bay views.

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      AFTER: Coastal Connection

      An addition including a new deck and patio connects the family room with the backyard. Expanses of glass ensure the back of the house enjoys stunning views, while porthole windows pay homage to New England's coastal history.

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      BEFORE: Untapped Potential

      A too-narrow patio felt more like a sidewalk than an outdoor living room.

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      AFTER: Roomy Retreat

      Chic furnishings and space-defining features bring smart style and comfort to this revamped backyard. Stone pavers dramatically expand the patio space and complement the home's natural materials. Use structures to define zones. A large pergola defines the dining area, while a fire pit and retaining wall offer a cozy place for roasting marshmallows.

       

      Tip: Siting the patio as close as possible to the kitchen will encourage indoor-outdoor entertaining.

    • Next Slideshow Colorful Backyard Makeover

      Colorful Backyard Makeover

      These San Diego homeowners and landscaping novices transformed their backyard into a lush getaway with do-it-yourself projects and salvaged materials.
      Begin Slideshow »
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