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.

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Brightly decorated deck
Found, Free, and Fabulous

    A backyard makeover does not have to break the bank. By asking friends, searching the Internet, and using objects found in the yard, these California homeowners transformed a bleak backyard into a lush getaway.

Cheerful Welcome

    An inexpensive outdoor area rug blooms thanks to an oversize floral stencil and some bright paint.

Double Duty

    A ceiling medallion coated with exterior paint brightens a table and holds down a tablecloth on a windy day.

Sassy Plants

    Graphic stencils and paint in happy hues give plain terra-cotta pots sunny dispositions.

True Identity

    A small rectangle of chalkboard paint on a ceramic pot is a perfect place to ID a fresh herb for a table garden.

Bring the Indoors Out

    Wall art constructed from plywood, exterior-grade paint, and a double coat of sealer provides interest on a privacy fence.

Touch of Nature

    A botanical motif stenciled on an outdoor pillow continues the nature-inspired decorating scheme.

Help Yourself

    Plain white ceramic windowsill planters become perky utensil holders for dining outdoors when customized with brightly colored paint pens.

Warm Glow

    Small glass jars decoupaged with tissue paper (and shellacked for maximum weather-worthiness) glow when tea lights flicker inside.

Fun and Functional

    Solar-power paper orbs add colorful ambience overhead -- no electricity required.

Illuminating Lilies

    Battery-power LED lights masquerade as water lilies in the pond.

Light the Way

    Candles tucked into lanterns boost the coziness appeal.

Cozy Nook

    Placing the pergola-topped deck as close to the hand-dug pond as possible gives this oasis a docklike feel. Bright bedsheets used as curtains add privacy. A vintage trunk becomes a movable ottoman/coffee table/storage bench with a fresh coat of paint, a set of casters, and a padded top wrapped in festive, weather-resistant vinyl.

Snack Time Outside

    Pretty patterned vinyl atop the DIY ottoman (see previous slide for full project) repels spills and moisture. A bright tray holds drinks and snacks.

Tiny Comforts

    Materials left over from a home addition provided the bones of this tucked away cottage. Old windows and doors, extra wood, and leftover roofing were used create this charming bonus room.

Pretty and Perky

    A shelf outfitted with dollhouse fencing, both found at a crafts store and then painted orange, makes a delightful window box when planted with petunias and pinwheels.

Welcome Home

    This custom welcome mat project cost less than $25; crafts sticks and inexpensive house numbers from the home store act as masks for the spray paint.

Doggie Dwelling

    Leftover building material also provided a new space for the family dog. A removable roof makes it easy to clean.

Customized Containers

    Chalkboard paint applied to a dog dish further customizes the pup's playground.


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