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
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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.

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Cheerful Welcome

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

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Double Duty

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

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Sassy Plants

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

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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.

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Bring the Indoors Out

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

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Touch of Nature

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

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Help Yourself

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

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Warm Glow

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

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Fun and Functional

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

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Illuminating Lilies

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

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Light the Way

    Candles tucked into lanterns boost the coziness appeal.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Doggie Dwelling

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

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Customized Containers

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

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