When it comes to DIY home projects, inexpensive does not have to equal inconsequential. For less than $100, you can create custom light fixtures, build accent walls, update your floors, or design one-of-a-kind decor. Budget home projects can make a big difference, as proven by this bunch of crafty bloggers.View Slideshow
Tour the ultimate outdoor living space for an active family. This California backyard features a variety of outdoor rooms including a dining area, a family room with a fireplace, a game room, and a full-service kitchen.
It's easy to see how this California backyard became the center of family life. The renovated space features a sweeping rear patio with an entire suite of outdoor rooms that the whole family can enjoy together, including a dining area, a family room with a fireplace, and a full-service kitchen complete with a snack bar, dishwasher, fridge, and wood-burning pizza oven.
The homeowners wanted outdoor rooms that reflected a California vibe--cool, casual, and organic--just like the rooms on the inside of their house. The patio was made of tumbled-concrete pavers that echo the colors of a sandy beach. The white arbor that shelters the dining area matches the home's trim while subtly suggesting whitecapped surf. Sandstone covers the base of the arbor's pillars and reappears on the fireplace, pizza oven, and a series of raised planters.
A glass jar filled with seashells and sand is an inexpensive and eye-catching centerpiece for the dining table, and it reinforces the "California cool" vibe of the backyard.
The spacious patio makes entertaining large gatherings of family and friends easy. Outdoor lighting also plays a vital role in keeping the party going well into the night. Downlights in the arbor are grouped by zone and fitted with dimmers, defining rooms within rooms. Plantings, stone lanterns, and a fountain at the yard's edge are softly lit, as well.
In keeping with the California theme of the backyard, the homeowners chose a local landscape artist to create a unique mural for the fireplace. The mantel is a perfect place for a display of starfish.
The wood-burning pizza oven is the family's favorite feature in the backyard. The oven can cook a perfect pizza in 3-4 minutes. Its brick-lined, domed cavity reaches 700-900 degrees, quickly crisping a crust without drying out the toppings. The oven is ideal for pizza, but it can also turn out bread, roasted veggies, meats, and more.
Glass lanterns create a soft glow around the outdoor kitchen after the sun goes down.
The unusual shape of the backyard--a triangle with two corners lopped off--created a challenge when it came time to design the outdoor kitchen. To prevent the small kitchen area from feeling cramped, the granite snack bar was positioned at dining-table height. The kitchen's work area is recessed two steps below the surrounding patio--another space-expanding trick that helps keep clutter on the countertops out of sight.
Nestled between container plantings, a Balinese daybed creates a cozy spot for pool players and spectators in the game pavilion.
The "California cool" theme also appears in a retro-style surfboard that serves as a custom light fixture in the game pavilion.
A custom wood door creates a bold entrance, and a pathway made of tumbled-concrete pavers leads guests into the beautiful backyard.