Transforming an Overgrown & Unusable Space to a Inviting Family Backyard

The homeowners of this yard were so overwhelmed with what to do with their outdoor space. Soon after moving into the home, they had to remove numerous aged out pine trees from their back hill. After removing all of the trees, they were at a loss of what to do with the space. They desperately wanted a space for their two young sons to be able to play as well as a space to host family and friend get-togethers.


Design: Now that the pine trees had been removed, the space was actually very large. There was also already quite a lot of stones that had been used to try to make retaining walls so we wanted to make sure to reuse those. However, the best part of the yard, was the amazing view from when you were up there. You could see the hills in the distance and the open sky making the upper portion of the hill an ideal spot for a fire pit and large lounge area.



We started off with rethinking the retaining walls and reusing the material on-site. Additional stone had to be brought in to finish the walls but the new retaining walls now created a large usable upper area. In addition, new centrally located steps lead the way up to the upper level of the yard. It was important to have these steps visible from the house so that the homeowners and their guests would see a clear path up to the new upper level entertaining zone. The lower retaining walls would be downplayed by soft plantings that will fill in and make the yard feel more lush but also organized.

Now that we had a new upper level, we had lots of space to play with. Since their sons loved to play sports and wrestle, a portion of the upper yard had to be used for a lawn. A new low fence ensures they are safe when playing up there as well as stops balls from rolling down the hill. Horse trough garden beds were also placed on the upper area for a neat and defined place to garden. The showcase of the upper area however is a large seating area that looks out to the open sky and distant hills. The stairs draw you directly up to this cozy seating area. To add to the ambiance of this portion of the yard, a rock water feature helps make the space more comforting with its soothing rhythmic sounds. Colorful plantings finishes off the upper area with colorful splashes throughout the seasons.


The lower area was also refinished. We removed the uneven concrete and replaced it with pavers. We also removed the planter beds next to the house. They were unnecessary and oftentimes hard to keep looking nice throughout the year. The simplification of the lower area allows the space to feel clean and uncomplicated. It also allowed for a space for a basketball hoop or party tables to be placed when needed. Now there are multiple areas for this family to entertain and enjoy their backyard.


After: Seriously the best part of my job is talking with clients years later and hearing about how much they still love their yard. All the memories they have created and will create in this backyard makes my job so utterly rewarding. I am so thankful that I get to do this everyday and make peoples lives better by creating outdoor spaces that they can enjoy for years to come.


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