Before and After: An “Unusable” Backyard Turned Year-Round Outdoor Sanctuary

published Jan 1, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
House
Project Type
Outdoor Spaces
Style
Bohemian
Skill Level
DIY
Rental Friendly
No
Before: Empty yard
Credit: Jen Rothbury

Sometimes outdoor space ends up being wasted space for much longer than planned. After years of a mostly unusable backyard, Jen Rothbury of @cracktheshutters wanted to create an outdoor space that her family could enjoy year-round. For her, that meant getting rid of an old trampoline and getting a hot tub instead. “The hot tub means that we can make the most of our garden even when it’s cold,” Jen says.

Credit: Jen Rothbury

But to make the backyard fully functional, it would take more than just a hot tub. So Jen and her husband reimagined the outdoor space entirely, and then did the whole redo themselves in about two weeks. “Luckily the whole process was straight forward,” Jen says. “It involved a lot of physical effort but not too much skill.”

Credit: Jen Rothbury

The couple started off by laying a new patio with leftover pavers from their driveway. To add seating, they took spare wood pallets to DIY an inviting pallet sofa.

Credit: Jen Rothbury

Next they built a pergola, which also became the perfect place to hang some string lights and an outdoor movie projector screen. After leveling off the rest of the yard and laying gravel, the long-awaited hot tub was finally installed. Then came finishing touches like cushions for the sofa, plants, and lots of lanterns for extra coziness. In total, Jen’s new backyard cost approximately £3,500 (or $4,700). She was able to save money on the hot tub by purchasing a refurbished model that they’ve been extremely happy with.

Credit: Jen Rothbury

“I just love that a totally redundant part of our garden has now provided such a useable and enjoyable space—almost like gaining a new room to the house,” Jen says. She loves being able to spend quality family time outside around the fire pit, whether it’s roasting marshmallows together or watching a movie on the outdoor projector.

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