Before & After: A Dark, Drab Backyard Gets a Bright Overhaul

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(Image credit: Frances of Archi Styling)

Frances wanted a backyard that she could use for entertaining and her segmented, fenced off space was not quite up to the task. Sacrificing her weekends to the DIY gods, she was able to create a space that is much more welcoming and way less gray.

(Image credit: Frances of Archi Styling)

From Frances: When we bought the house the garden was separated into three small sections, so all you could ever see out of the window was a mass of fencing and gates! The fencing was also very old and the dark weathered color made the space feel very small.

We were desperate to have a garden we could entertain friends in and have barbecues, but in its former state it was fairly unusable and devoid of anything green.

(Image credit: Francis of Archi Styling)

The whole revamp took about four months and cost around £650 ($872), as we did it all ourselves at the weekends. Neither my husband nor I had ever laid block work, rendered or turfed before, so it was a huge learning experience for us. The worst part of the project was finding another layer of paving under the one we had just taken up. The second layer of paving was also bedded in a thick layer of concrete. We had to use a sledge hammer to break it all out which took a few days and was very tiring!

(Image credit: Frances of Archi Styling)

I love seeing the long view into the garden from our hallway as it is such a contrast from just seeing the back of some old fences. I was also thrilled with how much light we have brought into the back of the house by taking down the fences, it has made a huge difference. My favourite element of the garden itself is the cherry tree we planted, as it provides such a great focal point for the garden.

Frances’s words of wisdom: We sold a lot of things on eBay such as the old gates, paving, concrete (as rubble) etc. This was great because the buyers collected it, so as well as being sustainable it meant we didn’t have to do hundreds of trips to the recycling center. My advice would be to remember people buy all sorts of things on eBay! I would also recommend undertaking the work yourself even if you are not very experienced, as there are hundreds of how-to videos online and it gives you a huge amount of satisfaction to see it finished.

(Image credit: Frances of Archi Styling)

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Thank you, Frances! Readers, you can see more on Archi Styling.