Before and After: Susie's Backyard Retreat

Before and After: Susie's Backyard Retreat

Laure Joliet
Mar 31, 2010

No matter how much you dream of overhauling your garden, if you're dealing with a bunch of weeds, old furniture and no privacy, getting started can feel like too big a challenge. That's why we fell in love with Susie's backyard retreat. With a plan and old fashioned elbow grease she and her husband have created a modern outdoor room to enjoy all summer long.

We just about fell in love with Susie's outdoor dining area and backyard retreat when we saw it in the LA Flickr Pool: the big table for eating and hanging out, the bright yellow chairs against the dark brown walls, the festive Angel Trumpet tree and the succulents spilling out of pots. It looks like the kind of place you want to meet up with friends, open a bottle of wine and hang out for a great sunset and then well into to the evening.

When we realized that Susie and her sister Heidi are the design mavens behind Rock Scissor Paper it made sense that any space they touched would be modern and comfortable. But then we saw Susie's before pictures and realized just how much work it was to transform the garden.

As you can see (pics 5 and 6) the backyard had little charm to it when Susie and her husband, Will, got started. They faced the chaos of weeds and overgrown trees and plants and they needed to build a back fence to create some privacy. Plus they did everything themselves:

"My husband and I have lived in our house for 6 years. The house has needed A LOT of work and the yard has not been a priority. We have been slowly working on things as we do it all ourselves. The yard was an incredible mess of overgrown weeds, dead trees & broken down furniture when we moved in. The yard only had a 3 foot wall on 2 sides of the property line, so we could see into our neighbors yard and had no privacy.

A year after we moved in we were still working on clearing away crap, but we bought the teak dining table at a sample sale at the LA Mart, and we could visualized how we wanted to set up our outdoor dining space.

A note: The colored wall in our backyard is constructed from cement board siding panels that we painted a silvery agave blue. Cement board was a good solution for us in that it was less expensive than a wood fence, longer lasting in our harsh North Hollywood sun, and is easy to paint."

Read more about this space on Susie and Heidi's blog Make Something Happy.

(Images: Susie Bauer)

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