Backyard Makeover Reveal: Riverside Retreat

This post is part of a paid collaboration with Lowe’s Home Improvement. All opinions are my own.

Today is the culmination of months of labor intensive, physically and mentally exhausting work (but as always… worth the effort!)

We started this project back in February, when the yard looked like this:

Knocking down the concrete landing and building a DIY gravel fire pit area was the first order of business.

After removing the old mismatched tile and pressure washing the concrete, the 27-hour stenciling saga ensued:

Then we built DIY string light planters, along with simple wood shutters, landscaping and paint touchups.

And finally—my favorite part—decorating! Last week we assembled all the furniture and added the finishing touches. I dreamed up a ‘Modern Boho Garden Oasis’ months ago, using classic black and white grounded by warm neutrals, a statement pattern, florals lots of greenery.

And here’s how it turned out!

The backyard is divided into three different zones—a conversation/lounge area, a dining space, and fire pit seating.

First, let’s step into the lounge spot…

With this future vacation rental home expected to house up to ten guests, I needed to maximize the seating area, so I combined two coordinating patio sets from Lowe’s.

Lowe’s always has sales on outdoor items throughout the spring/summer, so I waited and scored both at 30% off.

This modular sectional by Safavieh is the anchor piece, and I love that it can be configured in many different ways to accommodate a variety of layouts and patio sizes.

I also found this coordinating 4-piece set that included a loveseat, two chairs and coffee table.

The furniture is made from acacia wood which is weather resistant and durable for outdoor use.

The cushions are double sided and have removable covers in a water resistant fabric—which is a huge selling point since they’ll be getting a lot of wear!

I chose a solid black 7×10′ woven outdoor rug which provides texture, but doesn’t compete with the stenciled patio.

I can’t speak on the comfort/quality/longevity yet as we haven’t had a chance to sit down and enjoy them (and it has been pouring every day since taking these photos!) but we plan on throwing a dinner party here in the very near future… as soon as we have a free night (ha!)

And speaking of summer gatherings, every good party needs a barbecue! We haven’t had a grill in nearly a year so we were beyond excited to finally bring one home.

We went with a simple and affordable Char-Broil propane grill with solid ratings (it’s $30 off right now!)

A few days ago we fired it up for the first time—grilled chicken sandwiches all summer long! (that’s all I’ve been craving this pregnancy…)

Let’s take a little stroll down to the fire pit…

Arguably the toughest part of this renovation (that concrete pad was a beast to jackhammer), but now we have a usable, functional space in the yard!

I ordered six of these cedar adirondack chairs, and after a day of debating, decided to paint them black to coordinate with the rest of the decor.

I used Valspar’s Cracked Pepper (to match all of our other exterior accents) and it didn’t take as long to paint as I thought—just a few hours total.

I think they look so sharp against the greenery and light gravel.

The stone fire pit was a kit we purchased a while back from Lowe’s—had to be the easiest thing we did during this renovation!

And then there’s the LED string lights, which brings the yard to life and pulls all the spaces together (also 20% off through tomorrow!)

Right now they’re just connected via an extension cord on the side of the house, but we plan to hardwire them in and add a switch near the door.

This yard is truly magic when the sun goes down…

It may not be my most picture-perfect, high end designer style reveal. It’s still a modest house in a modest neighborhood, with grass that hasn’t grown in yet and old cracked stucco.

But we’ve racked up more hours and put more energy and sweat into this project than any other. We learned new tools and techniques, faced new challenges head on, and stepped into the unchartered waters of landscaping—all on a DIY’ers budget.

For that, I’m just as proud of this Before + After as anything else we’ve done—maybe even a little more.

There’s nothing like dreaming up, creating and finally getting to step into a space that you want to stay in for hours—which is not an easy feat when it’s 90° with 90% humidity and you’re being eaten alive by mosquitos… welcome to Florida summers 😉

You may be wondering about the dining area that we haven’t talked about yet…

Hang tight, all the details for this part will be posted here on the blog in two days!

For now, this party must come to an end. I know, I don’t want to leave either…

Lucky for you, you can rent this place and stay as long as you’d like as soon as it’s finished 😉



Loveseat + chair set


Charbroil Grill

Adirondack chairs

String lights

Barrel planters

Fire pit


DIY Fire pit

DIY Stenciled patio

DIY String Light planters

Check back on Thursday for Part 2 of this reveal—outdoor dining details!











34 thoughts on “Backyard Makeover Reveal: Riverside Retreat

  1. Love it ! So beautiful…I see a spot for some ice and beverage in the white planter, near the grill…

  2. Having lived in basic FLorida block houses before, I could never imagine one looking so elegant and inviting. I’m really enjoying your makeover process; you are an incredibly talented designer.

  3. You should be proud! You’ve both worked so hard and it is a stunning transformation!

  4. I love the fact that this is the kind of yard most people have. You have shown ideas that the average person could take on with a modest budget. We don’t all have a ton of money to spend and these are ideas that, if your willing to put some effort into, the end result can be charming. As always you guys did great!!

    1. I agree! This is a dreamy yet realistic makeover that a lot of families could implement. I’d love to get a breakdown of the budget for this entire outdoor makeover. xx

  5. Absolutely gorgeous! Really nice job! Would you also mind sharing the main color of the house? As well as the throw pillows? Especially the dark gray-ish striped one on the loveseat? Thank you so much!

  6. All of your hard work shows! It’s gorgeous! I love that it’s all ideas everyone could do. Very inspiring!

  7. You always impress me!!! Your work is just wonderful! And that you accomplished so much in the heat, humidity while being pregnant!!! Well, that is just amazing!!

  8. Oh, Jenna – you two should feel proud of everything you do. It’s really excellent. I too am finishing up a modest house in a modest neighborhood, (with a modest budget) and sometimes look around at what I couldn’t rather that what I did. It is so hard some days, and really exciting other days. I think it beats going to work though.

  9. What a transformation! You started out with one very wonky backyard…I wouldn’t have even known where to begin. You two have knocked it out of the park again. When looking for airbnbs, the first thing I look at is the outdoor space and this yard has it all for pretty much every season. I agree with previous commenters that you did something that is attainable on a lower budget. Both of your houses are absolutely beautiful and full of inspiration. Enjoy your babymoon. I can’t wait to see what you do with the nursery!

  10. So inspired!! Your guests are going to have so much fun here and make wonderful memories! (p.s. – do you think you might add a hot tub in the future? Because then it would be complete vacation perfection 😉 )

    1. We researched getting a hot tub but it’s a ton of added maintenance/cost for a vacation rental — and we’d have to add a concrete pad now, so for this house I don’t think it’s worth it!

  11. So so so good! I’ve said it before but there was something special about this backyard transformation. It feels so achievable – which is great for your readers – but also put together so thoughtfully – it really does look high – end (who can even see the crumbling stucco when they are staring at that stencil or relaxing under the lights in the adirondack chairs??). Amazing transformation – as usual!

    Stealing a TON of these ideas for our crumbling tennis court area in our yard.

    You guys should be proud and I hope you enjoy it a bit before you move into the Heights House!

  12. Hard work always pays off in the end. And this time was no exception, you two are a force to be reckoned with. I think your found your perfect match! Incredible transformation.

  13. As someone else has mentioned, I love that this is achievable. This is what most people’s back yard looks like, and you’ve shown you can make it into something incredible. Well done on all the hard work (especially while pregnant). Now go for a well-deserved lie down : ) xxx

  14. You mentioned constant rainfall lately so how do you protext all the fabric and pillows from all the rough weather elements?

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