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How Much Did the Backyard Renovation Cost?

A full budget breakdown of how much our exterior remodel and backyard renovation cost, why we hired a few contractors, and what outdoor projects you can do yourself to save money.

Technically, our backyard renovation still has one or two little projects for it to be deemed “officially finished”, but considering all of the things we’ve done to our exterior over the years, now seemed like a good time to walk through all of the nitty gritty budget stuff.

brick colonial house
limewashed brick colonial house

Every time we finish a project out here, I’m asked the question, “How much did that cost?” With the increased cost for building materials lately and the broad range of prices contractors charge, it’s so hard to know the going rate of those kinds of things.

backyard before
after backyard renovation with pool
Outdoor Dining Chairs | Outdoor Stools | Umbrella | Outdoor Table (similar) | Outdoor Lounge Chairs

So if you have any exterior renovation or backyard project plans, maybe this budget breakdown will at least give you a ballpark idea.

Our Exterior / Backyard Projects:

backyard before with raw brick
backyard remodel with fire pit, limewashed brick, playground, bocce ball court, and vinyl fence

Exterior Brick Limewashing and Trim/Shutter/Gutter Painting

Back when we did our home’s limewashed brick and painted trim makeover 4 years ago, we felt this was a job that needed hiring out. When safety is a big concern that involves climbing two stories, finding a contractor is worth it to us.

For the brick limewashing, Hans from Reflections of Italy did a phenomenal job. He’s an artisan who studied our home’s eaves and overall structure to see where rain water would naturally wear away the limewash over time, and applied it accordingly to create the finish.

Limewashing Labor and Materials – $11,325

Trim, Shutter, Gutter Painting Labor and Materials – $2,900

limewashed brick
limewashed brick house

Swimming Pool Liner Update

This was one we definitely wanted to hire out professional contractors for as well since we definitely didn’t want destroy a brand new pool liner that cost several thousands of dollars. When we bought this house, we knew the pool liner was overdue for a replacement. We used Edwin’s Pool Service, who we’ve used regularly for years any time our pool needs fixing.

Swimming Pool Liner Labor and Materials Cost – $6,800

swimming pool liner renovation
swimming pool remodel

Tree and Shrubbery Removal and Backyard Grading

Our backyard had several dying trees with some snaky shrubbery and drainage issues in the backyard, so we hired contractors to correct all of those landscaping problems.

ArborVision was really knowledgeable and walked us through which trees needed to go and which ones were the best to keep. JG Outdoor Solutions was amazing to work with for our grading and excellent at communication.

Tree and Shrubbery Removal – $5,800

Backyard grading – $2,100

backyard renovation before
vinyl fence

Backyard Fence Replacement

This was the last project requiring the use of a contractor before doing all the rest ourselves. Removing and hauling away our old fence required a few pieces of special equipment that made more sense to hire out. Even though a Ply Gem vinyl fence is more expensive than a wooden fence, we knew we wanted one that had a lifetime warranty so we wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of another replacement in the future.

We used Gaston Fence for the removal and installation. Their communication wasn’t the best, but they did excellent work, so we were happy overall.

Backyard fence replacement labor and materials – $18,860

backyard fence replacement
backyard fence replacement
Playset

Pergola Cabana

If our timing had been better, this pergola cabana we built ourselves would have been waaaay cheaper. Our TojaGrid hardware had just arrived when lumber prices suddenly started to skyrocket due to supply problems. Murphy’s Law, right? So the cost of this project isn’t at all typical and likely would cost much less any other time.

My dad and brother helped Robert and me with this one because it was a BEAST to build. I’m still sore just thinking about it.

Pergola Lumber and Paint – $1,200

Pergola Hardware and Canopies – $2,116

DIY pergola cabana
DIY pergola cabana in a backyard renovation
Outdoor Lounge Chairs | Outdoor UV Curtains | Outdoor Pillows | Garden Stools | Self Watering Planters

Backyard Fire Pit

We were so surprised how quickly we were able to get this DIY fire pit built in just a couple of days. It was so much easier than we thought it would be! We buy all of our landscaping materials from 360 Supply, and they are always so friendly and helpful when we stop in. We try to shop them to support a small business versus the big box stores as much as possible.

Fire Pit Materials Cost – $1,150

DIY fire pit for a backyard remodel
fire pit
fire pit
Barrel Planters | Adirondack Chairs | Green Planter | White Planter

Bocce Ball Court

This bocce ball court is so much fun as an activity for people to play while we’re all hanging around the fire pit! We built it ourselves in a couple of days, and it really wasn’t too difficult at all.

Bocce ball court materials – $283

DIY bocce ball court
backyard bocce ball court
Bocce Ball Set | String Lights | Lanterns

Beer Garden

We did this project using this area hidden behind our pool’s bushes for practically free using project leftovers. After we finished the fire pit and bocce ball court, we still had plenty of gravel left, so we hauled the rest to this section of the yard, set up secondhand beer garden tables that Robert refinished (while I was inside with newborn baby Regan… those were the days), and made it a tucked away hangout space.

refinishing a beer garden table
backyard beer garden
Beer Garden Table and Benches (similar) | Rolling Cooler
gate to backyard beer garden

Outdoor Kitchen

We were able to build this modular outdoor kitchen kit ourselves in just a day! This was definitely one of the most expensive features of our backyard, and I think it could have been done cheaper building if framing ourselves and using materials from scratch. So far, we’re really happy with this one, especially the quality of the appliances.

Modular outdoor kitchen cost – $14,795

modular outdoor kitchen assembly
modular outdoor kitchen in a backyard remodel

Gym Shed

We transformed the exterior of our shed a couple of summers ago on a tight budget using Sherwin Williams VinylSafe siding paint, new shutters, and DIY window boxes from scrap wood. The end result made such a huge difference!

Gym shed exterior cost: $266

shed makeover
pool makeover in a backyard renovation

Painted Concrete Pool Deck

On a fateful 95 degree day in July, we decided to paint this concrete pool deck and about died of heat stroke. But it looks SO much better than the old yellowed, cracking concrete situation we had out here before. One of the last projects we want to do out here is do concrete stamping to make this deck look like brick pavers. This has held up perfectly for the past year though.

(We did have our pool deck extended by having a local contractor pour new concrete to give us enough room to add the outdoor kitchen and pergola. That cost $500.)

Painted pool deck cost – $902

painting concrete pool deck
painted concrete pool deck with swimming pool and cabana

Back Porch

We managed to paint our back porch ceiling “haint blue” and install new fans ourselves a few years ago, which made such a huge difference out here.

Back porch makeover cost (without furnishings): $608

back porch
Rattan Furniture Set | Coffee Table | Poufs | Rug | Lanterns | Ceiling Fans | Jute Pillows | Knit Pillows | String Lights | Tray | Daybed

Total Exterior / Backyard / Pool / Porch / Shed Renovation Cost

Total: $69,106

In a nutshell, house exteriors, swimming pools, and yard improvements are ridiculously expensive (and it’s not even factoring in little expenses like regular pool maintenance / part replacements and furniture).

But we have absolutely loved seeing through every step of this process. Celebrating with our family gathered in the backyard last week during Thanksgiving was our “This is why we did it” moment.

We don’t plan on letting go of this house any time soon (if ever), so knowing that the hard work we’ve put into it is now paying off as a place where we can relax is the icing on the cake.

backyard remodel

It’s been quite a journey, but little by little, we made it happen.

backyard swimming pool remodel
backyard before
swimming pool renovation

Renovating a house is mentally and physically so hard, and the unknown expenses of materials and contractor costs makes the whole process feel even more overwhelming. We hope by sharing all of the budget stuff that it helps you prepare down the road.

signoff

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8 Comments

  1. Another great post, Lauren. SO often, DIY’ers downplay the overall costs as they get overwhelmed themselves by how much remodeling and making new/safe/fresh may cost. It is so valid to have actual monies spent and when to hire a contractor for big jobs outlined. I will say, that having been married to a contractor in the past, the ONLY thing we never did ourselves in our two huge projects (15/10yrs respectively) was to lay carpet. We simply did not have the money. We put on roofs, did electrical and plumbing with subs whom I made dinner for, did all tile work, wall moving, painting and other sundry ourselves. I think I have helped hang over 100 sheets of drywall in my life and dang, can I paint! I also learned what NOT to do very very well! So when I remarried and moved to a home that while it passed inspection needed a new roof/gutters/windows and HVAC out of the gate, I subbed it all out. Well worth the cost to have it done right and get contractor guarantees.
    Thank you for your hard work and letting us share in the experiences. Your home is stunning. (I also just received my first ever Ruggable rugs for the holidays based on your recommendations – thank you!).

  2. I’ve loved every one of your backyard renovations. Seeing it broken down, not only cost but time frame, really helps novices like hubby and I. One question, really like your wood shed by the fire pit, did you make this or buy it? We would like to replicate it. Thanks!

  3. It’s always nice when you can do these projects early so your family can enjoy them. So many people live with the status quo and do the renovations just before they sell. Beautiful job!!!

  4. You both did an amazing job on your home. And thank you for showing the pictures of the people you hired to do some of the jobs and your cost. It gives one an idea of how some things get done with the help of others….not always oneself. I appreciate your blog! Many thanks!

  5. Looks fabulous! I appreciate your transparency on the budget, it is nice to get an idea of projects to see if they are doable. I think you did a great job getting a good value on most of your projects!