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Backyard Renovation on a Budget

Backyard Renovation on a Budget

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Backyard Renovation on a Budget.

My husband’s backyard was a disaster when I met him. Pretty much the whole house had been somewhat demolished (to be renovated), but then he got busy at work and his company sent him out of town a lot. He just didn’t have the time to really work at it.

You can see by looking at the before and afters of the posts of home two on my website that pretty much everything was partially demolished and nothing fully renovated. His home was in a state of partial tear down.

Had it not been partially torn down, we may have just sold it as is, but since it required so much work, we knew we would loose money on it if we didn’t fix it up first before selling it. So that is what we did.

He tore up his backyard with the intention of re-sodding, but hadn’t gotten around to it when he and I met.

The back of the house was dingy looking. It was built with a grey-brown dirty-looking-brick that I wanted to paint white to update as well.

Backyard Renovation on a budget

We began renovating this home in October of 2019 and I read that fall is the best time to lay sod.

So, we needed to act quickly.

Before we we laid the sod down, I wanted to paint the fence first. This is a terrible photo, but it’s all I could find of what the fence looked like before our handyman painted it.

Backyard before renovation

So, I found exterior fence paint in the mistint section of Home Depot. It was 5 gallons for $50.00, we diluted it a little more with exterior paint that I got for about $10 a gallon and not only did it become a custom color that I liked, but we ended up with enough paint to cover the entire fence for $70.00.

Our handyman had a pressure washer and a paint gun, so we paid him to pressure wash it and paint it.

There were a few boards that needed replacing. So, I had him paint a few extra boards I had bought to match. In the spring, I repaired the fence by removing the bad boards, cutting the extra boards he painted to size and screwing them on to the fence crossboards.

Backyard Renovation on a budget

I rented a tiller at Home Depot and a roller. It was $105 for the rental and $25.00 to purchase a sod rake.

I tilled the dirt, and my kids did their best to rake and roll it. They were quite young, as you can tell, but they still managed to rake and roll out quite a bit of the dirt.

I helped them as we went along but they did pretty good smoothing the yard out.

Kids helping

My kids actually had fun helping.

My kids helping

I called around to a lot of different sod farms and got bids. The cheapest, by quite a few hundred dollars, was a, “pick up your own sod”, farm located about 2 hours away.

I borrowed a flat bed trailer from my dad and drove to Idaho to pick up the sod.

I got all the sod for $500 which included the fuel it took to drive the few hours to Idaho and back.

Next, we hired 4 guys that hang around a local day-hire area. They worked together with our handyman who knew what he was doing. They laid the sod in about 4 hours. The labor cost us $350.00

You may be asking why we didn’t lay the sod ourselves.

The answer to that question is, my husband held down a full time job during this entire renovation. I work a little from home as well, plus, at the time, I was a mother to 2 young kids and for some of the renovation I was pregnant with my third and I was often very sick due to the pregnancy.

During this entire, ‘House Two’ interior and exterior renovation, there were things we thought would be best to hire out, this was one of them.

We needed the sod down quickly (before the ground froze) and we didn’t have the time to do it ourselves.

After the sod was down, I made sure to begin fertilizing it. I fertilized the grass with the IFA 4 step system (this renovation took about 8 months to complete, so I got 3 treatments down).

Come spring, we were finishing up the home remodel and I wanted to paint the barn white. It pretty much matched the original fence (the blackened grey color). It was so dirty and gross.

One day, my kids asked if I would take them to their favorite restaurant, I told them that if they helped me paint the storage barn I’d take them.

They were so excited to do this and together we painted the barn white.

We used some left over exterior white paint and supplies from other paint jobs. 

Supplies barn

They were so proud of themselves when they learned how to roll a paint roller, dip it and roll it again.

They were excited to learn how to go with the grain of the wood and get into the tiny cracks that needed paint with a brush.

I was so proud of how hard they worked.

I loved taking them out to eat afterwards. It was a very memorable day and the barn looked so much nicer with a new coat of paint.

Backyard Renovation on a budget

The grass grew in thick and was a beautiful color of green.

Our handyman painted the back of the house white. Backyard view

I cleaned out the gutters and deep cleaned the windows and my parents came over and helped us clean off the cement pad in the back (where we were storing lots of supplies).

I loved how, when it was all cleaned up and finished, the view from the dinning room through the french doors to the yard was unobstructed. I really liked the floor plan and how the main level walked out to the backyard.


I also really liked how it was completely fenced-in by a swinging gate on one side and a rolling gate on the driveway side.

Backyard with a fence

Shane, my husband, did all the repairs to the sprinkler system.


As an added touch, I hung lights and assembled a patio set.

Hung some lights

I absolutely loved this backyard once it was remodeled.

It went from a total eye sore to a beautiful inviting space.

While we finished up the rest of the home, my kids played out back often and I image that if the buyers have kids they probably would as well. 

Total Cost for this Backyard Renovation on a Budget

Equipment rental $105

Sod (including fuel to drive to pick it up) $500

Labor installing sod $350

Painting of barn free (Free, my kids and I did that and we used left over exterior white paint)

Sprinkler parts $100

Sprinkler repairs (Free, my husband did that)

Sod rake $25

Repairing of broken fence boards, cleaning gutters, window washing (Free, I did that).

Painting the fence labor ($200) and paint ($40)

Fertilizer $40

Total backyard/exterior of back of home remodel $1,375.

Total to paint the back of the home $600.

Grand total is just under $2,000.00.

Backyard Renovation on a budget

I hope this post gives you some ideas on how to do a Backyard Renovation on a Budget as well!

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Backyard Renovation on a Budget


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