Over a month ago I announced that I was partnering with Lowe’s on a spring makeover campaign. After the harsh winter we just had Lowe’s wanted to give one family in each of the 10 hardest hit cities of this past winter a spring makeover. My neighbor city of Louisville made the top 10 list, and when Lowe’s asked me if I wanted to join them to bring one Louisville family a little spring sunshine in the form of a makeover I was all in, obviously!
I really connected with the Cress Family’s story. I know what’s it’s like to buy a home that needs a lot of love and attention on the inside, and I know all too well what’s it’s like to spend every bit of your diy efforts and dollars on the inside of your home only to find yourself at a loss with what to do in your outdoor space. When you spend all your time and money on improving the interior of your home, you often find that when it comes to the exterior you’re out of energy and the inside renovations have eaten away at your budget.
After a long winter when the weather finally starts to warms up all you want to do is get outside and enjoy the warmth and sunshine. Unfortunately that can be hard to do when you step foot in your backyard and all you see is the mountains of work you still have to do. So when the Cress Family wrote in asking for a backyard makeover, I just couldn’t wait to get started on their project!
Having a big backyard with a pool is so wonderful, but it can also be really overwhelming…….especially with the wear and tear a harsh winter left behind. Their fence had seen better days and was in need of a fresh stain job; and their two adorable dogs had a field day running through the snowy, muddy winter grass leaving behind quite a large area of bare grass.
In general the Cress family wasn’t sure how to maximize their space in terms of seating and needed some help figuring how to make their backyard function best for their family.
I tackled the design planning of this outdoor space the same way I would tackle a large interior space. I broke the big space down into sections creating 3 functioning zones – a dining space, a living space, and a place to chillax by the pool. You can take a look at the plans I made here.
Once the plan was in place and the homeowners were on board with my ideas, it was time to get to work. Myself and the volunteers from Lowe’s had two days to complete this backyard makeover. When I arrived to the Cress home I was greeted by this sign they made. Their excitement was infectious and definitely powered me through the makeover work that needed to be done!
No doubt the majority of the hard labor was done by the Lowe’s volunteers. I never would have been able to pull this off without their help and hard work!
This was a total team effort. While some volunteers worked on prepping the ground for sod, others worked on re-staining the fence. To give this large fence and rails a fresh coat of stain we used Olympic Maximum Stain & Sealant in a solid exterior stain that was color matched to the existing color on their fence. This stuff is a dream to work with. It goes on like a paint. It’s not super liquid-y like a typical stain.
These sweet ladies worked on weeding, planting and mulching. This yard already boasts some beautiful mature trees, but to add a little more interest and beauty to the backside of the pool I brought in some oak leaf hydrangeas then had pine needles spread for a fresh clean look. While the hydrangeas aren’t in bloom just yet, they’ll be gorgeous low-maintenance perennials that will offer beautiful blooms and brighten up the back of the pool area.
While all of this was going on I was on railing duty with this guy who taught me the best painting trick!
(Do you see our little supervisor in the window there?)
So if you’ve ever painted or stained fence rails you know how much of a pain they can be! This Lowe’s volunteer taught me this amazing little tip – if you bend the mini-roller to a 45 degree angle it makes painting the rails a breeze! Seriously. Why didn’t I ever think of that?! Mind. Blown.
Now when you walk out into the backyard you’re greeted by this freshly cleaned up fence rail and mulch bed. We planted hostas and begonias. The homeowners are all about easy to maintain plants, and both hostas and begonias pretty much take care of themselves. Begonias are some of my favorite annuals as they tolerate Kentucky summers so well plus they last well into fall. I really love this coral color too!
We also added in post caps, and what a huge difference did they make! This fence railing is so clean and polished looking now. Last but not least we brought in some solar lighting which will be so nice in the evenings, especially while entertaining.
Once the sod was laid, the fence and rails were completely re-stained, and the planting and mulching was done it was time for the fun part……..bringing in the furniture and accessories!
Here’s how the Cress Family’s backyard looks now!
Like I said it was all about creating zones. First there’s the outdoor dining space furnished with this
gorgeous table and chairs. I really like that you don’t have to buy things in sets at Lowe’s. You can mix and match your table and chairs to create your own custom look. And I love the color of these cushions! I also like the way the colors in the umbrella tie the color of the rug and cushions together.
I don’t like going overboard with outdoor pillows because I don’t think an abundance of them is very practical in real life, but a few strategically placed decorative outdoor pillows really do make all the difference. And the greek key print on these pillows is just so so gorgeous!
This outdoor dining space is complete with, my favorite part, an outdoor plant cart which can easily double as an outdoor buffet! Seriously, this piece is so versatile and perfect for outdoor entertaining!
I like how the stainless steel top coordinates with their grill, and I love that it’s on wheels so you can easily move it around for parties and then lock it into place. It offers so much storage too!
I created a little potted herb garden for the top shelf of their plant/bar cart. I used plain terra cotta pots and some outdoor paint in a coordinating turquoise color around the rim. Then I finished them off with an oil-based paint pen for labeling.
As much as I love their new outdoor dining area…………
I’m kind of partial to their new outdoor living area.
And I think the Cress Family is too!
I mean what’s not to love about this gorgeous rug, comfy sectional, and cool plant stand? Add in these giant brightly colored planters and fun pillows and anyone would love this fun set-up in their backyard. But the real star of this outdoor living room is this AMAZING GAS FIRE COLUMN?!
It’s GAS people, as in you turn a knob and poof you have a FIRE! I love this thing…….can you tell? Clearly, I’m not alone. Look at this sweet face!
I know this adorable family will enjoy plenty of summer nights around this fire. This outdoor sectional boasts plenty of seating and is positioned well to watch what’s going on in the pool.
Which brings me to the last zone in their backyard, the little lounging spot on the backside of the pool. I wanted to brighten things up back there and make that part of their yard look and feel more welcoming.
I think these bright turquoise adirondack chairs did the trick. The color looks so great against the dark brown fence and plays off the color of the pool really nicely. The zigzag pillows are so fun too, and I seriously love these little mason jar solar lights! I think I need some of these in my own backyard!
This spot is perfect for relaxing poolside, and to bring in more of a summer party atmosphere I also brought in a few torch lights for the back side of this fence.
While there’s no way this makeover could have happened in less than two days without a crew of people to help, the ideas here are completely achievable for anyone no matter your diy skill set. It’s truly amazing what just a little elbow grease and some strategic planning can do for a space!
I had such a great time working on this backyard makeover. I’m so grateful to Lowe’s for including me in this project, and I’m extremely grateful for the team of volunteers who helped to execute this plan so quickly! What a great bunch of people!
Without a doubt the best part of this project was seeing the look on the homeowners faces when it was all said and done. Later that night after we’d all gone home this sweet lady texted me, “Can’t believe we get to live here this summer!” That just totally made my day!
*This post was obviously sponsored by Lowe’s. I was honored to partner with them on this spring makeover campaign. The thoughts, opinions, photography and clear obsession with the gas fire column and outdoor plant cart are all my own. Thanks for supporting Our Fifth House sponsors.