before and after best of: outdoors

Fall always seems to fly by faster than any other season. Before you know it, we will be closing our windows and heading indoors for some nesting (blankets, hot tea — you get the idea). I thought we should take a moment to celebrate the great outdoors with a roundup of our best outdoor-related Before & After projects. The amount of dedication, energy and creativity shown in these projects amazes and truly inspires me to find an outdoor space to make my very own. I hope they inspire you, as well, and that we can all get outdoors and make something cool before the colder weather kicks in. Enjoy! — Kate

Image above: Deborah turned an old pallet into a simple and charming outdoor potting station.

This post is brought to you by Lowe’s. Find inspiration and encouragement as you plan, begin and complete do-it-yourself projects at Lowe’s Home 101.

See all of our best outdoor-related Before & After projects after the jump!

Images above: With some serious elbow grease, Karen was able to completely transform her outdoor space into a chic, modern backyard oasis.

Images above: Heike used old glass windows to create this awesome outdoor hideaway for relaxing in nature.

Image above: Arnod created an ingenious retractable bench and table out of pine to utilize his outdoor patio space.

Images above: Landscape designer Nick McCullough spent two months on this incredible backyard transformation for a client.

Images above: Karen shows her creative genius yet again with these globe bird feeders made from old light fixtures.

Images above: Jess Chamberlain from Sunset Magazine shared some of their favorite salvaged outdoor projects, including this ladder gardening shelf.

Images above: For her patio makeover, Alicia added tall greenery for privacy and a modern dining setup perfect for cozy backyard gatherings.

Images above: Using gravel, veggie gardens and a simple layout, Jess created a beautiful backyard space with a great color palette of cool, weathered grays and bright lime greens.

Images above: Karen gives her home exterior an ultra-modern touch with dark, dramatic siding.

Images above: Matthew proves nothing need go to waste with his inventive file cabinet planter.

Images above: Dan transformed his home’s exterior with cool waved siding and a complete landscape redesign.

Images above: Karen creates a charming birdbath for her backyard, this time out of some dowels and a serving bowl.

  1. Bobbie says:

    Wow!! so inspiring!! the most amazing one is the one with a formal pond! I would do mine that way if I could do it over (which would mean tearing down our brick pond which I think I will pass…

  2. Sara says:

    Awesome ideas and inspiration! The pebble/gravel patio is just what I need!
    Great roundup

  3. Genius! I may have to borrow Jess Chamberlain’s ladder shelving idea for my booth at holiday craft shows…. It’s so darn brilliant!!

  4. Amber says:

    I love these! I’m ready to scour my neighborhood for discard to make new lovely things! I am actually in the process of making a coffee table out of a pallet and can’t wait to show the results on my own page.

  5. Thomas says:

    Why did they all remove the grass?

  6. Evita says:

    Hooray, so many wonderful bits of inspiration! I adore everything, especially the front of the house in the last photo set.

  7. Faith says:

    @Thomas: Sometimes grass is just inconvenient to water, grow, maintain, mow… so it seems more economical to remove it. Here, if you don’t water your lawn every week it shrivels up and dies, which can seem wasteful of water.


  8. ModFruGal says:

    Thanks so much for including me in this round-up. I’m looking forward to your Nashville stop on the book tour!
    ps… I adore Karen, and she is much more talented than I am, but I might have to take credit for the metal siding on our house! :)
    Thanks again…see you soon!

  9. patricia says:

    Such great ideas!! I’m loving the gravel backyard more and more—this drought is contributing to those thoughts.

  10. So many good ideas! I can’t get over how beautiful the built in water feature is in the first before and after, and I am absolutely in love with the dark metal siding on the ultra modern home.

  11. SO many sweet ideas, I really need to get stuck into our garden! Really love the pallet table, I’ve always wanted to make something out of an old pallet!

  12. Thanks so much for posting the roundup! I’m relatively new to D*S so I missed many of these. Am still in the daydreaming stage of my awesome eat, read & hang out with the furbaby’s outdoor room. In Hawaii, we can chill in the great outdoors all year long. Mahalo Nui Loa for the inspiring images and ideas…

  13. Bruce says:

    Thanks for featuring the pallet potting bench! What started as an idea to re-purpose a free pallet off Craigslist has blossomed into an entire new venture. I’ve moved to Seattle where I am still making pallet furniture plus more refined furniture using salvaged lumber.
    Check us out at
    And thanks again for the mention and I am on the Seattle waiting list for your book tour! Hope to see you then!

  14. i don’t even know where to begin, i love every single one of these before and afters!! my backyard needs a total make-over and this has given me lots to think about. thanks!

  15. So inspiring! I am always so impressed by the vision behind a good before and after. It is amazing what landscaping can do.

  16. Katie says:

    Very cool redesigns! I love seeing how things get reimagined. It also makes me want to talk my dad into turning the huge gun cabinet left in his backyard by the former tenant into a sweet outdoor bar. I’m definitely inspired!

  17. Hannah D says:

    The transformation on the house looks amazing. The waved siding looks really cool and the landscaping is great.

  18. Lotta says:

    This was an interesting post and the first time I’ve come across a cultural thingie on D*S. I live in Finland where we apparently value nature and a natural look very, very highly – a fact that I noticed when I thought, “oh no, they’ve ruined the Nature” about almost every project. The yards were beautiful and tidy and neat but, for me, they definitely lacked grass and moss and bushes and wild-ish flowers. So the last project was absolutely my favourite :).

  19. leslie says:

    Looks like everyone hates grass :)

  20. evaone says:

    i was really inspired to do it in our garden… i love the hanging globe bird feeders..

  21. Pawky says:

    Some people seem to have the knack for simple but original ideas. I love things like the ladder gardening shelf and the serving bowl bird feeder. So jealous. Thanks for the great roundup.

  22. Laurie says:

    These are inspired! The glass house and the feeders out of the orbs. Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but they should throw compliments! Awesome!

  23. Raven says:

    Wow these were the MOST inspiring yet!


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