Spring is finally here, and with it comes an influx of outdoor renovation projects, which are my favorites. Do I love them best because I have no backyard? Probably, but I see no harm in enjoying the vicarious thrill of watching people weed, plant and build their dream gardens. If the time comes for me to own a little plot of outdoor space, you can bet I’ll be taking tips from Before & Afters like this one.
Using almost entirely salvaged materials and performing their own laborious weed exorcism, Clayton and Chaz created a beautiful, serene space on an extremely limited budget. I find it incredibly inspiring to see such a wealth of great materials; it just takes patience and perseverance to seek them out and a lovely, simple design to let the beauty of those raw materials show through. Great work, guys! — Kate
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Time: The renovation took probably a solid 30 hours. However, the brunt of the time (I’d say about half) was spent taking down the old fence and taming the wild beast of “Terabithia” (as Chaz would say). We don’t live close to one another, so weekends and workdays about every three weeks were scheduled. So it took a summer, but at an elongated pace.
Cost: $210 ($40 for screws & nails; $10 for two 2 x 4s; $60 for three bags of cement for mortar and setting fence posts; $25 dollars for two bags of decorative beach stones; $5 for a water pump from Goodwill; $20 for tchotchkes from Goodwill; $50 for lemon tree and moss)
Basic Steps: We’re college/post college students who don’t really have the budget to throw down on something of a grander scale. As such, the backyard was redone with about 95 percent salvaged materials (with the exception of the plants, two bags of rocks, one 2 x 4 for framing a few things, and screws). Old industrial light shades and cemetery fencing create floating planters. Salvaged wood, inspired by Nightwood, constitutes the back fence. An old sink, salvaged wood, an old ceramic telephone pole insulator, and a few rocks give life to a fountain.
Basically we had to clear out the backyard first to get a better feel for what the yard should look like. We had a brainstorming get-together to look through Sunset magazines, come up with a color palette, and buckle on the main components (e.g., planter box, water feature, new fence). Then we went dumpster diving at the architecture department and old dilapidated houses. Then we just tried to work with the things that we found (like the old industrial lamp shades and cemetery fencing).
A blank canvas (clear space) is a great way to see the potential of a new space. When you’re working with salvaged materials and a budget, flexibility tends to be key. Look at found objects from many different perspectives. — Clayton