Crash It Yourself (Part One)

Over the next month or so, I'm going to be blogging my steps to crashing your own backyard.  I sincerely wish I could get to everyone's yard in the nation, but there are so many yards and only one of me.  Renovating a backyard is a challenge no matter who you are.  My back is still sore from some of the yards I've built.   Before you get started on yours, sit down, take a deep breath and consider the following.  

Step 1:  Set your budget.  This will give you a great jumping-off point.  Your budget can make the decision between hiring a contractor to do etched custom concrete for your patio or laying some gravel yourself.  Both are sufficient hardscapes: one is just more wallet-friendly.  Having a budget also brings the reality into your design a bit.  I'm not saying you can't get the look you want, but with a smaller budget, you just might have to get more creative.  

This will also help you in the planning process of "subbing" out your work.  You can save a ton of money by doing things yourself, but certain jobs should be left to the pros if you are not comfortable.  I would say concrete work is the number one thing I sub out.  You can do masonry block projects and stone facing on your own, but anything involving poured patios or driveways should be done by someone who really knows what they are doing.

Gravel patio: although cheaper than concrete, can still give you a beautiful look.

Gravel patio: although cheaper than concrete, can still give you a beautiful look.

The prep is a lot of work, and if it's not done right (cracking, poor drainage and discoloration are huge risks), all that time and money you put in will be for nothing.  Trust me, your back will thank you if you invest in professional help with concrete jobs.

nce you've set your budget, start looking at home-improvement magazines and watch shows like mine for ideas that fit.  I try to incorporate a lot of budget-friendly projects on my show that produce great results.  The ideas are out there, just don't expect them all to come to you at the same time.  Research and marinate on ideas for four to six weeks and write everything down that interests you.  Now, you are ready to design! 

o... where do you start the design?  Check back next week and I'll show you the secret to design like a pro.  And believe me... it's easier than you think....  

Before you crash your own yard, know exactly how much you want to crash your bank account.