before photo of a backyard with a tire swing and a large tree

Dream Garden Makeover (before)

Grass and a tree with a tire swing were fine for active, growing kids. Once the youngsters reached college age, though, the family decided it was time for change.


backyard lily pond surrounded by stones with a couple of lawn chairs positioned at the edge

Dream Garden Makeover (after)

Within a few months, the garden became an oasis. A generous patio is also an outdoor dining room, where curving beds frame the space and offer soothing views from every angle.

 


driveway with a corner of un-used space

Party Makeover (before)

Begging for attention, this back corner was a yawner. The driveway was perfect for seating but needed a party atmosphere makeover.


Tall white drapes are hung around the driveway space with a loveseat with cotton cushions and side chairs arranged in a u-shape to create an outdoor room. Ferns in containers and other hanging flowers are hung throughout the space.

Party Makeover (after)

Check it out now. Cushy, deep seating with clean lines makes for a comfortable place for hanging out, while sheers suspended from supports create the ultimate chill zone.

 


exterior of a rundown shed

Shed Revival (before)

Evan Sagerman and Marci Riseman found space for this guest suite and entertaining area in an unlikely place: a tiny, ramshackle shed in the backyard of their San Francisco Victorian home.


shed turned into a guest suite with a tan exterior and blue painted French double doors opened into a patio

Shed Revival (after)

The makeover became an exercise in preservation and space planning. The interior of the shed has a clean, open layout, inspired by boat cabins.

 


old, freestanding garage with a set of white doors

Aging Garage (before)

This crumbling garage seemed to hold little promise for stylish live/work space.


white, stylish garage remodeled into guest quarters

Aging Garage (after)

The remodel enlarged the building to include a bathroom, loft, and a small roof deck, so it can double as guest quarters. It can also still function as a garage thanks to a set of glass-paneled Dutch doors opening on the plywood-paneled office side.

 


old backyard deck with wooden square scaffolding on the edge and outdoor table and chairs

Five-Star Deck Dining (before)

Before its transformation, tumbleweeds had more fun on this deck than people did. There was no privacy, no ambience, no plants--just minimal seating that offered a less-than-stunning view of the adjacent carport.


white candles are placed on the wooden ledges surrounding the deck with a table decorated with lemons in bowls, a hanging lantern, white plates and wine glasses

Five-Star Deck Dining (after)

This forgotten deck transformed into an enticing outdoor dining room.

 


bare front porch with red tile and a stone ledge around the perimeter

Front Porch Makeover (before)

It's amazing how great minds don't always think alike. Given the challenge of decorating a totally blank porch area, three editors came up with three unique -- and totally different -- designs.


front porch with porch furniture (love seat and chairs with white cushions, colorful, red side table and a white bean bag in the middle with a guitar on top)

Front Porch Makeover (after)

One of our editors created a bohemian chic, inviting space that could easily accommodate hanging out with friends yet still be cozy enough for just one or two.

 


run-down cabin with a sloped roof on top of the deck

Amazing Cabin Makeover (before)

Abandoned for six years, this Alaska cabin was a dump. Its previous owners had left behind moldy bags of clothes and thrown out their furniture in the yard. The porch had collapsed, the basement walls had rotted, and a hemlock tree was growing through the roof. Apart from the basement, the house measured only 740 square feet ― and the only access was by boat or by hiking down a half-mile trail.


tan cabin in the woods with red door

Amazing Cabin Makeover (after)

After a monumental cleanup, the young homeowners ripped off the hazardous porch and re-plumbed the house. They took out walls and stripped the kitchen and bath down to the studs. Western red cedar shingles replaced the rotting siding, and the front door was painted crimson. Now the revamped cabin makes the most of its small scale.

 


Mediterranean-style, stucco, white-washed house

Tuscan-Inspired Entry (before)

An asphalt driveway butted directly against the stark white walls of this unadorned Mediterranean-style home. There were no attractive plantings to soften the appearance and draw the eye.


lush, planting beds, bushes and container plants line the front of the Mediterranean style home

Tuscan-Inspired Entry (after)

New planting beds direct guests to an entry path framed by terracotta planters and a trellis rising from low walls.

 


before photo of a backyard with no landscaping in place

Garden in a Weekend (before)

With a bit of planning you can turn an empty spot in your lawn into a perfect outdoor spot to enjoy the fall weather.


garden border with red flowers, monkey grass, and boxwood bushes in the back with an Irish setter dog sitting in the front

Garden in a Weekend (after)

Fall is the perfect time to update your garden with seasonal sales, less bugs, and quicker planting results. You can plan, shop and plant in between watching your favorite college football games.

 


1960s Alpine chalet style house

Exterior Renovation (before)

At first, the homeowners wondered if there was any hope for this 1960s Alpine chalet located far from ski country.


brick columns flank the front of the remodeled home with large windows with black shutters and window dormers open up the shingle roof

Exterior Renovations (after)

Fieldstone columns, finely detailed dormers, and a wood-shingled roof helped transform this house into a cottage-style haven.

 


woman planting orange flowers in white flower boxes to fix up the front of your house

Fix Up a Front Entry (before)

You don’t need a huge grounds crew to improve your home’s exterior. A few quick and easy updates can increase your curb appeal in as little as a weekend.


front of a home with flower boxes full of orange flowers

Fix Up a Front Entry (after)

It's hard to believe that a window box, a few artfully placed containers, and new, painted shutters could make such a huge difference. These small improvements are great for boosting a home's curb appeal.

 


a before photo of the driveway outside of a home

Pretty Parking (before)

You’ve probably fallen prey to this situation: Someone parks behind you and blocks you in. To combat such frustrations, these homeowners addressed their driveway when it was time to spruce up the exterior of their Mountain Brook, Alabama home.


driveway with parking spaces set in front of the home with stone steps leading directly up to the front door

Pretty Parking (after)

No other area outside the front door gets more use than where you park your car. Shouldn’t it look great and be efficient? Smart design ideas such as dividing it into two levels made the hike from the parking area to the front door safer and less tiring.

 


backyard with empty pavement slab, and bushes bordering the edge

Dream Yard (before)

Before the makeover, this family’s only outdoor space was a lifeless rectangular parking pad of concrete, gravel, and asphalt next to their busy street. There was no fence for privacy and no plants to soften the landscape.


bright and colorful backyard with a striped tablecloth over an outdoor table with a wooden garden shed, in the background

Dream Yard (after)

Now it’s a courtyard for summer dining and entertaining. Fencing across the back of the driveway creates a private 33- by 25-foot outdoor room paved with Pennsylvania bluestone. Greenery and a garden shed creates a sheltering screen.

 


red wildflowers in a garden landscape with a teak bench set against a wall in the corner of the garden

Garden Makeover Ideas

Increase your home's curb and backyard appeal with a garden makeover.

 


before photo of a tan bungalow home

Small and Crafty (before)

With less than 700 square feet to it and few distinguishing characteristics, this tiny house wouldn't have looked promising to many. Its buyers, however, knew they had a gem in the rough.


bungalow home with a large bush in front and a low wall around the front of the yard

Small and Crafty (after)

New redwood and shingle siding made it feel more Craftsman-like. A more dominant gable now spans the full width of the house. Two widely spaced stone pillars and a cozy new porch create the look of a classic bungalow.

 


barren front yard of a small home with grass and a sidewalk

Cheery New Entry (before)

This front yard was almost barren, and there was a dangerous drop-off between the front walk and a deeply recessed driveway.


purple flowers line the front of a white fence with yellow flowers lining the front of the house

Cheery New Entry (after)

A fence encloses the yard and runs along the sidewalk and the driveway. Inside the fence, a curving path of flagstones threads through a cottage garden to the front door

 


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