Small Yard, Big Renovation

You’ve heard of tiny homes. You know, those itty bitty buildings that could pass as tree houses or a kid’s play place? They are small but efficient, a smart and simplified space that is thoughtfully arranged to include all the important stuff in one bite-sized unit. Well that’s what we make sometimes but the difference, of course, is we do it with someone’s yard.

This client had a small backyard in Dahlonega with an existing patio, hot tub, a covered sitting area, and a firepit in the middle of the grass. They wanted what anyone wants out of a small space: function. Just like a tiny home, every inch of the yard needed to be restructured and utilized to fit the client’s needs. So we did just that. 

The Plan

To start, I created a design that showed the client how we would make the old space flow with the new. Our proposed renovations included a new paver patio that extends out into the yard, river rock and square flat walking stones around the base of the existing concrete, a stone pathway to a storage unit in the back, new sod and plantings, and large natural stone steps to help traverse the steep hill that leads to the lower part of the property.

To begin, we had to remove lots of sod. We had to dig and make room for the new patio that would take up most of the grass on the upper level of the yard.
Here is another “before” picture highlighting all the grass we would remove.
Here is the hill where we planned for the stone stairs to go. On top of the stone steps being a functional element of the yard, they are also a design tool that connects the lower yard to the upper, making it more cohesive and aesthetically inviting.
This image shows the pathway we would replace. The client wanted us to add a small storage unit in the back of the yard near the fence. 


Our first issue was one we run into often: matching old pavers with new ones. To the right of the concrete where the hot tub sits is a patio made of assorted square pavers. We wanted to add a patio on the other side of the concrete, catty corner to this patio, but we knew it would have to match or else it wouldn’t look good. 

Here is an image of the old pavers.
Here are the pavers we thankfully found after lots and lots of searching. The added issue was also that these were only available in large quantities.

Another challenge was how difficult it was to transport all our materials to the backyard. The space in between properties was very narrow so everything had to be moved by hand. 

In this picture you can see the small space we were dealing with. Above this retaining wall was the client’s land and below it was the neighbor’s. We did not build this wall and it seemed to have issues so walking on it was a safety hazard. What we were left with was the narrow strip of grass at the edge of the house.

Big Renovation

Voila! Here is the end result. As you can see, the space is small but it feels big and luxurious due to thoughtful and strategic planning, just like a tiny house! 
This picture shows the view from inside the patio. Multiple seating areas with comfy cushions and rugs surrounded by lush, green nature create a warm, relaxing atmosphere.
This photo highlights the grilling area complete with river rock to protect against any drainage issues around the concrete.
Here is the pathway to the storage unit. You can also see the two different (but similar) pavers. The old is on the left and the new is on the right.
Here is another image showcasing the matching old and new pavers. You can also see the other entrance to the home. Now their primary bedroom opens up to a nice patio and their whole backyard!

Here are some side by side “before and after” photos (because everyone loves a good makeover.)

Overall, this project was a challenge but as always, we enjoyed it! Making the space work and satisfying our client’s needs is what gets us pumped. We were happy they were happy. 

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