Skip to Content

Rustic Cottage Outdoor Makeover Before and After

I love a good before and after. This post is a before and after of our backyard makeover. When we moved in three years ago, our rustic cottage had been remodeled on the inside but the outside needed lots of help. This was our first major overhaul in our home. That being said, it’s taken a good three years to finally call our backyard complete.

I figured it was time to write this post. Like I said it’s been three years in the making. Three years since we moved into our rustic beach cottage. I don’t know that I’ve ever talked about this on the blog, but we purchased this home from a husband and wife house flipping team. They “flipped” the inside of the house but they didn’t touch the outside. Let me show you what the outside looked like right after we moved in.

before outdoor makeover

There was lots of overgrown brush and random ugly chain link fences (TWO of them!).

before outdoor makeover

Can’t you see the potential? The huge Oak trees and sprawling backyard was the calling card for us when we purchased it.

Rustic Cottage Outdoor Makeover Before and After

The first thing we did was list the chain link fence on facebook marketplace. Friends, my husband thought I was crazy but I listed it as “FREE FENCE, YOU COME DIG IT UP.” Within minutes it was spoken for and within a few days it was gone.

Leveling the backyard out

My husband borrowed a front loader tractor from a friend and “leveled” the yard out. We didn’t like the large abrupt slope behind where the old fence used to be.

leveling the ground with a tractor

It’s looking better already!

side of the house

Building a Platform Tree House

One of the first things we did after we leveled the ground and cleared out the fence was the DIY outdoor platform tree house. We wanted a place for the kids to climb trees. Climbing trees was such a big part of my childhood that I wanted my kids to have those memories too.

building the tree house
DIY tree house

We hired someone to come in and help us build it. If you are interested in building your own, you can purchase the downloadable tree house build plans here.

Extending the existing back porch

Next we added on to the existing (and very small) back porch. This was a labor intensive project that took us months (we took our time) but it was soooo worth it!

adding on to the back porch
back porch add on

SO much better now! I felt claustrophobic on our previous little square porch. You could barely walk around.

porch refresh with Joss and Main

Look how much more room we have! You can see the entire post about our cottage style back porch reveal here.

The Beginner’s garden

One thing my husband loves to do is plant a garden and watch it grow. We want our kids to be a part of creating something like a simple garden and eating the fruit and veggies that come from it!

DIY gravel patio with string lights

Next we tackled the side of the porch where the grinder pump sat. You can read about how we DIY’ed an outdoor table to hide an ugly grinder pump well.

outdoor table to hide grinder pump

We added a few string lights, a little gravel and BOOM- we had a new gravel patio area. No more ugly grinder pump well eye sore! You can see the full blog post about this transformation here.

DIY gravel patio

Sodding the back yard

The icing on the cake to all these projects was adding the sod. We chose to use an Empire Zoysia because it does well in the shade.

backyard with gravel patio

Doesn’t grass make all the difference?

Simple DIY fire pit

We love a good outdoor fire pit. Roasting s’mores isn’t the same without one. We used the left over pavers to erect a simple DIY fire pit that only took about an hour.

outdoor fire pit

We completed a handful of other projects that I didn’t blog about like adding a fence and a sprinkler system.

outdoor makeover
Before and after outdoor makeover

What do y’all think? Outdoor projects are very labor intensive but worth it in the end.

One of these days I hope to have a good front yard before and after. Until then, onto the next project.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Cordelia Miller says:

    Lindsey, I just love all of the things that you have done. You have done a great job and I love seeing what you come up with, and how you do all it. You are very talented and I hope you continue to love doing such great things.