Before & After: Emily and Ryan’s Suburban Oasis

I’d like to introduce you to Erin Lang-Norris.  Erin is going to help me find and write about your makeovers!  Erin can normally be found at her own blog Operation Paper Cut  or at Yellow Canoe — but I am so excited to welcome her here too.   If you have a great garden-related makeover project that you would like to share with PITH + VIGOR readers, please send us pictures and tell us about it.   And also, welcome Erin with her first post! – rochelle

When my husband and I were looking for our first house, we both agreed pretty heavily on one thing: it had to have a big yard. And so, off we went, 20 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin, to find a house with a bigger lot than the patio-sized landscape we’d be able to afford in Madison. While we do love our home, we quickly realized something: having a huge yard means having a huge list of chores, all of the time.

before and after, backyard, hardscape, landscape, makeover, small yard, texture, patio, path, stone
An empty builder-grade patio, a pile of mulch, and a flat patch of grass is the uninspired starting point of many suburban gardens. But there is a much prettier garden to come.

If I had seen these photos of Emily and Ryan’s backyard makeover before we moved, I may have had a different agenda when it came to the must-haves for our first house.

before and after, backyard, hardscape, landscape, makeover, small yard, texture, patio, path, stone
This small suburban backyard makeover creates an oasis for a family near Madison, WI.

Over the course of five years, they have transformed their tiny stretch of turf into an outdoor space that’s nothing short of amazing.

They ditched their barren lawn-filled yard for a super cool patio that’s laid back and perfect for entertaining. Emily jokes that adding the trellis distracted their guests from the houses peering over the fence, and she is totally right- the trellis makes a huge difference!

But my favorite part of their “new yard” is the stone path and beautiful plants. You can see more of their projects over on their blog. – erin

More Suburban Yard Makeover Posts to help you create your own backyard oasis:

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  1. Laurrie says:

    I love these before and after posts. This one is really nicely done in a small area.

    There is another great makeover at Sue’s blog Idyll Haven that I came across today.

    If you contact her she may agree to be featured here. I loved her before and after (and mid construction) story.

  2. TyrantFarms says:

    Really nice makeover! You guys really started with a blank slate. What edible plants did you incorporate into your landscaping?

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