Backyard Home Improvement Under a Budget

Posted On : 10 Nov 2022
Backyard After Hurricane Ian



A peaceful Oasis in the corner of your home. Home improvements don't have to be done in one day or even one weekend.

" The most challenging part will be the labor if you choose to do it yourself. I recommend that you do, it's a great exercise and very therapeutic. "

Buying a home may not always turn out the way you believed. However, you CAN turn it into your little oasis away from the mayhem and hectic political environment in today’s society. Becoming a new homeowner shouldn’t just be about putting a roof over your head. If that’s the only purpose you purchase a new home for, then you’re selling your home short. You’re not really envisioning what your new environment can provide with a little home improvement under a budget.

Backyard Before Improvements
Backyard Section, Before Improvements were made.
Before image of Backyard Home Improvement
Backyard Section, Before Improvements were made.

Getting Started: Preparing the Backyard for Big Changes

In this article, we’re going to keep it light, but we’re going to provide you with some affordable items to help you improve your backyard. The following items can be found at any major home improvement store.

  • Sifting container with chicken wire or something similar, or you can also build one. I did.
  • A handy shovel to dig the ground while you re-soil.
  • A few pots from Ross, can run you about $15 for a decent sized pot.
  • Miracle Grow in-ground soil.
  • Miracle Grow Moisture Control potting mix, (The one in the baby blue bag.)
  • Black ground covering or tarp to put over the renovated ground. Usually known as “weed barrier”.
  • Your preferred plants to put in the ground
  • Pine Bark for decorative ground texture.

The most challenging part will be the labor if you choose to do it yourself. I recommend that you do, it’s a great exercise and very therapeutic. If you have the time during the weekends, you can tackle a little of it at a time. I was able to do this, while repairing my fence that was damaged by hurricane Ian.

The first step is to clear the ground completely of any debris. You want to make your project as pleasant as possible. Getting everything out of your workspace could help you picture your backyard like a white canvas. You can picture and even design what you want your space to look like, it’s very simple and you don’t need renovation experience to get it done.

Shovel & a Sifting Container:

Once your space is clear of any obstructions, you want to use the shovel and the sifting container to dig 1.5 to 2 feet into the ground. As you do this, make sure to put all the sand through the sifting container to separate the weeds in the ground from the soil. This is the time to clear as much items as you can from the ground, remove as many weeds as possible before you re-soil.

Miracle Grow In-Ground Soil and Potting Soil

Once the soil has been cleared of any weed particles as best as possible, you can begin to mix the old soil with your new in-grown soils from Miracle Grow. You can also visit your favorite local plant nursery and check out their planting soils and compost.

If you have a tiller, this would be the best recommended way to go. However, the tiller will not go as far deep as you can with the shovel. You want to make sure you go deep enough to provide future nutrients to the growing roots of the foliage you intend to plant. Turn this mix of soil over and over to make sure there’s a well-balanced amount of each soil.

If you’re only using the ground and one specific compound of soil that’s store bought. Then, you will want to do a mixture of 50/50 equal parts for the space you dug up. If you’re using 3 types of soils, as I have outlined in this article. Then you may want to shoot for 33/33/33.

Black Ground Covering or Tarp

Once you’ve re-soiled the ground and leveled the floor as best as possible. (Remember, this is a fun DIY project, so don’t beat yourself up over perfection.) You wanted to look good, but it doesn’t have to be the most dramatic transformation in town either. The next step is to use the black backyard ground covering (weed barrier) to place it all over the newly renovated soil.

You want to try and cover every aspect of the ground as best as possible to avoid future weed roots from growing too quickly.

Time for Planting

Time to plant the Beautiful Flowers and plants you’ve bought. A quick friendly hack is to go to a neighbor that has lots of plants and ask to cut off a piece of their collection of plants, put it in water (with root booster) to grow roots and then replant them. This can be a lot faster than growing your own from a seed. It’s also free.

The first step is to make holes on the black tarp. Those will be the locations where you’ll be planting. Use the shovel to remove the amount of soil you’re going to replace with the plant. Be sure to leave a suitable space between the plant and the edge of the weed barrier. Think of a minimum of 6-inch diameter at the base, between the weed barrier and the plant itself. Also, remember not to drown the plant in soil neck deep. If you see a few of the top roots in the center, you are doing well.

Lay Pine Bark Over the Weed Barrier

This part is simple, just lay the bags of pine bark over all the square footage of black weed barrier. You want to do no less than 4 inches in high but can do as much as 6 inches if you’d like. I have dogs that like to kick the pine barks around, so I add more for such a scenario.

Make sure that the pine barks are also kept at a distance from the base of the plants in the ground, to the pine barks on the weed barrier. Once you have all the pine bark laid out, you can begin working with the plant pots.

Reaching the finish Line

The potting is something to add a little extra to the environment. The pots can be stimulating if you pick some really interesting and colorful ones. You can set the plant pots on the pine bark, just remember to move some of the large pieces out of the bottom of the pots. You can them to look grounded and balanced.

Below are some of the costs you can expect to pay for some of the yard materials.

  • Pine Bark, $4 to $5 per bag
  • Miracle Grow In-Ground soil, $8 to $9 per large bag
  • Miracle Grow Moisture Control soil $17 to $20 per large bag
  • Plants can vary depending on your creation
  • Medium to Large Pots, $15 to $20 per pot
  • Weed Barrier, $35 for each 50ft long

After Hurricane Ian

After Hurrican Ian pummeled the State of Florida, many fences went down across the neighborhood. I spent my time repairing large parts of the fence that was torn down by the hurricane. The following images are a good display of how the improvements previously made, can look even better with new materials in place.

Keep in mind that none of these improvements were made in one day. As lifestyles go, many of us are well consumed with our jobs and family. You can make subtle changes to your space until you can reach a goal of completion in phases. This makes the job and your milestones more attainable, and you can look forward to multiple completed successes during your improvement journey.

I hope the before and after photos provided can give you some motivation to improve the surroundings in your home. If you’re looking to purchase a home in Central Florida, contact us today to help you reach your property investment goals.

About Angel Ramos REALTOR®

Angel Ramos is a REALTOR in and near the Tampa area, with a focus on property listings, relocation services, commercial investment opportunities and residential investments. He also owns and manages Cubic IT Consulting and the People's Olive Branch.