One of my favorite things about developing outdoor spaces is the creative challenge of working with existing elements in the yard to create something that’s unique and appealing. Because let’s face it, some things are difficult to change. Plus, it’s much more economical.

For example, a storage shed is a necessary part of this backyard, so the owners decided to make it a focal point instead of something to overlook.

First, they painted it in a color that coordinates with the house itself. Then they added what looks like a pair of shuttered windows to boost visual interest.

In reality, it’s just a few 1-by-4s that were nailed up on the middle of a long, otherwise blank wall and painted a contrasting color. This took just a few dollars and an hour or two of work that anyone can do.

An arbor and a bar came later to make this spot not only a focal point, but also a “destination” within the yard.

Obviously, this took a little more work, a little more skill, and a little more money. But it’s still a very simple improvement that you can tackle in a weekend or two.

Here’s a tip if you’re building with pressure-treated wood: be sure to seal it to protect the wood and keep it looking new.

To continue the “destination” theme and provide convenient access to both areas, these stepping stones create a useful pathway that forks to take you to the shed — or the bar.

And of course, because we’re outside, there are lots of opportunities to accent with plants like this climbing vine or these hanging baskets. 

Adding a few cafe lights to the arbor also makes this arrangement an interesting focal point after dark too. So, take a look around your yard, see what you have to work with, and then make the most of it.

The Backyard Life tips are sponsored by Exmark Mowers.

Watch the video above to find out more.

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Jodi Marks

Best New Products Host

Jodi Marks is a construction expert and television personality who’s always on the lookout for ways to make a job easier as she hosts “Best New Products” for Today’s Homeowner. After obtaining a degree in psychology, she joined her father's construction company as a project manager. Jodi's career in television began when she was selected to co-host the series Fix It Up! on Home and Garden Television (HGTV). She went on to host several other shows on HGTV, Turner South, and TBS, and co-created The Tile Doctor series with Paul Wilson. Jodi also earned her general contractor's and real estate licenses in Georgia and has been renovating and flipping houses.

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