Dressing Up a Blank Backyard

Tom and Lauren’s backyard was bare, but now it has a paver patio with a pergola, swing set, picnic table and lush landscaping.

When you own a brand-new home with a blank slate backyard, it takes some elbow grease to give it that “lived in” look.

Tom and Lauren moved into a new home, in a new development, with their son John Thomas about six months ago.

They have a blank space to fill, and Danny and Chelsea are here to help them.

Tom and Lauren’s backyard is like the other new houses on their block: bare, and waiting for some landscaping and extra living space.

The Projects


Excavate Grass for Patio


Sid Sexton is a local landscaper we’ve worked with before, and he’s great at helping homeowners develop long-term plans for their property.

In the future, when Tom and Lauren’s budget allow, Sid’s plan will specify other additions, like more trees and a raised vegetable garden.

For now, we’re going to focus on the patio, adding some landscaping, a pergola, a swing set and string lights.

Stakes and string mark the straight lines of the patio, but we’ll use marking paint for the curved lines of the planting beds.

Before we start digging, we sharpen our shovels with the belt sander.

Once we have all the soil moved to the low side of the patio, we pack it down with the plate compactor before we begin spreading the paver base.

Danny lays Pavestone pavers for Tom and Lauren’s patio.

Set Posts and Lay Pavers


Once the paver base is roughly graded, we run the plate compactor again to compress it before we begin pouring in the sand.

By the end of the first day, we’ve graded the sand over half the patio, so early on day two we’re ready for Pavestone pavers.

Tom and Lauren’s backyard is looking much less like a “blank slate” as the patio takes shape. Now, it’s time to add the posts for their new pergola.


  1. I live in a home built in 1960. We have added a family room and I need a basement washroom finished and a patio. I am 82 and soon to be 83, desire to sell the home due to my aging. I can no longer do the work itself. I live in North Dakota so work on the patio will have to wait till spring or summer. I notice that a great percentage of your TV presentations take place in a warmer climate. We just came out of a 6 day continuous period of temperatures below zero. How do i enter your contest for assisting the updating of homes? THANKS and i do enjoy your weekly Homeowner programs. Thank you for the quality production.

  2. I’ve always wanted a pergola but my patio has curves. This is in a courtyard with no covering or shade to speak of. How can you do a pergola on something that doesn’t have straight ones?

  3. I wish you would do episodes on desert labdscsping, and rescuing an overg t own landscape. We just moved to Arizona into a house built in the 70s. In preparation for selling, the previous owners scalped the bushes so badly that I don’t think they can be salvaged, and we don’t known where to start.

    • Hi, Susan,

      Thanks for your suggestion! We are always looking for ways to better serve our fans and enhance the television show.
      I have forwarded your message to the “Today’s Homeowner” producer for consideration.

      Take care!

  4. Thank you for the many great tips I have used over the years. Dressing up the blank back yard was good.
    We will be adding a roof to shade the Texas sun.
    Thanks for the email
    Donna Mullins
    Midlothian, Texas

  5. Hi, love this idea and thank you what a great way to fix up a back yard for not a lot of money! I have a question if I may , I have a tile floor bathroom and some grout is coming out of some tiles how do I fix this? Also, my daughters roll In shower stall ( she is special needs) has a mold issue down near where the wall meets floor, any ideas how to fix that? Same bathroom by the way. Thank you!

  6. above ground pool area has stones and bare ground. Tried to use for garden but not a good idea. Would like rocks out and sod put in. Just straight mowing would be wonderful.

  7. I watched this episode over the weekend and have to admit , I laughed. You asked what clear marker paint was used for? Well in construction, especially commercial, the layout guys or the contractor will snap chalk lines so everyone has a point to measure from. And a way to keep the chalk lines from wearing away it to once they are down spray clear marker paint over them so they’ll last longer. Hope that helps.

  8. I love all the gifts you give at helping homeowners and showing us ideas of taking care and upgrading our homes. Love watching all the shows. God Bless you and team for what you do.

  9. I have a patio that’s not covered and a front porch that need to be made nicer. Don’t know what to do. Can you help?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here