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In the first of our two-part series, we begin the makeover of a neglected backyard to turn it into maintenance free, family friendly retreat with a composite deck, vinyl privacy fence, storage building and more.

Master landscape plan for Today's Backyard.
Master landscape plan for Today’s Backyard.

Master Landscaping Plan

Commissioning a master plan for your yard from a licensed landscape architect is a great way to get an overall perspective of what you would like to accomplish and where various components and plantings will go.

The various features of a master landscape plan don’t have to be implemented all at once but can be spread out over time.

Watch our video on How to Draw Landscape Plans to find out more.

Pressure treated wood framing for Today's Backyard deck.
Pressure treated wood framing for Today’s Backyard deck.

Composite Deck and Railings

The first project in our backyard makeover was building a 14’ x 24’ composite deck on the back of the house. Composite deck material is made from a mixture of plastic resin and wood flour to create a product that’s both rot and termite resistant.

Composite deck railings.
Composite deck railings.

The framing for the deck was constructed of pressure treated wood with 4×4 posts set in concrete. Outer band joists were then attached to the posts and support joists attached to the band joists on 16” centers using metal straps.

Once the framing had been completed, TimberTech Earthwood composite decking was attached to the joists using stainless steel screws. The 1” thick by 5½” wide decking requires little maintenance and is designed to mimic the look of tropical hardwood without the upkeep.

Composite handrails and posts for the deck—also made by TimberTech—were installed around the deck and down the steps.

Watch our video on DIY Composite Deck Installation to find out more.

Vinyl privacy fence in Today's Backyard.
Vinyl privacy fence in Today’s Backyard.

Vinyl Privacy Fence

A vinyl privacy fence was installed following the property lines in the yard. When installing a fence in your yard, check local building codes and neighborhood covenants for any restrictions, and check the fence location against a survey of the lot to make sure the fence is on your property.

The vinyl fence components were assembled on the ground then lifted into place. The posts were then aligned before being set in concrete. Like composite decking materials, vinyl fencing is low maintenance and lasts for years without painting.

Read our article on Fences: Surrounding Your Surroundings to find out more.

Storage Building

Site built storage shed.
Site built storage shed.

To provide additional storage space, a 10’ x 14’ storage building from Handy Home Products was constructed in the back of the lot for storing lawn equipment and gardening supplies.

The shed was constructed using precut wood framing and built on the site in less than a day. Prefab and custom storage buildings are available from home centers in a wide range of styles and sizes.

Read our article on Designing and Building a Storage Shed to find out more.

Other Tips from This Episode

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
DIY Painter’s Tape Belt Holder

DIY Painter’s Tape Belt Holder with roll of tape on it.

Painter’s tape works much better than standard masking tape for protecting molding and trim when painting, since the easy release adhesive doesn’t pull fresh paint off when it’s removed. To make a homemade belt holder to keep a roll of painter’s tape handy when painting, simply cut a wire clothes hanger to length, and bend it into a “U” shape with an extra bend that hooks on your belt.

Best New Products with Danny Lipford:
Vigoro Ultra Turf Grass Seed

Bag of Vigoro Ultra Turf Grass Seed

Vigoro Ultra Turf contains a genetically engineered mixture of different grass seeds that are self-repairing, making it perfect for filling in bare spots in your lawn. Several different mixes are available, depending on your climate and how much sun or shade the lawn receives. To plant, use a rake to loosen up the soil, broadcast the seed, and keep the area moist for several days to ensure germination.

Around the Yard with Tricia Craven Worley:
Planting Bed Soil Recipe

Rich soil mixture in wheelbarrow.

To create good, rich soil for planting flowers, vegetables, or shrubs in planting beds in your yard, mix together four parts potting soil, one part compost, one half part bone meal to provide needed minerals, and one quarter part Epson salt (magnesium sulfate) to help with root growth. Mix all the ingredients together in a wheelbarrow, then work the mixture into the existing soil in your planting beds. (Watch Video)

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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