When I bought my house a few years ago, it had a huge front yard, no backyard and two rather large side yards. While this might be a problem for some, I saw potential. What was once a bland, boring and useless concrete patch got decked out, literally, for summer.
What: Redwood pergola and deck, French door, outlets and lighting
Time/Cost: 4 days with 4 carpenters, $2000 materials/labor
What I Learned: Always use hardy redwood–termites don’t like it. Requires maintenance (we re-stain every 3 years). Use existing framing to cut costs for doors. Have the deck do double duty by using the area beneath to store outdoor furniture, etc.
Result: Gorgeous outdoor space connected to the dining room with hanging lights and bouganvilla growing on the pergola