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The young family who lives in this Houston Heights home purchased a Partial Yard package from Yardzen to help transform their backyard. The one big challenge: a small budget at $8,000. (Yardzen works with ALL budgets. Learn more about budgeting in our Guide to Landscaping Costs). Their goals for the yard: beautify the fence—it’s sturdy but needed a freshening, create a space for the grill, camouflage exterior wiring, include low-maintenance, hardy plants, and create a simple seating area on the side of the garden that gets the most shade. So, our design team set to work to create a beautiful, inexpensive backyard makeover.

“Before” of the backyard

“Before” of the backyard

“Before” facing the house

“Before” facing the house

Yardzen’s talented team of designers are experts in design engineering, and this designer got creative with smart, inexpensive solutions to help this family achieve their goals. First, to create a simple seating area, we created a pathway and patio of poured concrete pavers. The pavers are the most significant expense in the yard. Pavers: $5,120.

budget backyard makeover 2

To add beauty and fullness to the yard, our designer included a mix of panicle hydrangea, plantain lily, and kimberley fern, all of which will thrive in the partially shaded side of the yard. Hydrangeas were one of the homeowner’s top requests, but most varieties won’t stand up to southern Texas’ heat, so we chose a panicle hydrangea, which is hardy and low-maintenance.

On the other side of the yard, which receives full sun, we added a simple trellis and star jasmine vines to give the fence a fresh look and a beautiful fragrance.

To keep the cost down on plant purchases, we recommended 1-gallon and 5-gallon plants. These will be small initially, but they will quickly grow into the full, lush plants you see in the design. Plants: $1,120.

Plant and materials list for the project – click to enlarge

To add depth and dimension to the yard, we included a small pea gravel border around the edge. We extended the gravel border near the house to create a space for a grill and a small planting bed to camouflage the AC and electrical units. Gravel: $1,600.


One easy fix to help bring any yard to life is to improve the look of the lawn. Organic Lawn Care: $80. (Looking for a lawn substitute? Check our 2020 Plant of the Year.)

The total cost of the yard: $7,920

Designing to Your Landscaping Budget

At Yardzen, we discuss your budget at the start of the landscape design process to minimize surprises when it comes time to build. We want to make sure our design team can personalize your yard, delivering a vision that includes what’s most important for your outdoor life and unique environment—while keeping costs within range. We do this by utilizing our in-house Build Team made up of former contractors and our Pro Network of vetted professional landscapers across the country.

Ready to level up your home improvement with a professional landscape design? Create your design profile or explore our design packages today!

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