A Brooklyn Backyard Renovation Fashions into an Urban Retreat

A Brooklyn backyard renovation blossoms with cedarwood, repurposed flagstone, and an elevated deck

Homeowner relaxing in the renovated backyard

“After” photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten

  • Homeowners: K.V. Harper posted her backyard renovation project on Sweeten
  • Where: Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Brooklyn, New York
  • Primary renovation: A backyard renovation overhaul makes way for an urban getaway, including a raised deck
  • Sweeten general contractor
  • Sweeten’s role: Sweeten matches homeowners with vetted general contractors for residential renovation projects, offering knowledge, support, and up to $50,000 in job-related financial protection—for free.

Image of a Brooklyn backyard remodel with cedar wood walls

Planning out the backyard space

K.V. received suggestions from friends, including calls for a pool, but found herself inspired by the gardens of Mexico and Brazil. She preferred lush retreats and welcoming outdoor decks for relaxation and fun. Hosting friends and barbecues was top of mind.

Her vision for cedar fencing became the focal point of the project. The Brooklyn backyard renovation was framed by horizontal cedar boards with areas to lounge and dine. The red perimeter incorporated natural clean lines.

Her Sweeten contractor started by clearing the yard entirely. They pulled up everything until they reached fresh dirt, making way for a clean slate.

workers clearing the backyard to begin work for renovationBackyard with stained cedar fencing along with white chairs and lawn grass after renovation
After clearing and leveling the plot, he installed stained cedar fencing around the full yard. A lone mature tree in the far right corner of the yard was preserved. The crew discovered bluestone under the rubbish during demolition. As a result, it was upcycled as part of a pathway leading to an elevated oasis at the back filled with gravel. No two renovations are the same. Post your project on Sweeten to see what creative backyard ideas you and your contractor can plan together. Here are some backyard renovation costs to take into consideration.

Discovering the green thumb

Although they used fresh sod sparingly, the yard’s midsection revealed a green, lush aesthetic. K.V. admitted that having grass was a lot of work. As a consequence, however, she acquired a green thumb, a better sense of gardening, and plans for increased plantings next year. A row of mulch ran along the left side of the fencing with annuals, perennials, and blooms, K.V. had a great foundation for her newly acquired landscaping skills.

Image of a renovated backyard with cedar walls, gravel floor and hammock area
Image of a remodeled backyard with gravel lounge area and umbrella and hammockBrown outdoor table and bench seating with white chairs and a grill after renovationReddened cedar board fence with Acapulco chairs along with hammock and a fire pit after renovation
K.V. accessorized her backyard for a summer siesta or kicking back with friends and local fare. The elevated deck included bright Acapulco chairs, a fire pit, and a hammock (which she considered tossing until she made peace with the fact that she spent most of her days relaxing here). A grill and dining area sit along the walkway.

With a completed backyard renovation in Brooklyn under her belt, K.V. is ready for summers in the city!

Renovation Materials

BACKYARD RESOURCES: Stained cedar/fire pit: One Kings Lane. Hammock: Novica. Table and bench: World Market.

Ready to get your own slice of paradise with a backyard renovation?

Get Matched With Contractors

Popular questions asked

Your general contractor will need to see your “buildable space” to provide a rough cost estimate. Outdoor space can range from a small patio to an outdoor kitchen. Some costs to consider include flooring; bluestone is popular but slightly pricey at $8/square foot. It’s heavy as well and requires a crane. Concrete pavers cost $4-5/square feet. Both have the same labor costs. Demolition costs will be determined by the existing conditions: What is the access? Is there grass? Other costs can include fencing or lighting that may involve running buried electrical lines or removing overhead lines.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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