A Brooklyn Backyard Renovation is an Oasis in the Big City

A New Yorker scores cedarwood, repurposed flagstone, and an elevated deck for her Brooklyn backyard renovation

Homeowner relaxing in the renovated backyard

  • Homeowners: K.V. Harper posted her Brooklyn backyard renovation project on Sweeten
  • Where: Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in New York
  • Primary renovation: A backyard renovation overhaul makes way for an urban getaway, including a raised deck
  • With: Sweeten general contractor

Written in partnership with homeowner K.V. “After” photos by Miao Jiaxin.

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.

workers clearing the backyard to begin work for renovation

Brooklyn backyard renovation

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.

Backyard 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. Her contractor discovered bluestone under the rubbish during demolition. No two renovations are the same. As a result, he suggested upcycling them as part of a pathway leading to an elevated oasis at the back filled with gravel. 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.

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Image of a renovated backyard with cedar walls, gravel floor and hammock area

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. It made a great foundation for her newly acquired landscaping skills.

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 renovation

Reddened cedar board fence with Acapulco chairs along with hammock and a fire pit after renovation
K.V. accessorized her backyard for a 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 outdoor living in the city.

Thank you for sharing your outdoor space with us!

Renovation Materials

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

Updated on May 25, 2023

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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.

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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