Matt Blashaw's Best Tips For Refreshing Your Outdoor Space

Your backyard offers a great opportunity to extend your living space and add more enjoyment to your life while enjoying the great outdoors, too. A properly designed outdoor space can give you an area to relax, entertain, and enjoy the beautiful weather. But not all backyards come ready to relax. It may take some work to refresh your outdoor space and make it comfortable. HomeAdvisor reports that the average cost for a total backyard renovation can fall between $15,000 to $50,000. Projects like a patio or deck installation can be $1,900 to $5,300 and $4,100 to $11,500 respectively.

Matt Blashaw of "Yard Crashers" surprised homeowners by transforming their spaces with decks, water features, hardscaping, and more in only a few days. Along with his knowledge as a contractor, Blashaw knows what it takes to transform a home's backyard. In an interview with HGTV, Blashaw provided tips for homeowners who want to give their outdoor space a new life.

Don't take on too much at one time

You may look around your backyard and see a ton of things you want to change. Maybe you want to redo the stone patio or rebuild a deck. Perhaps the landscaping needs to be updated. Or maybe you want to do all that, plus add a seating area. Renovations can be overwhelming, especially when there is a lot you want to tackle. But Matt Blashaw warns homeowners against taking on too many projects at one time. Instead of trying to finish the entire backyard together, Blashaw suggests breaking it up into chunks, completing one project, and avoiding getting burnt out from biting off more than you can handle.

The best way to do this is by evaluating the purpose of your outdoor space and then making a wishlist, says Techo Bloc. Figure out how you want to use your backyard — for entertaining or relaxing? For the kids and dogs or mostly for adults? Once you know how you want to use the space, you can make a list of the features you want, like a dining area on a patio or a grassy space to run around in. Break this list down into projects and work on one at a time until the backyard is transformed.

Try upcycling metal

It's no secret that a backyard renovation can get pretty pricey. You can combat that by saving money in smart ways. Upcycling uses discarded objects to create a new project, and it can save you a ton of money if you do it smartly. Matt Blashaw's suggestion: use metal. You can find metal in junkyards or even in your house to create something new. Another reason Blashaw loves metal is that it's a much longer-lasting material than refurbished wood, which can be difficult to prep for outdoor spaces. Metal, on the other hand, isn't porous and can easily be utilized outdoors.

With a little creativity, you can make some incredible pieces with upcycled metal. According to Tampa Steel, you can create wall, ceiling, and yard artwork to decorate your space. You can also create a trellis for your garden out of upcycled metal. You may even be able to find old pieces in fair condition that you can use in your backyard without the need for any additional work.

Pair hardscaping and plants

Plants bring life and color to a backyard space. It makes a design much more interesting than having it be all grass or all hardscaping. Matt Blashaw loves pairing hardscaping with container plants. Potted plants tend to be easier to take care of because you can monitor and affect the growing conditions, like soil moisture, much easier than in the ground. Blashaw tells homeowners to mix their container plants with the hardscaping elements in the backyard.

Hardscaping includes elements like stone, pavers, and concrete. Your hardscaping can work hand in hand with your softscaping to create a cohesive design. Patios with potted plants are only the beginning of your options for mixing hardscaping and plants. Twin Oaks Landscape suggests elevating the earth to create a flowerbed encircled by a brick border. You can also use retaining walls to create an area to feature plants. With potted plants, you're able to move the plants based on their needs or swap out foliage every year.

Opt for a professional installation

Saving money during a renovation is crucial. And one of the best ways to do that is by doing some of the projects yourself. However, not every homeowner is equipped to take on every project. Matt Blashaw says that pavers are labor intensive because you have to dig a foundation before installation. That's why Blashaw suggests hiring a professional to take on paving projects.

However, that's not the only project that homeowners should consider hiring a professional for. Porch suggests leaving building a deck or patio, outdoor lighting and fireplaces, and outdoor kitchens to the professionals. These are projects that professional knowledge and skills are needed to complete safely. These projects also tend to be time-consuming, and Blashaw tells his clients they shouldn't spend more than three weekends on a project. These short timelines are often better left to a professional that can dedicate more than two or three days a week to finishing your project.

Use greenery for privacy

After creating your dream oasis backyard, you want to go outside and enjoy it. But you also don't want to be looked in on by neighbors or people taking a stroll when you're trying to relax. You might need to add some privacy to your outdoor space. Matt Blashaw suggests taking a step beyond a traditional fence for privacy and opting for a live green wall. These can offer you privacy as well as beauty in your backyard.

You have a few options for a living wall to best fit your backyard and your skill level with plants. Lawn Starter says the type of green wall depends on the growing medium, which are most commonly loose, mat, sheet, and structure mediums. You should also consider which plants you can grow in your area depending on the temperature and weather conditions. The best way to maintain the look and lushness of the plant wall is by ensuring the plants get enough water.