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Before & After: A $3,000 Garden Makeover for Brooklyn Designer Rebecca Atwood

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Before & After: A $3,000 Garden Makeover for Brooklyn Designer Rebecca Atwood

August 14, 2017

Last year Brooklyn-based textile designer Rebecca Atwood and her husband leapt at the opportunity to move into an apartment with a garden, albeit one that was so overgrown that “it was a bit of a jungle,” she says. “Summer was in full swing and the weeds had taken over.”

For Atwood, author of the book Living with Pattern, it was as important to layer colors, textures, and prints outdoors as in any other room of her home. Here’s how she achieved the goal with a garden makeover budget of about $3,000.

Photography by Tory Williams except where noted.

Two three-seater sofas arranged in an L shape serve the same purpose as sectional seating. Atwood&#8\2\17;s Montpelier Wood Patio Sofas (currently on same for \$737 apiece at Target) have cushioned upholstered in weather-resistant Sunbrella fabric.
Above: Two three-seater sofas arranged in an L shape serve the same purpose as sectional seating. Atwood’s Montpelier Wood Patio Sofas (currently on same for $737 apiece at Target) have cushioned upholstered in weather-resistant Sunbrella fabric.
How they found the apartment: “Friends of ours own the building and a family member had been living there, so we were pretty excited when they asked us if we’d want to move in.”

The basics: To save money, the couple did the initial cleanup themselves (with help from Atwood’s mother: “My mom is a master gardener, and she helped us figure out the plants we wanted to keep from the weeds.”).

Hostas and lilies edge a stepping-stone path of bluestone.
Above: Hostas and lilies edge a stepping-stone path of bluestone.

Hardscape upgrades: Landscape design firm DiMastery leveled the backyard, laid sod, reused existing bluestone pavers to lay a path and patio for the grill, and spruced up a gravel patio with a layer of landscape fabric and new stones.

Final touches: The couple installed bamboo fencing against an existing wire fence for more privacy and purchased furniture to create an outdoor living room.

Before

In the back of the yard, hard-packed dirt and overgrowth. Photograph by Lydia Hudgens.
Above: In the back of the yard, hard-packed dirt and overgrowth. Photograph by Lydia Hudgens.
An existing patio had weeds growing up through the gravel. Photograph by Lydia Hudgens.
Above: An existing patio had weeds growing up through the gravel. Photograph by Lydia Hudgens.

After

A pillow covered in Atwood&#8\2\17;s reversible Cut Up Dot Fabric In Charcoal Black (\$\153 a yard) sits on a Patio Arm Chair currently available as part of a four-piece set from Target (\$\1,547 for the set).
Above: A pillow covered in Atwood’s reversible Cut Up Dot Fabric In Charcoal Black ($153 a yard) sits on a Patio Arm Chair currently available as part of a four-piece set from Target ($1,547 for the set).
 Atwood&#8\2\17;s \20-inch Cut Up Dot Pillow In Charcoal Black (at R) is \$\2\29 (the reversible fabric also is available for \$\153 a yard, with a minimum order of three yards.
Above:  Atwood’s 20-inch Cut Up Dot Pillow In Charcoal Black (at R) is $229 (the reversible fabric also is available for $153 a yard, with a minimum order of three yards.

Atwood and her husband, Steve, planted additional annuals and perennials to add color to the garden.
Above: Atwood and her husband, Steve, planted additional annuals and perennials to add color to the garden.
Tomato bushes and flowering annuals share a sunny spot.
Above: Tomato bushes and flowering annuals share a sunny spot.

N.B.: For more of our favorite Before & After garden projects, see:

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