Before & After: A Small Backyard Gets Seriously Elevated

This almost unrecognizable makeover was inspired by visions of a large rustic fireplace and plenty of cozy spaces for al-fresco entertaining.

With their children having flown the coop, these empty nesters decided it was time to reinvent their outdoor living space for the next phase of their lives.

The original pocket of outdoor space of their longtime Denver residence was ready for a fresh start, and this couple had big ideas for their patio makeover. Inspired by a vision of a large rustic fireplace and plenty of cozy spaces for entertaining, this backyard upgrade is almost unrecognizable from its before photos.

The new design maximizes the limited square footage with well-defined spaces and serves as a livable extension of the home’s interiors. The result is an outdoor living area that is elevated both literally and figuratively, with a raised deck for dining, a dramatic hearth for gathering, and landscape that will continue to grow and provide an oasis-like setting for years to come.


The home’s original deck was timeworn and in need of refining and refreshing.


Built of composite decking and defined by a wall composed of Telluride stone, the new raised deck is the perfect stage for al-fresco dining.


A retractable awning extends over the large outdoor dining table, shielding the homeowners and their guests from the elements.

A stylish and accessible built-in grill marries form with function by creating additional counter space for outdoor entertaining.


The outdoor space beyond the deck was in need of an update and maximization.

There was limited privacy from views of neighboring houses, nor was there adequate shade from Colorado’s famous sunshine.


Incorporated into the new space is a blend of both evergreen and deciduous plant materials, which will mature like a fine wine, creating even more intimacy and privacy as the couple continues to enjoy their space for years to come. Dimensional Pennsylvania blue stone was sealed to enhance its color, complementing the home’s blue exterior and providing a gorgeous contrast with the surrounding greenery.

The pièce de résistance is the backyard’s large rustic fireplace, crafted from Telluride stone. Each piece is chiseled to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, with no visible mortar joints. The mantle boasts a reclaimed timber from an old barn, driving home the concept of cozy Rocky Mountain living—with a side of true backyard luxury.



Troy Shimp is a Senior Designer with Lifescape Colorado, a Denver-based landscape architecture, construction, and maintenance firm. View their profile or reach one of Lifescape’s designers at 303-831-8310.

Content for this article provided by Lifescape Colorado.

Categories: Landscaping & Gardening