DIY Backyard Paradise: Before & After

When you live in South Florida, a relaxing backyard is an absolute must. It’s sunny year-round, and everyone wants to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Our goal was to build a swimming pool, but because our house was built in the 60s and this compliance didn’t exist at the time, to build a pool now, we would need to raise our entire Florida sunroom by 6″ to be compliant with the city. Making a long story short, we would need to raise our roof, our flooring and spend right around $60K-$70K. After seeing the various estimates, building a pool was no longer our priority.

We did want to enjoy the outdoors, so we had to come up with a small Floridian paradise. The backyard was a slab of cement surrounded by grass, and there was a lot of work to be done.


We wanted to have an area to enjoy outdoor dinners, listen to music and relax, socialize with friends and watch 3D movies with the kiddos.

We considered staining the concrete, but it was not going to achieve the look we had in mind. Travertine and ceramic tiles were one of the many options but the kids are always tripping, running around with wet feet from their plastic pool and we have a large dog that loves chasing squirrels for a living, so the new flooring had to be a safe option for all of us.

Wood floor tiles shortly became a favorite, and we started shopping for it. We found our pieces at IKEA, but they now have them online for less and with free shipping.

As soon as we installed the flooring, the yard immediately looked different. We were getting excited about the project and could not wait for the final result. We bought outdoor seating, table, chairs, a fireplace, trees, plants, fake grass (for the door area) and an outdoor movie equipment.

Most of the pillows are also from IKEA, and although they are not weather proof, it rarely rains in Florida, so we don’t bring them in unless it’s going to rain.


And our outdoor screen:

This projector will play anything: DVD, cable, etc:

Here’s what we used for the project:

Outdoor Movies

Outdoor Screen

3D Projector

Outdoor Speakers

Dining Area


Chairs (4)

Outdoor Seating Area




Flooring (these are similar)



  1. March 20, 2017 / 7:22 PM

    Wow, what an incredible transformation. How do those wood tiles hold up in the rain? I love them! Have you watched any movies?

    • Marta McCue
      March 20, 2017 / 7:49 PM

      Yes and thank you for bringing that up! I added a couple of more pictures with the projector on 🙂

  2. March 21, 2017 / 6:51 AM

    Your outdoor space is beautiful. I really want to move to a place that is sunny and warm all of the time and spend my days in a beautiful outdoor area like this. Kudos to you!! So sad about your pool though. That is crazy.

    • Marta McCue
      March 21, 2017 / 8:03 PM

      Thank you Michelle! And I moved out of NY for the same reason 😉

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