It's been an 18 month backyard repair project and we're about finished. We had thought we were going to build a carport, but learned we'd have to take out our only remaining big tree so we passed for fear we'd burn up in the summer. It took a long time to get to this point. We moved into our house 15 years ago. We planted some stuff in the backyard and a lot of it became overgrown and had to be ripped out. The brick patio seemed to sink and the beds around it spilled onto the brick. The grass died. The fence and porch railing needed repair and paint.
My husband and I did almost all the work ourselves, except as noted below. We did put in good trees back then - 3 Japanese maples and a red maple.
what we did:
ripped out Viburnum
painted fence (paid a guy to do this)
put down sod
kept Lion's Head maple, 2 ornamental Japanese Maples, large red maple
neighbor repaired and painted the white garage
repaired and relaid the brick patio
relaid the brick in the gangway
built retaining wall in gangway
put down limestone blocks/built retaining wall on patio
added two new flower beds with a fish pond
dug a curvy path to improve drainage
edged and filled path with gravel (paid a guy to do this)
got some proper furniture