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Our First Fixer Upper Exterior Makeover Tour

Let’s take a walk back down memory lane and see the dramatic transformation we made on the exterior of our first fixer upper. Come along for this exterior picture tour as we look at our house makeover with before and after pictures of our exterior renovations.

A few months ago we moved into our 2nd fixer upper. We’re so excited to get started on renovation projects, organizing and unpacking and, of course, decorating. You can read more about our full renovation plans for the new house here.

But before we completely move on to talking exclusively about the new home here on the blog, I thought it would be fun to take a little walk down memory lane and show you the dramatic transformations we made with our first fixer-upper!

There were a lot of things that we never ended up sharing on the blog, so today starts a two-part series giving you a detailed look into our house makeover!

We’re starting the exterior renovations first. Next, check out the interior renovations in this article with all the before and after home renovation pictures!

This post contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend anyway! Read my full disclosure here.

Let’s start with the first thing you see when you drive up to the house…the front of the house! We knew when we moved into our first fixer-upper that we would definitely need to do some things to improve our curb appeal.

Unfortunately, a lot of those projects were bigger and had to be put off for a while because we had limited time and money for exterior renovations.

First of all, let’s start with the home’s exterior when we moved in…

Fixer Upper Exterior Makeover: Before Pictures of Our Fixer Upper

The front exterior of our first fixer upper: a single story ranch home with a garage, sliding front windows, and tan siding.
Our first fixer upper's exterior: a tan single story home with a driveway and garage.
The side entrance to our first fixer upper home with tan siding and a wood pile.
A look at our first fixer upper home exterior - a charming single story ranch home with tan exterior, surrounded by tall trees and a cloudless blue sky.

Ugh…. yuck. I still can’t believe how long we kept that horrible exterior paint color!

The First Fixer Upper Exterior Update: Flower Bed Makeover

One of the first things we did outside gave the front flower bed a little makeover with dark mulch. This was really as simple as adding some dark mulch and adding some new plants.

The dark mulch really makes a huge difference, right?!

Before and after photo of the outdoor flower bed update, transformed with new plants and fresh dark mulch.

Next, I planted some cute little succulents in one of the front flower beds too. Read more about how to create a succulent flower bed here.

Planter bed outside our first fixer upper home with river rocks and freshly planted succulents.

If you’re wondering how those lasted through our harsh winters here in Central Oregon, the chicks and hens were the best. They were the only ones that survived being covered in snow for months (they actually lasted three winters!).

When we started thinking about our landscaping plans at the new house, we did a lot of research on high desert landscaping to make sure we were choosing plants and trees that were right for our climate.

Adding a Fence Around our First Fixer Upper

Even though we never ended up blogging about it, the next thing we did (and by that, I totally mean Logan because I was mostly out of town for this project) built a fence on the left side of the house.

The wood fence was necessary to keep Gannon contained….and to our hide our big, ugly backyard which was just a field of weeds at the time.

Then right before our son was born, Logan and his dad built the other half of the fence on the right side of the house. These pictures are on my actual due date!

Learn how to build a wood fence and add a fence gate here.

Logan building a shirt cedar fence on the property line around out first fixer upper home.
Building a fence around the side of our home was one of the first major exterior updates we made to our fixer upper home.

Painting the Fixer Upper Exterior: All New Paint Color!

The biggest transformation we saw during all of the before and after home renovations was definitely painting the exterior of our home.

One of the best exterior updates we made to our fixer was painting the outside a gorgeous deep forest green.

I love this dark green paint color (which is Black Bamboo by Behr Paint) and how it contrasts with the white trim and lighter blue-green paint color on the front door.

A look at our newly painted home exterior - we chose Black Bamboo by Behr - and our white garage door and white trim.

We opted to DIY the exterior paint and learned so much, that we’ve summed up in these articles.

Read more about the exterior painting process in these posts:

Updating Our Fixer Upper Exterior: The Backyard Makeover

Now let’s move on and talk about all the improvements we made in the backyard. When we moved in, the backyard was a big field of weeds.

The large, open backyard of our first fixer upper home was basically just a field of weeds before we updated it.
A look at the backyard, along the side of our house, before the backyard makeover - dead grass and weeds, dirt, and no fence.

We quickly realized that even weeds had to be maintained! Logan seemed like he was out there all the time with the weed wacker just trying to prevent it from becoming too crazy.

Logan using the weed wacker to control the overgrown weeds taking over our fixer upper's back yard.

We did a lot of dreaming about the possibilities in this backyard. A lot of them came to fruition and some of them still haven’t yet and some of them got completely booted as we changed our minds.

But since we own the house as a rental property now, we can still make improvements in the future to continue to add value to the fixer-upper. This was our backyard plan when we moved in:

The hand-drawn backyard makeover plans for our fixer upper's exterior landscaping.

We did add a paver patio to a portion of the yard. This was ALOT of work, but totally worth it.

We added a couple of trees (one to the backyard and one to the front).

Leveling the dirt in the backyard of our first fixer upper home.

Eventually, we rented a Caterpillar for a weekend and ripped out all of the weeds, and leveled everything in the backyard out. We also had about 8 cubic yards of gravel delivered that weekend!!

Piles of dirt and gravel sitting in the driveway of our house to help with the much needed backyard makeover.

Updating Our Fixer Upper Exterior: Building Raised Garden Beds

On the side of the house, we got started by building three raised garden beds with cedar fence boards.

Using cedar fence boards, Logan began building the frame for the DIY raised garden beds in our fixer upper's backyard.
We built 3 raised garden beds with cedar fencing boards to update our fixer upper home's backyard. We also filled the ground with gravel instead of dirt and grass.

We then added a black tarp and landscape fabric to the ground and then covered it with gravel around the garden beds and in the back of the house.

Black landscape fabric laid out on ground around the DIY raised garden beds, and a large pile of gravel to pave the garden bed area.

A few more backyard updates to our fixer upper’s yard…

We gave our air conditioning unit a little makeover with a pallet wood AC cover.

We built a DIY pallet cover for the air conditioning unit on the side of home.

We also made a more defined driveway on the opposite side of the house.

Spreading gravel on the ground to create a more defined driveway space in the front yard of our home. This new driveway space will be perfect for RV storage.

We also installed our own sprinkler system. Boy was that a lot of work! But totally worth it because we saved thousands of dollars by doing it ourselves. 

Read about the planning portion of sprinklers here and the actual installation of the sprinkler system here.

Logan in the process of digging trenches to install our backyard sprinkler system.

Lastly, we planted grass from seed in both the front and back yard after we had the sprinkler system installed.

An artsy shot of our baby boy sitting in the fresh green grass in our updated backyard.

The Last Fixer Upper Exterior Update: Building a Backyard Shed

One of the last projects we did in our backyard was built this shed, which again we never ended up talking about here on the blog!

Logan built it using a lot of reclaimed materials to save money. He found a lot of free (or really cheap) building materials from Craigslist, but you would never guess by looking at it.

A photo of our backyard, with fresh green grass in the foreground and a small green and white shed tucked under some spruce trees in the background.
Our little green and white backyard shed is perfect for added storage space for landscaping tools, equipment, and more.

My favorite part of the shed was the door, which I gave a little boho paint makeover to. Didn’t it turn out so cute?!

The entrance to our backyard shed - a white door painted with a boho style geometric pattern.

I also love the skull I found at a flea market.

A found this cool animal skull at the flea market and hung it up by the door of our small backyard shed.

Painting the Fixer Upper’s Exterior Front Door: Boring Tan to Rich Green

Now back at the front of the house, let’s take a look at the entryway, which includes our front door. The front door got a big makeover when we did our exterior painting.

You’ll also notice that we removed the screen door. We pretty much did this right after we moved in…I hated it!!

Read more about how we chose the front door color (which by the way is In The Moment by Behr) and how to paint a door here.

2 photos side by side showing the before and after of painting our fixer upper's front door. Before photo shows tan door, after photo show blue green door with white trim
We painted our home's front door with this refreshing blue-green color, and kept the white door trim to pop against the rich green of the exterior siding.

I’m telling you, looking at before and after photos is one of the most rewarding parts of a house makeover. Our fixer upper exterior came SUCH a long way in the few short years we were living there and renovating.

Let’s take a quick closer look at these before and after pictures to really see the dramatic transformation of our house makeover.

Before & After Photos of Our Fixer Upper Exterior Makeover

Before and after photos of our fixer upper exterior makeover: the full front of the home, before, was boring tan. The after photos show a forest green house with bright white trim
Before and after photos of our fixer upper exterior makeover: the backyard went from barren and weedy to upgraded with a new fence and extended gravel driveway for additional parking.
Before and after photos of our fixer upper exterior makeover: the side of our home went from drab tan to vibrant green, white trim, a fence, and sconce lighting.
Before and after photos of our fixer upper exterior makeover: We tore up the backyard and added a relaxing raised planter bed garden with gravel.

Stay tuned for later this week when we take a tour of the amazing interior transformation from our house makeover of our first fixer upper! You’ll get to take a look to see what’s on the other side of the front door!


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