Romantic, Old-World Backyard

A bare backyard is transformed with colorful plants and a secret hideaway.

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Veronica and Joe Martino have found the perfect place to escape the rat race of the big city—a little slice of heaven called Nyack, N.Y. Unfortunately, their backyard is far from spectacular. The Martinos would like to turn their rundown and bare backyard into a romantic retreat with an old world charm.

The Marinos' love their charming 19th century home in Nyack, New York just two short blocks from the water. They enjoy spending time outdoors, but that's where their problems begin. The backyard is a dark rectangle full of hard edge structures and half-dead plants, plus their do-it-yourself projects have only made minor improvements. They tried adding some interest by creating a planting bed along the side, but it was a bust.