Transforming a Backyard for Entertaining

Frank and Suzanne Hicks

Frank and Suzanne Hicks are pictured with Today’s Homeowner host Danny Lipford.


Frank and Suzanne Hicks have tons of space, tons of shade and some beautiful trees in their backyard – and now they want to transform that space so they can entertain friends and family.

The couple raised five children and once had a playset, treehouse and zip line in the backyard. But now that the children have grown up and moved out, the backyard hasn’t been used much.

Now, these empty nesters’ entertaining is restricted to the house or the deck.

Frank and Suzanne Hicks' dogs

Frank and Suzanne Hicks’ dogs have taken over their backyard, they said.

“The backyard is just a mess,” Suzanne says, adding that their dogs love to dig, but she and Frank would love to reclaim some of that space for entertaining.

Danny’s plan for Frank and Suzanne’s space includes creating a pathway from the house to a patio for their picnic table; adding a fire pit; and placing lighting to enhance the space.

Stake forms

We first stake forms into the ground to border the path we will create in Frank and Suzanne’s backyard.

First, Danny and the team dig out the path; then, they stake forms as borders; and then they spread base material between the forms. The paver base has a natural look, which is just what Frank and Suzanne wanted.

Firepit kit

We use construction adhesive to lock the blocks in the Pavestone firepit kit together.

The next project, building a firepit, begins with unpacking Pavestone’s four-layer kit; laying the metal ring to mark the center; arranging the blocks according to color-coded plans; and using construction adhesive to lock the blocks together.

Things shift to the picnic table, where we remove all “quick repairs” and imperfections so Frank and Suzanne can prep and paint it overnight.

Frank obtained a thick slab of cedar, which he cleaned and varnished, and we will install it as an outdoor table between some the trees. We add wooden braces between the surrounding trees to support the cedar; dry fit the slab; and then add support with metal joist hangers. Finally, we add construction adhesive to the base so we can lower the cedar and put it into place.

Frank also has fashioned an eclectic chandelier – it resembles a wagon wheel with Mason jars as globes, cut to fit light bulbs – that is perfect for this outdoor space. We placed the chandelier above the picnic table, which is the destination from the pathway.

Haven fixtures from NuTone add ambiance and they do one more thing: offer mosquito protection that should last all season long.

Frank Suzanne backyard

Frank and Suzanne Hicks now have a beautiful backyard that is ideal for entertaining friends and family.

Now, Frank and Suzannes’ backyard will do more than entertain their dogs.

“They brought our backyard back to us,” Frank says.


WATCH THE SHOW: Don’t miss this week’s episode of “Today’s Homeowner.” Check your local listings for time and channel:





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Transforming a Backyard for Entertaining