When we bought the house, one of the funnier/scarier things was the patio cover which we affectionately named The Deathtrap. (Yes, capital The.) The thing was constructed of 4x4 posts with 2x4 studs in between on one "wall" and plastic and roofing material on top. With the slightest amount of force, the whole contraption would sway since it wasn't attached to the house. It was seriously scary. Scary enough that a city inspector said if we didn't get rid of it, we'd get cited for it. Fortunately, getting rid of it was already a priority. It fell under the "not getting crushed to death" category.
We replaced the deathtrap with a lovely gazebo and patio set.
Another problem was the back fence. It was engaged in a life or death war with the combined forces of gravity and wind. Recognizing it's (probable) years of service, we pulled it out of duty and installed a new front line. (Have a I beat this metaphor to death yet? Yeah, thought so.)
The next thing was the lawn. We unanimously decided that cracked dirt and weeds wasn't the look we were going for, so we got the sprinklers fixed and fresh sod laid down. World of difference. Maybe it's because I'm a suburbs kid, but there's something about a lush lawn in the backyard that changes everything.
Here's a panoramic from just after we moved in...
And here's another form the same spot after the aforementioned work...
We have a lot more work we want to do. A small space for gardening, a hedge along side the outside side fence for privacy and a bit of a sound barrier, and some nicer trees are just a few of the things we're planning. There are more yard shots on flickr, including the lights we strung up in the gazebo.
All in time.