Our Gym and Yard Renovations - Erin's Inside Job

Our Gym and Yard Renovations

Alright guys — last renovation post for the year. We definitely did a lot all at once, but we wanted to get everything done before the holidays and before we had a new baby to occupy a lot of our time and energy. In case you missed the other renovations, here are links to our kitchen and bathroom/laundry posts. Up last is a look at our gym and yard renovations!

The final post in this series - a look at our gym and yard renovations. Hope you enjoy!


The main issue with our backyard when we moved in was that it was covered with pine straw, which is apparently a big landscaping choice in the south. The problem was that it was everywhere and because we have so many trees in the backyard, it never felt like things dried out. It always felt moist and buggy, so none of us (including Donut) really wanted to walk around anywhere except the deck.

Neil had the idea to replace it with turf, which I had never even considered, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions we made during this whole renovation process. We worked with a company called 50 Shades of Green (the name definitely helped sell it), and they were fantastic. They had everything cleaned up and replaced in two days and the end result was fabulous.

They started by clearing out all the pine straw and removing the large stones that served as a walkway. Then they laid down small rocks and what appeared to be sandy material before putting the turf down. This allowed for any moisture to drain through the turf and down into the layer underneath, which means that the turf was always dry when you go out — even in the mornings. It’s been amazing.

They also installed a few lights in the ground, so at night they shine up through the trees, which is another beautiful addition. It’s starting to get a little colder at night, however, so we may have to wait until the spring to fully enjoy it.

We had it done over the summer, and now that fall is here we’ve definitely had to deal with a lot of leaves. We bought a leaf blower and it’s been super easy to keep the turf clear and nice all season.



It’s been SUCH a game changer — I can’t even tell you. It’s easy to keep clean and I just make sure to pick up after Donut like I would in a normal yard so that there are no surprises when we are walking around. 🙂


We definitely had an adventure trying to turn our outdoor shed into a functional gym. We bought a squat rack that ended up being too short to do kipping pull ups on, so by the first round of renovations where we had them reinforce the floor, add rubber flooring, and assemble the rack, we realized that what we had imagined wasn’t going to work out as planned.

I ended up selling the squat rack on Facebook marketplace (my favorite), and we talked with the contractors (also used CoCreations Design and Construction) about possible solutions that weren’t going to require demolishing the whole shed and starting from scratch. Eventually, they came up with the suggestion to change the pitch of the roof so that one side was taller than the other and could accommodate a taller squat rack. We then decided to just fully outfit the shed with everything we wanted in a gym, since this new project would be taking place at the same time as the other main house renovations.

Here is what the shed looked like before:

The inside doesn’t look terrible, but it was actually really dark and there were bugs hiding everywhere, which meant Neil always made me go in (HA). We definitely needed to change some things up.

Here’s the final list of everything that was done in the shed:

  • Reinforced floor and rubber matting put down
  • Roof pitch changed to heighten one side
  • Drywall and insulation added
  • I repainted the inside white
  • Speakers installed in the ceiling
  • Faulty electrical fixed and additional outlets added
  • AC unit mounted in the wall
  • Door replaced with a glass sliding door
  • Windows added in the back and the side
  • Shelf added above AC unit

External photo of finished shed:

With the higher roof, we were able to buy a taller squat rack, but also one that needed to be lower profile in general because the space still wasn’t huge. We settled on this one from Amazon and it has been working out great!

It’s difficult to get pictures of the whole inside of the shed, but hopefully you can get a good idea of how things look.

We have the following things now to use in our gym shed:

  • squat rack
  • full set of bumper plates
  • wall balls
  • rower
  • two kettlebells
  • barbell
  • resistance bands
  • TRX bands
  • dumbbells

This means that we are able to still continue our workouts at BTY Training Lab (our gym in Chicago) by signing up for the online membership and being able to access all the same programming. As you know, I’m not doing any heavy lifting or strenuous workouts this pregnancy because I’m high risk this time around, but whenever I’m able to get back to things it will be a great gym to use! Neil has been using it frequently and loves the way it turned out.

So that’s it for all our major renovations and projects in this house. We have some ideas for things we’d like to do next year, but right now we love the way everything has turned out. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Any questions about our gym and yard renovations? Let me know in the comments below!

5 comments on “Our Gym and Yard Renovations

  1. We want to do something similar (workout shed) but I don’t even know how to begin estimating the cost! Are you comfoetable sharing a ballpark estimate of the cost of turning it from a regular outdoor shed to a usable shed with electrical and AC?

    1. Sorry for the delay! So because we also made a big change on the roof that was also a pretty big cost – the whole thing cost about 10K

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.