Beverley Mitchell Gets a Backyard Makeover After 17 Years: 'My Energy Shifts Outside Now''

While sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic, Beverly Mitchell decided to give her outdoor living space an update — for the first time in 17 years!

"We've lived here forever but we've never really been thrilled with the [backyard] situation," the 7th Heaven alum tells PEOPLE. She put in a pool shortly after moving in nearly two decades ago, but the hot, dry Southern California climate took its toll on the lawn and furniture, and after a while, "Everything just kind of went caput," she says. "We wanted to upgrade it and make it a space where we feel like we can enjoy ourselves outside."

The actress, 39 recently welcomed her third child, daughter Mayzel Josephine, with husband Michael Cameron. They also share Hutton Michael, 5, and Kenzie Lynne, 7.

Having spent the majority of their time at home since March, the family of five needed a spot for the kids to safely play and for the adults to be comfortable. After replacing the grass with durable, low-maintenance turf, they added a customized sustainable sofa and a rug made from 1188 plastic bottles, both from outdoor furniture brand Outer.

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Along with the designs, Mitchell appreciated the sustainable aspects of her new pieces. "I was always the queen of recycling," she says. "So I love how they use recycled materials to create their products and are very aware of their carbon footprint."

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Working with the Outer team, Mitchell decided on a neutral gray color ("We've got young children and wanted it to be super durable") and had the sofa built to her exact measurements. The modular pieces can also be reconfigured to create an L-shaped sectional or separate seats.

"We as a family were out front putting all the pieces together, and I was so impressed by the quality," Mitchell says, noting that she found the brand via Instagram and was a little nervous about how it would look in person

She jokes that her five-year-old son has a favorite part of the makeover as well: removing and replacing the furniture covers. "It's so helpful because I think one of the main reasons we weren't going out in our backyard is because it was such a task to uncover all the furniture," says Mitchell

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Thanks to the additions, the backyard has become a "staycation spot" the whole family can enjoy — from the older kids swimming in the pool, to Mitchell and her husband bringing their infant out and enjoying socially distanced gatherings with extended family. "I feel like my whole energy shifts when I walk outside and I can just unplug."

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