Like many small business owners, Deb and Roger wanted more out of their careers, and especially a way to do more for their community. Inspired by the principles of the Rotary service organization, they founded By The Yard in 1995, hand sketching the logo on their daughter’s school supply list and creating the first designs for outdoor furniture made from recycled milk jugs. The family home served as the manufacturing facility and warehouse. Only the kitchen was off limits for inventory storage. If there was a breakthrough moment in the early days it was the decision to take out a booth at the Minnesota State Fair, a success that has been repeated ever since and led to By The Yard exhibits at fairs and home shows nationwide. Of course, the business outgrew Deb and Roger’s home, moving in 2003 and again in 2015 to new facilities that seemed enormous at the time. One thing that never changed was the idea of outdoor furniture as a force for good. Sustainability is still at the heart of the product and how it is manufactured, and the company is still proud to direct a substantial share of profits to hunger-based non-profits. Deb and Roger retired in 2016, after 22 State Fairs, with various family members and trusted long-term employees ensuring the By The Yard mission continues and expands.
From the beginning, our idea was to build exceptionally durable, timeless outdoor furniture out of upcycled plastic. Products engineered to last a lifetime, literally. When something is going to be around for a long time, it needs to be right. That’s why we make our furniture to the customer’s specs and pay attention to the little things that make it structurally sound and exceptionally comfortable. We’re proud to be a family-owned business that helps people enjoy the beauty of the outdoors in a reliable, timeless way.
At By The Yard, five core values are central to how we work, what we make and how we treat our customers.
Do the Best We Can Do
We execute with quality and take pride in the work.
Our owners, employees and customers are invested in each other.
We make a positive impact on our environment, business and community.
Work as a Team
We energetically collaborate with others for mutual gain.
A Company that Cares
We have a service orientation and do the right thing.
Upcycling plastic into engineered lumber.
From the very beginning, we wanted our furniture to be as good for the earth as it was your backyard. That’s why everything we make is from furniture grade, High-density Polyethylene (HDPE). Post-consumer water and milk containers are diverted from landfills and transformed into beautiful, long-lasting, sustainable furniture.
We start with plastic scrap (aka: milk jugs)
Scrap is processed into plastic beads.
Next, coloring and UV stabalizer is added.
It is then extruded into engineered lumber.
And crafted into beautiful furniture.
Reusing what we make, even our own heat.
Every facet of our operation is designed to reclaim resources. Virtually all lumber scrap, even shavings, is collected and reused to make more plastic lumber. Even the heat energy generated by our large cutting machines is captured and used to warm our workshop.