Inexpensive Ideas to Upgrade Your Backyard
Even if your budget is tight and you don't have a lot of time to spend improving your backyard, you can still make an upgrade both economically and efficiently. Here are some budget-friendly ideas to make your backyard more attractive and inviting:
- Build your own outdoor furniture. One low-cost seating option is to purchase inexpensive concrete blocks, stack them and cover with a foam pad. Weatherproof toss pillows attractively add extra comfort. You can make them by spraying two-layered placemats with a fabric waterproofing spray, stuff with pillow stuffing between the layers, stitch back together, and you'll have a cool waterproof pillow.
A built-in bench complements a deck area. Choose from rectangular to curved, depending on the shape of your deck. A built-in bench with trellis serves more than one purpose, as does one with a storage cabinet beneath. Maybe you prefer a rustic look. Scrap cedar is an excellent material for a handcrafted bench. A mahogany bench coordinates nicely with decorative concrete for an elegant look. A low-built bench can double as railing around a deck. A built-in bench goes well with a coffee table of the same material. Connect the entire outdoor area with multilevel decks that can also serve as benches.
A quick and easy seating solution is to spray paint cinder blocks and allow to thoroughly dry. Stack the blocks and slide sturdy 3-by-3-foot wooden poles through the holes. A few weatherproof pillows on top will complete your bench.
A stone wall is another practical seating option.
For easy-care seating that can withstand harsh weather, consider concrete or brick.
- A big steel garden bucket makes a great side table for those patio candles. Just sand and stain a round piece of wood for the table top.
- Hide unattractive edges of the deck area with planters that blend nature with the structure.
- Create a swing with an old dinette chair or skateboard.
- Use a barrel or large pot for a garden umbrella stand.
- Take advantage of leftover and remnant stone at a nursery or big-box store and save a lot on your hardscaping project. Stack them for a unique walkway or edging. Also, crushed rock or gravel is relatively inexpensive as opposed to large stones.
Buying off the shelf is far more economical than custom work. All you need is a little creativity, and your landscaping can look like a professional custom job.
- Planting a vertical garden on hanging wooden boxes makes the most of a small space. Also, when you choose to focus on one hue or color, you can cover more land by dividing plants and don't need to buy so many individual plants. Annuals are generally less costly than perennials or shrubs, and they're great for growing in single containers.
Another cool garden idea is to drill holes in the bottoms of old gutters and fill with soil. Plant with flowers, herbs or vegetables and hang in a sunny spot on the house or on a tree.
- Plant tall grasses or sunflowers bordering your yard. They'll provide both beauty and privacy. Lemongrass is also a great mosquito repellant.
- Bring life to an empty wall with a living fence created from an espaliered tree. It'll appear that you spent far more time and money on the project than you actually did.
A flat, properly-trained two-dimensional espalier can even extend the season of some fruit trees.
- Bring a touch of yesterday to your backyard. Hand create outdoor curtains or draperies from sheets or other fabric. Purchase vintage painted metal chairs from antique or estate sales, auctions or flea markets. Decorate a rustic outbuilding with old signs or license plates. Be creative. Convert stepladders to trellises.
- Inexpensive strings of lights add to the attractiveness, as well as practicality, of your backyard living space. Another inexpensive lighting option is to paint decorative pebbles with glow-in-the-dark paint. Line your walkway for a safe nighttime path. Glow-in-the-dark-painted planters are also attractive night lights.
Hang an old chandelier from a tree branch and replace the light bulb with a solar bulb. Now there's no need for electricity, and it's beautiful as well.
- To make your yard appear larger, hang mirrors on the fences. You can also create mirrored lawn ornaments by spraying glass balls with mirror-like spray paint.
- For inexpensive party decorations, tie glass vases filled with flowers or plants to the fence.
- Cut slits in a downed tree for a bike stand.
- Create a wind chime with acrylic-painted keys.
- Don't forget the backyard birds. Place yarn scraps in a suet feeder, and your feathered friends will have access to handy nest-building materials.