Create the space of your dreams with these easy, inexpensive ideas for upgrading your backyard and outdoor living areas.
A New Plan for Your Backyard
If there’s one thing that can save you the most time and money when making over your backyard, it’s having a plan. Once you knowing what you want, from garden benches to tiered outdoor fountains, charting a path for achieving your vision, everything else seems to fall into place. If you have dreams of lounging by a fire pit on on your terrace, for example, you can achieve them by repurposing materials from the uneven stone garden path you’ve been meaning to rip out.
If you’re on a tight budget, it’s particularly important to think creatively and plan carefully. To get those creative juices flowing, browse through this collection of easy, inexpensive ideas for a first-rate backyard makeover. Whether you’re hoping to add a patio, beef up your landscaping, or plant a garden to bring beauty and wildlife to your backyard, you can glean valuable inspiration from these 10 great makeovers. No matter the size of your yard or budget, you can turn your backyard into an inviting oasis that guests and pollinators will love.
Define Your Spaces
Determining the kinds of spaces you need—dining area, outdoor kitchen, shady lounging spot, play area—and clearly defining them can make a big visual and functional impact on a yard. You may be able to do this quickly and inexpensively by simply repositioning the furniture and accessories you already have.
Defining your living spaces can create special spots where you can work, relax, play with the kids, or grow food. If clutter is in the way, you might want to build or buy a storage shed to keep kids’ toys or your gardening supplies out of sight when not in use.
Create a Garden Path
Adding a meandering path gives a polished look to an otherwise untamed space. You can choose to buy pavers, or even reuse any that you free up as you reimagine your landscape. For a more budget-friendly alternative, opt for quarter-inch crushed rock, which comes in a variety of colors. First, determine the shape you want your pathway to take, and then mark and edge it. If you’re going with crushed rock, you’ll need enough to create about a 4-inch layer to suppress weeds. Flatten the surface with a tamper (plate compactor).
No matter what type of pathway design or material you choose, it’s critical to plan spacing, create the edges, and level the ground before installing any materials.
Try a Trellis
You see trellises in garden centers all the time, and you’ve probably never even thought about picking one up, but these architectural details can add a quick and easy accent in the yard. Place one toward the back of the garden as a focal point, or put one in your vegetable garden to make those cucumbers and peas look like they are part of the design. You can even install a trellis—or better yet, an arbor—at the entrance to a garden or outdoor living area, and then choose a flowering vine to trail through the lattice.