Having a beautiful backyard with beautiful decorations, trees, and flowers has become everyone’s dream, but all of that is not as easy as imagined, of course the price is also more expensive. If you’ve been thinking about starting to improve your yard, here are the 15 cheapest ways to do a backyard.
Table of Contents
- 1. Plant your garden right outside
- 2. Grow your own herbs and vegetables in pots or planters
- 3. Create an outdoor kitchen with some easy-to-build DIY projects
- 4. Add color to the yard with succulents, cacti or flowers
- 5. Build yourself a hammock
- 6. Make it rainproof
- 7. Set up a birdbath
- 8. Designate a space for games like cornhole and lawn darts
- 9. Put together a set of patio furniture
- 10. Use an old blanket
- 11. Get some cheap chairs from the Salvation Army or Goodwill store
- 12. Make it easy on your wallet by using recycled materials and supplies
- 13. Go for outdoor furniture that’s weather-resistant, such as wicker or wrought iron
- 14. Forgo fancy cushions in favor of pillows (and maybe even just use newspapers)
- 15. Add color with plants
- 16. Take advantage of free stuff from nature
1. Plant your garden right outside
No need to buy expensive gardening supplies when you have a bunch of plants already growing outside! If you live near water, consider planting your garden along its edge. You’ll not only save money on seeds and fertilizer but also cut down on watering expenses. Similarly, if you don’t want to plant anything at all, you could always just grow things inside. Just remember to keep them watered.
Also Read: Cheapest Way to Improve Garden
2. Grow your own herbs and vegetables in pots or planters
Growing your own fresh veggies is one of the best ways to save money on food while still getting good nutrition. And thanks to the invention of containers, you can easily bring those potted plants into your living room or deck. You can even use small flowerpots as planters.
You can also go bigger by building raised beds. These cost less than $100 and require very little maintenance once they’re established. Check out this list of super simple raised bed gardening kits. They range from a basic wooden box design to an elaborate version made of Lego bricks.
3. Create an outdoor kitchen with some easy-to-build DIY projects
An outdoor kitchen can add a ton of value to your house. It doesn’t necessarily have to be fancy or complicated either. The simplest solutions often work best. This DIY project will help you build a great outdoor kitchen using nothing but two old pallets and some other inexpensive materials.
Another option is to repurpose an unused shed or garage into an outdoor kitchen. Some people even turn their carport into an indoor/outdoor kitchen. (Just make sure you can open and close your car door!) Here are several other creative ways to transform a shed into an outdoor kitchen.
4. Add color to the yard with succulents, cacti or flowers
Choosing colorful plants and flowers for your yard is another way to liven up your exterior spaces. Succulents and cacti give the appearance of height, texture, and structure while adding vibrant colors. When choosing plants, choose ones that will thrive in your climate zone and soil type. For example, check out this list of popular cactus varieties.
Flowers also tend to brighten up yards. There are lots of different types of annuals, perennials, ground covers, shrubs, vines, and bulbs available depending on your personal taste. To learn which flowers are easiest to maintain and how to care for them, read this guide on caring for your new blooms.
5. Build yourself a hammock
A hammock offers many health benefits, including stress relief and improved circulation. It also gives a casual vibe to your backyard. All you really need is a hammock swing and some rope.
The Swingology 3 Piece Hammocks feature mesh sides so they won’t obstruct airflow. Each hammock comes with a nylon hook to hang it from trees, fences, or posts. You can even attach the hooks to the back of chairs or tables. Another thing to note is that these aren’t meant to be hung over water or pools.
To take it up a notch, try hanging a hammock between two trees instead of directly off the ground. Or, if you don’t have trees, you could always purchase a hammock chair. A portable hammock chair folds up small enough to fit in your trunk or backpack.
6. Make it rainproof
Water is essential to life. However, sometimes it rains harder than others—especially during monsoon seasons and hurricanes. Luckily, there are ways to protect the plants in your yard from heavy rainfall. One of the easiest methods is to lay large stones across the surface of the dirt. Then put sandbags underneath each stone to hold up the dirt and prevent water from seeping through.
For something a bit fancier, you can use a rainwater cistern system. This device collects rainwater and stores it until you need to irrigate your plants. Cistern systems come in various sizes but typically consist of tanks filled with gravel, sand, rocks, or plastic balls. Rain barrels are similar devices, except they collect rainwater specifically for irrigation purposes.
7. Set up a birdbath
Birdbaths are a wonderful way to attract birds and other animals to your yard. While traditional bathtubs can be pricey, you can opt for cheaper alternatives such as buckets, laundry tubs, toilet bowls, and large pitchers. Simply fill your container with clean water and allow it to drain naturally.
Some people prefer to mix saltwater in their baths to deter algae growth. Alternatively, you can also add soap to the water to kill bacteria and germs. After your bathtub fills up, simply empty and rinse it thoroughly before putting it back outdoors.
8. Designate a space for games like cornhole and lawn darts
Who said you can’t play sports in your yard? Cornhole boards and lawn dart sets are fun game options for families. Although traditional lawn darts may seem boring, they’re actually pretty cool. The concept is similar to bowling, but players hit a projectile towards a target area. Similar to horseshoes, players throw the metal discs onto the grass to score points.
Cornhole games are played similarly to baseball games, except players stand behind the throwing line and toss corn kernels onto the board to knock down opponents’ corns.
These games usually come with a piece of wood to mark the playing field and some kind of protective netting. If you want to practice before hitting the real deal, you can use a tennis ball or a pingpong paddle.
9. Put together a set of patio furniture
Patio furniture isn’t cheap, especially if you buy high quality designer models. Fortunately, you can reupholster your existing cushions to spruce them up! First, remove the seats from the sofa and pillows from the couches. Next, wash the cover fabric, dry it well, and then sew all pieces together to form a nice cushion.
If you’d rather skip sewing altogether, you can use scrap fabrics and leftover threads to stitch a pattern onto your fabric. Once you’ve got the shape, you can staple the edges closed. Finally, spray paint the frame black and enjoy your newly refurbished furniture!
10. Use an old blanket
One friend suggested covering her patio table and chair frames with plastic sheets before painting them white. Then she used fabric scraps to cover up the edges of each frame. Easy peasy!
For us, though, the idea worked better once we went inside and turned two dining rooms into makeshift bedrooms. We put bed linens down on top of a sofa and then draped blankets over those. The result? A cozy little nook right outside our bedroom windows. Bonus points: Since there were so many people sharing the task, everyone pitched in their share of effort.
Another goodie we picked up along the way: Some old screen doors salvaged from a church basement became our “screen porch” entrance. They look like they belong there, too.
As far as cost goes, most items we bought had been donated by others, including an inexpensive rug ($10), a few framed photos ($12) and a couple of folding tables ($20). Everything else came out of household goods and craft projects stored away in closets.
11. Get some cheap chairs from the Salvation Army or Goodwill store
Speaking of thriftiness, another friend found a pair of chairs at a local Salvation Army donation center that looked perfect for our newly revamped kitchen/dining area. All we did was paint them red and add a decorative throw pillow for extra flair.
The same holds true for a trio of wooden Adirondack chairs acquired via Craigslist. Again, we painted them red and added a colorful cushion. To keep them upright, we drilled holes through the backsides of the chairs and tied fishing line around each leg. Simple as that.
We’ve since replaced the chairs with some more modern ones and repurposed the original red ones for hanging laundry. Mission accomplished!
12. Make it easy on your wallet by using recycled materials and supplies
This project got its inspiration from a friend who told me about transforming his front lawn into a vegetable patch in a weekend. He built raised beds and filled them with soil and seeds. His entire setup took him under $50.
Our version ended up costing much, much more thanks to our desire to make it pretty. But hey, this is still cheaper than paying someone thousands of dollars to install concrete patios and decks.
And speaking of money saving tips, consider skipping landscaping services altogether. Instead, learn basic gardening skills and hire a neighbor kid to plant stuff like tomatoes and peppers. If you live in a city, ask your landlord to mow the grass instead of hiring a professional service. Or let your kids be responsible for watering plants and tending flowerbeds.
You could always opt for organic methods to save cash. Grow food organically without spending much time by planting veggies directly in dirt. Also try growing herbs indoors first to see if you enjoy cooking with them. Once you find your favorite ingredients, search for deals on bulk produce.
Of course, budget plays a role, too. If you want to go truly green, you’ll need lots of composted manure, mulch and fertilizer. Your best bet is finding locally sourced sources whenever possible.
Also, remember that sometimes, bigger isn’t necessarily better. In fact, smaller yards tend to give you greater control over design choices. Take advantage of that freedom and experiment with layouts until you settle on exactly what works for you.
In short, be resourceful and creative. Just because you can’t afford to spend a lot doesn’t mean you should skimp on quality. After all, you’ll end up eating what you harvest anyway.
There’s nothing wrong with setting a price limit on yourself. That’s why we chose a modest $100 goal. Sure, it might seem low compared to what other people pay. But think of it this way: If you ever decide to sell your home, will prospective buyers really care about the type of furniture you used to drape your deck? Probably not.
But would you rather buy 10 nice pieces for half the price of one mediocre piece? Definitely!
13. Go for outdoor furniture that’s weather-resistant, such as wicker or wrought iron
My husband and I aren’t very picky about style or material. So long as whatever we choose looks sturdy enough to withstand wind gusts and rain showers, we’re happy. This rule applies to both indoor and outdoor furnishings.
A friend gave us a gorgeous teak bench with matching ottoman after seeing ours sitting in her driveway. Another person gifted us a beautiful vintage metal tray made of hammered steel. And yet another friend introduced us to a sleek aluminum coffee table.
These are just three examples. There are plenty more where these came from. One tip: When shopping for furniture online, avoid buying from retailers that charge shipping fees unless you absolutely must have the item ASAP. Otherwise, you may end up shelling out twice as much for delivery charges.
Don’t forget to include accessories like planters and lamps in your wishlist, either. These additions provide instant visual appeal and often come with bonus perks, like solar lighting or water features.
14. Forgo fancy cushions in favor of pillows (and maybe even just use newspapers)
I’m generally opposed to throwing away perfectly functional objects simply because they happen to become outdated fashion trends. However, our livingroom couch’s floral slipcovers were getting shabby fast. Plus, we weren’t interested in replacing them entirely.
Instead we opted for simple cotton rugs placed strategically underneath our chairs. On days when guests were visiting, we’d switch out the rugs to show off fresh colors. We kept the cushions mostly intact, opting to replace them every couple of years with fresh throws.
On occasion, I tried adding a bit of pizzazz to our seating areas with brightly colored pillows. But ultimately I preferred sticking with neutral shades (black, gray, brown, tan, etc.) to prevent splashes of color from washing out the rest of our décor.
Besides being practical, this approach saves us money, too. Think about it: How many times have you purchased a pricey square foot print plush cushion only to toss it within weeks due to fading stains? Not me.
15. Add color with plants
Plants bring life and vibrancy to otherwise boring outdoor spaces. As a matter of fact, nature itself does a fantastic job of beautifying homes everywhere with lush foliage and vibrant blooms.
That said, we actually haven’t planted anything outdoors yet due to concerns regarding bugs. Our biggest worry is aphids, which feed exclusively on leaf sap. Luckily, we discovered a solution to this problem: spraying plants with insecticidal soap.
To do this, you simply mix 3 tablespoons liquid dishwashing soap per gallon of warm water in a spray bottle. Next, fill your sink with cold water and pour the diluted mixture into it. Spray the leaves of potted plants and wait 30 minutes. Then rinse plants thoroughly. Repeat this process annually for ongoing protection against pests.
16. Take advantage of free stuff from nature
There are tons of products that would otherwise end up in landfills. Freecycle Network is a community of local groups who accept donations of clothing, books, furniture, electronics, household items, etc., from members. In addition, you can search for “freegan” events in your city to pick up free fruits, vegetables, seeds, and other goods.
In case you’re interested in learning more about green lifestyle choices, we recommend checking out these eco-friendly websites and apps.
And lastly, if you’re trying to reduce waste, visit your local library or bookstore. Both places regularly host book exchanges and frequent sales on used inventory. Plus, libraries are required by law to donate books after every three years. So whether you’re looking to declutter your home or just save some cash, you should definitely check out your nearest public institution.