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9 Backyard Makeover Tips That Won’t Break the Bank

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Are you tired of your outdoor living space? Are you ready for something new but don’t have a massive budget to blow? No worries, there are many easy and inexpensive ways that you can breathe new life into your landscape. Transformation is just a few dollars away. With these ideas, you can create a brand new, inviting outdoor oasis!

Lay down a rug

Rugs are not just for indoor living; they add immediate color, warmth, and personality to any outdoor space. Cover up your cracking patio or your sun-worn deck with an outdoor rug that will create a whole new vibe. Add complimenting pillows to your furniture to tie it all together.

Add some water

Nothing says, “come and relax” better than a water feature. Contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a store-bought water feature when you can create your very own fountain in a matter of hours. You can even get adventurous and add a water garden made from half of a whiskey barrel. These water features allow you to incorporate beautiful water plants and moving water all in one!

Mulch is your friend

Adding a fresh new layer of mulch to garden beds is an easy and effective way to breathe new life into your landscape. Choose a new and exciting type or color of mulch to change it up. 

Grow upwards

Utilizing vertical space, whether it be on your patio, fence, wall, or another surface, helps create interesting focal points in your outdoor living space. Hanging pots, patio rail boxes, and wall gardens are just a few ways that you can vertically display your favorite plants.

Light it up

A little outdoor lighting helps soften your outdoor space and brings romance and coziness to any space. Hang lights, light up pathways, or use outdoor battery-operated candles to set the mood!

Fun borders

If spicing up your garden borders is something you have always wanted to do, here are a few great suggestions that don’t cost a fortune. 

  • Large stone or rocks – Rock edging is fantastic for those with easy access to rocks. They add interest to any landscape.
  • Bricks – Brick edging adds inviting formality to garden beds. For a shabby chic look, paint bricks white.
  • Bottles – Do you love wine? Do your friends love wine? Using wine bottles for edging is a fantastic way to repurpose bottles. Clean bottles, strip off the labels and insert them into the ground around garden beds or use as pathway edging.
  • Logs – For a perfect complement to a rustic landscape, use cut log pieces as edging. Cut all pieces the same size or mix them up for additional visual interest.
  • Dinner plates – If you are after an eclectic vintage look, a dinner plate border is a perfect option. Use plates from your own collection or visit your local thrift store for some great finds. Dig a shallow trench, place plates in the soil, and backfill to hold them in place.

Door dining table

A trip to your local thrift store or a community yard sale may give you exactly what you need to create an uplifting dining table without spending a fortune. Look for a solid wood door that you can transform. Remove the hardware, sand the door down and paint a bright white or your favorite color. Cut a hole in the middle for an umbrella, set the door on two painted workhorses, and add benches or chairs for a fun and practical dining space.

Washing machine drum fire pit

Creating a fire pit from a washing machine drum is a fantastic upcycling project that will wow your friends. Stainless steel holds up well against heat, and the slotted design allows oxygen to freely flow, keeping the fire burning bright. Head out to your local used appliance store, where you can usually snag a washing machine drum for under $10.  You will need an angle grinder and grinder attachments along with a cup wire brush, cut-off wheel, and flap wheel sanding disc to transform the washing machine drum to a fire pit. Don’t forget your protective gear. The first step is to remove the plastic ring and base. Use a grinder to cut off the wheel and take out the center spindle – making room for firewood. Grind down the metal pipe and smooth rough edges. Use a wire brush to clean away all soap scum. Finish the drum with a coat of black high-heat spray paint and weld some legs at the base.

Add some outdoor games

Nothing transforms an outdoor space from boring to fun faster than the addition of a few outdoor games. If you have room, set up cornhole boards, croquet, horseshoes, badminton, or even lawn bowling. If turf is an issue, consider installing a small section of fake grass for a game area.

Of course, these are just some of the many ways that you can make your outdoor living space pop without breaking the bank. Think outside of the box about upcycling and repurposing things you already have or can find for cheap at thrift stores, flea markets, or garage sales. Put your own creative spin on your space, and you will be amazed at how great it can look!

Happy growing,

Susan Patterson, CBHC and Master Gardener

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