Backyard Living on a Budget: Practical Tips and DIY Ideas

backyard living

Picture the scene. It’s a warm summer evening, and the sun is beginning to set. You and your family finish your alfresco meal and sit to gaze at the stars in the nighttime sky.

But now it’s back to reality with a bump. Because that dream space is – right now – an empty and unloved backyard space that needs lots of attention and a healthy sum of money in your bank account. Or does it?

Read on to discover some easy and practical backyard living ideas on a budget.

Try Upcycling

Upcycling – giving new life to old, unwanted items – has been a big trend in recent years. You can even buy upcycled items on places like Etsy. But with a bit of creativity and some work, you can do it yourself.

Begin by searching for thrift stores for some potential gems. You want furniture or garden decor with excellent structure or foundation but one that needs some cosmetic work.

The most basic approach to upcycling is to repaint old items. But you can also change an item’s function with some imagination. Take the humble wooden pallet, for example.

You can transform these into chairs and tables for your seating area for outdoor entertainment. With some varnish and cushions, the finished look will be rustic and stylish but at a fraction of the price of buying new.

If you aren’t skilled at DIY, you can still get that upcycled backyard furniture look made from unusual items. For example, you could purchase this surfboard table for a beach-themed finish.

Budget-Friendly Fire Pit

A cozy fire pit is perfect for sitting in your backyard during late summer evenings. You can use them for toasting marshmallows, storytelling, or unwinding after a long day.

Fire pits range in price, and you can find some expensive ones online. However, you don’t need to opt for one with such a high price tag to achieve the ultimate in outdoor living.

A makeshift fire pit is easy to assemble using bricks or stones for the surround. Dig a pit in the center and surround it neatly with the stones for bricks. You can also add gravel to the pit, which will help the drainage.

Decorative Lighting

Pretty lights can turn any ordinary backyard into an enchanted, magical wonderland. And that illumination is excellent value for money because it’s cheap to set up but has a stunning impact.

It’s also practical; it adds gentle, low lighting to a seating area for entertaining guests. So, as far as patio ideas go, there isn’t much that beats it.

There are lots of different styles to choose from.

You can have oversized string lights for a dramatic effect, delicate fairy lights for a romantic ambiance, or cascading lights for some glamour. It won’t break the bank and is a style you can match with any garden theme.

An Outdoor Cinema

A backyard cinema might sound on paper like something to stretch the budget, even something that’s only for the truly wealthy. But you can add this fun setup to your backyard on a small budget.

All you need is a flat, white-washed wall for a projector and some comfortable seating or supersized cushions.

If you don’t have a wall, a white sheet will work, too. This idea might have seemed impossible a few years ago, but nowadays, you can buy a low-cost projector that will work with your phone.

Pair it with some speakers for an authentic outdoor movie experience, and you have the setup for a perfect family night.

Create a Decked Area

A decked area is a must-have if you want a professionally landscaped look without the expense. Yet some people can be hesitant about this, worrying that hiring a carpenter to build one is too pricey.

However, you can construct a decking area with tools, wooden panels, and basic carpentry skills.

To do this, you’ll need sturdy, pressure-treated lumber. At the base of your decking, you’ll need to add concrete to keep everything in place and to provide the proper foundation.

It’s worth planning this out first. Always take measurements and assess any slope in the land. You will also need to inspect surrounding areas like fences, trees, and walls.

Build a Container Garden

Container gardening is becoming popular in an age where space is at a premium.

You can create a beautiful outdoor area without having long, green lawns or rows of flowerbeds. Plus, container gardening is also cheap and eco-friendly.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, container gardening involves recycling everyday items and turning them into spaces to hold plants, flowers, or vegetables.

You can use almost anything, and with some imagination, you can create an artistic finish.

Search on social media for inspiration on turning an old boot, plastic bottle, or kitchen bowl into beautiful and colorful garden accessories. Ensure you follow instructions on building these, such as adding drainage.

Create a DIY Water Feature

Adding a water feature will uplift any decorative backyard space.

It creates a tranquil, zen-like feel to your garden. And there are plenty of ways to achieve this without purchasing expensive fountains or paying for landscape gardening.

For example, you can use a large waterproof container to build a small pond. Adding a pump can give you that gentle sound of trickling water that gives your backyard a spa-like feel.

There is also an eco-friendly element to this design.

Water attracts local wildlife, so you are creating a haven for the local bird and insect population.

You can decorate the sides of the pond with plants, stones, or ornaments. Or allow the surroundings to grow wild for a more dramatic and authentic look.

Create a Family-Friendly Game Area

Outdoor spaces should be fun for the whole family. And you can create some fantastic activities in the garden even with a limited budget.

For example, you could make games like a mini putt-putt course or a giant chess board with DIY chess pieces.

Alternatively, you could have an adventure trail through the garden for young children, featuring stepping stones, hideouts, and a sandpit place area. Another low-cost idea is to create a cheap children’s seating area from cut logs.

A fun, child-friendly design is a great way to involve the whole family in renovating your backyard. Give your children some paper and pencils and get them to sketch ideas.

Add a Herb Garden

Do you love to cook?

If so, you’ll know the expense of herbs and other flavor-enhancing ingredients like chili and tomatoes. What money could you save by growing them in your backyard? And the best news is that it’s cheap to get started.

You need some space, soil, and seeds. Wooden boards make the perfect material for the outside of a raised herb garden. All you need to do is plant in a space with plenty of sunlight and ensure plenty of drainage for the soil.

What you plant depends on what you often need, but make sure you allow lots of space. Look after them with regular water and protect the herbs from pests.

Check the seed packets before planting, as some herbs grow best when planted at specific times of the year.

Create a Homemade Pergola

Any sunny backyard needs some welcoming shade so you can enjoy the open air during scorching hot days.

The pergola is the traditional and best way to achieve this. And it’s surprisingly easy to build one yourself. All you need is a few wooden beams and some lattice.

The trick to making it look good is to add some climber plants to create that romantic, floral touch to this space. Fairy lights also look charming. And, of course, you want to add a welcoming seating area.

A shade sail across the top is an easy and low-cost way to enjoy your pergola without worrying about putting on the SPF 50.

Add a Cooking Area

No backyard is complete without space to host a barbecue. You can turn a garden space into a seating and cooking area that’s perfect for this and easy to do on a budget.

You can build a basic barbeque with a brick surround and a grill. Next, add some outdoor cupboard space for plates and cooking utensils.

If you don’t have the money for a formal outdoor dining set, create one using pallets and cushions.

Don’t forget to hang some pretty lights to make the space inviting. Some potted plants in the corner will also add to the rusty charm.

An outdoor dining area is the perfect addition if you love entertaining. You could even add a firepit nearby so guests can have toasted marshmallows after the main meal!

Budget-Friendly Backyard Living

You don’t have to spend tens of thousands on expensive landscape services to get the garden of your dreams.

As these ideas prove, budget-friendly backyard living is easy and fun to create and can turn any space into a beautiful outdoor haven for you and your family.

If you want more inspiration for your home and outdoor space, view the latest articles on our website.

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