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5 Ways to Spruce Up Your Backyard on a Budget

Candles light patio furniture in a backyard during nighttime.

As people across North America continue to make more use of their homes during the peak of summer, one thing is for sure—outdoor living is getting more attention than ever before. Though many have taken the last few months to tackle indoor projects, the warm weather has some homeowners now focused on transforming their outdoor spaces, too. Whether you have a large backyard in a suburb or a smaller lawn in a homeowners' association (HOA), outdoor spaces vary. Big or small, these simple, affordable touches can give any setting a little pick-me-up. While homeowners in an HOA should check their rules and regulations before making any changes, here are five easy ways to spruce up your backyard on a budget

1. Count on color.

Color can come in many forms when it comes to your DIY backyard on a budget. Whether it’s a bright, colorful rug, fun furniture, an exterior statement wall, pillows, or flowers and plants, a pop of wow is an instant mood booster. Try re-staining your fence or deck to give the area new life. A fresh stain can help you decide if you’d like to go with warm tones, such as red, orange, or yellow, or cool tones, like green, blue, or violet. The most important thing to remember is to be intentional with your color choices. Consider using a color wheel if you need some help finding complementary and analogous colors. Ultimately, you want your colors to work well together to create a cohesive look.

2. Add greenery.

For some, ideas for landscaping a backyard on a budget consist of a cement patio, a wooden deck, or a small area of grass. To make the area feel more natural, add some green. A faux grass rug can instantly elevate your space—it’s also easy to maintain, cost-effective, and pet- and kid-friendly. In addition, hanging and potted plants are practical choices for your backyard. Working double- and triple-duty, summer herbs grow well in a contained environment, add flavor to your favorite meals, and repel pesky bugs and insects. Try potted mint to ward off ants and mice. Not only does it smell fresh, but it’s also a great addition to salads and refreshing summer cocktails. Rosemary and basil plants repel mosquitoes and flies. The herbs can be eaten fresh or dried and quickly amp up the flavor of chicken and Italian dishes.

planter boxes with summer herbs in budget backyard

3. Light it up.

Gone are the days when outdoor lights were reserved for the holidays. Today, outdoor lights live year-round. With everything from globe lights and colored lights to fairy lights and jar lights, there’s a style that is sure to work perfectly in your space. Ideal for hanging from a patio or pergola, traditional globe lights are the go-to option for households across the country. With bulbs enclosed in a protective PVC, weather-resistant rope lights are perfect for wrapping around tree trunks or lighting up a walkway. Reach for fairy lights to add a magical, twinkling illusion to bushes, trees, or a backyard sitting space.

Outdoor lighting can stretch outside the backyard area. For additional inspiration, check out our outdoor lighting ideas.

4. Consider new uses for things.

Over the years, many often find themselves with too much stuff. It’s either packed into a storage shed, hidden in closets, or saved in a junk room. But the good news is there may be uses for these things as you learn how to landscape a backyard on a budget. Containers like mason jars, tin cans, old pots, dresser drawers, and even old tires can be perfect for planting flowers. For an instant upgrade, try painting, adding decorative tile, or wrapping containers in fabric or rope. Wine bottles, mason jars, and tin cans can all be repurposed to create lights or lanterns. Plus, this porch swing and this privacy fence make good use of an old crib mattress and shutters.

5. Add textures everywhere.

As you try to make your backyard on a budget work, take inspiration from Mother Nature and incorporate soft and hard textures to help your outdoor space feel more welcoming. Beyond comfy cushions, plush pillows, and airy curtains, look to the elements for a feeling of softness. A water feature, wind chime, sandbox, or candles can all exude the same sentiment without the high price tag. Similarly, a rock garden, stone pavers, wooden décor, and cement details can balance the textural difference with hard surfaces and linear structure.

colorful backyard with flowers and sofa

Keep Your Backyard on a Budget Clean

With these simple touches, you can create a personal oasis right in your own backyard. That oasis deserves to be kept clean with a proven method like power washing. For information on how to get things done right, follow our “Power Washer Dos and Don’ts.” In it, you’ll find out how to leave dirt and grime behind and keep all outdoor areas, including your backyard, in tip-top shape.