Getting your backyard ready for summer doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. In fact, there are many things that you can do that will cost very little and will make a massive improvement in your outdoor living spaces.
From planting a small flower garden to sprucing up your outdoor furniture, many of these projects will take you less than a day to complete and some may not cost you anything at all if you have a few basic supplies on hand.
Go ahead and get ready for summer by adding some beauty to your outdoors. From DIY stepping stones to marvelous outdoor patio furniture that you can make yourself, this collection has it all. There are even instructions for how you can add a little color to a stone patio and wonderful ideas for dressing up boring fences and adding a bit of privacy.
Whether you choose on project or choose them all, we are certain that you will find something that will instantly improve your outdoor décor and give you a great reason to get outside this summer.
Make a Giant Xylophone
If you want something really fun, not to mention cheap and easy to build, you can make a giant xylophone for your little ones. They will have hours of fun making music in the backyard and since xylophones are generally different colors, you can brighten up your outdoors just a bit. This is such an easy project that just calls for pine boards, paint and rope. You’ll also need a staple gun and you can build it in just a few hours. Imagine the fun your little one will have putting on an outdoor concert for you.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Yahoo
Put Up Cupcake Lights
Whether you are planning a summer evening get-together or you just want to add a sweet little decorative element to the backyard, these cupcake lights are divine. You just run a string of lights and then cover the lights with cupcake liners. Note that for outdoors, you’ll need to remove the liners whenever it rains but these are great for outdoor entertaining. You can use different colors and designs or just make them all the same. It’s a sweet way to decorate your outdoors without spending a lot of money.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Cfabbridesigns
Build a Convenient Fence Table
For under $30, you can build a great table on the fence that will work perfectly for outdoor cookouts or putting your indoor plants out in the sun. The table folds down when not in use so it’s really not in the way. You just raise it whenever you need it. You’ll need some hinges, screws, a board for the legs and picket boards for the table. Note that if you want it to last outdoors for several years, you may want to buy pressure treated lumber to build it.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Sensiblysara
Make A Rainbow Trampoline
You can make your backyard trampoline much prettier (not to mention safer) by cutting pool noodles and inserting them around the edges on the springs. Pool noodles are about a buck each at the Dollar Store and you won’t need very many. Just cut them the length needed to cover the springs and then make a slit on one side to insert it. If your trampoline has a net, you can also cover areas of that and make it really rainbow-ish. This makes it much safer for little ones who may get hurt on metal springs and it brings a lot of color to your backyard.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Instructables
Add Steel Pipe Garden Edging
This is one of the most unique and least expensive ways to pretty up your flower gardens. It gives you a lot of added planting space as well. You just take old steel pipes and insert them into the ground around your flower bed. Then just fill the inside of the pipe with potting soil and use that to plant smaller flowers or succulents. You can actually paint the pipes first with spray paint if you aren’t a fan of the old, rusty look but either way, this is a beautiful way to frame your garden and add some extra space as well.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Welchwrite
Build a Gnome a Home
If you have unsightly tree stumps in your backyard and you either don’t want to have them pulled or the process is a bit too expensive, you can turn those stumps into decorative aspects. Simply build a gnome home in them. You just need a tiny door and windows and then whatever you want to decorate the little home with. These are so adorable and if you have garden gnomes, they’ll have a great place to call home. They will turn those unsightly stumps into great décor that is bound to be the envy of all your neighbors, or at least their gnomes.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Snapguide
Fill Flower Beds with Pinecones
Pinecones are probably among the least of all mulch type products because you can normally find them on the ground just about anywhere. Not only do they help to add a bit of beauty when you add them to flower beds, they will also keep dogs and cats from digging in your beds. You just gather up as many as you need and then fill in the ground around your flowers with them. Dogs and cats will stay far away from your flower beds and you’ll have a great decorate element to make those flowers really stand out.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Davisheritage
Create Glowing Outdoor Orbs
You can find opaque glass shades at most flea markets and thrift stores for a couple of dollars each. Take a string of Christmas lights and you can turn those shades into amazing glowing orbs that will help to light up your outdoors. This is one of the least expensive lighting DIYs out there and one that is absolutely beautiful when it’s finished. You can probably find Christmas lights pretty cheap at yard sales and such if you don’t already have a few strands on hand so these will cost less than $5 to make.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Theartofdoingstuff
Fill in Concrete Cracks
You can buy self-leveling caulk for about $6 per tube and one tube will go a long way in helping you to improve the look of your backyard. If you have cracks in concrete, either the foundation of your home, steps, walkways or any other concrete, those cracks will allow weeds to sprout and they look terrible. For just $6 you can fill in the cracks yourself, save a lot of money over having them professionally repaired and make your backyard look wonderful for summer.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Familyhandyman
Paint the Patio
It will cost very little and take very little time to add a bit of color to your patio. If you have a tile patio, you can simply paint a few of the tiles in bright colors, which will instantly add an interesting element. Choose colors that will match your home’s exterior or your patio furniture. This is a great way to bring a bit of the tropics into your backyard for summer and since it’s cheap and easy, it’s one of our favorite backyard DIYs.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Abeautifulmess
Build a Backyard Couch
With just a few cinderblocks, a few pieces of lumber and some cushions, you can create a beautiful and very comfortable couch for your backyard. You just have to stack the blocks and insert the boards through the holes. You will want to use concrete adhesive to ensure that they don’t fall when someone sits on the couch. Then just add a cushion or two and you have a wonderful couch that is both attractive and cheap to build. It’s also really easy. It should only take an hour or so to complete or longer if you are planning to make the cushions.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Lenasekine
Build Your Own Backyard Smoker
Not only will this terra cotta smoker look attractive in the backyard, it will be a wonderful way to cook during the summer months. You can build the smoker completely from scratch with just a couple of terra cotta pots and an old single burner hot plate. You’ll also need a skillet and a few other supplies but overall, this is a really inexpensive smoker and it works great. It’s also really attractive since the outside is made from terra cotta pots so it’s perfect for the back deck or yard.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Instructables
Fill Walkway Cracks with Glow in the Dark Pebbles
A few pebbles (which you can get at your local home improvement store) and some glow in the dark paint will help you to fill in cracks between your stepping stones and give you great outdoor lighting at the same time. Instead of filling in those cracks with mulch or worse, letting weeds grow up through them, just paint some pebbles with glow in the dark paint. The sunlight during the day will fuel the pebbles and they’ll glow for several hours at night. You can find glow in the dark paint in all sorts of colors so you have many choices for décor.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Bookofjoe
Rejuvenate Solar Lights
You can give new life to old solar lights with nail polish. That’s right, nail polish. Just paint the panels with clear nail polish. It will really make them shine and help them to glow brightly again. Those panels can become dingy and not work so well after a few seasons. Rejuvenating them with clear nail polish works perfectly and it’s much less expensive than replacing them altogether. You can pick up cheap nail polish at most Dollar Stores for around a dollar, and one bottle will do all of your solar lights.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Kriegsman
Build an Outdoor Coffee Table
A metal bucket and lumber will enable you to create a lovely coffee table for your deck or patio and one that has additional storage for things that you don’t want to get wet in the rain. You can find an old galvanized bucket at yard sales, flea markets or thrift stores if you don’t already have one and the lumber is really inexpensive. You can also use any plywood that you already have on hand, which will make this little project cost absolutely nothing. You’ll have to cut the plywood into a circular shape and ensure that you get it the right size. Overall, this project shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Remodelaholic
Make a Huge Quilt Pillow
If you have some fabric, you can use that along with pillow stuffing to create a wonderful quilt pillow for the backyard. You can use this when you sit under the stars or even for camping. You just create small pillows and then attach them all together. You could probably do this with small throw pillows if you already have some on hand but you can make it just as easy. Imagine being able to lounge in the sun or under the moon on a very comfortable and plush pillow quilt.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Inthralld
Build a Living Tee Pee
You can use any number of materials to create a living tee pee and your children will adore playing in them. From bean poles to twigs, there are several things that can make up the base and then you just have to choose what you want for the cover. If you want to plant beans, this is a great way to give your backyard a little pick me up and grow some fresh veggies at the same time. You can also do this with flowers, which will look beautiful when they are blooming and give your yard a burst of color along with a playhouse for the kids.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Mistyhorizon
Make Chair Planters
Old chairs, flowers and your backyard spell fun, color and beautiful outdoor décor. If you have some old wooden chairs that can’t be used any longer (if you don’t you can get them pretty cheap) then you just have to remove the seat and turn those old chairs into beautiful planters. You can paint them different colors if you really want a lot of color outdoors and then add container plants that will bloom in contrasting colors. The chairs look great in flower beds, on decks and patios or just sitting in the yard under a tree.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Wonderwomancreations
Create Magical Fires
Pinecones, when treated properly, can be thrown into the fire pit to create amazing bursts of color from your flames. If you have a fire pit, this is an excellent way to add excitement for those nights when you are outdoors relaxing. Please note that chemically treated pinecones should only be burned when there is plenty of ventilation. The cool thing about this project is that different things make different colors so you can choose the colors that you want or just treat several and surprise yourself with your colored flames.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Yahoo
Build a Backyard Fire Pit
You can build your own beautiful fire pit and have wonderfully relaxing evenings during the summer just sitting around roasting marshmallows. Fire pits are really not difficult or expensive, if you know what you are doing. This particular pit is made from brick but you could use any number of stones if you wanted. You can also place patio furniture near the fire pit or just have blankets and pillows on hand for those evenings when you want to really relax under the stars.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Instructables
Create a Terra Cotta Pot Table
You can create a beautiful side table from a terra cotta pot, a terra cotta tray and some outdoor paint. The actual size of the table will depend on the size of the pots that you use. If you want a relatively large table, choose a large pot and tray. Once you have this all assembled, which doesn’t really take very long, you can use it for additional storage. Just lift up the top and put whatever you want to inside. If you have an old pot and tray on hand, this one won’t cost anything. Even if you have to buy them, it’s still a really inexpensive table that is perfect for the backyard.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Dukesandduchesses
Make Your Own Hanging Lights
A terra cotta pot, some old baskets or many other items you may have around the house can be used to create stunning outdoor lighting that hangs on the side of the house. If your backyard is a bit drab and dark at night, these lights will really help to spruce it up a bit. The best part is that they are really easy to make and very inexpensive. In fact, everything you need to make them can be bought at your local Dollar Store. You can choose the style that you like best and then just create hanging lights that will instantly brighten up the backyard.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Theartofdoingstuff
Make Stepping Stones from Rhubarb Leaves
Whether or not you enjoy the taste of rhubarb, there is no denying that the leaves are truly beautiful. They are also quite large which makes them the perfect choice for creating large stepping stones that you can place in the backyard. You can have a path leading off the back deck and into your flower garden or even place the stones in your garden if you want. They are really easy to make, inexpensive (particularly if you are growing your own rhubarb) and will look wonderful wherever you place them.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Gardenweb
Create Tuna Can Lanterns
Lanterns from tuna cans? Yes! These are so adorable and so easy to make. If you tend to eat quite a bit of tuna, just save the cans and the battle is halfway won. Incidentally, you’ll also need globes or hurricanes for the tops of the lanterns and poles to stick them on. These are so great and will be beautiful lining a pathway in your backyard. You could also use them as lights on your back deck. When you are finished making them, just insert a tealight candle. During the summer, you could use citronella candles to light the way and get rid of bugs at the same time.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Inmyownstyle
Make an Old Fashioned Rope Swing
Having a rope swing hanging from a tree in the backyard is a great sight. Your kids will absolutely love swinging on it, too. You don’t need a lot in order to make this swing, either. You need a pine disc cut into a circle which you can find at your local hardware or home improvement store – or you could cut one yourself. You will also need rope in order to hang the swing. Make sure that there is a hole in the center of your disc and then just knot the rope on the bottom and hang the other end over a sturdy branch.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Hometalk
Create Your Own Outdoor Theater
Imagine having an outdoor theater in your back yard. Why, you’ll be the envy of your entire neighborhood and only you will know how easy it was to create. If you have a projector, you’re halfway there already. Now you just need a screen and some comfy seating. You can get screen fabric for less than $40 per yard if you want or you could simply use a white sheet or tarp. Then just hang the screen, add your pillows and get ready to spend a lot of time outside during the upcoming summer evenings.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Running-w-scissors
Add a Water Blob
No, that’s not a type – you can add a wonderful water blob to your backyard and give your kids hours of fun this summer. A water blog gives the kids somewhere to jump and play without worries of actually being in the water and trust us when we say that they will love this. You can make the blob from painters plastic and if you take an iron to the edges before you add the water, it won’t leak. Just make it the size that you want, fill with water and then let the fun begin.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Homemadetoast
Edge Your Backyard Flower Beds
One quick and easy way to increase the beauty in your backyard (not to mention add value to your property) is to edge your flower beds. You can do this easily yourself and save a small fortune over professional edging. Even if you’ve never done it before, you can lay concrete pavers and finish them off, giving your flower beds a professionally edged look and making your entire backyard look great. Take note, this is so easy that you will likely want to do it in the front yard as well.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Gardenworld
Make a Canning Jar Chandelier
What’s the perfect chandelier for a backyard deck? One made of Mason jars, of course. Not only is this project easy, it’s also very inexpensive. You need some canning jars and you can use older ones in different colors if you want. Then just add a string of clear lights (some leftover from Christmas decorating perhaps) and you have a beautiful light for your deck. You could also hang this on a pole in the backyard if you need lighting a bit further away from the house.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Michelesapples
Create Glow in the Dark Planters
Imagine having your favorite flowers lit up after dark. These glow in the dark planters are gorgeous and really easy to make. Do you want to know how simple they are to make? You literally just need planters and glow in the dark spray paint. You can finish a single planter in about half an hour so even if you have several areas in the yard that you want to light up, you can do it all in one day. Use planters that you already have on hand and the project will only cost a few dollars for the can of paint.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Stagetecture
Brighten Up Outdoor Parties
If you want to really brighten up those outdoor parties, or just add a festive touch to your deck lighting, these paper bag lights are perfect. You need some paper bags (which you can get at most Dollar Stores for around a dollar for several), some clear lights and some tape and ribbon. You can decorate the bags or purchase colored ones, whatever you want to do. If you are planning to host a lot of cookouts or pool parties this summer, these lights are the perfect inexpensive way to really brighten things up.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Marthastewart
Build a Beautiful Leaf Shaped Bird Bath
A bird bath in the backyard will instantly add beauty to your outdoors and you can make your own in a wonderful leaf shape that the birds will love. You will have to choose a leaf and the size of your bird bath will depend on the type and size of leaf that you choose. Once you have a leaf, it’s all about the concrete and drying process which shouldn’t take more than a day or so. You can attach this to a base or honestly, they look beautiful just sitting in the garden.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Gardenstew
Make Your Own Planting Board
This DIY planting board is not really going to make your backyard look better per se, but it will help you to create perfect rows in your garden which will make the yard look better. You need a few old corks, a board and some screws. The planting board is so easy to make and you probably have all of the supplies that you need already. Once it’s finished, you just pick it up and press it into the ground with the corks facing into the dirt. It will help you to create perfect rows for your veggie and flower gardens every time.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Pittypatpages
Build a Multi-Towel Rack for the Pool
If you have a swimming pool, this towel rack is a must for summer. It’s made from PVC pipe and is really easy to put together. Plus, it holds multiple towels so there won’t be any worries of towels being lost or misplaced when swimming. You only need PVC pipe, a hack saw and T fittings for the pipe. Make sure that your fittings are the same size as the pipe that you choose. Not only will it keep towels organized while you are enjoying the pool, it’s great for drying them afterwards as well.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – Smartypantsmama