When it comes to DIY home projects, inexpensive does not have to equal inconsequential. For less than $100, you can create custom light fixtures, build accent walls, update your floors, or design one-of-a-kind decor. Budget home projects can make a big difference, as proven by this bunch of crafty bloggers.View Slideshow
Turn your deck into a private, relaxing retreat with these simple tips.
Look at the lines of your home -- it might give you the perfect spot to place a deck (and make mowing or other yard maintenance chores easier to boot). Extending the roofline of this home over the deck helps the area look as if it's always been part of the landscape.
Instead of clearing the ground when you add a deck, take advantage of what's already there. An old tree isn't just a great element of the yard -- it gives the deck more privacy by creating a soft, natural canopy, too. Lush plantings around the edge of the deck also help it feel softer and more secluded.
Planting your own hanging baskets is a simple way to save money and add exterior color.
Background noise from a busy street can be just as annoying as seeing your neighbor's weedy back yard. Solve this kind of problem by adding a fountain or other water feature to your deck. Even a gentle trickle of water can make a big difference in how much you enjoy your time outdoors!
Evergreen trees are first-rate picks for creating privacy. They block any view and offer a lush, green backdrop. Plus, dense evergreens help filter noise. There's an evergreen for almost every garden; they come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes -- including columnar types that grow no more than 2 feet across.
Gardeners in warm-winter climates know how tropical plants can create almost instant privacy. Even gardeners in the North can enjoy these fast-growing, big-leaf plants: Grow them as houseplants and move them in and out each season, or treat them as exotic annuals.
Amp up the privacy offered by a pergola with the addition of a trellis. Even though this trellis doesn't completely block the view beyond, it provides enough protection to make the deck more enjoyable. Plant vines along the deck line and watch as they wind their way up the trellis over the seasons.
A traditional awning offers protection from the blazing summer sun -- as well as from the neighbors' second-floor windows. Awnings come in a range of styles and options, including retractable types that you can use whenever you want.
If blocking the view of your entire deck isn't possible, then work on a section of it. Here, a beautiful garden of shrubbery and grasses creates a beautiful focal point that draws your eye away from the more-visible deck areas behind it. Planting the garden so close to the stairs also helps the deck feel more intimate and secluded.
A few small trees dotted around the edge of your deck create a soft, leafy curtain without taking up too much space in the yard. Add drama and interest by selecting different types of trees. Small maples (such as Amur maple), for example, provide bold fall colors, while crabapples offer springtime blooms.
Check out the wide variety of outdoor-friendly fabrics to create a perfect little privacy screen. Sheets of fabric sewn like curtains and hung from curtain rods or wire are quick and easy to put together. Plus, they're inexpensive -- so you can create a couple of different options to fit your mood.