Tour four bold and budget-minded outdoor rooms to find inspiration for your backyard.
The combination of new materials with architectural salvage and garage-sale finds creates this truly one-of-a-kind and low-cost patio. The tree-covered area right outside the walkout basement serves as the patio site. The homeowner built a retaining wall and used crushed-limestone fill to level the steeply sloped space.
The flooring is made of salvaged slate tile nestled into pea gravel. A variety of round iron weights -- which the homeowner purchased from a garage sale -- found a place in the flooring as well, breaking up the straight lines of the slate pieces.
Miscellaneous freestanding rocks gathered from the homeowner's travels surround the site. Old galvanized tubs and stainless-steel food-service containers serve as pots. For a traditional touch, the homeowner chose Adirondack chairs.
Turn ordinary clay planting pots into works of art with just some masking tap and spray paint.
The homeowner built his own fire pit with concrete culvert spacers -- aka doughnuts -- intended to fill culvert gaps in city sewer systems. Using 2-inch thick spacers, he nestled the first one halfway into pea gravel, then stacked the rest on top. He finished by painting the spacers with a concrete stain to darken and soften their utilitarian look.
An outdoor kitchen can easily cost several thousand dollars. By reusing old materials and buying accessories at discount stores, this homeowner created a hardworking outdoor kitchen for a fraction of that cost -- just under $700!
A spacious counter for cooking and entertaining -- made of recycled wood and cinder blocks -- cost almost nothing. Originally, the cinder blocks were part of the chimney at the back of the house. Decorative painting gave them a pleasing gray patina.
This outdoor kitchen is a favorite summertime spot, but it's also used for hobbies. The homeowner also uses the counter for potting, arranging flowers, and carving pumpkins.
This outdoor room looks expensive. but that's just what the homeowner wants you to think. Inexpensive building materials such as gravel, cinder blocks, and pressure-treated wood form the backbone of the design. Tile backboard and salvaged plywood, stained a soft blue and attached to a custom frame, give the tiny yard privacy.
Concrete steppers laid in gravel create a cute pathway that connects the outdoor room to the back of the house. By covering the yard with gravel, the homeowner has very little yard maintenance to deal with, giving him more time to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
The homeowner built a clever concrete block bench for only $30. Scrap fabric covers the pillows and the plank that top off this truly brilliant seating area.
With any outdoor room, choose plants that have an undemanding nature so you can spend more of your time relaxing. The potted succulents that surround this space are drought-tolerant and need to be watered only once a month.
Beaded candle lanterns in spicy hues surround the space and add inexpensive splashes of color and ambiance to this outdoor room at night.
This elegant outdoor room was put together in just a few hours and without spending a lot of money. An alfresco dining spot, is arranged under a metal gazebo. Snap-on weather-resistant fabric panels shade the space from sunlight.
By spending less money on the actual structure of your outdoor room, you can splurge on furnishings and decorations. Here, blue glazed containers filled with fragrant flowers make a lovely centerpiece and complement the blue-and-white table settings.
Outdoor lighting is a must for every outdoor living space, but it doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. A simple Moravian star extends dining hours and provides a decorative element for this easy-to-build outdoor room.