23 Cheap Backyard Ideas

backyard patio seating with bamboo reading corner pillows
Upgrading your landscape, patio, or deck doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are 20+ backyard patio ideas on a budget, plus inexpensive landscaping inspiration to help you love your yard more.

Decorate a Wall with an Espaliered Tree

For a high-end backyard look without the high-end expense, try this cheap backyard idea: Espalier a tree. It's easier to create a living fence than it looks. The technique involves planting a tree and training it to grow in a pattern. The result is a custom look that adds visual interest and texture to a blank wall on a shoestring budget.

Invest Smartly

While you can get savvy with cheap landscaping ideas, identifying one element to invest in will help you create a yard you’ll love and can enjoy for years to come. Consider spending a little extra on a budget-friendly fire pit or one special piece of furniture you’ll use regularly. Finish your backyard with more-affordable accents, such as pillows and side tables, to complete your space.

Revive, Don’t Replace

Outdoor furniture, while made to withstand the elements, can take a beating over the years. Rather than throw down oodles of cash for new furniture, a few DIY fixes can revive your existing pieces. This once-rusted patio table looks brand-new thanks to spray paint, new strapping, and a little cleanup.

Double Duty

One of the best backyard ideas for small yards is also a budget-friendly choice. Employ furniture pieces that work in two different ways. A two-in-one piece, like this bench with a lounger, maximizes space and can be more cost-effective than buying multiple seating options. Furniture with built-in storage allows additional seating while hiding away accessories that are used infrequently. 

Take a backyard from basic to beautiful with these patio decorating and design ideas.

Fabulous Backyard Patio Ideas

Backyard patio ideas on a budget can bring plenty of style and comfort to your space. These easy backyard ideas will take your patio from basic to beautiful. Consider defining your outdoor living room with a retaining wall. Or incorporate an outdoor kitchen for a patio that's prepped for parties.

DIY a Seating Area

Furniture can be an expensive investment for backyards, but there are options for cheap backyard patio ideas. Rely on make-it-yourself benches, chairs, and tables and you will furnish your backyard for less. Here is one of our favorite budget landscaping ideas: low-cost concrete blocks, dry-stacked and covered with a foam pad. The DIY bench offers lots of seating in a high-traffic spot outside the home's back door.

Drape Overhead Spaces with Lights

Outdoor lights remain a perennial favorite for porches and patios, and there's good reason: They're celebratory and fun, with just enough sparkle to keep the light from being distracting. Inventive cheap backyard patio ideas starring string lights offer pretty colors and shapes; use them to wrap a tree, or drape them down a table for a twinkling centerpiece.

Soften the Edges with Vintage or Handmade Finds

Utilize fabric and vintage finds for cheap backyard makeover ideas. Sweeping fabric curtains—made from yardage, sheets, or other suitable material—add elegance and beauty. Plus, they can shield family and friends from intense rays at key times of the day. In place of a more expensive light fixture, repurpose vintage elements into decorative backyard focal points. Here, nonworking chandeliers are outfitted with candles and trailing vines.

Make Your Own Accents

Looking for cheap backyard patio ideas? Make your own accents. There are plenty of decorative cheap garden ideas that you can create to enhance your backyard space, including casting your own stepping-stones and designing your own tabletop fountains. This pretty stepping-stone set is one of many backyard ideas that work particularly well in a cottage- or country-inspired garden.

Display a Collection

Collections are often thought of as high-end or expensive, but a simple gathering of plants in miniature containers can be a great focal point for a backyard. This plain shelf provides a good spot for a low-cost stockpile of succulents and cactus plants. The easy backyard idea adds a fun pop of color to the outdoor area.

Learn the difference between soft, less-durable clay pots, and high-fired, freeze-resistant clay containers so you select the right flower pot or planter.

Pick the Right Pot

Learn the difference between soft, less-durable clay pots, and high-fired, freeze-resistant clay containers. With these smarts, you’ll know how to select the right flowerpots or planters for your garden.

Use Remnant Stone for Hardscaping

One of the most expensive backyard ideas in any landscape is hardscaping: walkways, retaining walls, edging. But the stone leftovers at your local landscaping, big box, or nursery supply store may be a less expensive option, especially if you're looking for simple small backyard landscaping ideas and don’t have much square footage to cover. Placed together in a dry stack, the stones (such as these in the elevated garden section) offer a pretty backyard element that looks as if it's a natural, always-been-there part of the yard. Low-growing groundcovers soften the edges with charming blooms. Bonus: Those perennials can easily be divided to plant elsewhere and help you save even more.

Use Off-the-Shelf Materials

Custom elements quickly increase a budget for backyard landscaping, but creative recasting can get you the same function at a much lower cost. Ordinary blocks elevate lengths of decking for a bar-meets-cooking-meets-seating backyard idea. The same materials in a different configuration can also be used to create an outdoor dining table, coffee table, or side table.

Go Vertical with Your Gardening

Go green with this easy and affordable backyard idea. Urban spaces or blank walls can benefit from the addition of vertical gardens. This simple, budget, small garden project can be used for growing pretty succulents or even low-growing vegetables. Here, simple boxes—made with found wood—hang from hooks and are big enough to serve as a focal point in a backyard.

Choose a Simple Plant Palette

For simple small backyard landscaping ideas, rely on tightly curated selection of plants. You’ll be surprised by how creative you can get with just a few varieties. That translates into multiple opportunities for dividing plants and covering more ground with growing material.

Choose an Inexpensive Paving Material

Check out all your options for hardscaping, including less expensive crushed rock and gravel, especially if you’re looking for cheap backyard ideas with no grass. Gravel provides a more casual surface underfoot for outdoor seating nooks and dining areas. If you do use traditional pavers, consider unusual placement—large stones interspersed with wide swaths of grass, for example—to cut down on the total material needed.

Refresh your outdoor spaces in as little as 10 minutes with these quick, easy, and affordable decorating ideas.

10-Minute Outdoor Decor

Refresh your outdoor room in a flash. These easy, cheap backyard ideas make a major impact in your space. Best of all, they can be done without straining your wallet.

Create Low-Cost Nooks

Often the best cheap backyard ideas are the simplest: Create zones or separate areas with a few shifts in furniture in order to delineate eating, relaxing, cooking, and more. It doesn't typically involve any furniture purchases; use rugs to shift traffic or styles of chairs to guide people into nooks.

Find Ways to Do It Yourself

Get creative with backyard ideas that minimize costs and materials; just be willing to invest time and effort. In this backyard, a slatted fence—with the boards spaced a bit wider than normal—helps to reduce wood costs. Big concrete pavers take the place of pricey stone for a patio, while building materials help create the containers and outdoor table base.

Add Vintage Hardscaping Elements

Many hardscaping elements, such as simple trellises or arbors, can be found either used or at flea markets. Hunt down affordable treasures and bring vintage style to your space with this cheap garden idea. It’s a great way to add height, define traffic flow, or indicate movement from front to back.

 

Make these inexpensive and fun concrete ball accents for your garden using surprising tools -- either a glass globe for a light fixture or a glass Christmas ornament. Watch and learn how.

DIY Concrete Garden Balls

Enhance your beautiful landscape and plants with accessories. Make these inexpensive and fun concrete ball accents for your garden. This DIY outdoor project uses surprising tools—either a glass globe for a light fixture or a glass Christmas ornament—and can be completed in a weekend.

Build Color with Containers

Annuals can be less expensive than perennials and shrubs, and they're a great way to add color and impact to a backyard, especially when arranged in containers. Matching vessels offer design cohesion, as does a similar color palette for the plants. Another cheap backyard patio idea: A stone slab on top of a lumber scrap makes for a casual outdoor side table.

 

Backyard ideas don't need to break the budget. We show you nine easy, cost-effective ways to get a better backyard.

9 Budget-Friendly Backyard Ideas

Backyard ideas don't need to break the budget. Get inspired and breathe life into your backyard with a little bit of budget-savvy smarts. We'll show you nine easy, cost-effective ways to get a better backyard.

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