15 Cheap Backyard Ideas

Upgrading your landscape, patio, or deck doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are 15 budget-smart backyard and inexpensive landscaping ideas to help you love your yard more.

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  • 1 of 21

    Decorate a Wall with an Espaliered Tree

    For a high-end backyard look without high-end expense, try this interesting technique: Espalier a tree. It's easier to create a living fence than it looks, and it can be used to add visual interest and texture to a blank wall. 

  • diy outdoor seating with cushions 2 of 21

    DIY a Seating Area

    Furniture can be an expensive investment for backyards, but there are options for make-it-yourself benches, chairs, and tables. Here is one of our favorite budget landscaping ideas: low-cost concrete blocks, dry-stacked and covered with a foam pad, offer lots of seating in a high-traffic spot outside the home's back door.

  • 3 of 21

    Fabulous Backyard Patio Ideas

    These easy backyard ideas will take your patio from basic to beautiful.

  • outdoor table with lanterns 4 of 21

    Drape Overhead Spaces with Lights

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

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    Soften the Edges with Vintage or Handmade Finds

    Sweeping fabric shades -- made from yardage, sheets, or other suitable material -- add elegance and beauty to a backyard patio space. Plus, they can be used to 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.


  • 6 of 21

    Make Your Own Accents

    Looking for a simple DIY backyard idea that you can implement on a budget?There are plenty of decorative garden projects 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.

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    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. Here, 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.

  • 8 of 21

    Pick the Right Pot

    Choose the best pots for your container garden with these expert backyard ideas.

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    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. 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 save even more.

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    Use Off-the-Shelf Materials

    Custom elements easily 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.

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    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. Use them for hardworking, pretty succulents or even low-growing vegetables. These simple boxes -- made with found wood -- hang from hooks and are big enough to serve as a focal point in a backyard.

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    Choose a Simple Plant Palette

    Although including a huge range of flowers and plants in a landscape is one backyard idea, another is to keep the plant selection simple. That translates into multiple opportunities for dividing plants and covering more ground with growing material.

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    Choose an Inexpensive Paving Material

    Check out all your options for hardscaping, including less expensive crushed rock and gravel. Options such as those supply 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.

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    Create Low-Cost Nooks

    Often the best inexpensive 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 push people into nooks.

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    10-Minute Outdoor Decor

    Refresh your outdoor room in a flash with these easy, cheap backyard ideas.

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    Find Ways to Do It Yourself

    Get creative with your backyard ideas to minimize costs and materials; just be willing to invest time and effort. 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.

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    Add Vintage Hardscaping Elements

    Many hardscaping elements, such as simple trellises or arbors, can be found either used or at flea markets. The backyard idea is great for adding height, defining traffic flow, or indicating movement from front to back.


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    DIY Concrete Garden Balls

    See how to make your own concrete garden accents with this favorite backyard idea.

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    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. Here, matching vessels offer design cohesion, as does a similar color palette for the plants. Another backyard idea: A stone slab on top of a lumber scrap makes for a casual outdoor side table.


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    9 Budget-Friendly Backyard Ideas

    See our best ways to boost your backyard on a budget.

  • Next Slideshow 10 Ways to Create a Backyard Getaway

    10 Ways to Create a Backyard Getaway

    Try these ideas to turn your backyard into a relaxing outdoor oasis.
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