Outdoor Decorating Projects

Painted door mat
Outdoor gathering spaces deserve just as much attention as the rooms inside your home. Use these creative outdoor decorating ideas to add personality to your porch, patio, or deck.

Painted Rug

Don't settle for a plain ol' outdoor rug. Spruce yours up with paint. It's a super simple way to get a custom creation.

Salvaged Metal Flowers

Old door knobs, scrap metal, and wooden garden stakes come together to make this pair of beautiful blooms. Not only will the outdoor decorating project last year-round, but it is also a unique way to add character to your backyard.

Burlap Garden Box

Salvage a cardboard box and two burlap bags (found at bulk grocers) for a mini garden. Cut the bags at the seams, piece it together to fit your box, and sew with right sides together to form a tube. Fit the bags over the box, tucking and gluing extra material inside and underneath.
Line the box with a polypropylene bag and add potting mix and plants.

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.

Garden Accent

Make decorative concrete balls for your garden using a surprising tool. Watch and learn how.

Glazed Double-Decker Fountain

Update your outdoor living space with a beautiful do-it-yourself fountain. This one was made using glazed terra-cotta pots and river rock, and it makes a stunning addition to any home landscaping.

Pebbled Pots

Give simple store-bought pots an all-natural, expensive look with just a few simple steps. Seal your pot using outdoor spar urethane. Use a utility knife to cut a sheet of pebble mosaic tile to fit a tapered pot, cutting out and placing individual pebbles as needed. Wearing waterproof gloves, spread construction adhesive lightly on half of the pot, press pebbles into place, and hold until the adhesive sets (usually a few minutes). Repeat the process, covering the remainder of the pot with pebbles; let dry overnight. Use gloved fingers to push grout into the gaps between the pebbles; wipe off any excess. Let the grout dry for two hours, then use a damp sponge to wipe the pebbles until no grout haze remains.

Wow-Worthy Wicker

Wicker chairs are a staple in many outdoor gathering places. Breathe new life into yours by giving them a fresh coat of colorful paint. Choose pastel colors for a subtle look, or use brighter colors to make a bigger style statement.

Chime In

Wind chimes are a staple of many decks, porches, and patios. Create your own using nothing more than some empty wine bottles and aluminum wire. Hang a collection of different-size bottles at various heights from a pergola or other overhead structure. Listen as the bottles softly clink together with the wind.

Garden Showers

Spray paint dresses up this shower caddy to hold a colorful shade garden. A metallic satin-nickel finish coats the frame while the baskets flaunt an avocado-green hue. Line the baskets with preserved moss to hold soil and plants while allowing excess water to easily drain away. Tuck the root balls of small shade-loving plants into each moss-lined pocket, adding enough soil to help secure the plants. Water plants daily during hot weather.

Words of Wisdom Planter

Turn an ordinary plastic hanging basket into an outdoor decor piece worth writing about. Simply use a white paint pen to write a message on a store-bought pot. We recommend writing the words in chalk, then tracing the chalk guides using a paint pen. Wait several hours for the paint to dry before rubbing off excess chalk. To add a bit of glamour to your planter, substitute chain hangers for the typical plastic ones.

Outdoor Pallet Table

Craft this stylish pallet table to add a personal touch to your outdoor space. Purchase two half pallets and attach them, one on top of the other, using wood screws. Cut a top and base to size out of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and attach those pieces to the top and bottom of the pallets. Frame the top MDF piece with lattice strips, mitering the corners if desired. Paint the entire unit a color of your choice and let it dry. Attach casters to the bottom of the table to increase mobility. For an embellished surface, cut an outdoor sisal rug to fit inside the top and attach with a weatherproof adhesive.

Pretty Planters

Think these are just garden vases? They actually had a previous life as light fixtures. High-performance enamel forms a rust-preventive finish on metal light fixtures. Remove electrical parts, then brush on one coat of exterior primer and top with two coats of enamel, allowing time to dry between applications. Use paint pens to make patterns. Here, Chinese evergreen and begonia enjoy a summer vacation outdoors.

How to turn a cracked concrete birdbath into a 'tweet succulent planter.

Birdbath Planter

Turn an old, cracked birdbath into a pretty planter. See how it's done.

Picnic Planter

A large picnic basket holds a garden fit for feasts -- lettuce, bush tomato, basil, parsley, and edible flowers. Use a small brush and different colors of stain to create a plaid effect, then use a foam applicator to brush on a light coat of wood stain to unify and soften the colors. Before planting, line the basket with landscape fabric to hold the soil.

Tattooed Pots

Dress up plain terra-cotta pots with paint and decorative designs. Click the link below for the full how-to and free patterns.

Tip: Prepare terra-cotta pots by sealing the insides with two coats of spar urethane, allowing it to dry between coats. This prevents the terra-cotta from absorbing moisture, causing the painted surface to blister.

Garden Art

Soil is a canvas and plants are paint in this artistic masterpiece, using a picture frame as a planter. Keep the price even lower by using an inexpensive flea market frame as your planter. Give the frame a fresh coat of paint if you're not a fan of the color. Fill the canvas with soil and tuck in plant varieties that will stay small, such as sedums and Echeveria

What a Stitch

Make use of a worn-out window screen by transforming it into outdoor decor. Embroider a design on the screen using yarn or twine, making long stitches for a bold effect. Make the artwork both stylish and useful by spelling out your house number or your family's name.

DIY Terrarium

Terrariums have been around for ages, and lately they've experienced a big surge in popularity. Craft a simple terrarium of your own using a wooden tray, a collection of small potted plants, and a large glass cloche.

In Living Color

Add a splash of color to a drab fence with an arrangement of hanging flowerpots. Use a tape measure to map a design on the fence, then attach store-bought pot hangers. Spray-paint the pots with bold, look-at-me colors, and fill them with annuals to create affordable outdoor art. 

Take a Walk

Go au naturel with a leafy garden path. Find a collection of large leaves (we used rhubarb) and use them as a guide for sculpting the stepping stones. The best part of the whole project? It'll cost you less than $20.

Stencil Magic

Add a splash of personality to a solid-color outdoor pillow with a handy stencil. This snappy yellow pillow was embellished using a decorative botanical stencil and attention-grabbing turquoise outdoor paint.

Magnificent Mosaics

Container gardens are an easy way to spruce up any outdoor space. Plant a small arrangement of succulents in a pretty mosaic vase and tuck the arrangement in with varieties planted in the ground. The subtle splash of color is sure to please.

Hint of Sparkle

Place glass beads into an unused lantern for a subtle, decorative touch. The shimmering beads will add sparkle to your outdoor gathering space. Choose colored beads for a bolder look.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Rather than discarding that assortment of terra-cotta pots, consider employing them as in-ground planters. Tuck the planters in among ground-dwelling plants to add dimension to your garden.


Water gardens and fountains bring light and life into outdoor spaces. Install a simple fountain like this one in a single weekend and prepare to enjoy it for years to come. The bonus? Maintenance is easy: Top off the reservoir once or twice a week with a garden hose. Use a scrub brush to remove algae on the urn, or use a few drops of pet- and wildlife-safe algicide once a week.

Curb Appeal

Customize a store-bought doormat with this clever do-it-yourself project. Simply apply strips of painter's tape to mask out a design, then spray on one color of exterior paint at a time, allowing each coat to dry between applications.

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