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5 Projects You Can Do Now To Update Your Backyard

Updated on September 18, 2015

Growing up, I spent most of my summers at my best friend’s home, where we would pass the time in her oasis themed pool, after climbing up to the roof to catch some rays (not my safest moment). Between the many tiki-torches scattered around her backyard space, or the waterfall that came off of the pool, or even the built in water slide, I suffered bounties of jealousy when compared to my own pool-less backyard. Unfortunately, this is a story all too familiar to those whose families don’t happen to work for a backyard remodeling company, and therefore aren’t capable of catching a break with construction.

Luckily, tiki-torches and water slides are no longer the end all be all of a fabulous backyard. With Pinterest taking center stage in peoples'’ lives over the past several years, the new trend of “doing it yourself” (aka DIY) has reached its peak. No longer do you need to rely on professional contractors to put in a small pond or fire pit, nor do you need to enlist the often expensive help of a landscaper to create that palleted deck or fresh looking garden. No, with the boom of DIY, you'll rest assured that whether your backyard is small and quaint or large and robust, there’s always something to be done for that lone dirt patch, long forgotten in the corner.

Take A Seat

If you have an empty corner of your yard that you’ve been dying to get your hands on, then look no further. Using recycled pallets, you can create seating sectionals that are sure to keep costs low and smiles wide. By cutting your pallets in half and screwing them together to add height, you’re able to create a one-of-a-kind seating arrangement that’s sure to please your barbecue guests who are looking to rest their legs. Invest in some outdoor seat cushions, something that can stand the test of various weather conditions and adds a pop of color to your otherwise drab backyard. Using Velcro, affix the cushions to the pallets so that they don’t move around, and prepare to grab your friends and celebrate the warmer weather. Try using this seating around your fire pit table to give a focal point to your new sectional. Pallets are a great way to update your backyard without reaching too far into your pockets.

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Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls

Or do if you have the room, time, and desire to create a small backyard waterfall of your own. Etch out a small space for your waterfall, perhaps somewhere near your seating and dining areas to provide a your family and friends with the soothing sound of gently dripping water. Waterfalls can be a relaxing addition to any backyard, and add an eye-appealing update to your landscape without requiring too much upheaval of what is already there. With minimal construction or space to be taken up, a waterfall might be just what you need to add some excitement to your space.

Go Vertical

Do you have a small space but desperately yearn for a garden of your own? Look no further! Vertical gardens are a hit these days, using you guessed it pallets, or even old rain gutters to save space. Try hanging gutters cut into five or six feet lengths and using chains to connect rows of three or four to create an intimate space for your seating area. Fill your gutters with soil and get to planting fresh herbs for a garden appeal, or greenery that will spill over in length as they grow, leaving your open spaces covered by beautiful and bright plants. Vertical gardens are ideal for those with tight spaces, leaving the ground free of garden boxes or clutter, while offering a pretty view for you whenever you happen to glance out your kitchen window. Better yet, vertical gardens can be used on patios or balconies if you happen to live somewhere without a yard to call your own!

Play Games

Backyard games have taken on an entirely new turn since I was kid. For one, while corn hole still exists, many of my friends now have personalized corn holes to suit their aesthetics, and while horseshoe is still played, there are even bigger and better versions of games available. I myself in a fit of backyard DIY before my graduation party last year, dragged my husband to Home Depot where we—I mean he—put together a game of giant Jenga for us to play. The game, which has been known to get high enough in the sky to require the use of a ladder, is a hit at barbecues for both adults and kids. It also requires very little in the way of space. All you need is 6, 8 foot long 2x4’s cut into 10 ½ inch pieces (you need enough boards for forty-eight game pieces), something to sand down the edges with, and paint or wood stain to add some color to your work.

Step By Step DIY Jenga

Plant A Reading Nook

Confused? You shouldn’t be, planting a reading nook is a fun and inexpensive way to add privacy to your backyard. Take that lonely corner in your yard and dig out a circle with a six to seven-foot width (depending on how much room you have), ensure that the circle is filled with fresh soil, and plant sunflower seeds along the rim. In two-and-a-half to four months, your sunflowers will reach a mature height, masking the circle within in. Inside of the hidden space, add cushions or a lounge chair (see the Adirondack instructions above), sit back and revel in the summer sun, as you take in a good book or drink your cup of coffee.

Backyards don’t have to be just an extra set of space to take care of in your home. Rather, your outdoor space can and should be used to your family’s content, while being used as a method of bringing you and your loved ones together. Though we can’t all have backyards filled with swim-up bars, or Jacuzzis with stools in the water and jets that provide near professional massages, there are many other ways to create a unique and comfortable backyard all your own. With a little ingenuity, creativity, and the willingness to perform some DIY backyard projects, you too can have a fabulous backyard.

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    • Kelsey Farrell profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelsey Elise Farrell 

      3 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Boy do I feel that. My backyard has been pretty bland for the past couple of years--only recently did I decide to grab hold of the problem and make it nice! I'm glad you found the tips helpful!

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 

      3 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Very inspirational. Thx. My yards is a wreck. Voted up.

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