With warm weather comes the desire to spend time outdoors. And the desire to make our outdoor area a little prettier and more usable. Backyard design can get pricy, especially if you need a complete overhaul. But you can also create a fanciful space on a budget with a few tips and tricks.
Nothing adds ambiance like a warm, crackling fireplace. The same could be said of adding a fire feature to the yard.
Thankfully, they can be inexpensive and easy to incorporate, whether you want a wood-burning version, which can be found for around $100 or a gas firepit that will cost you a couple hundred dollars more.
Create a true outdoor room with a pergola or gazebo. Having one built will cost you several thousand dollars.
Or, you could go to your Big Box store or a retailer like Walmart or Costco and find an array of options with hard or soft tops, in varying sizes.
This 10 x 10 metal gazebo is just over $1,000 at Lowe's and creates an elegant space for dining and lounging out of the sun's glare.
Sit on it!
Chairs seen better days? Don't toss them out! They can be easily updated by throwing some new cushions on top. These from Target are only $37.
If the table needs some attention, a can of spray paint and a little elbow grease can make it look brand new. You can see a tutorial here. Don't stop there with the painting. Krylon makes a special spray paint for plastic, so if you have run-of-the-mill plastic chairs or planters, you can turn them into something special with a bold spray of color.
Water, water everywhere
Having a pool is the dream of many a homeowner. But many a homeowner can't (or doesn't want to) pony up between $40,000–$100,000 to build one. A hot new trend is making it possible to have a water feature at a fraction of the cost, even in a small yard. It's called the "spool," and "it's taking over the swimming pool industry," said ecopump. "You may be asking, ‘What is a spool?' It's simple -- a pool and spa combined to create a relaxing, backyard oasis. Spools typically measure 10 to 16 feet long and 6 to 8 feet wide, so they're much smaller than the average swimming pool, but larger than an average-sized spa."
Boring floors getting you down? If you like the look of stone but have a tight budget, stained and stamped concrete may be a way to go for your patio.
Staining concrete can give it a whole new look and is something you can do yourself. Stamped concrete can mimic the look of more exotic - and expensive - materials but at a lower cost. "A stamped concrete patio gives you the look and texture of a stone patio for a lot less than the real thing -- up to 50 percent less than the cost of natural slate or limestone," said Houselogic."
That's not all. Stamped concrete can mimic brick, cobblestones, cracked earth, and weathered wood. Add a bit of fun with leaf patterns, animal shapes, even dinosaur footprints. Best of all, a stamped concrete patio is low-maintenance: The "stones" won't settle over time, creating uneven surfaces, and there are no grout or joints that can open up to let grass and weeds sprout."