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15 Cheap Backyard Ideas That Look Pricey

Having a gorgeous, inviting backyard that’s perfect for lounging around on sunny days, spending time with the kids, and hosting friends and family – that’s the dream, right? But who can afford to make that dream a reality if it involves expensive renovations, pricey landscaping overhauls, and spending thousands of dollars on new furniture and amenities?

Actually, you can afford to create the backyard of your dreams. Yes, that’s right – by simply getting a little creative, you have the ability to turn the yard you already have into the outdoor paradise you’ve always wanted, without breaking the bank. Read on to learn more about our cheap backyard ideas that’ll take your space to the next level.

Cheap Backyard Ideas

Budget-Friendly Buys

Sometimes, all it takes to make your existing space look brand new is a little something extra. Here are our ideas for some inexpensive products that you can add to your backyard for that extra touch of style.

1. Throw Pillows

If you feel like your patio furniture needs a little refresh, how about adding some fun throw pillows into the mix? This seemingly small touch can add some major sophistication to your backyard. A cheap addition to your setup, throw pillows can provide an extra pop of color and texture as well as some added comfort, making your space seem more “lived-in” and inviting.

2. String Lights

outdoor string lights hanging on a line in backyard

A list of budget-friendly backyard ideas wouldn’t be complete without mentioning string lights. These lovely little luminaries are everyone’s favorite for a reason; they can add a warm glow to your space, creating the perfect atmosphere for evening gatherings.

Our favorite way to style them? Casually draped in swags over your main seating area – they’ll look effortlessly elegant.

3. Bar Cart

styled bar cart in apartment with decanter, moscow mule copper mugs, green glasses and coasters

One of the biggest incentives for wanting to make your backyard the best it can be is so you can have people over to enjoy meals together. An inexpensive bar cart is a subtle way to add a classic, practical touch to these events.

This simple, cheap backyard buy will definitely help out when you host parties. You can store beverages, as well as essentials like glasses, plates, and silverware, on it for added convenience. This way, your guests won’t have to keep going back into the kitchen every time they need something.

4. Garden Stools

While it might not be the first idea to come to everyone’s mind, we think that garden stools are truly the unsung hero of budget-friendly backyards. They’re such a great multi-use item. They can serve as side tables, extra seating for large gatherings, or convenient outdoor storage, depending on your needs at the time. The possibilities are endless!

Items to Refresh and Repurpose

Now, if you’re looking for some inspiration to make the most of what you already have on hand, we’ve got you covered! Here are some great cheap backyard ideas for refreshing and repurposing common outdoor items.

5. Refresh Old Planters or Make Your Own

How to grow roses from seed

First things first: don’t count your old, faded planters as down and out just yet. Since pots–large ones, especially–can be so expensive, why not try to breathe some new life into the ones you already own? You can easily refresh your planters with a fresh coat of spray paint.

Or, if you’re looking for something slightly more challenging, why not step it up a notch and try your hand at making your own planters? It’s relatively simple to create new ones by just using old containers you have around the house.

Almost anything–an empty paint tin, an old toolbox, an extra watering can–can be turned into a planter; as long as it’ll hold enough soil for whatever you want to plant, it’s fair game. Simply give the item a good cleaning, add a few holes in the bottom for drainage, and paint and redecorate it as desired.

6. Upgrade a Plain Outdoor Rug

You can also plan to add an extra chic touch to your deck or patio by sprucing up a run-of-the-mill rug. If you have a plain outdoor rug, consider painting a fun pattern on it using a stencil or painter’s tape. This allows you to tailor the design to your particular taste and will help to make the area look more coherent and put together.

7. Add Candles and Greens to Old Light Fixtures

The lamp made of a jar with a candle  is  hanging  on a tree at night. Wedding night decor. Night ceremony

And who doesn’t like a hint of vintage? One way to add some timeless charm to your budget backyard space is by using secondhand or vintage lampstands, candelabras, candlesticks, and the like.

You can place them on your table and then add candles to really set the atmosphere (pro tip: use battery-powered candles for safety). For an even more nature-inspired look, you can grow vines or other trailing plants on them.

8. Hang Curtains around a Seating Area

It’s also a great idea to consider whether you’d like to add some extra shade to your space, especially near your main seating area. If so, hanging curtains can be a wonderful touch!

Soft, thin curtains in a light color never fail to look billowy and luxurious. You have the option to buy curtains, which shouldn’t be too pricey – or, you can always choose to make your own out of mosquito netting, bedsheets, old tablecloths, and the like.

Natural Features to Add

When brainstorming your next cheap backyard idea, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to always be about adding practical items to your deck or patio; adding natural elements to the rest of your yard can be a huge improvement as well.

9. Perennial Flowers

Colorful petunia flowers close up.

You can never go wrong with a good pop of color – especially when Mother Nature is the artist! Flowers are a guaranteed win for beautifying on a budget. They can brighten your yard and make your landscaping look more purposeful.

And they’re affordable; you definitely won’t break the bank, especially if you plant from seeds. For even more savings, consider planting perennials since they come back every year.

10. Trellised Plants and Hanging Planters

Bamboo pergola cucumbers

We’ve already established that plants can add an intentional, manicured touch to your yard – but plants that grow in a planned pattern? Even more so! Trellises and hanging planters are classic and elegant. They also lend an interesting vertical dimension to your garden, which can make your space look even larger.

11. Stepping Stones

If you want to create that landscaping feel without the landscaping price, why not try adding some stepping stones in your garden or near your patio? It’s an easy way to instantly upgrade your backyard; simply use a few large rocks to create a charming little path wherever you wish.

Easy DIY Projects to Upgrade Your Space

Up to this point, we’ve been discussing smaller items and features that you can add into your outdoor space – but maybe you’re someone who’s not afraid to get your hands a little dirty and would prefer to take on a slightly larger project. Well, if that’s you, we’ve got a few cheap DIY backyard ideas for you to try out!

12. Build a Simple Fire Pit

Closeup of glowing outdoor campfire in fall

Believe it or not, you can build your very own fire pit pretty easily. All you’ll need to get started is some gravel and angled pavers or cinder blocks.

First, decide where you want the pit and how wide it should be. Pour a generous layer of gravel in that spot and spread it out evenly. Then, build up the sides with the pavers or blocks until you reach your desired height, and you’re ready to go. Did somebody say s’mores?

13. Add a Wooden Walkway

In a similar vein as the stepping stone path we discussed earlier, a wooden walkway can really pull your yard together. This budget-friendly backyard edition looks so fancy, and yet it’s so easy to put in!

You can either buy a prefabricated rollout walkway kit or make one of your own. If you opt for the DIY path, you can use pretty much any type of wood you have access to; reclaimed wood is particularly popular. Simply secure thin, parallel planks to the ground to create that charming boardwalk vibe.

14. Make a Cozy Hammock Hangout

hammock in garden

Creating the perfect chic reading nook right in your own backyard? Say no more! A cozy hammock hangout is the affordable backyard treat you’ve been waiting for.

All you’ll need to do is find a good, secure place in your yard to hang a hammock; if no natural spot presents itself, you can always opt for a hammock stand as well. Add the hammock, some pillows, a blanket, and perhaps some string lights, and you’ll be ready for the best cat-nap ever!

15. Create a Fun Patio

Last but not least, don’t be intimidated by the thought of making your own patio. It’s the same basic process as building the fire pit; gravel and pavers will do the trick.

All you’ll need to do is plan out your patio location and size and put down some landscaping fabric accordingly. Then, cover the fabric with gravel, outline the space with pavers for a neat edge, and you’ve got yourself a patio!

Wrapping Up Cheap Backyard Ideas

There’s nothing like having a great yard where you can gather with family and friends. And with our cheap backyard ideas, you can create a beautiful space you’re proud of without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking for more ways to take your outdoor living to the next level, be sure to check out our other backyard ideas!