Is your backyard space beginning to look a little outdated and overrun? Could you benefit from some fresh ideas to improve and upgrade your backyard space—making it a spot you can proudly enjoy with family and friends? If so, you may find the following tips very useful. Here we have compiled several low-cost options for upgrading your backyard, with a detailed description of each tip.
Add a Flower Bed Border
Is your back lawn essentially blending into your flower gardens, making it difficult to see when one ends and one begins? Adding a flower bed border can eliminate that problem, not only defining the line between the grass and the bed but also giving your yard a little texture and character. Simply use your favorite style of bricks to create a meandering double border between the grass and the flower bed. Once you are finished, add some dark black or red mulch material to really make your flower gardens pop.
Define Your Spaces
Backyard and/or patio furniture can be a great way to enjoy the summer evening coolness, but first it is necessary to define the various spaces in your yard. This can be as easy as simply repositioning the outdoor furniture and accessories you have to create defined spaces for dining, cooking, lounging and a children’s play area. Also, if you find the kiddos toys are beginning to take over one or more of these spaces, this can be remedied by simply building or buying a small shed in which to store them when not in use. Or, add a fire pit for those cool autumn evenings.
Add a Garden Path
Many homeowners balk at the idea of adding a meandering garden path due to the prohibitive cost of pavers and the labor involved. However, there is a much easier and cost-effective way to add a path that will look just as great as one made from pavers. Here is a step-by-step method for creating a lovely path on which to enjoy the beauty of your garden:
- Clear the area in which you plan to build your path of any leaves, rocks or debris.
- Mark the path on both sides using wooding stakes, placed about 2-3 feet apart
- Wrap or attach bender border—the type used for lawn edging-around your stakes
- Once your path has been marked, clear it once more of any debris that may have accumulated while you were working
- Lay down to four to five inches of crushed rock, which is available in a variety of colors.
- Flatten the rocks/path surface using a plate compactor, which can be rented at almost equipment supply center
By using crushed color rock you can create a permanent path that meanders through your garden at just a fraction of the cost of using pavers.
Cover Your AC Unit
We all need our AC units, but these behemoth machines can be a real eyesore in your backyard space. Covering this unit with an attractive wood product of your choice can remove this eyesore and give that space a rustic feel. Here’s how:
To hide your AC unit you will simply be building a two-sided or three-sided enclosure—two-sided if your AC unit is against a wall; three-sided if the AC Unit is free-standing. Naturally, one side must remain open in case your AC unit needs servicing, although you could technically build a 4-sided enclosure with a gate if you so chose.
Using 2 x 2 posts cut to size, glue or nail cedar wood (or any wood you prefer) onto the posts until you have created panels. Be sure to leave 12 inches on the bottom of each post to anchor them. With a measuring tape, match the posts to the positions in which they will sit in the ground. Then, using a post-hole digger, dig down about 12 inches. For a permanent enclosure you can set the posts in concrete, but we recommend just using dirt to cover the posts just in case you may have to move it in the future.
Add a Trellis
A trellis makes for a great backyard upgrade and a wonderful focal point in any backyard space. Trellises can be found at any home and garden store, or if you are a DIY handyperson you can always build your own. Try to situate the trellis towards the back of your garden to create this focal point. Perhaps it can lead to a flower bed of which you are particularly proud or a garden seating area. Plant a meandering vine on either side of the trellis and you’ll have a professional looking arch for a budget-conscious price.
If your backyard features a lot of large flat areas, such as big expanses of lawn, you can spruce up these areas by adding some dimension to them. One great way to do this is with boulders. Boulders, which are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, can be purchased at any landscaping supply store or garden center. You can even hunt for your own next time you go camping. Either alone or grouped together, these boulders can provide a beautiful focal point to any large flat area, so be sure to leave some space around them in which to plant some colorful perennials or flowering shrubs.
Let There Be Light
If you plan to enjoy your backyard at night, you will definitely need some lights. There are many ways people have chosen to light up to their nighttime landscapes. Seating areas look amazing when they are bordered by Tiki torches—either real torches or the battery operated lights. Small solar lights, which often come attached to stakes you can place them in the ground, are terrific at lighting up paths; and hanging, Christmas-style lights look wonderful on trees and large shrubs.
Opt for Evergreens
The winter can be a dull and dreary time for a backyard space, but by adding evergreens you can provide year-round color to your yard and garden. Things like boxwood shrubs and other evergreen products are perfect for hedges and for marking paths through your garden, ensuring a touch of green even in the darkest days of winter.