Those who want to transform their backyard and patio areas from bare concrete slabs and empty, grass-filled lawns to decorative spaces will find plenty of creative ideas to bring their dreams to life. Whether creating a tropical retreat, a backyard oasis, or an elegant, water-based focal point, designing a backyard haven suitable for all tastes and preferences is attainable and affordable. Many budget-friendly designs range from fun and entertaining to elegant and luxurious. More people are discovering the joys of outdoor living and find that the exterior spaces of their home provide a wonderful place for relaxation and entertainment. Whether creating a space for quiet reading, gazing upon a garden in bloom, or transforming a boring patio into a decorative retreat, everyone can enjoy the benefits of a rejuvenated backyard.
A tiki bar can bring the beauty of the Caribbean straight to your backyard. With a thatched roof and island-themed design, a tiki bar adds a tropical feel to any space. There are multiple plans available that builders can use to create their own bars. When creating tiki bars, consider lumber choices that are suitable for your area and environmental conditions. White cedar and palm branches for the thatched roof are popular choices. Bars and tiki bars are well-liked, do-it-yourself projects and wonderful ways to transform a plain backyard into a tropical oasis.
Create a Tropical Retreat in Your Backyard: Better Homes and Gardens provides this tutorial with photos for transforming a boring backyard into a tropical paradise with bar/tiki bar.
How to Build a Backyard Tiki Bar: Popular Mechanics shares these plans for the creative builder who wants to add a tiki bar to their backyard living space.
Tiki Bar Plans with Photos, Videos: DIY Network provides these plans rated moderate to hard for the expert builder who wants to add a tiki bar to their backyard.
Choosing a color scheme is one of the most important steps to consider when designing outdoor spaces. Color schemes may be nature-inspired, based upon personal preference, or selected to complement a favorite accessory or focal point. Some choose to add plants and flowering shrubs for the color of their blooms and incorporate them into the overall design scheme. Accessories such as candles, glass orbs, outdoor lighting fixtures, furniture pieces, and art pieces all contribute to the color design.
22 Outdoor Décor Ideas: Real Simple shares this slideshow featuring 22 outdoor décor ideas that focus on different color schemes.
Decorating Color Cues Inspired by Nature: Oprah provides these decorating tips that may help consumers select color schemes for outdoor, exterior spaces.
How to Decorate a Backyard with Plants for Color: The San Francisco Chronicle shares these tips for using various plants to incorporate more color into a backyard decorating scheme and on patios.
Adding a garden pond is a great way to bring water to the backyard environment. Not only does a water pond attract wildlife, but it is also soothing and relaxing. Those installing ponds find they have virtually unlimited freedom when it comes to selecting the best design, style, and layout for their exterior living spaces. Consider adding water lilies, decorative stones, rocks, and appropriate foliage to add to its beauty. Water ponds with fish are another option for adding a touch of nature shaped by human hands to the backyard environment. Choose your location carefully and pay close attention to planning when adding these beautiful water attractions to backyard spaces.
How to Create a Backyard Pond: This Old House provides this resource for those wanting to add a backyard pond.
Build a Backyard Pond: The National Wildlife Federation shares this guide that teaches homeowners how to build a backyard pond and attract beneficial wildlife.
Water for Wildlife: Penn State offers this resource for creating backyard ponds and birdbaths.
A backyard playground is an excellent way for kids to enjoy healthy activities without needing to leave home. There are multiple playground designs available, and customizing a playground that meets a family’s needs is not difficult. Playground equipment should be age-appropriate, and safety should factor into the pieces selected. Slides, swings, jungle gyms, climbing bars and walls, pull-up bars, and areas for sand are popular additions to the backyard playground. Ensure that the location for the playground is one where equipment will not overheat during the day and that the equipment will withstand environmental conditions.
Backyard Wipeout Course for Kids: MSN Living shows how to create a child–friendly play area for kids.
Backyard Playgrounds: The University of Florida provides this guide for creating backyard playground areas for kids.
Age-Appropriate Design for Backyard Playgrounds: The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) provides this guide for creating age-appropriate backyard playgrounds.
A gazebo is a wonderful structure for any yard, deck, or patio. Enclosed, open-air, or screened-in, a gazebo adds a touch of elegance and charm to any backyard living area. When building gazebos, pay attention to lumber choices, lattice design, stain, and finishes, and choose plans based upon personal preference, space, and location. Check with local zoning laws, as some counties might require a permit for building structures on property.
How to Build a Gazebo: This document provided by the Handyman Club of America contains photos and instructions for building a gazebo.
Design like a Pro: Gazebo: Organic Gardening shares these ideas for creative, outdoor seating, including gazebos.
Outdoor Project Guide: Real Outdoor Living offers this free PDF guide for making gazebos and other structures.
A fountain or waterfall is a splendid addition to backyard. Choose from stand-alone features, or add fountains or waterfalls to garden ponds for a stunning touch. Available in a wide array of styles and designs, waterfalls bring a natural flow of water that adds movement to your garden pond and decor. Select rocks to complement your overall design; many find that through creative rock stacking, water can cascade, splash, and flow, creating a ripple effect. Fountains and waterfalls attract birds and wildlife, and with creative water garden design and LED lighting choices, it can easily become a backyard’s central focal point.
Features to Transform Your Backyard: CNN Money shares these tips for creating a backyard oasis.
Creating a Great Backyard: Fox News Latino shares these steps for creating beautiful backyards, including fountain designs.
How to Build a Backyard Waterfall: The Family Handyman provides these photos and steps regarding building a backyard waterfall.
Whether adding or remodeling, pools are wonderful additions to the backyard environment. Spas, faux rocks, waterfalls, and decorative lighting can create a magnificent atmosphere and enhance the look of any pool. Many select tiles for their decorative appeal, and they can range from whimsical to elegant. New designs may incorporate the use of solar energy for ensuring that pools remain heated in an energy-efficient manner. Pools provide countless hours of fun for the family, and designs, enhancements, and additions are available that transform them from traditional to truly extraordinary.
Decks, Patios, Porches, and Pools: HGTV explores options for decorating backyard spaces by adding decks, patios, porches, and pools.
14 Ways to Remodel your Pool, Backyard on a Budget: The Arizona Republic shares these tips for creating pleasing backyard pool spaces while on a budget.
Creating a Backyard Oasis: The Decoist examines these classic and modern pool designs.
A fire pit is a great addition to any backyard and isn’t difficult to construct. The first step is choosing a location and designing the shape of the fire pit. By excavating an area and creating a level space, bricks and rocks are used to map out the fire pit as well as the circumference designated for seating areas. Always ensure there is plenty of clearance for your fire pit, and build the walls high enough to keep the fire well-contained when burning.
10 Outdoor Fire Pits That Will Take a Backyard From Ordinary to Extraordinary: The Huffington Post provides these tips for creating outdoor fire pits.
Backyard Firepit is Central to a Cozy Evening: Michigan Live examines the benefits of having a backyard fire pit.
Build a Backyard Firepit for Less Than $500: Forbes takes a close look at fire pit ideas and offers solutions for those who wish to add the feature to their backyard for less than $500.
Outdoor lighting is one of the main decorative features available for the backyard. Suitable for decks, patios, gardens, ponds, and pools, lighting creates the ambiance for all outdoor settings. Numerous lighting choices are available that will appeal to personal tastes, styles, and preferences. Solar, low-voltage, and LED lighting are a great choice for those seeking energy-efficient lighting options. Consider adding decorative lighting to a backyard fountain, waterfall, or favorite garden statue to create a nighttime focal point.
Outdoor Lighting Ideas: Martha Stewart shares these photos and tips for adding lighting to backyard spaces and patios.
Backyard Gardener: Outdoor Landscape Lighting: The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension shares this informative guide to the various types of outdoor lighting.
Design and Install Outdoor Lighting: University of Minnesota provides this outdoor lighting guide.
Inexpensive ideas for outdoor living spaces abound, and there are plenty of choices available for all design styles and needs. Those decorating on a budget may find budget-friendly landscape ideas, low-cost décor, and creative ideas that cost little yet exude luxury. Choose your decorating scheme and then select low-cost items that best represent your ideals. Browse antique or thrift stores for pieces that fit with your scheme yet are kind on the wallet. Peruse clearance sales and shop wholesale and discount prices in order to maximize savings.
Decorating Ideas for an Outdoor Space: Country Living provides these low–cost ideas for decorating outdoor spaces on a budget.
Chic, Backyard Ideas on a Budget: Sunset shares these budget-friendly ideas that will help transform outdoor living spaces.
38 Outdoor Room Design Ideas: House Beautiful shares these affordable and creative ideas for designing backyard and patio spaces.