Outdoor living has never been hotter, but decking out your yard can cost as much as a new car—and that's without adding a big-ticket item like a pool. Use these tips to make smart additions in creating an inviting space without going broke.
1. A fire pit
You don't have to hire masons to come and build you a towering outdoor fireplace to create some warmth in your yard. An inexpensive fire pit from Home Depot, Lowes, or Target surrounded by comfy seating can be all it takes to create a seating area you'll want to spend every evening enjoying.
Or, buy an outdoor furniture set with a fire pit built right into your table. You can also make your own with one of these DIY fire pit ideas.
2. A little color
Creating a vibrant garden doesn't have to be expensive. And it can be done without much of a green thumb. Afraid you'll kill anything you put in the ground? A smattering of colorful pots filled with flowers and a couple of hanging pots can have a surprisingly large impact.
3. A patio
Add in a few pavers to create a path, or enough to build a patio if you're lacking one, and you now have a space you can be proud of.
4. A little cover
A covered patio provides shelter and also helps to create a refuge. An arbor or pergola can set you back thousands. More midrange options are available at big box stores and seasonally at Costco and Sam's Club, like this 12' x 10' cedar pergola.
A shade sail is a growing trend not just for commercial spaces but also for homes where a pergola or other permanent structure might not be the answer. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, shade sails are made from heavy-duty UV protective materials, and come with installation materials that a decent DIYer can handle.
5. A water feature
A water feature can create a soothing space, inject a bit of tropical flavor, and help drown out street noise. They can be elaborate and pricey, but they don't have to be. This slate fountain that can be used on a tabletop or up against a wall.
6. A couple of great chairs to relax in
An Adirondack chair can run you several hundreds of dollars. But if you don't mind forgoing the wood, you can pick up one of these resin versions at several locations. As a bonus, the resin material is super easy to care for: just rinse off!
Or, if you're a little handy, and a little dreamy, build this backyard hammock. We dare you to build this and then not spend EVERY WAKING MOMENT in it.
7. Some snazzy lighting
String lights along the perimeter of your fence, zigzag over the top of your patio, or weave throughout trees to bring sparkle to the yard.
Then, "Bring together some thrift store globe shades and old Christmas lights for a knockout look in your garden," said Bob Vila. "Stuff the lights inside the shade, and then plug them in. Use an outdoor-rated extension cord, of course, then kick back to enjoy the atmosphere."