Backyard DIY Projects That Make Us Want To Spend More Time Outside

By Kimiko I

This article was originally published on morehackz

Calling all homeowners—and renters, too! The weather’s nice, and it is high time to direct our attention to the great outdoors. Why not transform your very own backyard into a splendiferous summer hideaway? With a little help, it could become your go-to place throughout the full season. Begin with the mindset that your outdoor space could be an interesting challenge to take on. Do you like to garden or simply make DIY crafts? Got a few carpentry skills? Do you always need a project to work on? Maybe you simply have a good eye and just need a few design ideas? Let’s get started on that backyard of yours—we’ve put together over 40 ideas to help you achieve the yard of your dreams.  

Accessorize with color

Begin with color. It’s been said repeatedly that cool colors such as blue and green are healing, calming, and really help cut down on daily stress levels. Whereas warm colors such as red, yellow, and orange are perfect for that “let’s party” kind of feeling. Decide what you might need in your life.

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If you’re still undecided, think about where you’ll be adding color. Look for beautifully hand-painted pottery, colorful fabrics on items such as tablecloths, napkins, cushions, and pictures that reflect botanicals and flowers. With all of this in mind, you’ll be sure to find perfect color combinations for your new backyard.

Light up your backyard path

Soft lights can create a dreamy atmosphere on warm summer nights when enjoying the company of family and friends. Path lighting is primarily used for safety reasons, but it also creates an inviting atmosphere for everyone who visits. You can also use outdoor lighting to highlight your favorite landscaping feature.

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Why not add strings of lights from tree to tree or wherever you wish? There’s no holding back. Go ahead and light up the night and create a magical setting for your guests. Don’t be afraid to look at all lighting options—from candles to flickering flame solar lights to fairy lights—you’ll be surprised by the dramatic effect from these amazing lights.

Use Your Trees

When is the best time to plant a tree? Now! Trees are excellent additions to and landscape. They look great and will also provide a layer of shade on those bright and sunny days. With an echo of wind, trees have a habit of serenading us into a lullaby state-of-mind. Attach a hammock, and you’ll see what we’re talking about!

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Maybe you need extra seating in your yard? A circular bench around a tree will solve the problem! The versatility of decorating with different seating arrangements is limited only by your imagination. Wood, stone, wicker, or iron benches come in many decorative shapes and sizes. Be sure to add soft cushions, planters, and maybe even a cup holder or two.

Make a ‘Cool’ Table

It’s 5:00 pm, and it’s happy hour somewhere. How about building a “cool” table for when your friends stop by? Instead of a standard dining table, this one is totally for you. If you need to have your beverages and ice nearby, build a table with that feature in mind. Create an ice-cubby to hold your drinks!

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While you’re at it, think about trendy storage bins for holding glasses and utensils. Its primary function is simple and efficient, all about the ease of entertaining guests and keeping drinks cool all summer long. We have to say, we’ve never seen this bright idea before!

Relax With Wind Chimes

When the wind blows, you can count on wind chimes to produce peaceful and soothing sounds. Wind chimes come in many sizes, styles, and shapes, while the rods can be made of metal, glass, bamboo, or any other materials such as shells or even bone.

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Take the time to listen to its tone and frequency before purchasing. Each one will surely produce its own melodic sound. It’s effortless to put wind chimes in an outdoor setting such as a garden, patio, or courtyard. Or, set them up near a calm space for your morning meditations.

Play With Mirrors

Garden mirrors win the Nobel prize when it comes to small patio spaces. You can use a nicely positioned mirror to reflect your beautiful garden, amplify light, and make your yard look larger. Like windows, mirrors can provide an airy dimension.

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See if you can find creative ways to reflect the very essence of your backyard wonderland. Angle in a way that catches the section you want to show off the most. It goes without saying that placing mirrors grouped strategically provides a visual breather!

Shower in nature

There’s nothing quite so exhilarating as taking a shower outdoors! Besides being a refreshing way to cool down, having an outdoor shower can also come in handy. Use it as a spot to bathe and change after being in the pool, or simply rinse off after working in your garden.

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Kids can use it after playing outside all day, and it’s an excellent place to wash the dog. As long as your outdoor shower is private, complete with plumbing, doors, and walls, it could also be a fantastic extra shower for when you have guests come to visit.

Transform it into a Beach

Queue the seagulls! Introduce a coastal design in your backyard. Think about Cape Cod, driftwood, and a lot of sand. Nautical motifs such as anchors, fishing nets, life-saving rings, and corals are a must if you want the aesthetic to be just right.

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Will color, specific beach furniture, and a beach bonfire—you’ll soon embody the atmosphere of a fun seaside retreat in your own backyard. Set it up by the grill like this person did to tie the whole scene together and make it comfortable for your guests.

Personalize Your Planters

Roll up your sleeves, put on an apron, and prepare to repurpose old clay terra cotta planters and pots into a decorative and cohesive design. Spray them, paint them, and glue beads or seashells to the outside. Try decoupaging pots using designer themes from different countries, such as Mexico or Portugal, for a colorful touch.

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Experiment with recycled materials such as large tin cans for hanging pots or small wastepaper baskets for floor planters. You can even take old glass jars and hang them. It’s also fun to explore different ways to add feet to the bottom of the large planters.

Build a Potting Table

Are you madly in love with gardening? Then, you need a potting table to help eliminate mess and stress. Gardening tools, fertilizers, and extra pots organized in one spot will make life much easier. Not only will it declutter a mess in your yard, but it will help you become a better gardener by giving you time to do what you love—planting and upkeeping your luscious garden.

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Building a potting table doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. For starters, you could even turn an old desk into one. However, if you’re up for building your own potting bench, you can find videos online that will provide detailed instructions. They’re super easy to construct, and you could even add your own sink.

Create a Secret Spot

First, adjust your Sherlock Holmes hat and observe the situation around you. Look for overgrown bushes or fast-growing climbing plants such as Virginia Creepers, Wisterias, and Rambling Roses, and pay special attention to the eventual height of your climbers. Elements like walkways and entrance and exit points within the yard are all key components to a fascinating secret garden design.

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Better yet, turn your shed into an unsuspecting nook, and turn it into a private reading room or an artist’s painting studio. Everyone needs an isolated retreat for those days when you want to get away from all the noise and busyness. Finally, keep in mind that you can always build underground!

Add mosaic to your walkway

Did someone say, “Add mosaic to your walkway?” What an outstanding project! Crafty, colorful, artsy walkways from bits of broken pottery, tiles, broken china, or even rocks and pebbles add a nice touch to any garden. Guests will be eager to stroll along your patchwork-covered trails discovering new areas within your garden.

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Start simple. Look for mosaic supply stores and illustrated how-to mosaic instructions online. Select the material you want to use and start sketching out designs. Mosaic pieces can resemble a cool print, colorful outline, or even add a splash of color needed to dress up the look of the outside space.

Rest on a Garden Swing

This isn’t your typical swing. Enjoy a backyard swinging bench that belongs in a garden or on your patio. Refinish the swing with light sanding and vibrant colors or hand-drawn colorful designs to make it more personal. For extra comfort, add cushions and pillows while keeping in mind your outdoor color scheme.

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Treat yourself to a lazy afternoon of snoozing in the sun and dreaming the hours away. Or invite your friends over and to swing and sip iced tea. Breath in, touch the earth with your bare feet, and enjoy the fresh air in the comfort of your own backyard, especially on a swing that you designed.

Invite Birds to Stay

Do you love birds? Keep them in mind during your design process. Go ahead and fill your yard with homemade birdhouses, feeders, and birdbaths. Gather your craft supplies and decorate them to your heart’s delight. You’ll soon spot many species of birds in no time.

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Not only is this an engaging hobby, but it’s beneficial to the environment and good for the soul! Watching birds come to feed and rest in your backyard is a satisfying activity. If you want to attract hummingbirds, for example, install a red feeder so they can sip sugar water.

Backyard Waterfall Anyone?

This next project requires a bit of landscaping and sourcing of water. There’s also ongoing maintenance to consider. You could, however, consider adding a waterfall into your pool design. But let’s say that you don’t have a pool or a pond, and you really want a waterfall to be a prominent landscape design in your outdoor space—this can absolutely accomplish it.

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Bodies of water, small or large, are quite therapeutic. They add an entirely different vibe to the outside of the home. Also, they make a lovely sound. Why not take the leap and make it a part of yours? It will certainly add to the “wow” factor in your backyard.

Add More With a Pergola

A pergola is a fantastic idea, especially if you don’t already have a back porch or deck. Pergolas look wonderful and can easily be used as your main summer retreat. Add a patio cover for shade and train flowering vines to grow along with its structure. Also, be sure to place a dining table and chairs under its hood.

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Pergolas are easy to build, and there are many different styles to choose from. This allows you to create the aesthetic that you want without having to compromise your personal style. Don’t forget to dress it up with lights and your favorite planters.

Invest in A Fairytale Gazebo

Gazebos offer similar benefits to having a pergola, including shade for when the sun is bright. It’s a wonderful spot for dining in the privacy of your backyard—Hang Christmas lights and wispy curtains for style and hidden peace. In contrast, gazebos found in city parks have recently been converted into impromptu stages, giving musicians a shot at performing.

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Gazebos come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. You can choose a simple one to add a nice touch to your already fully-designed backyard or consider a fancy one to make it the main attraction in your peaceful retreat.

Store Belongings in a Shed

We already know that a garden shed holds your lawn-care tools and supplies, helping to keep them dry and ready for their next job. But suddenly, with the rise of folks working from home, the garden shed has taken on a new role. Workers across the country are turning them into office spaces.

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Consider building or purchasing one for your needs. Complete shed designs are now available online and there are many options to choose from. Build it as big or as small as you want—this is your resource for backyard storage—and beyond!

Use Fish As The Center Piece

Whether you’ve opted for a fish-themed outdoor area or simply want to add more aquatic charm to your yard, you’ll be sure to find big and little, real and not-so-real fish for your outside decor. This pond is framed by both pavers and a low retaining wall made of both stone and wrought iron to mimic the architecture found in the surrounding landscape.

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The gorgeous colors yield a great effect on the overall look of a home. Create an artificial pond, add some vegetation, and plop those little fishes in their new home! Plus, they’re a great learning and bonding experience for children. They’ll be able to see the development of the fish as well as learn how to care for them.

Bedtime Outdoors

Do you dream of sleeping under the stars! Here’s where you can take yourself back in time, remembering the camp counselor yelling, “lights out” and you having to finish reading your comic book with a handheld flashlight. Memories aside, you can still invite guests for a sleepover. Pop the popcorn and have some fun.

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A bed outside is not only a unique idea for an outdoor feature and getaway, but it’s also a comfortable and creative alternative to lounge chairs. However you like to relax, you’ll be sure to enjoy having extra beds in your back yard.

Invest In A Pizza Oven

Are you a pizza fanatic? Then why not buy a pizza oven for your backyard! Homemade pizzas are the best. In no time you’ll be baking saucy, cheesy, spicy pizzas with the perfect crust and fresh toppings. Next stop? Pizza party—everyone gets to make their own pizza, let’s say.

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Which kind of oven will it be—convection, brick, or perhaps the infamous wood-fired stone pizza oven? You need to ask an Italian what the best option is! The man above is seen making his own! Talk about dedication to your favorite food!

Stick With a Theme

Coming up with themed landscape ideas can be challenging, but once you’ve settled on an idea, everything else will fall quickly in place. Think about what you enjoy and write a list. Do you want your backyard to be kid-friendly, or are you picturing a meditative, zen-like garden?

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The person who designed this spectacle definitely knew what they wanted. Maybe you are thinking of a era in time, such as the Victorian era? Accessorize it with furniture and accessory pieces that will best replicate the idea that you’re trying to achieve.

Add Color With Plants

Plants can really spice up any yard. It can totally change the appearance of a space whether you are inside looking out or outside enjoying nature. Depending on which color you want to emphasize, you can feel relaxed or energized.

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You should visit your local nursery to find inspiration. Think about which colors you always gravitate to and apply to the decor you wish to buy. You may want to carry these same colors to your outdoor areas. Plant them, sit back, and enjoy your view.

Treat Your Children To A Playground

What do your children like to do when they go to the playground? The same activities may be easily transferrable to your own backyard. You want them to be fun and safe for your little ones. You may not want to put everything in one area. Rather, you can create separate play areas throughout your yard.

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If you don’t want a full-blown playground in a specific area of the yard, do something small and efficient. Put together a swing set or utilize the trees. You can even set up a treehouse for playtime, making it out of the way from the rest of the yard.

Make An Outdoor Cart

It is easier than you think to build an outdoor area you can utilize for crafts or potting plants. You can build one from scratch using inexpensive wood, or you can take an old piece of furniture like an end table or a nightstand and just add the wheels to the bottom.

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Now you can take this piece and move it around your yard to wherever you like, whether serving beverages or taking care of plants. If you’d like to make it more unique, consider painting it a vibrant color for a nice pop or creating a faux wood finish.

Grill To Your Heart’s Content

The smell of grilled food can make anybody’s mouth water. Why not create a special space for your grilling activities! Make sure to include a flat area for any of your serving or preparation needs nearby. This can make outdoor cooking a joy.

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Besides the grill, you can incorporate a small refrigerator and a bar area to make it even more cohesive. Gathering your friends and family will then be and joyful experience and the smoke will keep the mosquitoes away. Enjoy your July 4th BBQ with your loved ones.

Set Up A Family Theater

What’s food if you don’t have great entertainment to go with it? This can be as easy as having a white sheet or wall to project your favorite photos or movies. You can use the side of your house if it’s a light color or tack a projector sheet to it.

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This is a lot more fun and enjoyable than sitting inside unless it’s freezing cold outside. However, if you are in five feet of snow, the screen has to be placed higher. During the summertime, you can spread out with chairs or blankets on the lawn.

Elevate With Stairs

Depending on the terrain of your yard, stairs may be a valuable addition. They can serve not only for esthetic purposes but decoration as well. You can work with either traditional materials or something unique that fits your unique yard’s decor.

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Perhaps, install a few steps that lead up to your Koi pond or a few steps to your veggie garden. Don’t forget to add color if it enhances your surroundings. Look around your house for materials which you can incorporate into your steps.

Create An Outdoor Dining Space

Are you tired of eating in a dull kitchen or dining room, or are you having more guests over for dinner than usual? It is time to use the BBQ area that you waited to use. The dining spaces can be formal or informal. It’s all up to you!

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It can be as simple as a picnic table or a door placed on two sawhorses or an outdoor dining set that you purchased. Don’t forget to continue to dive into your creativity via your table setting. Make it fit the mood you want to create.

Paint A Mural

Do you have an area that needs to be camouflaged or enhanced, such as an unsightly fence or a blank wall of a shed? Think about enhancing it using stencils or a freehand mural with bright and inviting colors.

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You can make these areas look like a part of your garden or create the fake doors and windows. The possibilities are limitless. Look in magazines or online for ideas. Or simply paint your favorite flowers just like the person above did.

Line The Space With A Fence

They say ‘fences make good neighbors.’ But they can also provide safe areas for animals and children so they don’t escape or wander into the road. They can not only provide privacy but provide a creative design opportunity for your yard.

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They are a myriad of materials that you can use to create a striking fence. You can also paint it any color you desire. Remember, this is something you will be looking at for a long time, making it exciting!

Mood Lighting

Now that you will be spending more time in your yard or perhaps sleeping under the stars, wouldn’t it be great to feel totally relaxed whether there are stars in the sky or just lights in your yard? We think yes!

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They can create whatever mood you are looking to achieve. Consider color, placement, brightness and trajectory of the beams. Think of your best features and light them up. But don’t light it up too much in order to keep it peaceful and relaxing.

Upgrade With A Pool

If you don’t like the idea of traveling to the ocean or the lake or diving in the water surrounded by hundreds of other people, consider building a pool in the privacy of your backyard. This can make your commute much shorter, especially for night swims.

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Pools can be a great source of enjoyment at a moment’s notice on those scorching and humid days. Don’t forget to decorate around the edges for further enjoyment as you swim and wade in your own pool. Make sure it is also a safe space for the little ones.

Fill the space with the fountains

Fountains can be a wonderful source of relaxation, just like we mentioned above with the waterfalls. Sit by the side of it and enjoy watching the water as it rises up and splashes down with its mellowing tones. You won’t regret this decision.

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A fountain can fit in a small quarter of your yard or it can consume a large area. You have all the freedom during the design process. It can be plain or extremely fancy depending on your taste. It can be solar-powered, or you can use electricity for your peaceful water feature.

Design A Trellis Or Tent

Depending on your intent, a trellis or tent can be an exciting addition to your yard. If you are looking for shade, a tent or a pergola covered with vines or flowers can provide a cooling retreat. A simple trellis can be used against the side of a fence, house, or to line the selected area.

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The mood you wish to create will determine what type of plants you will put around your trellis. Be patient, it may take time for the full effect to be visible. But the wait is worth it because you are able to witness your hard work come to life.

Dress up a Tree

Remember, you can never have too many lights unless, of course, they blow a circuit breaker. This is especially true with lighting up the trees in your yard. You can keep this project simple or go absolutely crazy with it.

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Tree lights are not only for Christmas time, but can be used to create the illusion of starlight, rain, or any type of ambiance you choose. You and your guests will enjoy this brilliant addition to your yard. They won’t want to leave.

Try An Outdoor Rug

If your deck or patio is looking or feeling plain and uncomfortable, consider adding an outdoor rug to spice up the area and make it feel homier. This is a simple feature that can add finishing touches to any outdoor decor.

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An outdoor rug can bring all the different elements of your setting together into one cohesive unit. It is easy to clean; in addition, just get out your hose spray and vacuum cleaner. You feet will thank you later.

Utilize Tall Shrubbery For Privacy

Never underestimate the power of shrubs. It’s a marvelous solution for many situations. Perhaps you have a parking space that’s right smack-dab in the middle of your yard? Or what about those pesky neighbors who pay a little too much attention to your coming-and-going?

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Planting tall bushes could be exactly what you need to solve this problem. This approach adds a layer of privacy and looks great, too. Planting a row of shrubs can also serve as a buffer between your backyard and where you park your car.

DIY A Deck Or Patio

Who doesn’t enjoy spending a beautiful day or evening outdoors? Look around your house for an area where you can create a soothing space to relax after a hard day of work or on the weekend for some quality family time.

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Depending on whether or not you would like to eat your meals or relax, pick the appropriate furniture for these activities. Don’t forget to make your area pleasing and comfortable. This can be as simple or complex as you choose to make it.

Keep It Minimal

There may be a single area in your yard which you would like to bring to guests’ attention and draw the eye. This is the area where you will devote most of your work and attention. Most people consider this area to be where they built a pool.

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Remember to leave open areas for relaxation and pure enjoyment if you don’t want to take a dip. Simplicity does not mean dull or uninteresting. You want to highlight the important areas but also not overshadow the more simplistic areas of your backyard.

Add soft-colored lighting

As we mentioned before, light fixtures do a lot for your yard. That’s why we have mentioned several ways you can incorporate them into your backyard decor. Now, we have an even simpler and more affordable way you can light up the outdoors.

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All you need is a couple of small solar lights and ball jars. These are things you can get quite easily at the nearest store. Just pick a few jars in the color of your choice, and once you’ve propped the lights at various locations, cover them up and enjoy the soft glow.