4 Clever Backyard Projects for Spring

A bistro set on a patio painted baby blue.

When I think of spring, I think of warm weather and fresh air. Where I’m from in upstate New York, this season creates an almost euphoric scene, one where everyone finally leaves their winter hideaways to venture into the increasingly beautiful outdoors. For DIYers, this time of year creates a great opportunity for creativity and there is no greater muse than one's own backyard. This article will offer a series of clever DIY project ideas that not only enhances the beauty of an outdoor space, but also lets the DIYer spend some quality time outside in the fresh spring air.

1. Spring Chairs

Where my family and I go camping, we have a set of rusted antique metal chairs that suffer from years of inconsistent paint jobs. As the weather is now nice enough to spend a significant amount of time outside, a wonderful project idea is to bring out their beauty with a colorful sense of springtime flair. Purchase small cans of paint in a variety of seasonal colors like light purples, cheerful yellows, and baby blues. Yes, they will look beautiful for a cook-out or outside get-together, but the unusually styled chairs will also become a seasonal conversation piece.

2. Plant a Medicine Garden

An herb garden in a backyard.

Though it's common for DIYers to plant home gardens as a means of producing healthy foods or to beautify an outdoor living space, this first idea puts a naturalist twist on an otherwise common springtime activity. Medicine gardens have been planted for centuries to grow natural herbs and spices used in the curing of physical illness. As modern medicine gained prevalence, the necessity of these gardens decreased. As a DIY, however, this project when done properly can be enriching for all ages, and is a valuable asset to any natural first aid program.

Ideas of what to plant:

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): This lovely green plant grows between 1 to 3 feet and, as its name suggests, when consumed it has a light and lemony taste. Medicinally, this herb is most commonly used in the form of tea and has been shown to help reduce fevers and offer internal healing.

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita): Though known for its relaxing effects, many home remedies place this plant in a warm bath. When soaked, a body may sense the improved feelings of rejuvenation, as its influence heals tired eyes and joints.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): This beautiful floral is not only fragrant, but also works as an antidepressant, relaxer, and as a cure for sore throats, joint pain, and diarrhea.

3. Moss Outdoor Placemats

Though I’m not a “picnic out in the grass and bugs” kind of guy, I do enjoy a well-planned picnic in spring weather. There are many DIY ideas to accompany such an event and while some are functional (a hand painted basket, for instance) they are not necessarily fun. This idea is different—why not create natural placemats for an outdoor spring picnic?

To do this, purchase flattened cork board from any craft store and cut it into 12 x 14-sized pieces. What I didn’t know until this DIY is that one can actually buy large slabs of live moss from home improvement stores. When glued to the back of the cork placemats, it creates a lovely atmosphere for a sophisticated picnic in the garden.

4. Metallic Lawn Ornaments

A mercury glass garden ball.

Love art but don’t have the talent? This DIY is a great project for all the non-crafters out there to spruce up a backyard after a long winter season. To create your very own reflective yard ornament, paint a thin layer of Krylon “mirror-like” paint onto a standard sized plastic ball. After allowing the layer to dry, continue to apply coats untill it has reached a shine and color preferred before placing it outside in the garden. This idea will offer the shine and drama found with elaborately staged gardens of the design elite, though at a fraction of the cost.