Inexpensive Ways to Dress Up a Boring Backyard

A backyard with a fence and grass, and the words "(Budget) Backyard Design."

Picture this scenario: your backyard needs some help and you don't know where to start. The last time you looked back there, you thought about all the things you'd like to do with it, but haven't had the time or money to do them. Sound familiar? Instead of thinking on such a grand scale of all the work you want to do and all the big changes you can't yet make, start small. Try a few easy, inexpensive options to transform your backyard space into an inviting, warm part of your home.

Do Some Brick Work

Picture this scenario: your backyard needs some help and you don't know where to

One of the easiest ways to add some oomph to your back yard is to incorporate bricks into the design. Create a boundary at the edge of your yard by lining the edge with bricks that are planted halfway into the ground to create a border. You can purchase bricks at your local hardware or yard supply store, or try searching online classifieds in your town for people looking to get rid of theirs. If you have brick planters that you don’t use or other unused bricks lying around, you can also use those to create your border or boundary. Dig into the ground about 2 inches to set the brick into the ground. Place the bricks the long way, edge to edge, following the outline you wish to create. Keep the area inside the bricks neat and tidy, whether it’s grass, gravel, wood chips, or sand.

Make Some Pathways

Do Some Brick Work

Following this same idea of using bricks and stones, create walking pathways throughout your backyard using bricks, stones, dirt, gravel, or wood chips. If you’re not using bricks or stones to make the path, be sure to outline the path with these or garden edging, which is thin metal or plastic placed in the ground. Creating a walkway will make something pretty to the eye and useful for the feet. Once you create a path, even in a small yard, you can fill up the surrounding space with plants and other yard decorations. Paths can go straight from one point to another, such as the back door to the barbeque, or they can curve through the yard to add pizazz to the design.

Decorate Using Recyclables

Decorate your backyard in a cheap and funky way by using recyclable items such as bottles and cans. Glass bottles are one of the prettiest options, as they come in different colors and the sunlight can shine through them. Bottles can be set side-by-side in the ground to create a mini wall or hung from trees, lattices, or gazebos with twine. Hang them at different heights and stick some tea lights inside to light while entertaining. Aluminum cans can be decorated and hung, as well, but may rust. Glass bottles can withstand more drastic weather.

Add Some Foliage

One of the easiest ways to add some oomph to your back yard is to incorporate br

A backyard with no plants can look pretty empty. After creating walkways and adding a bit of decoration, put out a few plants to add character and life to the space. If you don’t have the greenest thumb, fake plants in pots can do the trick. Nobody has to know they’re fake, especially if you get hanging plants, which tend to look pretty real and are out of eye level. If you would like some real plants, start with ones that require minimal watering and maintenance, such as succulents, cactus, trees, or perennials. Creating an elaborate vegetable garden in your new space may not be the best idea, as gardens depend on weather, light, soil, and moisture—and they can take a lot of work. Start small and easy, as you can always add to the first few plants when they’re growing strong and healthy.

Create a Fire Pit

Make Some Pathways

To add some social ambiance, create a fire pit in your backyard. Before doing so, check the laws and regulations in your area for having fires, as they may be against the rules. To create a fire pit, dig a hole where you want the fire pit to be. It should be 6 inches to a foot deep. Try to make the hole flat and around three feet wide. Outline the hole with rocks or bricks. To make a fancier fire pit, create a circular rock or stone “wall” around the inside of the hole that stands 6 inches to a foot above the ground. Bricks, rocks, or stones will prevent sparks from flying out of the fire. For safety's sake, ensure that there are no trees or other plants within four feet of the fire pit.