Spruce up your outdoor living space
Whether it's a sprawling yard, cozy balcony, or something in between, take advantage of your home's exterior space. You can make it a fun and comfortable spot to spend time under the sun and stars without having to spend a fortune on new outdoor furnishing and decor. Check out these affordable DIY projects for the outdoors, so you can enjoy it all season long.
Snag extra seating in a pint-sized yard by installing a hanging chaise on your porch, deck, or patio. This lightweight lounger, comprising a canvas drop cloth supported by wooden dowels and natural rope, is perfect for basking in the sun—yet doubles as a swing for family fun.
Let There Be Light
Make light work of illuminating outdoor spaces with these tin can lanterns, created by drilling a personalized pattern onto the faces of empty coffee cans. Coat the cans with primer and paint, and then place a tea light inside of each to illumine the night with color.
Related: 8 New Ideas for DIY Outdoor Lighting
Installing a privacy screen on the porch or patio is a simple way to screen out unwanted attention. Hang a canvas drop cloth (or any fabric of your choice) from the porch ceiling using grommets and hooks or with a pole and shower curtain hooks. If plain white isn't your look then add extra details using fabric paint. You'll attract the attention of neighbors—while keeping prying eyes out.
Related: 11 Ideas for Better Backyard Privacy
Turn Up the Heat
Unused terra cotta pots offer an inexpensive way to heat a cold corner of the deck. Place lit scented candles in a glass bowl, covering them with an upturned plant pot. As the candle burns, the pot will diffuse heat into its surroundings, creating an ambiance as aromatic as it is warm.
If an island getaway is beyond your budget, bring the Caribbean into your backyard by repainting your old patio furniture in tropical tints. Spray-paint furniture in vibrant oranges, complementing them with electric blues and calming yellows for side chairs and tables with flair.
Why throwaway timeworn placemats, when you can upcycle them into throw pillows for an outdoor bench! Using a seam ripper, tear the seams of a dual-layer placemat. Fill the case with bargain craft stuffing, and stitch the opening to fashion eye-catching cushions for a budget-friendly porch.
If your small outdoor space is a few tables short of a furniture set, look to Mother Nature for extra surface space. Tree stumps and upturned wicker baskets can be repurposed into attractive side tables, and when adorned with home-grown planters, they evoke a truly rustic retreat.
String lights aren’t the only option for elevating an outdoor space on a shoestring budget. These DIY florets, cut from tissue paper and stitched together with a needle and thread, create a luminous lantern effect when hung directly from light cords.
Stencil It In
You don’t need pro painting skills to recreate this pallet wood deck that dazzles. Create personalized stencils with Silhouette Portrait, or print out pre-designed stencils. Then, using the stencil, paint the pattern over a portion of the deck to create a colorful welcome area for guests.
Made in the Shade
Shut out harsh sunlight and bugs, and create a clearly defined outdoor space by erecting a minimalist shade over the porch. Simply secure an old curtain or bed sheet to hooks attached to your home's exterior to create a chic canopy above dining and reclining areas.
Bring the regal look of a multi-tier chandelier outdoors with these mason jar luminaries. Filled with pebbles and tea lights, and wrapped with twine, the jars can be tied to a fallen branch and secured to the eaves of the porch roof to create an intimate al fresco setting.
Got an old tire you're ready to kick to the curb? Upcycle it into a coffee table for your outdoor living room. Nail symmetrical plywood rounds to the top and base of the tire, followed by four feet to the base. Once the table has been covered in rope, its humble beginnings will go undetected!
Related: 14 Cheap DIYs for a Better Backyard
There's no better way to spend time in the backyard than gathered around a fire pit. Stake the area where you want to build the pit and then dig the ring, about eight inches deep. Fill it with sand and level it, and then get to stacking stones. Once you have two levels, add a layer of gravel to the center, and then stack one or two additional rings of stones. The final step? Start a fire!
Less is S'More
Skip the flint and steel, and create a miniature backyard bonfire with this DIY soda can stovetop. Cut the bottoms of two cans before adjoining them with sealant. Then, add a fuel, like alcohol, into a hole in the top of the can to ignite the stove, and get the s’mores cooking!
Grow your garden without forking over any green by propagating plants—that is, growing new plants from existing ones. Cut the stems from houseplants at an angle, removing the bottom leaves and placing the cuttings in a moist pot to encourage their growth into hardy sprouts.
Just because you're dining outside doesn't mean you can't dress up the table. Make a tablecloth for your patio table by adhering painter’s tape to canvas drop cloth and stippling white or colored paint onto the exposed cloth with a foam brush. Remove the tape and let the cloth dry, then set the design with an iron for a perfectly fun finish.
A small yard or balcony with no room for trees poses a puzzle: Where to hang the string lights in your outdoor oasis? You can still have a twinkling sanctuary by looping the lights around a patio umbrella, balcony bars, or potted plants.
Today's artificial Christmas trees are looking more lifelike than ever! Spring for an artificial Christmas tree this year, and you could save significant cash on your holiday decorating costs for years to come. Click through to see our top picks.