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24 Cheap Backyard Ideas For Large And Small Outdoor Spaces 24 Cheap Backyard Ideas For Large And Small Outdoor Spaces


24 Cheap Backyard Ideas For Large And Small Outdoor Spaces

Written by: James Anderson

Discover affordable ways to transform your outdoor spaces with these 24 cheap backyard ideas. From large yards to small patios, our articles provide inspiration for any size outdoor area.

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Welcome to your outdoor oasis! Your backyard has the potential to be a haven of relaxation, entertainment, and beauty. Whether you have a large or small outdoor space, there are plenty of affordable ways to transform it into a cozy and inviting retreat. In this article, we will explore 24 cheap backyard ideas that will help you make the most of your outdoor space without breaking the bank.

Creating a cozy seating area is the first step to turning your backyard into a retreat. Consider adding outdoor lounge chairs or a DIY bench made from repurposed materials. If you’re limited on space, hanging hammock chairs or using pallets to create seating can be great options. Not only will these additions provide a comfortable spot to sit and unwind, but they will also add a touch of style to your backyard.

No backyard oasis is complete without the right lighting. String lights can create a magical ambiance, especially when hung above a seating area or draped along a pergola. Solar-powered lanterns are another cost-effective lighting option, as they don’t require any electricity or cords. For a touch of rustic charm, consider making DIY mason jar lanterns by placing LED tea lights inside empty jars. And if open flames are not your thing, flameless candles provide a safe and elegant alternative.

A backyard fire pit is a popular feature for creating a cozy atmosphere and providing warmth during cooler evenings. Whether you choose to build an in-ground fire pit or opt for a portable one, gathering around a fire with family and friends is always a delightful experience. To add extra comfort, consider adding seating options around the fire pit, such as outdoor chairs or even a built-in fire pit table.

Adding water features to your backyard can create a soothing and tranquil environment. A DIY backyard fountain can be easily made using inexpensive materials and can become a stunning focal point. For a more dramatic effect, consider installing a waterfall feature using a recirculating pump. If you have a larger outdoor space, you may even consider installing a small pond or koi pond, which can be a beautiful addition to any backyard. And don’t forget about the birds, a ceramic birdbath can not only attract feathered friends but also enhance the overall aesthetic.

A flower garden can bring color and beauty to your backyard. You can create raised garden beds using inexpensive materials such as wood or cinder blocks. For those with limited space, a vertical flower garden can be an excellent alternative, utilizing walls or fences to showcase your favorite blooms. Also, hanging baskets and window boxes can add a touch of charm and color to any outdoor area.

When it comes to outdoor decorations, adding a pop of color can have a big impact. Consider repurposing old planters with a fresh coat of paint to liven them up. Outdoor rugs and pillows can add texture and comfort to your seating area. Wind chimes not only provide soothing sounds but also add visual interest. And if you’re a bird enthusiast, birdhouses and feeders can attract a variety of feathered friends to your backyard.

Creating shaded areas in your backyard is essential, especially during the hot summer months. Market umbrellas are a cost-effective solution, providing portable shade for seating areas. If you’re feeling crafty, a DIY shade sail can provide a stylish and modern look. Retractable awnings offer versatility, allowing you to adjust the amount of shade as needed. For larger gatherings or events, removable canopy tents can provide ample shade and protection from the elements.

Create a Cozy Seating Area

When it comes to transforming your backyard into a cozy retreat, creating a comfortable seating area is essential. Here are a few cheap and creative ideas to consider:

– Outdoor lounge chairs: Invest in a couple of outdoor lounge chairs to create a relaxing space where you can unwind and soak up the sun. Look for chairs made of durable materials like rattan or weather-resistant fabric, ensuring they can withstand the elements. Don’t forget to add some comfortable cushions or pillows for added coziness.

– DIY bench: If you’re feeling handy, why not try building a DIY bench? You can make one using reclaimed or repurposed materials such as old pallets or wooden planks. Not only is it a budget-friendly option, but it also adds a unique and personal touch to your outdoor space. Add some cushions and throw pillows to make it a cozy spot for lounging or enjoying a cup of coffee.

– Hanging hammock chairs: Hang a couple of hammock chairs from sturdy tree branches or a pergola to create a serene and relaxing seating area. Hammock chairs are a budget-friendly alternative to full-size hammocks and provide a cozy place to read a book or take an afternoon nap. Look for chairs made of weather-resistant materials and ensure they have proper support and stability.

– Pallet seating: Repurpose wooden pallets to create seating options in your backyard. Arrange pallets in a corner or around a table, and add cushions or weather-resistant seat pads to make them comfortable. Pallets can be painted or stained to match your outdoor décor, and you can even add wheels to make them easily movable.

With these budget-friendly seating options, you can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in your backyard. Whether you prefer lounging on outdoor lounge chairs or swinging gently in a hammock chair, these seating choices will provide the perfect place to relax and enjoy your outdoor space.

Install Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting not only enhances the ambience of your backyard but also adds an element of safety and functionality. Here are some affordable lighting options to consider:

– String lights: String lights are a classic and versatile option for adding a magical touch to your outdoor space. You can hang them across your patio, drape them along trees or pergolas, or even create a ceiling of lights above your seating area. Choose traditional twinkling white lights or go for colorful ones to match your personal style. String lights are available in a variety of lengths and can be connected to extend their reach.

– Solar-powered lanterns: Solar-powered lanterns are an eco-friendly and cost-effective lighting solution. These lanterns absorb sunlight during the day and automatically illuminate your backyard at night. They are easy to install, require no wiring, and come in various designs, including lantern posts, tabletop lanterns, and hanging lanterns. Place them strategically around your outdoor space to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

– DIY mason jar lanterns: If you’re feeling crafty, consider making DIY mason jar lanterns. Simply wrap wire around the neck of a mason jar and create a handle. Insert an LED tea light or fairy lights into the jar, and you have a charming and inexpensive lantern. Hang them from shepherd’s hooks, place them on tables, or suspend them from tree branches for a rustic and cozy glow.

– Flameless candles: For a safe and worry-free option, opt for flameless candles. These battery-operated candles give the illusion of real candles without the risk of fire hazards. Place them in lanterns, on tabletops, or even float them in a pool or pond for a serene and enchanting effect. Flameless candles are available in various sizes and can even be timer-operated, allowing them to turn on and off automatically.

By installing outdoor lighting, you can extend the usability of your backyard well into the evening hours. Whether you choose the soft glow of string lights, the convenience of solar-powered lanterns, the rustic charm of DIY mason jar lanterns, or the worry-free ambiance of flameless candles, your outdoor space will be transformed into a cozy and inviting haven.

Build a Fire Pit

A fire pit can be an excellent addition to your backyard, providing warmth, ambiance, and a gathering place for family and friends. Here are four affordable options to consider:

– In-ground fire pit: If you have enough space and are looking for a permanent fire feature, an in-ground fire pit may be the perfect choice. This type of fire pit is built directly into the ground, creating a cozy and natural atmosphere. You can use stones or bricks to create the base and walls of the fire pit, ensuring it is sturdy and heat-resistant. Remember to check with local regulations regarding open fires before proceeding with the construction.

– DIY portable fire pit: For those who prefer a more flexible option, a DIY portable fire pit is a great choice. You can use a variety of materials, such as a metal drum, a washing machine drum, or a large metal bowl, to create the fire pit. Simply place it on a heatproof surface, add some firewood, and enjoy the warmth and crackling sound of a fire. The advantage of a portable fire pit is that you can easily move it around your backyard or even take it with you on camping trips.

– Fire pit with seating: Take your outdoor entertaining to the next level by building a fire pit with integrated seating. This option combines the functionality of a fire pit with the comfort of built-in seating. You can use stone or concrete blocks to create the seating area around the fire pit. Ensure that the seating area is a safe distance away from the flames to prevent accidental burns. Enhance the coziness by adding cushions or outdoor pillows to the seating.

– Fire pit table: If you have limited space or prefer a more versatile option, a fire pit table might be the answer. These tables come in various designs and sizes, with a built-in fire pit in the center. You can find options made from materials like metal, concrete, or even lightweight materials like composite resin. Fire pit tables not only provide warmth but also serve as a stylish focal point for your outdoor entertainment area. Some even come with a cover, transforming the fire pit into a regular table when not in use.

Regardless of the type of fire pit you choose, always prioritize safety. Follow local fire regulations, keep a safe distance from flammable materials, and have a fire extinguisher or water source nearby. With a fire pit in your backyard, you can create lasting memories while enjoying the cozy and captivating ambiance of a crackling fire.

Incorporate Water Features

Water features not only add a sense of tranquility to your backyard but also create a soothing and refreshing atmosphere. Here are four affordable water feature ideas to consider:

– DIY backyard fountain: Building a DIY backyard fountain is a fantastic way to add a touch of elegance to your outdoor space. You can use various materials, such as stacked stones, concrete, or even repurposed items like old pots or barrels. The size and design of the fountain are completely up to you. You can opt for a simple single-tiered fountain or get creative with multiple tiers. The sound of flowing water will create a peaceful and relaxing environment in your backyard.

– Waterfall feature: If you’re looking for a more dramatic water feature, consider incorporating a waterfall into your backyard. This can be done by creating a cascading effect using rocks or even repurposed materials like old buckets or pipes. The natural sound of falling water will create a serene and soothing ambiance. You can also add plants and moss to the rocks surrounding the waterfall to create a more natural and beautiful scene.

– Small pond or koi pond: A small pond or koi pond can be a visually stunning addition to your backyard. You can dig a hole and line it with a pond liner or use a prefabricated pond kit to simplify the process. Add water, aquatic plants, and colorful koi fish to bring life and tranquility to your pond. The sound of water and the sight of fish swimming will create a serene and captivating atmosphere. Make sure to properly maintain the pond by regularly testing the water and providing proper filtration and aeration.

– Ceramic birdbath: Installing a ceramic birdbath is not only a water feature but also a way to attract feathered friends to your backyard. Ceramic birdbaths come in various styles, colors, and designs and can be easily placed on a pedestal, hung from a tree branch, or placed on a stand. Fill it with fresh water regularly, and watch as birds come to drink, bathe, and add a lively touch to your outdoor space.

With these affordable water feature ideas, you can create a soothing and serene oasis in your backyard. Whether you choose a DIY backyard fountain, a waterfall feature, a small pond or koi pond, or a ceramic birdbath, the sound and sight of water will enhance the overall ambiance and provide a calming and refreshing experience.

Design a DIY Flower Garden

Adding a flower garden to your backyard is a beautiful and vibrant way to enhance your outdoor space. Here are four DIY flower garden ideas that are affordable and easy to implement:

– Raised garden beds: Raised garden beds not only provide a defined space for your flowers but also offer various practical advantages. They improve drainage, create better soil conditions, and make it easier to control weeds. Building raised garden beds can be done using inexpensive materials like wood or cinder blocks. You can customize the size and shape of the beds to fit your space and add a layer of mulch to retain moisture and prevent weeds. Fill the beds with your favorite flowers and plants, and watch as your garden blooms with color and beauty.

– Vertical flower garden: If you have limited space or want to add a vertical element to your garden, a vertical flower garden is a wonderful option. You can create a vertical garden by repurposing a pallet, hanging wall planters, or using trellises and climbing plants. Hang planters or pots with flowering plants on a wall or fence, or attach them to a freestanding structure. Vertical gardens not only maximize space but also add visual interest and a unique dimension to your backyard.

– Flowering hanging baskets: Hanging baskets are a versatile and inexpensive way to add color and beauty to your outdoor space. You can find a wide variety of flowering plants that are suitable for hanging baskets, such as petunias, geraniums, lobelia, and fuchsias. Hang the baskets from porches, pergolas, or trees to create a stunning display of flowers at eye level. Make sure to water and fertilize the plants regularly to keep them healthy and blooming.

– Window boxes: Window boxes are a classic and charming addition to any outdoor space. They can be easily mounted under windows or on balcony railings, instantly adding a splash of color and fragrance. Choose flowering plants that thrive in your climate and provide a mix of colors and heights for visual interest. Consider incorporating trailing plants like ivy or vines to add a cascading effect. Regularly water the plants and deadhead faded blooms to keep your window boxes looking fresh and vibrant.

By designing a DIY flower garden, you can bring life, color, and fragrance to your backyard. Whether you choose raised garden beds, a vertical flower garden, flowering hanging baskets, or window boxes, the result will be a stunning display of nature’s beauty.

Add Colorful Outdoor Decorations

Adding colorful outdoor decorations to your backyard can make it more visually appealing and inviting. Here are four affordable ideas to incorporate vibrant accents into your outdoor space:

– DIY painted planters: Personalize your outdoor space by transforming plain planters into colorful works of art. Purchase inexpensive terracotta pots or repurpose old containers and apply a fresh coat of paint in bright and bold hues. Get creative and experiment with patterns, designs, or even hand-painted motifs. These vibrant DIY painted planters will help showcase your favorite flowers and plants in a fun and visually appealing way.

– Outdoor rugs and pillows: Bring comfort and style to your outdoor seating area with colorful outdoor rugs and pillows. Outdoor rugs made from durable materials like polypropylene are weather and fade-resistant, making them perfect for outdoor use. Choose rugs in vibrant colors or bold patterns to add a pop of personality to your outdoor space. Complement the rugs with coordinating outdoor pillows in contrasting or complementary colors to create a cozy and inviting seating area.

– Wind chimes: Wind chimes not only add a decorative element to your backyard but also create soothing sounds as the breeze passes through them. Choose wind chimes in various sizes and materials, such as bamboo, metal, or shells, to create different tones and melodies. Hang them from a pergola, tree branch, or porch to add a whimsical and enchanting touch to your outdoor space. The gentle tinkling of wind chimes will create a serene and calming atmosphere.

– Birdhouses and feeders: Attract feathered friends to your backyard by incorporating birdhouses and feeders. These colorful additions not only provide a nesting place for birds but also add visual interest. Hang birdhouses from trees or mount them on poles or walls, ensuring they are in a safe and visible location. Place bird feeders in different areas of your backyard and fill them with a variety of seeds to attract different bird species. The sights and sounds of birds visiting your backyard will bring joy and liveliness to your outdoor oasis.

By adding DIY painted planters, outdoor rugs and pillows, wind chimes, and birdhouses and feeders, you can infuse your backyard with vibrant colors and delightful accents. These inexpensive decorations will not only enhance the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space but also create a warm and inviting atmosphere for you and your guests to enjoy.

Create Shade with Umbrellas or Canopies

Creating shaded areas in your backyard is essential, especially during the hot summer months. Here are four affordable options to create shade and beat the heat:

– Market umbrellas: Market umbrellas are a classic and cost-effective way to provide shade in your outdoor space. These umbrellas come in various sizes, colors, and patterns, allowing you to find one that matches your style and fits your space. They are portable and easy to set up, making them ideal for patios, decks, or poolside areas. Look for umbrellas with sturdy frames and UV-resistant fabric to ensure durability.

– DIY shade sail: A DIY shade sail is a stylish and budget-friendly option to create shade in your backyard. Shade sails are large pieces of fabric that are stretched between anchor points to create a shaded area. You can choose from a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to suit your space. Create your own DIY shade sail by purchasing shade fabric and installing it using ropes, hooks, or eyelets. These shade sails provide a modern and sleek look while offering protection from the sun.

– Retractable awnings: Retractable awnings are a versatile option that allows you to control the amount of shade in your backyard. These awnings can be mounted on the exterior wall of your house, providing shade over patios, decks, or windows. Retractable awnings can be extended or retracted as needed, giving you the flexibility to enjoy both sun and shade. Choose an awning with a durable frame and weather-resistant fabric for longevity.

– Canopy tents: If you need a larger shaded area for gatherings or events, canopy tents are an excellent choice. These portable tents come in various sizes and styles, and they can be easily set up and taken down when needed. Canopy tents provide ample shade and protection from the sun, making them perfect for outdoor parties, barbecues, or picnics. Look for tents made from durable materials and with features like adjustable legs and UV protection.

By incorporating market umbrellas, DIY shade sails, retractable awnings, or canopy tents, you can create comfortable and shaded areas in your backyard. Whether you prefer the classic look of market umbrellas or the modern appeal of shade sails, these options will help you enjoy your outdoor space while staying cool and protected from the sun.

Incorporate Natural Elements

Bringing natural elements into your backyard can create a harmonious and calming outdoor environment. Here are four affordable ideas for incorporating natural elements:

– Natural stone pathway: Create a charming pathway in your backyard using natural stones. Lay out a path using a variety of stones such as flagstone, slate, or river rocks. The irregular shapes and textures of the stones will add a rustic and organic feel to your backyard. Dig a shallow trench to level the stones and fill the gaps with sand or small pebbles. A natural stone pathway not only adds functionality by guiding you through your backyard but also enhances the natural beauty of the space.

– Recycled materials artwork: Get creative and make artwork for your backyard using recycled materials. Use old pallets to create a vertical garden or repurpose an old bed frame to make a unique trellis. Collect driftwood from the beach and create a beautiful sculpture or use it as a centerpiece for your outdoor table. By repurposing materials, you not only add a unique and artistic touch to your backyard but also contribute to sustainability and environmental consciousness.

– Tree stump seating or tables: Utilize tree stumps as seating or tabletops in your backyard. Simply cut tree trunks into flat surfaces and coat them with a protective sealant. Place them strategically around your outdoor space to serve as natural seating or tables. Tree stump furniture creates an organic and rustic feel, blending seamlessly with the natural surroundings of your backyard. Enhance the comfort by adding outdoor cushions or seat pads.

– Bamboo screens: Add privacy and a touch of Zen to your backyard with bamboo screens. Bamboo screens are affordable, sustainable, and easy to install. Use them to create a natural privacy barrier along fences, walls, or pergolas. Not only do bamboo screens provide seclusion, but they also add a tropical and calming ambiance to your outdoor space. The natural texture and color of bamboo will complement plants and other natural elements in your backyard.

By incorporating natural stone pathways, recycled materials artwork, tree stump seating or tables, and bamboo screens, you infuse your backyard with the beauty and serenity of nature. These affordable ideas will not only enhance the aesthetics of your outdoor space but also create a peaceful and inviting environment that you can enjoy all year round.

Set up an Outdoor Movie Theater

Transform your backyard into an outdoor movie theater for a fun and memorable cinematic experience. Here are some affordable ideas to create your outdoor movie theater:

– DIY projector screen: Create a DIY projector screen using a white sheet or a white canvas drop cloth. Stretch the fabric tightly between two trees, a pergola, or attach it to a frame. This will serve as your movie screen. Ensure that the screen is smooth and free from wrinkles to provide a clear and crisp image. If you want a more permanent option, consider investing in a retractable or inflatable projector screen that can be easily set up and taken down.

– Patio seating with cushions and blankets: Arrange your outdoor seating area to ensure everyone has a comfortable view of the screen. You can use patio furniture, outdoor lounge chairs, or even lay out blankets and cushions directly on the grass. Make the seating area cozy by adding outdoor pillows and blankets to provide comfort during the movie. To create a more intimate and magical atmosphere, string twinkle lights around the seating area or hang lanterns from trees or pergolas.

– Popcorn and snack station: No movie theater experience is complete without popcorn and snacks. Set up a small table or cart to serve as a snack station. Fill it with freshly popped popcorn, candy, soda, and other movie favorites. You can even get creative and offer a variety of themed snacks and drinks to enhance the movie-watching experience. Don’t forget to provide napkins, cups, and utensils for convenience.

As the sun sets, gather your family and friends, and enjoy an outdoor movie night under the stars. Set up your DIY projector screen, arrange your comfortable seating area with cushions and blankets, and have your popcorn and snack station ready to go. Dim the lights, start the movie, and savor the unique and magical experience of watching a film under the open sky.

Build a DIY Bar or Outdoor Kitchen

Create the ultimate backyard entertaining space by building your own DIY bar or outdoor kitchen. Here are some affordable ideas to consider:

– Wood pallet bar: Repurpose wooden pallets to create a rustic and budget-friendly outdoor bar. Stack pallets to the desired height, secure them together, and attach a countertop made of weather-resistant material such as treated wood or granite. Add shelves or storage compartments for glassware and bottles. Customize your bar with paint or stain to match your outdoor decor. Complete the setup with bar stools or high-top chairs for a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

– Outdoor grilling station: Build your own outdoor grilling station to become the designated chef of backyard cookouts. Construct a sturdy frame using bricks, concrete blocks, or metal studs. Install a grill of your choice, whether it’s a charcoal grill, gas grill, or even a built-in barbecue. Include a countertop or a prep area made of weather-resistant material to prepare and serve your delicious grilled meals. Add storage space for utensils, sauces, and other grilling essentials.

– Beverage cooler station: Keep your drinks cool and easily accessible with a DIY beverage cooler station. Convert an old dresser, cabinet, or even a large wooden box into a beverage cooler by adding a drainage system and lining it with a waterproof material such as a plastic tub. Fill the cooler with ice, and stock it with your favorite beverages for easy access during outdoor gatherings. Consider adding a countertop or a wooden deck around the cooler to create a functional serving area.

– Outdoor food prep area: Create a dedicated outdoor food prep area to make cooking and serving meals a breeze. Install a sturdy outdoor countertop made of granite, stainless steel, or another weather-resistant material. Include a sink for easy clean-up and a water source for convenience. Add shelves or storage cabinets to organize cooking utensils, spices, and other kitchen essentials. This will provide a practical and functional space for preparing meals outdoors.

With a DIY bar or outdoor kitchen, you can elevate your backyard entertaining to a whole new level. Whether you’re mixing drinks at your wood pallet bar, grilling up delicious meals at your outdoor grilling station, keeping your drinks cool at a beverage cooler station, or preparing meals at an outdoor food prep area, your backyard will become the go-to spot for gatherings and celebrations.


Transforming your backyard into a cozy and inviting outdoor space doesn’t have to be expensive. By incorporating these affordable ideas, you can create a retreat that is both visually appealing and functional. From creating a cozy seating area with outdoor lounge chairs or DIY benches to installing outdoor lighting with string lights or solar-powered lanterns, there are plenty of options to add comfort and ambiance to your backyard.

Building a fire pit or incorporating water features like a DIY backyard fountain or a small pond can create a soothing and serene environment. Designing a DIY flower garden with raised garden beds or vertical flower gardens brings color and beauty to your outdoor space. Adding colorful outdoor decorations such as DIY painted planters, outdoor rugs and pillows, wind chimes, and birdhouses and feeders can provide visual interest and enhance the overall aesthetic.

Creating shade with umbrellas or canopies, incorporating natural elements like natural stone pathways or recycled materials artwork, setting up an outdoor movie theater with a DIY projector screen and patio seating, and building a DIY bar or outdoor kitchen can take your backyard to the next level of entertainment and comfort.

With a little creativity and some DIY spirit, you can transform your backyard into a retreat that truly reflects your style and allows you to enjoy the great outdoors without breaking the bank. So go ahead, unleash your inner designer, and create a backyard oasis that you and your loved ones will enjoy for years to come.

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