April showers bring May flowers.
That means many of us are braving the cool temperatures right now; digging in our gardens, freshening up the yard, pulling out our patio furniture so we can spend as much time outside in May when everything is beautiful and in bloom.
I don’t know about you, but my backyard could use some help before I start inviting friends over for patio barbecues. I started Pinning beautiful yards and gardens before I launched myself into a three hour wayfair.com shopping spree which came to a sudden halt when I hit the “check-out” button.
Yikes, patio furniture is expensive. Garden ornaments are expensive. New lounge chairs are expensive! There has got to be a cheaper option! I got a little creative, and discovered there are many ways to spruce up my yard this season without handing over stacks of money.
Check out my 5 tips to brighten up your outdoor living space without breaking the bank.
1. Get Your Hands Dirty
The biggest make over my backyard has seen since we moved in? Garden space. It makes a huge difference in the look of my yard. The problem? It can cost an arm and a leg to hire someone professional to come and take care of it! Luckily, you can add some garden space to your yard easily on your own. The first time I wandered into a garden centre I felt so lost. I had no idea what I was doing, and honestly, I probably still don’t. I do, however, think flowers are pretty, and vegetables taste good, so that’s what I started with. Vegetable seeds and soil are cheap, and since I don’t have much of a green thumb, I buy pre-potted flowers and set them around the yard for pops of colour.
2. Re-use something you already have
Re-using things you have around the house can make a backyard make-over easy, quick and cheap. Here are some examples that I’ve used in my backyard:
– some concrete cinder blocks and 4×4 planks as fire pit benches
- old plastic flower pots for new seeds (you could even spray paint them to look uniform)
- old tires my neighbour was throwing away as a tire swing, and a garden ornament
- an old chandelier I found down the street in someones throw away pile; spray painted with solar lights placed inside
- a large cylindrical piece of steel we are using as a fire pit
Paint freshens up everything. I LOVE painting everything that is a little bit old or weathered to give it a new life. Paint your old patio furniture and buy a couple of throw pillows! Re-paint or pressure wash your fence. It will make your yard look new again. Paint some large river rocks with glow-in-the-dark paint and place them around your yard. The sunlight will hit them all day and when you’re lounging in the evening, they will glow.
Hit the sale and clearance sections of your favourite outdoor stores…. In the fall. I love string lights. They are my favourite thing ever in the cool summer evenings when I’m outside. Being a mama of two little ones, I don’t get many evenings out on restaurant patios sipping wine. So instead, I try to make my backyard as much as an oasis as possible. String lights make that happen. They are a little expensive to buy brand new, but don’t fret: they usually go on sale. Unfortunately, they usually go on sale in the Fall. But don’t be discouraged!
Often times, people will buy themselves new string lights and trash their old ones! Take full advantage of this. Sometimes only a bulb is burnt out. Search Craigslist or ask your friends and neighbours if they’re getting rid of any. Light up your yard! It makes a huge impact in the evenings!
Pro tip: if you’re not picky, you can even use warm-white Christmas lights.
5. Make a Conversation Area
This is where Pinterest and Wayfair got me. I have summer dreams of beautiful firepit areas to hang out while the kids frolic in my lush green grass. But, in reality. We DIY-ed our fire pit out of leftover steel (thanks to my welder-husband), and although last summer I did build myself a pretty amazing wooden club chair, I am also going to use regular patio chairs around my fire pit until I can find a great steal of a deal on new outdoor lounge chairs.
Make it cozy! If you have old blankets and pillows kicking around your linen closet that you keep for one time your Aunt May comes to town, throw them outside. Use them. Be comfortable. It will make your space so much more inviting and you will be happy to use them.
Now you’ve gotten some tips on how to spruce up your green space for the season, make a plan and work on it! My backyard is in a constant state of “in progress” – but that’s what happens when you’re into DIY and don’t have a ton of disposable income. It honestly makes me more satisfied to spend time in my yard when I know I’ve completed the projects on my own.