The thought of making over your backyard can feel daunting, not to mention, it's liable to impose a death grip over your wallet. But the truth is, upgrading your outdoor space doesn't have to be costly, time-consuming, or difficult. With the right inspiration and a weekend off, you can leverage a few design tricks and inexpensive projects to completely transform your backyard into the ultimate outdoor retreat. Ahead, 20 backyard makeover ideas sure to motivate a major refresh.
Install a Curtain Rod
Outdoor curtains are much more than their good looks—they provide tons of shade on extra sunny days. Installing a rod with outdoor curtains will give your backyard an upscale cabana feel, plus some added privacy for lounging, reading, or hanging by the pool.
Upcycle Your Outdoor Furniture
Sometimes, the coolest furniture pieces are the ones you can't buy. Don't believe us? This table was made with a piece of scrap metal and a slab of stone for the top—and still looks utterly chic. Second-hand stores, flea markets, and even scrap metal yards are the perfect place to begin your search for upcycling potential.
Create the Ultimate Entertaining Space
If you pride yourself on being the hostess with the mostest, the ultimate backyard showpiece is the elusive outdoor movie screen. A tent and plenty of floor cushions cozy things up and make it the perfect place to crash under the stars when the movie runs late.
Stock a Bar Cart
File this under things that can elevate your backyard space with little time and even less effort. Nothing gets a backyard boogie going quite like a well-stocked bar cart. Some ice, sparkling water, and citrus garnishes will keep your guests hydrated—and it looks cute to boot.
Make a Case for Free
Take it back to basics with a rustic setup like this backyard retreat. Set up some seating made of tree stumps—just like our ancestors did it—and stock the space with plenty of cozy blankets and tools for cooking the perfect s'more. And the best part is you can always take some wood stumps off someone else's hands for free.
Create Cohesion With Color
Creating and sticking to a gorgeous color story will make your outdoor space look so polished, not to mention expensive. We love this royal blue setup that includes porcelain plates and lumbar pillows on each chair, which pop against the wooden tabletop.
Set Up a Space to Soak Up the Sun
Whether your backyard boasts a sparkling pool or not, a couple of outdoor chaise loungers make your space the perfect place to lay out and work on your tan. It also gives even the most low-key backyard a resort-style look that feels luxe in a flash.
DIY a Fire Pit
While most dwellers only take advantage of fire pits when partaking in outdoor activities, like camping or beach bonfires, there's no reason you can't bring the age-old ritual to your very own backyard. However, fire pits can sometimes be expensive. Instead, take an afternoon to embark on a DIY project. A few hours, some boulders, and some firewood can provide backyard entertainment for years to come.
Hang Market Lights
Overhead string lights are the go-to lighting option for most dwellers because it complements most design styles, it's easy to install, and is suitable for owners and renters alike. And the best part is you can hang them up without electrical experience or a garage full of power tools.
Install Statement Lighting
Lighting is everything inside and outside. If you have a pergola, here's your sign to dress it up with statement overhead lighting. Hang a pair of statement pendants from the beams and you've got yourself an outdoor take on a formal dining space.
Work in a Sandbox
Sandboxes aren't just for kids. This backyard sand area looks like a million bucks in this space and happens to be an affordable alternative to most flooring treatments. Plus, it's known to be a stress reliever, which is sure to pay for itself after a difficult work day.
Roll Out a Rug
Rugs are traditionally reserved for indoor use, but placing a weather-proof rug outside makes your backyard gathering space feel much homier. This neutral jute rug elevates this patio dining space in a snap.
Build a Pergola
An overhead structure with lattice panels provides just the right amount of shade, without looking heavy or blocking out natural light. It also makes your patio space look complete and is perfect for hanging string lights. And for those with a green thumb, it looks extra dreamy with a climbing vine woven through.
Hang a Hammock
We can see it now: we step outside to our patio for an afternoon nap on our cozy hammock. Paired with a glass of wine, morning coffee, or a good book, this hammock is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors. And it transforms the vibe of your entire backyard in minutes.
Make It Comfortable
Do yourself a favor and invest in comfortable outdoor furniture. Extra comfy pieces will call out to you after long days, which will ensure that you're always getting the most out of your backyard setup.
Paint Your Floors
When you think of fancy patterned tiles, dollar signs might come to mind. But if your budget allows, a stencil and some paint can easily transform your patio floors and transport you to a resort on the Italian coast.
Install an Outdoor Shower
Whether you have a pool in your backyard or are just a fan of nature, there's nothing like an al-fresco shower on a sunny summer day. Install an outdoor shower head and switch up your shower routine all season long.
Try Some Color Blocking
If you can't infuse bright hues outdoors, where can you infuse them? This fairly neutral backyard area made good use of some colorful paint shades and added geometric shapes to make the deck decor pop.
Create Extra Privacy
Nothing says luxury like privacy. While retainer walls work wonders at separating your space from your neighbor's, they're not always high enough to provide the privacy you want. If your existing wall is too short, add a few wooden slats to make your wall higher and up your privacy (and your luxury levels).
Plant a Garden Wall
If your backyard, patio, or apartment balcony is square-footage challenged, you might've written off gardening forever. But with some vertical thinking, you can enjoy some greenery even if you don't have the space. You've planted greenery in pots and sowed them in the ground, but this hanging garden defies gravity in the best way.