Backyards on a Budget

  • Backyards on a Budget

    Having a nice backyard is one way to increase the value of your home. According a study done by the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) in 2009, the perceived value of a property may increase by 5% to 11% when owners take the time to upgrade their landscape. And given our still suffering real estate market, it’s important to get the most money you can out of your home. Beyond that, if you have no plans to move, but are looking to spruce things up without emptying your bank account, you’ll be happy to know that you’ve got plenty of options Here are a few ways to improve your backyard on a budget. Photo Credit: combust
    Plant a Container Garden
  • Plant a Container Garden

    A garden is the most direct and perhaps rewarding approach to improving the overall aesthetics of your yard.  You can keep this project simple (and cost effective) by planting a small container garden. Just buy a few cheap terracotta pots (Home Depot sells these for $1.27 to $19.98, depending on size), some soil and a couple of $2 seed packets and you’re on your way. The truly frugal can also use old porcelain bowls, urns or watering cans to start their flower collection. This potting project can cost anywhere from $10 -$50, but you can mix things up and plant your own fruits or vegetables, which can actually save you money in the long term. Besides, who knows? Gardening may be the key to achieving the work/life balance you’ve always wanted. Photo Credit: thomas pix
    Build a Storage Bench
  • Build a Storage Bench

    Putting a storage bench in your backyard will give guests a place to sit and you a place to hide those unsightly gardening tools (like those long, green garden hoses that are eye sores). You can save some cash by building this bench yourself (eHow’s got a pretty straightforward guide). However, you can find relatively inexpensive outdoor benches at Home Depot for just under $100 too. Photo Credit: ktylerconk
    Create a Focal Point
  • Create a Focal Point

    Trying to renovate your entire backyard at once will cost you a pretty penny. Start small by selecting a singular focal point in your yard that you can build upon over time. This could be based on your yard’s natural landscaping. For example, hang some lights on that old apple tree or invest a small amount of money in a focal point of your own. Amazon.com has some good deals on fountains, bird baths and even do-it-yourself pond kits (check out this in-ground kit for $149.95) that will look great next to your container garden. Photo Credit: samfelder
    Put in a Patio
  • Put in a Patio

    If you’re looking for affordable patio furniture, you’re probably best off visiting IKEA. The furniture store is selling some nice-looking  wicker chairs for $29.99, deck recliners for $59.99 and steel patio tables for $129. If you’re willing to spend a little more money, you can also check out Target, which has patio sets on clearance. One of our favorite deals is this five-piece metal patio set that is one sale for $359.40 (40% off its original $599 price tag). Photo Credit: vitamindave
    Add a Grill
  • Add a Grill

    Food will make any setting more enjoyable and while it may be a good idea to invest in a good outdoor grill (check out MainStreet’s Great Summer Grill Guide to learn about your newest options) Overstock.com does offer some functional grills at affordable prices. You can pick up this Neoway Cadac Charcoal Barbecue for $177.49 or this Picnic Time Portagrillo Portable Gas Grill for $134.95. Goodhousekeeping.com also recommends this affordable gas and charcoal grill, the Char-Griller Duo, which is available at Lowe’s for $299. Photo Credit: joeshlabotnik
    Put Up Some Lights
  • Put Up Some Lights

    Another quick, easy and affordable way to makeover your yard is to hang some mood lighting. This can be as simple as adding a few strings of white Christmas lights to your existing shrubbery for an evening barbecue. Or, you can invest in something a little bit fancier, such as these shiny black tiki torches from BargainBackyards.com, which come in sets of six and retail for $69.99. If you’re looking for something more energy efficient, Target sells a sleek solar-powered 10-piece set of garden lights that retails for $49.99. Photo Credit: hellodan
    Do-it-Yourself Lawn Care
  • Do-it-Yourself Lawn Care

    Consider this preventive maintenance so you don’t have to invest in a massive backyard overhaul later. According to Allaboutlawns.com, lawns should receive at least one inch of water each week and, while you may want to mow your yard often, you actually benefit from keeping grass about 3 inches tall. Anything lower will leave your lawn more susceptible to drought, insects and weeds. Of course, you’ll need to invest in a good lawn mower. According to Consumer Search, the best reviewed budget-price lawn mower is the Toro Recycler 20332, which is built with a steel deck (as opposed to aluminum), carries a two-year warranty and costs about $350. Photo Credit: Dave Reber’s Hammer Photography
    For the Kids
  • For the Kids

    Full-scale playground sets for kids can cost, on average, between $2,000 -$3,000, but you can economize by adding small kid-centric yard features, such as this $199 trampoline, $149 basketball hoop or $39 sling swing from Playground Warehouse, instead.  You can also purchase your children their own patio set Lounge
  • Lounge

    If you’re looking to accessorize your yard, add a hammock. They’re easy to install, ultimately relaxing and often quite cheap. Lowe’s currently has a highly rated hammock on sale for $38. Photo Credit: joeshlabotnik
    Homemade Weed Killers
  • Homemade Weed Killers

    Keep down the cost of yard maintenance by using homemade weed killers, such as boiling water, bleach, vinegar, salt and rubbing alcohol. Of course, you can combine these agents together to make an even more potent weed assassin (check out these different combinations from Associated Content.) You can protect your plants from these homemade killers by using a spray bottle to individually attack the unwanted weeds. Or, take this garden blogger’s suggestion, and build a weed killer spray shield out of an old soda bottle. Photo Credit: dpwk
    The 20 Best DIY Sites
  • The 20 Best DIY Sites

    Looking to increase your knowledge of do-it-yourself home care? Check out this MainStreet article on 20 great DIY websites that can help you get started! Photo Credit: colros
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