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Easy upgrades to spruce up your backyard

Date posted:  10/3/16 07:15:00 AM Affordable ways to better your backyard

Maybe you recently purchased a new home, and the yard is in disrepair. Perhaps you recently moved into a new apartment or townhouse, and the backyard setup is dry and uninspiring. Or maybe, you're just looking for a good reason to spend less time inside, and more time outdoors with friends.

Whatever your rationale for wanting to enhance your lawn beyond just cutting and watering the grass, there are plenty of easy, affordable hacks that can turn your yard into a space you enjoy.

You can't go wrong with a garden
It almost goes without saying that a flower bed full of petunias, cosmos, lilies or daises can add ambiance to an otherwise boring backyard. The beauty of flowers – beyond aesthetics – is that they're affordable when purchased at a local gardening store. Flats of flowers are cheap, easy to plant and many of them are easy to maintain. Not to mention, if you plant herbs, you can eat them later on.

If you're particularly lazy about tending to your garden, but still want something that's nice to look at, HGTV recommends looking into evergreen shrubs. These hardy plants last a long time, don't require an immense amount of care and are vibrantly beautiful. Take the example of lavender. You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who isn't charmed by these fragrant purple flowering shrubs. If you prefer the color red, camellia is also a great option.

Another smart enhancement to your yard is to build a raised flower bed. This is an especially useful tip for people living in apartment in cities or suburbs, where they share a backyard with multiple tenants. Creating a raised bed requires a bit more craftiness. However, they can be made from almost anything: wooden planks, concrete cinder blocks, old water troughs, wooden planks and elbow grease, pallet crates, old gutted dressers, tires and so much more. You can wrap chicken wire around your creation to keep pests out. And if you want to invite favorable critters in, hummingbirds are drawn to brightly colored flowers, and monarch butterflies to milkweed.

Get some functional, decorative accessories
There's a wide variety of outdoor furniture and accessories that can be purchased at discount prices. For instance you could buy a fire pit online and have it shipped to your house for under $50. Alternatively, you could make one yourself for less money, but a little more labor. Fire pits are functional, aesthetically pleasing outdoor accessories that are great for bringing people together for a night around the fire, especially as the temperature drops in the fall.

Other easy ways to add character is roping a tire swing to a low hanging branch. If your property happens to slope downward away from the house in the back yard, and there are a few trees along the way, you'll be in a great position to make a killer tire swing. If you have kids, expect their neighborhood friends to be over often. We also highly recommend a hammock. These are slightly more difficult to make, and they require you to purchase 600 feet of rope. There are few things as relaxing as reading a good book on a hammock after a long day.

Outdoor seating is also important, especially if you intend to have people over regularly to enjoy your outdoor space. Benches are fairly cheap to purchase, but you might actually have better luck at garage sales or on Craigslist. The nice thing about a bench, and most other forms of wood furniture, is that as long as the structural foundation of the piece is solid, you can easily make it look good as new with some paint stripper, stain and polyurethane.

Some additional lawn accessories include tiki torches, bird baths and a backyard trellis.

Maintain its vitality
The difficulty level of backyard maintenance will vary significantly depending on how large the property is, sun exposure, climate and a variety of other factors. Raking the leaves, trimming the hedges, killing the weeds, occasionally watering the grass and hosing down outdoor furniture will go a long way in helping to create a yard you're proud of. Buy equipment cheap online, and if you have a full lawn to tend, consider investing in a push lawnmower.

There are so many ways to spruce up your outdoor space, but just like your living room or your kitchen, you must take care of it.