Sep 17, 2023


Grab your sunscreen and bug spray — summer is here. Or at least that's what the thermometer says. If porch hangs are in your future plans, but your porch has seen better days, this one's for you. Creating your backyard oasis is closer than you think. Here are my favorite budget-friendly ways to update your outdoor space.

Consider how you want to use your space. Do you anticipate eating meals outside or just having a place to sit with friends and relax? Plan for that. And then head to Facebook Marketplace. All of my outdoor furniture has been secured secondhand and has saved me so much money. Outdoor furniture sets are not cheap, but often people who are moving or just over their current furniture are willing to let it go for very reasonable prices. The trick is to make their life easy. Offer cash, same-day pickup, or even slightly above their listing price to ensure you get to take your finds home. Most of the used outdoor furniture I’ve found just needs a hose down, quick clean, or light sand to bring it back to life.

Image via Robin Jonathan Deutsch / Unsplash

Don't underestimate the power of a little ambiance when it comes to your outdoor space. A simple way to make a space feel more welcoming and purposeful is to add a rug. There are so many affordable outdoor rug options that can easily be cleaned and will anchor the space in your backyard. Whether it's on a patio, porch, or in the grass, a rug defines the living space, inviting others to relax and enjoy. If you’re not into the look or maintenance of an outdoor rug, try interlocking outdoor flooring options like these deck squares from IKEA.

Image via Taryn Elliott

Keep the party going past dark by incorporating plenty of lighting options in your outdoor space. Overhead string or bistro lights are a must if you ask me. They’re affordable and easy to hang and will instantly transform an ordinary backyard into a romantic getaway. They soft light is enough for playing games or toasting with drinks, but subtle enough that you can still see the stars. Look for options that don't require any plugs or batteries. Solar-powered pathway lights, accent lights, and lanterns are low-cost and still provide that high-end look without breaking the bank.

Image via Markus Spiske / Unsplash

You don't have to be a master gardener to add a little life to you outdoor space. Potted plants, vertical gardens, and small raised beds are a great way to incorporate color and greenery into your outdoor space. While large plants at the store may cost more than you expected, you can plant a small herb garden for much less. Not only will it smell amazing and keep the bugs away, but you’ll have fresh garnishes for your guest's drinks. Looking to build a larger garden? Try this hack for building a large garden bed without spending a fortune.

Image via Amazon

If your backyard or patio space isn't shaded, you may not want to spend a ton of time outside, but there's an easy fix for that. Without splurging on a huge renovation or expensive pergola, opt for a sun shade like this one (or this one...or this one) that can be tied over your space to block the sun during peak hours. These are easy to clean, provide additional shade, and even protect you from harmful UV rays. They come in tons of colors and sizes to fit your space perfectly.

Image via Jessie McCall / Unsplash

For those of us who don't live on 5 acres, accommodating a large group in a small space can often be an issue. The most affordable and space-saving way to add more comfortable seating is with floor poufs or cushions. These cozy additions give people plenty of room to unwind and get cozy. They can be stored under chairs or tables when not in use and pulled back out right before the party gets started.

Image via Wayfair

No one likes to be on display when you’re just trying to enjoy a good book or have a private conversation. Even if you live right on top of your neighbors, adding a privacy screen or wall can significantly help to make your space feel more intimate and hidden-away. Fences can be expensive and difficult to install and these budget-friendly options are a great alternative. Another great way to add privacy is by installing outdoor curtains. Not only does this provide some seclusion, but it also makes the space feel a bit cozier.

Creating an outdoor haven at home doesn't have to blow the budget. With a few thrifty tips and patience, you can transform your dull backyard or patio into a place all your friends want to spend their weekends. Add these finds to your cart then send out the invites — your next summer hangout is ready.

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Header image via Wayfair

summer backyard oasis secondhand a rug affordable outdoor rug options IKEA string or bistro lights Solar-powered pathway lights accent lights lanterns vertical gardens small raised beds small herb garden garden bed sun shade this one this one this one floor poufs cushions privacy screen these budget-friendly options Want more DIY advice? Sign up for our email newsletter!