May 06, 2023

You'd Enjoy Your Backyard So Much More If You Had Any Of These Cool, Cheap Things


Make your yard the place to be.

Having a piece of the outdoors — whether that's a patio, wraparound porch, fenced-in yard, fire escape, or acres of farmland — is one of life's great joys. Chances are, though, that outdoor space could benefit from some sprucing up. That's where these cool, cheap things come in. They take an outdoor space from "meh" to "magnificent" on a dime, and can help you enjoy your backyard so much more. And, they’re just a click away.

So scroll on, choose your faves, set them up, then step out of your home into the light, air, sun, or stars. Bring a beverage and a snack with you. Does life get any better than that?

Make some fun memories in the backyard while keeping everyone — adults, kids, and pets — cool. Just inflate this family inflatable pool and fill it with water. It's big enough for an adult to relax in, cool off, and read a book, or for a small child — or a few of them — to swim and frolic in. It will get lots of use in hot weather. It inflates in sections so it's easy to set up.

You can easily punch up your porch decor — or the shady sections of your garden — with plants by installing these boxwood shrub artificial plants. They’re way easier than trying to keep live plants alive where there is no sun. Put them in pots, hang them, or tuck them into window boxes. Choose from 11 plant types — green and flowered — and use your imagination.

Use the eight LED solar lights in this gorgeous moon stake as an outdoor lamp to create lighting and atmosphere in your outdoor spaces. Just push the stake into the ground then let the solar panel on the side soak up the sun and feed it to the crackled moon globe. The moon sits in a patterned metal crescent moon that makes for an elegant lighting display.

When the outdoors beckon, install this magnetic screen door so you can enjoy it without wondering who left the door open to let all the flies and mosquitos inside. It installs easily and the magnetic beads that are sewn into the center of it cling together so the opening closes behind everyone.

Set these garden lights amid your plants and create a fireworks-esque display in your flower bed or along pathways. The flexible copper wires with tiny, solar-powered fairy LEDs on the ends look festive and are easy to sneak into your landscaping. You can set them to twinkle or to stay on to get the magical effect you like best. Choose from warm white or colorful lights.

These solar-powered lights can be installed into pathways, decks, and lawns to create safe and pretty walkways and edging. Each light is a self-contained solar disk that you attached to the surface under it with rivets. The lights sit close to the ground, which creates a pro-level look, and throw a soft, warm light so it all looks beautiful.

Take a nap in the yard in this camping hammock that requires only two trees and some nice weather to create the best nap location in town. The lightweight material packs up small — into its attached stuff sack — so you can take it down and take it camping anytime you like. It weighs less than 20 ounces but is comfortable and has a side pocket — made from the stuff sack — for your phone or water.

Where do you put your wine glass, soda, or water after you set up your folding chair and settle in to enjoy your yard? Into these steel outdoor beverage stakes, of course. They are like cup holders for the yard. Just shove them into the ground in a handy spot and drop your beverage in. This is a four pack and there are three color options.

When your deck needs bling, this crystal ball wind chime is just the thing. Hang it from a tree or the porch where it will get sun and watch it turn every evening into a magical event. The balls light up when the sun goes down and glow for hours in an array of colors. There are 17 ornament styles if the balls aren't your vibe.

When your yard is beautiful, it will attract guests. And when that happens, you will want games. This ring toss game is perfect. Pull it out, drop it on the grass, and let everyone test their hand/eye coordination. Over 8,000 people rate it a perfect five stars.

"Great addition to any outside party fun!" said one reviewer. "Easy to play, easy to put together and to store with the carrying case that came with it."

When the sun sets, your dinner party doesn't have to move inside. Just pull out your remote and turn on this LED patio umbrella light that you snapped easily onto the pole of your umbrella. It throws a bright white glow so you can see your meal or card game, or you can dim it to soft mood lighting with a subtle touch to the remote. It even turns itself off after a few hours (you decide how many) to conserve batteries.

Plant an herb garden near your kitchen so that adding fresh herbs to every meal is as easy as stepping out the door and cutting the leaves. This herb seeds kit has everything you need — except the sun, soil, and water — to create a complete kitchen garden. The basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, and thyme seeds come in a wood seed box with ten plant markers.

If mosquitos, fleas, and ants have taken over your yard so you can no longer enjoy it, fight back. This bug control spray concentrate is easy to deploy and it will put an end to the invasion. Just attach the bottle to your hose and spray the lawn. It can handle 5,000 square feet of lawn and promises to last all summer.

Turn a birdbath or pond into a gorgeous water fountain by dropping this solar fountain pump into it. It's so easy to do, requiring no wires or difficult installation. It soaks up the sun and uses solar energy to power the pump and LED lights, giving you a lighted fountain. It has eight interchangeable nozzles, each with a different water pattern.

Use these glow pebbles in glass vases, walkways, the bird bath, or in a fish tank to create a beautiful glowing display. They soak up the sun and glow when the lights go out, creating a blue (or green) glow for hours after the sun goes down.

"I have spread them on the side of the miniature pond in the garden [...] it makes the lake corner more poetic," mused one reviewer.

Set this durable, waterproof cornhole set out in the yard and enjoy the game all summer without worrying about bringing it in when it rains. The two boards are easy to carry — they collapse and have built-in handles — if you want to take them to a party or the park. They even have an inner storage compartment for all the tossing bags.

Grab this outdoor blanket tote and unfurl it over the grass anytime the meal would be better as a picnic. It provides a waterproof surface under your event so you don't have to worry if the grass or sand is wet. There is a layer of foam padding for softening meals on hard surfaces. It folds up easily and has a built-in carrying handle.

Set this fun splash pad sprinkler down in the yard, connect it to the hose, and watch the kids and pets have a blast with nothing but a bit of cool water and a cute and slippery surface. The outside rim fills up with water for a cushioned landing and shoots water into the circle so everyone who steps into the pad gets doused in a gentle rain.

Don't let all the rakes, brooms, and garden tools crowd the shed or migrate into the shrubbery. Install this mop and broom holder somewhere convenient so there is a dedicated place to keep it all that's easy to use. Snap the rakes and tools into the three clamps. Hook the gloves, garden bag, and hats onto the four hooks.

Before you forget to water — or go out of town — and let your yard and garden get parched, install this sprinkler timer and automate the watering process. Screw it into the hose spigot, screw the hose into it, and set your sprinkler where you want it. The timer will turn the water on at the time you set it. It's a great way to water at night, too, to conserve water.

A good rug just inside — or outside — your entry door goes a long way toward keeping the interior of your house clean. This universal door mat can go inside or sit on the deck or porch, and the nonslip undercoating will help keep it in place. The absorbent fiber top grabs dirt and water. It's also super easy to clean. Nearly 16,00 people gave this rug five stars. It comes in seven colors and two sizes.

Don't let bugs bother the guests at your next outdoor gathering. Just set this mosquito repellent candle down on the table, light it, and enjoy the scents of citronella, peppermint, rosemary, cedarwood, and lemongrass oil that it emits. Fortunately for humans who love these smells, bugs hate them and will disappear until it's gone.

The simple ring-toss game is easy to grasp and difficult to master. This simple recipe is what makes a game great. And the surfboard rendering of this game is the one you want to mount on your porch, poolside, or deck so that your parties have a purpose.

"We first came across this game at a beach bar during a trip to Belize and fell in love with the simplicity and difficulty of it!" said one reviewer. "Friends who have never seen the game before have [fallen] in love with it right away as well! Love it!"

This mosquito repeller creates a 15-foot zone of no bugs around your party. Just set it down, twist the bottom to light the fuel cartridge — there are no cords or batteries — and enjoy the outdoors bug-free. It's sized to be portable so you can take it camping or to a friend's buggy backyard with ease.

"Our yard backs up to a swamp, and the mosquitoes were relentless," said one reviewer. "This changed the game for us. It worked so well that we invested in another to have expanded coverage and [can stay] outside every night until it [is] time for bed."

If it's summer, you need a sprinkler. How else will you water the grass or get the kids to put on swimsuits and play in the yard? This durable, three-arm sprinkler may have a small footprint but it can cover 3,600 feet of lawn with water. Metal weights hold it in place and you can adjust the spray for plant watering or spraying.

When you are grilling meat, use this set of three mini grilling baskets to cook vegetables, shrimp, and other small foods so you don't have to use the kitchen at all. Nothing will fall through them and they let the heat of the fire in through small perforations. Just give your shrimp or peppers a shake occasionally and your meal will be delicious.

If your yard is littered with doggie leavings, it's probably not the best place to hang out. So keep this rake pooper scooper handy so it's easy to pick the stuff up when it happens. The long-handled scooper means you don't have to bend over. The container swivels into a bucket when you lift it. You can even line it with a bag. The rake handles the scooping so you never have to touch the doo. Just empty it into a bin and go back to grilling.

It's true that unicorns are hard to find. But here's one! And this unicorn yard sprinkler sprays water from its horn, which makes it even more unique and magical. Just inflate it, fill its legs with water for stability, attach it to the hose, and watch the kids have fun.

Create magical, lighted spaces in your yard or on your porch with these LED curtain lights made up of 18 vertical strands. Choose from two lengths to fit your space, plug them in, and choose from the eight modes to create the lighting mood you prefer. They don't produce heat and are waterproof so you don't have to worry about them, wherever you put them.

If your outdoor gatherings involve snacks — and let's hope they do — these picnic food covers are necessary. Open them over your food platters and they will help keep the flying insects from setting on the food and spoiling the effect — if not the actual food. This is a three-pack in two sizes. They fold up so you can store them in the included case.

Some wind chimes are more irritating than they are charming — not these. They play the pentatonic scale's five core notes and have been hand-tuned to E-major to create calming music that plays when the wind blows. They come in two sizes. The larger one is a rich alto sound while the smaller one is a soprano. Choose from six colors.

This solar torch light is like a tiki torch without the risk of flames. Just stick its pointed stake into the ground when it's sunny out and, come nighttime, you will have 10 hours of flickering flames to light your gathering. It's weatherproof so you can leave it outside and enjoy the tropical atmosphere with almost no effort.

If you can't stop the squirrels from stealing the bird seed, use this squirrel feeder unicorn head to turn the situation into entertainment. The squirrel has to put its head inside the unicorn to get at the feed, giving it a tasty snak and offering hilarious photo opportunities for you.

"The squirrels found it immediately and the laughs began!" said one reviewer.

Upgrade your outdoor living space with a couple of inflatable ottomans and put your feet up. They come in 18 colors and patterns, are easy to inflate with the included pump, and add a pop of color to your space — as well as more comfort.

"I realized the new outdoor room I was making needed ottomans," said one reviewer. "These are perfect. [...] Upon first look, they look like an expensive upholstered round ottoman."

Pull out some lawn chairs, cue up a movie on your phone or more, and set up this outdoor projector to turn the next outdoor gathering into a bona fide movie night. This portable mini projector supports 1920x1080P resolution, has a viewing size of up to 240 inches, and comes with a remote. It has HDMI, two USB, AV, and audio interfaces so you can connect everything from your phone to a gaming console to it.

When you have a stash of water balloons secreted somewhere handy, turning a boring day in the yard into a full-on battle is a matter of one carefully aimed toss. This bulk balloons pack includes 12,000 biodegradable, easy-to-fill water balloons along with a filling nozzle. Stash them on your porch or deck to keep this option always at the ready.

Hang this rollup dart game on the side of the house or garage, on a tree, or anywhere on your porch or deck to turn every family gathering into a fun game of darts. One side is a simplified version for practice or for young kids who aren't ready for the real deal. And the other side is the full-on classic darts game. The six included darts are magnetic so no one will put an eye out.

Set this Bluetooth speaker down on your outdoor dining table and it will turn a plain area into a romantic spot. It plays music from your phone. It throws a delightful, flickering, torch-like light. It's rechargeable. And it looks good doing it. You can even adjust the speed of light flicker.

When your slender patio needs an umbrella but there is no way you can fit one there, this half-patio umbrella is the solution. It has everything full-sized patio umbrellas have — a crank handle, plenty of shade underneath, and a durable fabric designed to withstand the weather — in half the space. And one side is flat so you can set it against a wall.

This little doodad might look like a weapon from a Bruce Lee film. But it is, in fact, the key to unlocking a clean grill. The carefully shaped cutaways of this grill scraper fit over the grill's grates, quickly scraping away all the baked-on crud without any risk of leaving wire bristles behind to sneak into your food.

"Very well made and perfectly engineered to do a nasty job," said one reviewer.

Christina X. Wood