Most of us start with a patch of dirt for a yard and if we're lucky, it evolves over time into a magical place. A place to unwind, full of nourishment for the soul, and a place to connect with family and friends.
Whether it's a patio garden in the city, or nurturing a small patch of land in suburbia, you'd be amazed at how little changes to your outdoor decor can change the way you feel about the world.
Do you have a great story to tell about your own yard projects? Sharing is easy, just click here. We'd love to hear about and see what you've done!
Now, let's take a stroll through several yard and garden ideas you can try. We'll explore patio design ideas, edible landscaping, spas, pergolas, fountains and more.
Reds and oranges, as in these patio replacement cushions and table runner, add excitement to back yard designs, plus they compliment the green foliage.
A great way to add color to backyard patio designs and help define the space, is to use colorful cushions and pillows on your outdoor furniture.
After the season is a fabulously frugal way to buy anything, but especially patio furniture, cushions, Sunbrella and other outdoor fabrics, saving 50-80%.
All weather rugs placed under furniture groupings is another way to add a pop of color, and creating the feeling of a living room outdoors. Try eco friendly options made from recycled plastic.
When entertaining, whether outdoors or in, PLEASE put recycling bins next to trash cans. Even if you don't care, many of your guests do.
Covered patio designs are a great way to protect furniture and yourself from baking in the sun, adding life expectancy to all, plus you won't have to sit on wet, moldy cushions anymore.
One yard project that can add color and shade, plus a touch of romance, is to hang outdoor drapery from covered patios or below second story decks. You'll save a lot if you make them yourself, plus get creative with the hardware.
Outdoor patio lights can be as simple as a string of decorative bulbs, or as fancy as an outdoor chandelier hung below a covered patio. Whatever you buy, make sure it's rated for outdoor use. If you're on a budget, you can pick up solar pathway lights for about $5. to 10. each.
Staining concrete is another great way to add color, but there are many things you need to investigate before undertaking one of these yard projects.
Have you ever tasted tree or vine ripened fruit? Not many of us have, but it is truly amazing. You'll never want to go back to store bought again!
Growing your own fruits and veggies is not as hard as you think and the care you give your garden will come back to you ten fold. Tending to your plants releases stress and keeps you active. (we call it garden yoga) It can give you a healthier diet, plus all the benefits of fresh picked goodness like more vitamins, enzymes, fiber and flavor.
The best part about this is you don't even have to have a large lot, although a terraced back yard certainly helps. Our very first priority with back yard projects was to start by building garden boxes so we could maximize growing space. Many of our vines, bushes and trees are also grown in pots, or on our patio, and some espalier style along the fence. It's a lot less hassle than digging giant holes in the ground, especially when the soil is poor, or there's too much competition from tree roots.
Fences are the most overlooked area in small yard landscaping and yet they're a ready made vertical garden support system. So why not use every inch of valuable fence space and grow vertically and horizontally?
Clinging vines, like ivy's, connect with little suction cups and should not be planted near wooden fences, or houses for that matter. Instead, plant vines that use tendrils to cling, and give them trellises, lattice, or arbors for support. You can also attach small eye hooks and run cables along the fence.
Don't be afraid to use color on garden walls and fences. Orange/browns contrast incredibly well with the green foliage and blue fences will look great set against yellow and gold flowers, white or combos of pinks.
Flat yards tend to be boring unless you've got one or more focal points and different levels going on, so why not install an arbors with a bench underneath and give yourself a cool place to hang out?
Two yard projects that go hand in hand are hot tubs and pergolas. Pergolas help with privacy and shade, plus they can define an outdoor space. They're pretty simple for a handy person to build with online plans or by purchasing a kit.
A wooden bench sits in front of the hot tub, with a pergola design overhead. Pots to the left and right of the path contain raspberries and blackberries, and a passion fruit vine trails the fence, going 20 feet in each direction.
Covered patio designs are more elaborate and more costly because they have a roof overhead, which requires proper pitch. Don't attach anything to your house unless you know what you're doing and are following local building codes. It's better to hire a reputable, licensed contractor, rather than screw things up and cause yourself problems down the road. (I've watched too many episodes of Holmes on Homes, that guy's so good!)
Water is something we love but not all yards can fit a swimming pool and even if they could, not all of us want one. When you compare hot tubs to pools, hot tubs usually win for small yard landscaping. They're less costly, less work to maintain, and less of a liability when it comes time to sell.
If you live in a hot climate, turn your hot tub's heater off during the warmer months and you'll still be able to enjoy the therapeutic benefits.
Even if you like to swim you don't need a large pool. There are many above ground lap pools, some with hot tubs built in, that provide a current for you to swim against or perform water exercises.
Backyard fountains are on my list of must have yard projects. The sound of water trickling is so soothing, not to mention the beauty of a watching hummingbirds stop by for a bath, or water glistening in the sunlight.
Whether you're on a tight budget or can afford that large statement piece, there are several things you need to consider before purchasing or installing backyard fountains, ponds or waterfalls.
Check back often as there's many more yard projects in the works, plus great info throughout this site you can access with the quick links below. Have a question you want to Ask Fab Frugal Jane about a yard project or article you saw on this web site? Want to share a yard story?
Have you done any back yard projects lately? Add a covered patio, wooden fence or pergola design? Try a new garden layout? How about an outdoor kitchen, seating area, hot tub, or new landscaping?
We'd love to hear your stories so don't be shy! By sharing you can help others who are looking for ideas and pass on tips you learned.
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