✔ A backyard or balcony renovation can be pricey, but a lot can be done on a budget to refresh your space
✔ DIYs are a fun and cost-saving way to spend a weekend
✔ Renting? Work with non-permanent features to achieve the look and feel you want.
If you’ve got a backyard or balcony, consider yourself lucky – outdoor space is an amazing opportunity that’s made even better when a little love and elbow grease are applied. Whether it’s a small terrace, a spacious yard or anything in between, outdoor areas have great potential and can add valuable living space to any home. It helps if you’re handy or a DIY expert, but even the least crafty of us can create a beautiful, functional outdoor space.
As summer is fast approaching and the COVID-19 pandemic continues, now is the perfect time to spruce up your backyard. We’ve got some great ideas for homeowners and renters alike, including projects that work on a balcony or small patio. Now roll up your sleeves and get ready to dive in - you’ve got a backyard to makeover!
DIY #1: Create a relaxing outdoor seating and dining area
Your outdoor space should be comfortable and inviting. Having a visually appealing backyard is fantastic, but comfort and practicality are what ensure you will actually use it. Start by creating a relaxing seating area with a couple of cushioned patio chairs or a conversation set. If you like to entertain, keep this in mind when choosing and arranging pieces of furniture. Patio umbrellas add great shade for those sunny afternoons. A small outdoor side table (or even a rustic wood stump) can offer a place to set your drink or hold reading materials. If you prefer lounge chairs, Muskoka chairs or a hammock, go for it - the best thing to use is whatever works for your household.
Many people enjoy eating outdoors in good weather. If this describes you well, make room for a dining table or even a small bistro set. If space is an issue, a good alternative to a proper dining set is an outdoor coffee table. This will allow for casual backyard dining while taking up a much smaller footprint than a traditional dining table - plus, it creates a nice centrepiece for your outdoor seating area.
DIY #2: Get creative with a DIY project
DIY projects are ideal for saving money, but they’re also a lot of fun. If you want to grow some herbs and vegetables, build a raised planter - there are plenty of tutorials online, and it’s a simple project that requires minimal materials. If you’ve got neighbours looking in from a nearby deck or balcony, consider building a privacy wall that doubles as a place to hang outdoor artwork or other decorative items (if you’re in a rental, consider a freestanding privacy screen instead). Build a bat house to hang on the side of your home and watch your new friends swoop in to take care of the local mosquito population. There are countless DIY projects involving wooden pallets, including everything from planters and outdoor shelving to composters and actual patio furniture.
Another great weekend project is to upcycle old patio furniture, planters or decorative items. For the cost of some weather-resistant spray paint you can add colour and style to any backyard. Touch up rusty table legs, paint basic terracotta planters in a vibrant shade or even paint the back door a new colour to complement your outdoor space. If you know how to sew, get some weatherproof fabric and work on new outdoor cushions for your seating area. These creative projects help you get the look you want while saving money - it’s a win-win!
DIY #3: Add life with a garden
Plants and flowers make a huge difference to both the look and feel of a yard. Some people like a minimalist look with a handful of potted plants and hanging ferns, while others dream of an English garden bursting with roses, peonies and lavender. Flowering shrubs like hydrangeas and dwarf lilacs can add softness and beautiful colour (plus, they’re relatively easy to grow). Succulents and ornamental grasses are low maintenance and very on trend right now. Hostas add a lush greenery to any space and will come back bigger and better in the years to come.
Another option is to create a garden with a specific purpose, such as a butterfly garden or a habitat for honeybees. You can choose plants to attract these insects and provide a thriving home for them in your backyard. Or, choose plants that are known to keep mosquitos at bay! Your local garden centre will be able to offer advice about what works well in your region.
The bill at a garden centre can add up quickly, so ask friends and neighbours if they’re splitting any plants this season. Hostas and other perennial flowers often need to be divided or they’ll quickly take over a garden. Put the word out that you’re looking for new garden donations and you could end up with a nice selection of free blooms like day lilies, irises or yellow daisies. Score!
DIY #4: Have fun with accessories
Once you’ve got great seating, beautiful plants and some fun DIYs under your belt, it’s time to accessorize. This can be done on any budget, as it’s all about using your money wisely and focusing on a few key items. Add some attractive citronella candles to create ambience while keeping pests away. A string of patio lights adds a soft glow at an affordable price point. Cushions, outdoor wreaths and even garden gnomes can be a fun expression of your style. If you’ve got the budget for an outdoor rug, this is a great way to add flair and tie a colour scheme together. The finishing touch? Some outdoor plates and glasses that bring the whole look together. It’s time to fire up the BBQ!
We are here to help
Our goeasy academy has plenty of resources for making the most of your home on a budget. However, while a wallet-friendly backyard makeover may be what’s in the cards for now, we can help you take things a step further when you’re ready. If you’d like a personal loan to fund your outdoor renovation project, please reach out to your local easyfinancial branch or easyhome branch, or give us a call at 1-888-502-3279. We are here to help.