DIY Outdoor Makeover on a Budget

Need a deck refresh? We can help. Use these budget-friendly ideas for an outdoor makeover

Low-cost ideas for making over your outdoor space

When we think of entertaining, many of us our drawn to images of neighborhood barbecues, lounging poolside, and children’s birthday parties. But the great outdoors can become a whole lot less enjoyable if our backyard isn’t quite up to par with the rest of our home.

For many of us, we dream of an HGTV-worthy outdoor makeover but our bank accounts more closely resemble that of a struggling YouTuber. Fortunately, there are tons of high-impact, low-cash projects you can do in order to create a DIY Outdoor Makeover on a Budget.

Yard and Deck Clean Up

It may sound obvious, but the biggest impact you can make on your outdoor space is to simply clear away all the clutter and debris. Old rusty toys, broken lawn furniture, and cracked lights can make your space feel like a junkyard in paradise but removing all the garbage will reveal the beauty underneath. And, decluttering has a two for one impact: not only will it bring a more calming, tranquil feeling to your grounds, but a clear yard is also a blank canvas for you to work your makeover magic.

Cheap Landscaping

Once you’ve cleared away all the clutter, you can now assess your yard for any glaringly obvious needs. For instance, if there are bald patches where grass should exist, sod provides a cheap solution to fill in those blanks.

And, if you notice the outside of your home lacks curb appeal, some bags of mulch and a few flowers will really help liven things up. Just ensure you use the same color of mulch throughout your yard as the like colors will provide a finished, unified look. Another added benefit of mulch: not only does it look great, but it also blocks weeds and helps retain nutrients for your plants.

Fortunately, sod, mulch, and flowers are all easy to obtain at your local garden center and adding them to a newly cleared yard will provide a fresh, landscaped look on the cheap.

While you're at it, check out your deck and see if it might be in need of a fresh coat of deck stain. Finding a deck stain that will complement your house color will go a long way in making your outdoor space look pulled-together.

Budget-Friendly Outdoor Lighting

If you don’t invite folks over because you’re ashamed of your yard, the easiest way to overcome this is to simply entertain after sunset. Once the harsh daylight is gone, all you really need to make your outdoor space inviting is a bit of comfy seating and some good mood lighting.

For truly budget friendly lighting, try torches or string lights, which are available for about $20 online or at big-box stores.

If your tastes lean more towards the high-end, take your budget lighting search online. While outdoor lights do tend to be a bit pricy, you can score some for cheap if you know where to look.

Check out Lamps Plus Open Box to find customer returned lighting at half price – they even have an “outdoor lighting” section. While inventory often changes, there are always plenty of good deals to be had. Just make sure you act quickly because if you see something you like, it’ll soon be gone, and you’ll end up having buy it for full price if you don’t snag it in time.

Target Red Tag Sales

If you need outdoor furniture or accessories, head to your local Target store at the end of summer. Target red-tags all their out of season merchandise, and lawn furniture is no exception. The closer you get to Halloween the more they’ll slash their prices, and typically markdowns will occur every two weeks until the inventory is all gone.

According to Target managers, you can tell if an item will receive any further markdowns by looking at the final two digits in the item price. If a red-tag item ends in $.06 or $.08 (such as $10.06 or $9.08) the price will be further reduced if it remains unsold going into the next markdown cycle.

However, if an item end in $.04 (such as $20.04) this indicates the item has already reached its lowest available price. Since it won’t receive any further markdown, if you find a red-tag item ending in $.04 you’re best off purchasing it now, before someone else beats you to it.

Our Takeaway

Starting with just a simple cleanup and declutter of your yard and a deck refresh, you can build on its resulting blank canvas to create a beautifully landscaped outdoor space. Once you’ve taken care of the foundation, add in your personal decorating touches. Shop open box sales online and seasonal markdowns in store to score the perfect furniture and décor items that will help you create your dream outdoor makeover on a budget.

Resources — Bob Vila, Lamps Plus Open Box, Krazy Coupon Lady