30 Cheap Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget

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Creating a backyard retreat is a great way to elevate your space and add value. Plus, it’s an ideal way to expand your square footage since you can add an entertaining or seating area. But, costs can add up quickly, so it helps to gather some backyard landscaping ideas on a budget.

Adding flower beds, greenery, a retaining wall, water features, and seating are all great landscaping ideas. It’s also critical to consider exterior lighting, not only from a functional standpoint but also to help set the proper mood. A dining area in the backyard entices you to gather with family and friends on a pleasant day.

It’s all about making your backyard a space that works for you, is welcoming, and expresses your style. It also needs to function well and blend well with the rest of your home’s style.

Getting Started on Your Landscaping Project

When you decide to do something fabulous with your backyard, the sky’s the limit (and your wallet). Plus, you need to consider your available outdoor space and how you plan to use it. Will you have a dining area? Do you have a pool? Is your backyard already quiet and peaceful, or do you live near a busy street?

The answer to questions like these and your personal design style will help guide you to the backyard of your dreams. While the front yard is important for curb appeal, your backyard is also a big piece of the overall puzzle. Here are some ideas to inspire you and spark your inner landscape artist.

Water Features

The addition of a water feature instantly adds a sense of refinement to your space. It also creates a calming and relaxing mood. If you live near a busy street or noisy area, the trickle and flow of water can help mask the noise. Check out these ideas to get your design juices flowing.

Affordable Standing Fountains

You can purchase a standing fountain to add a calming water feature to your backyard space. This fountain from Amazon features multiple waterfalls, LED lights, and stands 33 inches tall for under $200.

Repurpose an Old Plant Pot

Turn that unused, old plant pot into a work of art water feature like this one from Hip House Girl. With a bit of sweat equity and some inexpensive supplies, you can have a prominent, stunning water feature that tells a personal story.

DIY a Water Privacy Screen

Instead of a traditional fountain feature, how about creating a water wall? It takes your yard to a whole new level and provides functionality since it adds privacy. This DIY water wall from the Interior Frugalista cost about $300, well below what it would cost to purchase one.

Powered by the Rain

If you don’t want to deal with the upkeep of a fountain or use a pump, let the rain be your water feature. If you’re in an area with lots of rainy days, even better. You can DIY this rain chain and enjoy a beautiful water feature every time the rain comes down.

Convert Simple Materials Into a Water Feature

This rustic water feature by The Creative Me and My McG uses a basic plastic storage container and simple plumbing fittings. It all comes together to create a custom water feature that looks like it costs much more than it did.

Gardening or Flower Features

Of course, a significant part of any landscaping project is planting flowers, greenery, and other types of plants. But, you have a lot more options than just sticking plants in the ground. Consider these seeds of inspiration for some alternative garden beds and inexpensive landscaping ideas.

Use Potted Fruit Trees

Take a cue from The Potted Boxwood and choose some of your favorite citrus fruit trees. Plant them in decorative pots and place them in a row along your patio. If you’re on a tight budget, scope out garage sales or online sites like Facebook Marketplace to find some planters for not much money.

Turn a Bike Into a Planter

Check out these fun ideas from Fresh Patio to turn an old bicycle into a unique and quirky planter. It’s the perfect addition to a rustic, shabby chic, or vintage-style garden.

Mask Fences with a Bamboo Wall

Using a bamboo wall to hide a fence or just create some separation in your backyard makes the space feel even more like an oasis. When you don’t see a fence, you can forget that there are neighbors only 30 or 50 feet away. Bamboo is also easy to care for, grows quickly, and can provide a lush feel to your garden.

Add Color with Inexpensive Perennials

Planting inexpensive perennials is a great way to add color and fullness to your garden area. Choose colors that complement each other and your house’s exterior.

Easy Window Box DIY Project

Here’s an idea we found on HGTV. It has the look of a window box using an easy to mount shelf. It makes it a breeze to swap out pretty potted plants and add color to your backyard patio. I’m not much of a green thumb, myself. However, window boxes are an effective way to manage some greenery.

Outdoor Dining Options

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a meal outside with people you care about. Outdoor entertaining areas are often coveted spaces people desire for their homes. See which of these spaces satisfy your appetite for a fantastic backyard oasis on a small budget.

Define the Space with Pea Gravel or Pavers

Creating zones throughout your backyard is an ideal way to define the areas and add an intentional look to your space. Designate an area for your outdoor dining room and install pea gravel to give it a clean, well-defined look.

Installing pea gravel is a relatively simple DIY project, which means you don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can also use tile pavers to create the look of an ornate area rug beneath your outdoor dining table.

Use Bench Seating

Benches are a great way to provide some versatile seating to your space without taking up too much room. Using backless benches also helps maintain clear sightlines of your backyard’s landscaping and other visual features.

Sturdy But Inexpensive Outdoor Dining Furniture

Furniture doesn’t have to be expensive to be durable. You can find an outdoor dining set like this one that can seat four people for under $200.

Make an Inexpensive Canopy

Add some shade to your dining area with an inexpensive piece of lightweight fabric tied to four tall bamboo poles. Simply put a pole in the ground at each corner of your dining area, then tie the material to it.

Create a Unified Look with Second-Hand Finds

If you’re really on a tight budget, check out garage sales for outdoor furniture. You can find some durable, well-made pieces for not much money. Then, clean them up and give them a couple of coats of exterior spray paint to make them all the same color. Add some fun pillows or cushions, and then you have a variety of pieces that now look like they go together.

Seating Areas

Whether you want to relax, read a book, gather with friends, or lounge in the sun, outdoor seating is critical. Creating seating areas is the perfect way to make your backyard area more inviting. An easy way to create seating areas in an inexpensive way is to visit your local flea markets.

Define the Area with Flowy Curtains

Use outdoor-friendly fabrics, canvas dropcloths, or vintage finds you score at a flea market to create some backyard curtains. They create separation but also provide privacy and shade. You can hang them from an existing patio or make a DIY curtain frame.

Use Concrete Blocks to Create Seating

It might sound like something you’d do in your college digs, but cinder block furniture can be functional and beautiful. You can stack some blocks against a wall, paint them, and add cushions for instant bench seating. You can also slide 2 x 4 pieces of lumber through the openings in the blocks to create an entirely different look.

Wood Palette Sofa and Coffee Table

You probably have seen wood palettes left out on the curb many times. You can also usually score them for very little or free at big stores after they unload new shipments. When you do, turn them into a stunning DIY sofa and coffee table for an outdoor seating area that can fit at least 6 to 8 people or more.

Dig Up Some Seating

This in-ground seating area from bay beachouse might take a lot of elbow grease, but your DIY efforts would be well worth it for the results. It’s a unique, cozy seating area, perfect for a fire pit and lounging with friends.

Surround Trees with Seating

Placing palettes or building seating around a tree looks great and also gives you instant shade. Add some cushions for a softer touch, and let the lounging begin.

Lighting Features

Never underestimate the power of lighting, including in your backyard space. The proper lighting can make all the difference, and there are all different ways to incorporate it into your outdoor area.

It wouldn’t be a complete post without lighting for your backyard landscaping ideas on a budget.

Solar String Lights

These outdoor string lights are solar-powered, which means you won’t ring up extra electricity costs. They add a whimsical and elegant look to your backyard. Plus, they provide just enough visibility when you want to keep the mood calm (or romantic).

Repurpose Vintage Lighting

Think beyond exterior lights and repurpose a vintage find like this cute chandelier. It’s painted with exterior paint and given new life with an outdoor, solar-powered bulb.

Light Your Path

Inexpensive solar lights for your walkways add an elevated look to your yard while providing essential visibility. You can illuminate the paths so people can stay safe without having to crank up the bright lights at night.

Entertain with Tiki Torches

Classic bamboo tiki torches are a great way to add some extra light to your space in a fun way. It’s perfect for gatherings and parties, adding different lighting and making bugs think twice about coming near.

Everyone Loves a Fire Pit

If you plan to use your yard for entertaining or simple family get-togethers, a fire pit is a must.

Fire pits create an instant gathering space, making the perfect place to have a conversation, roast marshmallows, and more. Plus, fire adds a relaxing glow to your backyard space. You can purchase some inexpensive styles of firepits or DIY your own like we did at our Ohio house.

Small Backyard Ideas

You might think that if your backyard is small, but creating a simple focal point is a great idea for a transformation. Actually, there are lots of ways to make a small space fantastic with a whole new look.

Let’s take a look at these small backyard landscaping ideas on a budget.

Opt for Double-Duty Furniture

Fit adequate seating into a small space with furniture that serves a dual purpose. For example, this outdoor chair hides a slide-out ottoman, and this bench can double as a coffee table and storage.

Use a Vertical Garden

Plant a vertical garden instead of taking up valuable ground space with a garden bed. You can mount planters or even recycled cans or mason jars on the back of a fence. Or purchase an inexpensive piece of lattice or a trellis to plant and display vines. You can also use a wooden palette attached to a wall — mount planters to the palette and place a few shelves below for small, potted plants.

Try Folding Furniture

This stylish bistro set doesn’t take up a large footprint, but it also folds up when not in use. So, you can enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, then fold it away to open up your space as needed.

Use Lightweight Planters

Utilizing smaller, lightweight planters to add flowers and other greenery to your small backyard can help keep things accessible. You can quickly move them around as needed to set your yard up for various functions.

Add Some Elevation

Consider adding some steps or raised decking to a section of the yard to form zones and add the illusion of more space. Using multiple levels is a great way to create the look of different rooms or areas in a small backyard.

You don’t have to spend a lot to get the right seating, plants, or even a water feature in your backyard. You can create a dining area, fabulous lighting, and a backyard retreat with budget-friendly landscaping ideas.

Are you ready to create the backyard of your dreams? Where do you plan to start? Share your big or small yard transformations in the comments below, or tag us on Instagram @ourblueridgehouse We can’t wait to see your backyard landscaping ideas on a budget.

Before you go, here are a few posts you’ll enjoy:

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How Many Square Feet in One Acre

15 Best Vitamin C Shower Filter Options

Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget