But, while an outdoor space is a great bonus to any beautiful home, it doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune.  Need proof? Have a look at these innovative yet cheap backyard ideas, all of which are beautiful too. Turns out, all you really need to have a gorgeous garden space is time, elbow grease and some creativity.

Backyard ideas on a budget

Our beautiful but cheap backyard ideas will inspire you to update your space and create your ideal outdoor retreat, whatever your style and budget.

1. Create a vegetable garden

If you’re looking for a budget-conscious backyard idea that will also allow you to save money on your grocery bill, consider adding some raised garden beds to your space. The beauty of raised beds is that they can be tailored to your specific size requirements, meaning that a vegetable garden can be fitted into even awkwardly shaped spaces and easily integrated into small backyard ideas. Sarah Blankenship, the blogger behind Rocky Hedge Farm (opens in new tab), created several in her yard with a few wooden planks. Once you’ve constructed the raised beds, fill each one with soil and seeds for a homemade vegetable garden.

2. Add an arbor

Another way to dress up your backyard is with an arbor, perhaps incorporated into your garden fence ideas like in this yard’s design. This garden detail can add a whimsical charm to your garden, plus it might discourage critters and nosy neighbors from infiltrating your space.  An arbor might look like a fancy feature, but Lisa Bass from Farmhouse on Boone (opens in new tab) proves it can be an affordable undertaking. Once you invest in a drill and saw, all you need is some planks of wood, screws, and a fresh coat of paint.

3. Add interest to your patio – on a budget

Whether you’re curling up with a good book, enjoying a meal al fresco, or simply admiring your garden, a patio never fails to offer an excellent vantage point. But, if you’re looking for some fresh patio ideas, consider stenciling a cool design on the floor.  Not only is this an easy project that can be completed in a weekend, but it can also be done for a fair, affordable price. Let blogger Hayley Stuart (opens in new tab) show you how it’s done.

4. Build your deck from the ground up

Or, if you don’t have a deck or patio in your backyard, you can always build one from scratch.  Admittedly, this budget-friendly backyard requires time and a close attention to detail. In fact, levelling a sloped backyard can take a few days. But, as this final product from home decor blog I Spy DIY (opens in new tab) proves, the results are so worth it.

5. Give your small garden the textured treatment

Want to make a patio from scratch, but not willing to put in that much elbow grease? This patio refresh from the Grit and Polish (opens in new tab) offers the best of both worlds, making it the perfect backyard idea on a budget. Here, husband-wife duo Garrett and Cathy used pea gravel to landscape a backyard with visual and textural distinction from the rest of their grassy plot. For a makeshift patio, the couple covered a portion of the gravel with large pavers.

6. Make a splash with a stock pool

Pool ideas offer endless fun and for many they are a backyard staple. However, building a pool can get expensive. If you’re looking to make a splash for less, add a stock pool a la Bri Moysa of Emerson Grey Designs (opens in new tab).  The designer accessorized a stock tank with homemade steps, tropical plants, and a fresh coat of black paint to make it feel like an intentional addition to the backyard, not an afterthought.

7. Introduce solar garden lighting 

A few strands of twinkling lights are an easy, affordable way to add some style to your backyard. But, unless you have a few trees to hang them from, you might be out of luck.  Fortunately, this idea from Sugar Maple Notes (opens in new tab) is a good one, creating clever backyard ideas on a budget by using a planter as a base for a post to drape string lights from. Not only aesthetically pleasing, solar garden lighting ideas will also save energy and keep costs down. ‘Our DIY planter posts project is so simple, yet makes a big impact in our backyard,’ explains blogger Sarah Harmsen. ‘The string lights add just the right amount of twinkle to our patio – much needed for summer evenings on the porch.’ 

8. Set up a spot for outdoor lounging – and garden shade

A cooling spot for relaxing, entertaining or designed purely as a retreat will make your backyard a joy to use all day long. Think about a planning a shade garden that includes multi-sensory experiences of sight, sound and scent – all that’s needed is some draping fabric, wooden posts and a bit of creativity. If your budget allows, invest in a small pond or water fountain. The trickling water will feel cooling and add a relaxing soundscape to your sensory garden.

9. Enhance a sense of garden privacy

For a backyard ideas on a budget that are both affordable and space-efficient, consider decking out your privacy fence.    ‘Because of the small footprint, we decided to use vertical garden ideas – and add plants in unique vessels on the fences,’ explains Penny D. Francis, designer and owner of Eclectic Home (opens in new tab).  ‘Half -round brass wall vessels were perfect for the succulents. We created a planter made from white oak that extended the length of the fence that also doubled as a bench for guests.’  The result? A small yard that doesn’t sacrifice style.

10. Defy gravity with a trellis 

Speaking of your privacy fence, you can also spruce up often overlooked fence or garden walls with a DIY trellis.  Blogger Diana Elizabeth (opens in new tab) used floral wire to create a diamond-shaped trellis on her wall, allowing her jasmine plants to reach new heights. It’s a budget-conscious idea that can appeal to all of the senses.