Spring is in the air. With this season often comes the desire to freshen up or even completely redo your backyard to transform it into the perfect space for an elegant retreat for yourself — or to host friends and family.
When it comes to DIY landscaping, the options are endless, and some can require a ton of skill and effort. With these simple landscape ideas, however, you can improve your home, whether for yourself or to up its sale price. No matter if it’s your yard, kitchen, bathroom or any other room, there are many benefits when your home looks brand new without having to spend a lot.
“Transforming your backyard into a retreat-like setting doesn’t have to mean a huge overhaul with landscaping and renovation companies,” said Erika Bodine, decorator, interior/exterior planner, and sales manager at LuxeDecor.
You can opt for smaller updates that are more simple and don’t require the same level of manpower or money, according to Bodine: “Things as simple as adding soft lighting to your yard can really set the mood, especially in the evenings. Illuminate paths, add spotlights on trees and maybe add a few hanging lanterns or outdoor string lights to give your backyard that special ambiance.”
Cost Estimate for Lighting
- Cost estimate: $12 to $49 per piece
Outdoor lanterns don’t have to be pricey, large, freestanding units that decorate your lawn. They can be simple, elegant candle holders that can be hung or placed in areas around your yard or placed on patio furniture. And if you opt for spotlights to illuminate your trees and don’t want to hard wire them, there are plenty of solar options available.
Consider Horizontal Fencing
A horizontal fence is functional as well as stylish, but it’s also the most involved project, as well as one of the priciest DIY backyard ideas.
“Goodbye vertical fencing and hello horizontal slats. These pieces give the space a wider appearance, and the slats can be arranged to your liking. Horizontal fences are quite versatile and can be made out of many materials, so the options are endless,” said Craig Jenkins-Sutton, president of Topiarius, an urban landscape design firm.
Cost Estimate for Horizontal Fencing
- Cost estimate: $635 per 5-foot-5-inch/6-foot section, complete with fencing channel, two fence posts and 14 composite deck boards
As Sutton-Jenkins said, the materials and options for horizontal fencing are endless, so it’s possible to make this project much cheaper.
If you do decide to go for a pricier horizontal fencing option, you might want to consider a personal loan like one from PenFed Credit Union to help you manage the cost. A personal loan will allow you to pay for the expenses of your project upfront and then make affordable payments on a fixed plan.
Plant Blooming Flowers
One of the simplest backyard landscaping ideas is to add vibrant color and life to your backyard by planting blooming flowers. What you will plant will depend on your climate zone, but here’s a suggestion from Donna Atanasova of Fantastic Services Australia to help relax and de-stress: “Lavender is one of the best-known anxiety fighters. The plant’s scent is often used in lotions and room sprays — and for a good reason. Lavender slows down the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and stress levels.”
Atanasova also recommends planting jasmine: “Jasmine is an elegant, sweet-smelling shrub that can be a great way to enhance the look of your landscape. When you’re surrounded by jasmine, it is likely that you’ll feel less anxious and more at peace. It also promotes a better night’s sleep.”
Cost Estimate for Flowers
- Cost estimate: $5 to $44 per plant
You can choose to incorporate blooming flowers into your backyard’s landscape by planting them in flowerbeds, raised garden beds, elegant planters or hanging pots. Wherever they end up, you’ll have a nice pop of color that will brighten your living space.
Add a Fire Pit
“Add a fire pit table to fit in with your furniture for the bonus addition of a cozy fire,” said Bodine. Fire pit sets are also available and include a variety of patio seating options — chairs, loungers, sectionals — and a fire pit table for one inclusive price. Or you can choose to build your own fire pit with a DIY kit.
Cost Estimate to Add a Fire Pit
- Cost estimate: $150 to $1,200
You’ll want to measure your space ahead of time to make sure you’ll have enough room to accommodate the extra space a fire pit requires. A good rule of thumb, according to Houzz, is to leave 5 to 7 feet of open space around the edges of the fire pit for seating and movement around the area.
Install a Small Pond
Installing a small pond among the plants and flowers in your yard is a way to add beauty to your landscape without having to call in a professional landscaper. Pond liners come in a variety of sizes, and you can fill the bottom of the pond with rocks or colorful gravel for interest. Other options include adding lights, waterfall features or fish.
Cost Estimate for Installing a Pond
- Cost estimate: $140 and up for pond liner and pond pump
You’ll need a few tools for this project, but if you keep the pond less than 6 feet on each side and less than 18 inches deep, it is still a DIY-friendly project, according to This Old House.
Add a Wall Garden
“If you love cooking with fresh herbs but don’t have a ton of space for a garden, you can still plant an herb wall. Simply grow your favorite selections — basil, cilantro, dill, oregano, mint and others — in pots on a wall and you’ll save time and money by plucking leaves from your own vertical herb space. When the seasons change, you can transfer your plants indoors and keep them growing year-round,” said Jenkins-Sutton.
Cost Estimate to Add a Wall Garden
- Cost estimate: $15 to $115
You can install pots or planters on a wall for under $15 each, but if you’re looking for other, more grand backyard garden ideas, you can invest in a vertical wall garden made of resin that you could hang or place on the edge of a patio for the higher cost of around $115.
Add Modern Flooring
You might not think about flooring outside very much since you’re just using it to walk on, but it really can make all the difference.
“Transform your space from a boring backyard to a stylistic sanctuary with modern flooring. Wooden planks, stone, concrete pavers or patterned flooring nicely complements your design aesthetic while adding a sense of elegance to your outdoor living space,” said Jenkins-Sutton.
Cost Estimate for Modern Flooring
- Cost estimate: $80 to $285 per 50 square feet of material
Cost and complexity of installation will vary depending on what type of material you choose. Wood decking is one of the simplest DIY outdoor flooring projects, according to the DIY network, but it requires cleaning and sealing every one to two years.
If you’ve got more space to cover and this remodel is feeling out of budget, remember that a personal loan of $500 or more could help you to afford this renovation now and pay for it later.
Add Extra Elements of Design
Unique touches here and there can add elegance and pull your backyard landscaping project together — but be careful not to overdo it.
“When choosing decor such as statues, fountains, planters and rugs, less is always more. Choose a couple of unique pieces that reflect the personality of your space and leave it at that. If you overdecorate, your space will soon become cluttered and lose that luxurious feel,” said Morris.
Cost Estimate for Extra Elements of Design
- Cost estimate: $60 to $230 or more per piece
Planters, fountains, statues and rugs come in a variety of styles, materials and sizes — all at various price points. When choosing pieces, try to find a common thread — color, style, design elements — within them, so the items don’t appear radically different and out of place when you incorporate them into your backyard oasis.
Click through to read more about 11 things to know before you start spending on your remodel.
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