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Seven budget-friendly DIY backyard makeover ideas

When you can’t go to Bali, bring Bali to your backyard! A backyard makeover is one of the best ways to make the most of your space during summer, and if you DIY, backyard renovations won’t cost an arm and a leg. Try these easy – and cheap! – backyard makeover ideas.

1. Get festive with festoon lighting or lanterns

One of the simplest ways to add instant warmth to any space is with lighting. You can make any outdoor look fabulous if you hang solar powered festoon lighting (or fairy) lights from your fence, your veranda or even overhead from tall posts.

If you’re lucky enough to have a tree in your backyard, consider hanging some solar lanterns from the branches for a bohemian vibe that will add whimsy at all times of the day – even when they’re not lit up. Add a picnic rug or outdoor carpet on the lawn underneath the tree and a couple of scatter pillows and you’ll have the perfect place to wile away the hours this summer.

Cheap backyard makeover ideas: Hang festoon lighting or lanterns in your garden

2. Create cosy corners with DIY shelter

No verandah or pergola? No worries! There’s a DIY solution for that.

For a shelter that blends in with the environment, consider a simple wooden pergola built over an entertaining area (you can purchase DIY kits from Bunnings) or an ornate garden arch above your favourite reading nook. Pair these with climbing plants to create the ultimate canopy.

If you’re renting or don’t want to create any permanent backyard renovations, utilise walls and fences as much as possible, as these will help block any wind. Turn a garden bench into a sheltered retreat by pushing it up against a wall, and adding an outdoor umbrella. Or pop down a waterproof rug, scatter with large, flat cushions and add a portable shade sail for shelter. Pair with a low coffee table to keep cool drinks and reading materials at hand.

3. Add a fresh coat of paint to walls, trim and furniture

Refreshing your exterior walls is one of the easiest ways to give your backyard instant summer vibes. When choosing exterior house paint, you’ll need to use a waterproof acrylic paint, which will allow moisture and air to be released while preventing rain from damaging walls.

For a quicker backyard makeover that still makes a big impact, why not dress up your trim – that is, your window frames, shutters and door frames – with a fresh coat of paint?


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Traditional homes generally suit nature-inspired hues like warm muted olive greens or blue greys while modern façades, like the home pictured, look fabulous dressed in more contemporary shades such as deep greys, warm teals or rich aubergine tones.

Have timber garden furniture that’s seen better days? Don’t throw it – paint it! Warm reds and pinks are great for garden furniture – their intensity acts as a wonderful contrast to the rich greens of foliage.

4. Update your decking

If your timber deck is looking a little worse for wear but is still structurally sound, taking the time to restain the timber will give your yard an instant facelift, and is an easy backyard makeover that can be done over the course of a weekend. Bunnings have a step-by-guide to staining your deck that requires only a handful of tools and materials (paint brush, stain, masking tape).

If you don’t feel confident with a paint brush, even giving your decking a power clean will drastically improve your outdoor area. You can either rent a power washer at your local hardware store, or hand wash the deck with a mild cleaner like dish soap, water and a wire scrub brush.

Cheap backyard makeover ideas: Backyard renovations can include refreshing the paint or stain of your patio or deck

5. Grow a DIY garden in your backyard makeover

Plants can actually be one of the most expensive aspects of a backyard renovation, so it’s good to try and save where you can.

Pick out plants that evoke the aesthetic you’re going for, and redecorate terracotta or plastic pots to help achieve the look for less. If you’re going for Bali vibes, pick out lush plants that remind you of a tropical paradise and paint your pots in calming neutrals that blend in with the environment, like charcoal, stone and soft greys.

Looking to create a Palm Springs vibe? Go for succulents (which are extremely low maintenance) and cacti and mix up the colours of your pots with lots of pastels and even geometric patterns. You could even get the kids to help with this one as a fun school holidays painting project!

If you want flowers in your backyard, go for perennial plants, which will rebloom every year. Be mindful of the level of rain your yard gets naturally, and pick out plants that won’t require extensive watering if you don’t want to see your water bill grow alongside your garden.

Check out Facebook groups for plant sales or online marketplaces to source well-established plants for cheaper than you’d get at a garden centre.

Cheap backyard makeover ideas: DIY garden pots when you pick out plants

6. Create a statement plant wall

Got a boring exterior wall that needs some love? A fun DIY garden project is to make a plant wall, and there’s lots of ways you can create this look for less.

You could use pallets to create shelves or even planter boxes, use hooks to hang pots directly onto the wall, or even install a hanging plant wall by attaching a weather-proof curtain rod to a wall and hanging pots and at different heights.

This is a great way to spruce up a sparse side-wall or add some bohemian vibes to your verandah, and is one of the easiest DIY garden projects on a budget.

Succulents can look great in plant walls, and it’s also a great option to grow your own herbs. Ask a friend or family member with a green thumb if they can give you a cutting of some of their plant babies, or plant some from seed packages rather than buying established plants from the garden centre.

7. Try your hand at building DIY pallet furniture

You can make some really cool furniture out of wooden pallets (often spotted being given away for free on the street!). From benches to coffee tables to even bars and sun beds, deck out your patio with pallet furniture and some outdoor cushions and wow your guests next time you have a BBQ.

Whether you leave the pallets raw, or give them a coat of varnish or paint, you can DIY pallet furniture to suit practically any style from a tropical Balinese villa to a Palm Springs vibe, and even modern industrial.

There are loads of tutorials on YouTube and Bunnings that will guide you safely through the building process, and if you need some inspiration on what style to make, Pinterest is a great source of awesome DIY backyard makeover ideas , with loads of great photos of DIY pallet furniture of all shapes and sizes.

Cheap backyard makeover ideas: DIY pallet furniture
Create a plant wall by hanging plants from a curtain rail

We hope you liked these backyard makeover ideas on a budget! If you need help budgeting for your home improvement projects, the budgeting experts at MyBudget can show you how to budget and save for your personal goals including backyard renos. Call us today at 1300 300 922 or enquire online for a free consultation.

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This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

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