Looking for a few affordable ways to spruce up your backyard this spring? Give your space an easy, inexpensive makeover with the help of these 19 simple ideas.

1. Do a Deep Clean

First and foremost, one of the best (and cheapest) ways to liven up your backyard space is to give it a good clean. Start by clearing your deck or patio of leaves, dirt and other debris by sweeping and/or pressure washing – taking care to rinse paving stones, walkways and other concrete areas that may have accumulated dirt over the winter.

Additional backyard cleaning tips:

  • Clean up pet messes
  • Remove debris from garden beds
  • Wash outdoor furniture and cushions with soap and water
  • Remove old potting soil from planters and rinse
  • Clean outdoor grill with a degreaser

Check out: The Very Best Tips for a Successful Spring Cleaning of Your Home

2. Wipe Out Weeds 

Not only do weeds make your yard look unkempt, but they can also harm your plants and lawn. If pulling them yourself proves to be too much work, try a DIY weed-killer recipe:

1. Salt and Vinegar:

  • 4 litres of white vinegar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap

Spray directly on the weed at the root, avoid spraying surrounding grass or plants

2. Boiling Water – Ideal for cracks and sidewalks, NOT for lawns or garden beds

3. Lemon Juice – Mix with vinegar for extra potency

3. Show Your Lawn Some Love

Nothing boosts backyard appeal like a lush and healthy lawn. Have your yard looking its best this summer by taking the time to rake, aerate and fertilize this spring – all you need is the right tools! Check out these DIY aerators and DIY lawn fertilizers for a few inexpensive how-tos.

Additional tips for a healthy lawn:

Mow high – Cut your grass no shorter than 2.5 or 3 inches.

Leave your clippings – A light layer of clippings helps to slow water evaporation, fertilize and prevent weeds.

Water deeply (but not too often) – Apply 1 inch of water only when needed, about once a week.

Overseed – Apply extra seed to dead, patchy or thinned areas.

4. Go Vertical

Vertical gardens aren’t just ideal for small backyards (where space is at a premium), they also add a ton of aesthetic appeal. Succulents, herbs and even veggies are all popular choices; for more ideas, check out Country Living’s 35 DIY Vertical Garden Ideas to Show off Your Green Thumb.

DIY vertical garden considerations for beginners:

1. Think About Placement: Which plants need sun and shade?

2. High or Low Maintenance: Do your plants require pruning, frequent watering or other special care?

3. Future Support: As plants grow, their root systems expand and need more water. Be sure your vertical garden structure can support your plants as they mature.

5. Hang Your Flowers

Hanging planters are yet another easy way to save space while adding some budget-friendly colour to your yard. Hanging planters are also lower-maintenance and easy to match with your outdoor décor.

6. Liven Up Your Fence Line

Give your fence a quick and affordable facelift with a fresh coat of paint or stain. Once complete, you can really make it stand out with these clever Ideas for Decorating Your Garden Fence.

7. Raise a Retaining Wall 

Retaining walls aren’t just affordable and functional – they can also improve your property value! By customizing your retaining wall’s size, materials and colour, you can create an aesthetic-boosting look that will enhance your home’s overall curb appeal.

8. Add a Little Mulch

Mulch is ideal for giving multiple garden beds a polished, unified look. Available in a variety of types, colours and price points, mulch also serves to prevent weeds, hold water and provide nutrients to your soil.

A few ultra-affordable mulch alternatives include:

  • Shredded leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Pine needles
  • Newspaper (watered then covered with topsoil)

9. Create Comfortable Seating

Comfortable seating is a must for any outdoor space. For wood and metal furniture, especially, we recommend including ample weather-resistant pillows (throw pillows are especially good for a pop of colour). You may even opt to make your own outdoor cushions, as a DIY, budget-friendly alternative.

10. Lay an Outdoor Rug

Looking for ways to brighten up a plain-Jane deck or patio? Lay down an outdoor area rug. Even better, use more than one to help you create defined spaces or zones such as the cooking or grilling area, dining area, lounging area etc.

11. Be Edgy 

Create visually appealing lines around your walkways and garden beds with rubber and stone edging. Easy to install, edging comes in various sizes, colours, and materials and serves to separate your delicate garden/flower beds from trampling feet.

12. Make Your Own Fountain 

Why spend hundreds on a store-bought fountain when you can make your own for a fraction of the cost? With an inexpensive water pump and a little creativity, you can create a stunning water feature that’s sure to make a splash. These 22 DIY Water Fountain Ideas That Will Save You Major Time and Money will give you all the inspiration you need.

13. Get Cozy By the Fire

Create your own DIY fire pit with a few inexpensive materials (pavers, sand and gravel) or invest in a fire bowl that’s easy to transport and store. In both cases, however, be sure to check Edmonton fire pit regulations (and, if applicable, homeowner association rules) beforehand.

14. Grab Some Garden-Friendly Décor 

Having a well-decorated backyard doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, there are many ways to add some fun and flair to your yardscape with a few dollar store finds or with items you already have around the house. See these homemade garden decorations to help get you started.

15. Swap Out Your Stepping Stones

Is your garden pathway in need of an upgrade? Consider replacing your old, broken or mismatched stepping stones with more modern, updated versions. For a more personalized look, you may even want to make your own.

16. Build Your Own Planters

Speaking of personalization, DIY planters are the perfect way to add a little self-expression to your outdoor space (best of all, you can make them out of just about anything). See 12 DIY Planter Boxes You Can Make in a Day for some easy-to-execute ideas.

Popular upcycled garden planter choices include:

  • Teapots/coffee mugs
  • Repurposed tires
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Woven baskets
  • Rubber boots
  • Birdbaths
  • Repurposed dresser drawers
  • Etc.

17. Breathe New Life Into Old Items 

A little paint can go a long way when it comes to refurbishing tired lawn furniture, planters, decks, fences and sheds. This is also the perfect opportunity to add some colour to your space and make it shine. Pro tip: Rust and weather-resistant paints are available in all colours and finishes and will prolong the life of your outdoor items.

18. Invest in Outdoor Lighting 

The right outdoor lighting makes a backyard more inviting. Lanterns are an excellent option for fences, side tables and centrepieces, and twinkly string lights are perfect for overhead areas such as pergolas and gazebos (even a nearby tree). You may also choose to highlight your garden and garden pathways with a few solar-powered lights, too.

19. Incorporate a Trellis

Add charm to your yard by way of a trellis of two. You may choose to include a trellis in your garden as an attractive focal point (perfect for climbing vines and veggies) or use one as a means of accenting your yard’s entrance, patio or seating area. You might even DIY your own trellis for under $20!

BONUS Tip: Plant Perennials

Rather than spend countless hours (not to mention dollars) picking out and planting annuals for your garden, why not opt for perennials? Beautiful, inexpensive and oh-so-colourful, perennials will keep on giving, year after year.

Best Low Maintenance Perennial Plants for Edmonton:

  • Yarrow
  • Bleeding Hearts
  • Coneflowers
  • Black-Eyed Susans
  • Hibiscus

For more information, check out Prairie Gardens’ Easy No-Fail Perennials for Edmonton Gardens

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Posted by Terry Paranych on


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