Transform Your Back Yard Into a Vacation Oasis This Summer
Foregoing your annual family vacation? Here are eight outdoor DIY projects that can be completed in one day or less to transform your backyard into a magical summer staycation oasis.
Mason Jar Citronella Torches
Mason jar citronella torches not only look beautiful, but they also serve double duty by helping to keep pesky mosquitoes at bay. All it takes to make these is a few mason jars (the colored variety add a nice festive touch), some 100% cotton rope, a hammer and Philips screwdriver, and citronella oil.
Simply hammer the tip of the Philips screwdriver through the center of the lid of the mason jar to make a hole for the rope wick. Then slip the rope through the hole and cut it so that the rope reaches the bottom of the jar with about two inches of rope sticking out above the lid.
Fill the jar about ¾ of the way with citronella oil and screw on the lid. When you light the wick, it will burn high for a short time but once the oil gets soaked into the wick, it will burn more like a candle should.
Homemade Grill Table
Sure to thrill any grill master, grill tables are actually pretty easy to build. There are several different pre-packaged projects available at most home supply stores, so all you need to do is pick one up and put it together. Most are designed to fit a standard-sized BBQ grill, so always be sure to check your grill’s dimensions before choosing a kit. Once you have your table built you can enjoy convenient food prep and grilling in one location!
A floating deck is one that is not attached to a structure. This is a more labor-intensive project, but with help you could definitely get it done in a day. First, level the ground where you want the deck to be located. Then, dig the holes and set and level the four corners of blocking. After that, measure and place interior blocks two-feet apart between the corner blocks along the outside edges of the build. Dig six-inch trenches for the interior blocks so you have trenches running post to post. Once everything is level, lay pressure-treated deck joists on edge inside the deck blocks.
Installing synthetic deck boards over the joists will give the floating deck a beautiful, low-maintenance finish that will last a very long time.
Cinderblock Fire Pit
You don’t need a lot of expensive pavers to build a fire pit in your backyard – cinderblocks work just fine! All you have to do is create a flat fireproof base using large bricks. Then, build a square pit by placing cinderblocks next to each other (on their sides with the open ends facing up) on top of the brick base. Fill the open spaces in the blocks with sand or stones to help solidify the build. Then, place another square of cinderblocks on top of the base with the center of the cinderblocks being placed over the points where the two blocks below them meet. Fill these with sand or stones as well. Toss in some sticks and enjoy your new fire pit.
Garden Water Feature
Making a beautiful water garden doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, all you need is a water tight container, a solar-powered fountain pump, some concrete pavers, and some decorative rocks and stones, and any water plants you may wish to include. Simply trace the dimensions of the container and then excavate enough dirt so the top of the water tight container sits level with the ground. Set a few large rocks in the bottom of the container to help keep it in place. Then lay the pavers along the edge of the container to give it a more finished look. Arrange the stones inside of the container and add the plants and the pump, then fill the container with water. Use an algae inhibitor to keep algae at bay, add fresh water as needed, and you’ll enjoy your water feature all summer long!
A cobblestone pathway adds charm to any backyard, but thankfully it doesn’t take a lot of back-breaking work to build. All you need is a cobblestone form and some concrete. Simply mix the concrete and fill the cobblestone form. Let it set and then remove the form. Set the form up against the first and repeat the process. With this system, you can make your path as long as you like!
Outdoor Day Bed
There’s nothing better than lounging outside on a nice summer’s day. But what if you could lounge outside in a bed? Simply find an empty corner of your deck (preferably one that’s covered) and take measurements to see what dimensions you have to work with.
Build a bed frame using pine 2×4’s and then screw some reclaimed hardwood to the frame to give it a unique look. Next, cut a piece of chipboard to fit the top and secure it in place (or put hinges on one end so you can store things underneath). All that’s left to do is to place the mattress on top of the chipboard and decorate as you prefer.
If you have a bunch of unused 2x4s and a few sturdy logs, you can build a beautiful bench in less than a day. Measure the logs and cut them equal size using a chainsaw for the legs. Next, cut the wood you’re going to use for the seat into equal lengths. Screw the seat planks (evenly spaced) to evenly spaced studs. This will help solidify the seat. Secure the four legs to the seat and then screw 2x4s around the edge of the seat to form a skirt. Paint, stain, or seal the bench as you like and then set it in your favorite backyard corner, or maybe next to your DIY garden water feature.
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