How to Create Compelling Outdoor Living Spaces on a Budget

by Alex ThatcherAugust 8, 2018

Who Says a Pretty Patio Has to Cost a Pretty Penny?

As summer swelters on, you may be dreaming about how nice it would be to have an in-ground pool, a cabana, or a few chaise lounge chairs to stretch out on as you enjoy an ice-cold beverage in the sweltering heat. Fortunately for you, we’ve rounded up a few budget-friendly tricks for transforming your outdoor living space into a relaxing oasis.

Don’t worry about dipping into your vacation funds in order to spruce up the backyard for summer—these affordable backyard hacks will have you feeling like you’re on vacation every time you step outside, without breaking the bank.

patio tips

Find Shade Under a Canopy

Pool cabanas aren’t solely reserved for the rich and famous at luxury Vegas hotels. You can create your own DIY shady cabana space using posts and 2x4s. Check out this simple DIY tutorial from Elizabeth Burns Design. Once the frame is built, you can decide to use curtain sheers or mildew-resistant shower curtains to get that cozy, cabana-room feel.

Fill your cabana space with lounge chairs or a picnic table so that you can enjoy the space with the whole family. Add some color and life to the space with hanging potters and potted plants to really get that summer atmosphere that you crave.

budget patio tips

Invite the Birds, the Bees, and the Butterflies

Breathe life into your outdoor space by cultivating an area that invites some tame wildlife. You will love gazing at the birds that a hummingbird feeder or birdhouse brings into your yard. Situate your hummingbird feeder amongst some colorful plants and flowers, like bee balm and columbine. This article from Farmers Almanac lists more colorful flowers and plants that will attract hummingbirds to your outdoor space.

Attract beautiful butterflies to your garden by situating potted flowers that are rich in pollen. Butterflies love zinnias, nasturtiums, cardinal vines, and cosmos. Flower seeds are generally inexpensive and you’ll love watching the little seedlings bloom into gorgeous flowers.

Update the Front Porch

If you don’t have a massive backyard space to work with, have no fear. You can transform your front porch into an outdoor room that you’ll enjoy with family and friends all summer long. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint in a color that pops, and consider adding a festive wreath to the door. Healthy plants in a brightly colored pot will also bring extra energy to your porch area.

Finish it off with a thrifted rocking chair or wooden bench, and choose an outdoor rug or welcome mat that will let your personality shine. If you went with a neutral color for your front door, add some color when it comes to flowers and accessories like window boxes and rugs.

Budget-Friendly Seating

The best way to make your outdoor space inviting is to provide plenty of space for people to sit back, relax, and enjoy the great outdoors. Budget-friendly seating is a great way to bring family and friends together. As you think about what kind of seating you want to incorporate into your outdoor space, think about providing a focal point. A thrifted outdoor coffee table, a water feature, or a fireplace or firepit are all excellent centerpieces for your seating area.

Keep the seating options varied by using a combination of some traditional outdoor chairs, a chair that allows you to recline, and a loveseat or bench that can accommodate more than one person at a time. Patio Productions advises against using so much patio furniture that your outdoor space feels crowded, but don’t be afraid to accessorize with colorful cushions and throw pillows.

budget patio tips

Create Boundaries

Turn your backyard or patio into a multidimensional, multi-use space by creating boundaries that will make it feel like your space has multiple rooms. HGTV uses a crisp white lattice as a grill screen in order to help define a patio space.

Retaining walls and fences will also help to increase privacy if your backyard shares boundaries with other properties in the neighborhood. An outdoor grill island is another great way to bring structure into your space without blocking views or making the space feel clunky. You’ll notice that having some counter space outside will make barbecue nights that much more enjoyable.

Outdoor Spaces on a Budget? Easy.

As you begin to work on your budget-friendly outdoor space this summer, keep in mind that the point of your patio, backyard, or other outdoor space is to relax and spend time with friends and family outside. Try to design your space with this in mind, and you’ll quickly see how these small, affordable changes will make entertaining and spending time in the yard easier and more enjoyable!

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About The Author
Alex Thatcher
Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.