Summer’s right around the corner and it’s the perfect time to start sprucing up your outdoor area! Summer is the season of backyard barbecues, patio drinks, cool summer nights and gardening. Why not make the most of the beautiful weather and your outdoor space with some creative and easy backyard DIY projects this year?
Whether you have a sprawling yard or just a small balcony there are tons of affordable and creative ways to make your space more enjoyable and comfortable. Turn old cinderblocks into a beautiful outdoor coffee table. Recycle old wine bottles by turning them into planters. Transform mason jars into awesome hanging lanterns. The list goes on and on. The best part about these backyard DIY projects is that a lot of them recycle materials you probably already have laying around the house!
Don’t spend the summer in a plain and boring outdoor area. Try upgrading your space with some of these easy and affordable backyard DIY projects instead! You’ll be enjoying your outdoor upgrades all summer long.
1.) Use an Ikea Curtain as an Impromptu Shade
Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy backyard shade! Try using an ikea curtain system instead. Simply attach one side of the curtain to the side of your house or apartment building and the other side to a pole or tree. Then slide the curtains across as a make shift shade! Cheap, easy, and effective. You’ll be enjoying your backyard even on the sunniest days.
2.) Turn Cinderblocks Into a Flower Box
This one is easy and pretty straight forward. Transform old boring cinder blocks into beautiful flower boxes. You can also turn the cinder blocks vertically and use them as an impromptu outdoor coffee table. To make the flower boxes all you’ll need is some outdoor waterproof paint, soil, and plants of your choice.
If you want more than just a decoration put your flower box to work and plant a small herb garden instead. You don’t need a lot of space to put this backyard DIY to use either. You can fit two or three cinderblocks on a patio or even on a fire escape outside your window. Happy gardening!
3.) Glow In the Dark Pebbles As a Light Path
If you love hanging out in your outdoor area at night this backyard DIY is for you! Pebblessurprisingly make a cheap and effective light path. Simply dump a punch of pebbles into a bucket of glow in the dark paint, let them dry, and line them up. You’ll have an illuminated path to help you make it back indoors after enjoying all those summer cocktails.
4.) Use Wine Bottles To Do Garden Edging
Don’t throw out your empty wine bottles! Turn them upside and use them to decorate the edge of your garden or backyard. Colorful wine bottle turned upside down and secured in the ground add fun decoration to your outdoor area. You can also save old wine bottles to use as candle holders!
5.) Use a Painted Garden Pot As a Side Table
Transform a simple terracotta pot into a cute outdoor side table with this backyard DIY. You’ll need one large terracotta pot, a large terracotta tray, and some outdoor paint. Make sure you choose a pot large enough to be at a good height for a side table when your lounging in your outdoor chairs.
1.) Tape around the bottom edge of the pot rim to ensure a straight paint line, then fill in the entire rim with outdoor paint.
2.) Use a color that will go well with your outdoor area. I love this bright turquoise but a more neutral color would also look great.
6.) Turn Wine Bottle Into Tiki Torches
This is one of my favorite backyard DIY ‘s! Turn an everyday wine bottle into a modern looking backyard tikki torch. You can even drench the wicks in insect repellent for a light that also keeps the bugs away. This project was created by Erik anderson of Gerardot & co for Design Sponge.
1. Empty Wine Bottle (You can use any bottle you like as long as it’s glass and the neck is 1” in diameter. Be clever!)
2. Teflon Tape 1/2”
3. Copper Top Plate Connector (threaded for 3/8”-16 thread rod)
4. 1” Split Ring Hanger (threaded for 3/8”-16 thread rod)
5. 1/2” x 3/8” Copper Coupling
6. 1/2” Copper Cap
7. Two Hex Nuts (threaded for 3/8”-16 thread rod)
8. Two #10 x 1” Zinc Plated Wood Screws (if your mounting it to wood)
9. 3/8”-16 Zinc Plated Threaded Rod (I bought a 3’ rod and cut it down to 8, 4-1/2” rods with a hacksaw.)
10. Tiki Replacement Wick
11. Torch Fuel (For safety reasons, only use fuel made specifically for outdoor torches. i.e. Tiki brand)
1. Decide where you want to mount your Recycled Bottle Torch. Position the Top Plate Connector on your mounting surface and mark the holes for where the screws will go. It’s easier to keep it level if you pre-drill your screws first.
2. Once you have your Top Plate Connector mounted you can screw in the 3/8”-16 Rod until it stops. Channellocks are helpful for this part.
3. Thread the two Hex Nuts on to the Rod and tighten one all the way down at the point where the Rod meets the Top Connector Plate. Leave the other Hex Nut at the front end so it can be used to secure the Split Ring Hanger.
4. Thread on the Split Ring Hanger just enough so that the Rod is flush with the inside of the ring. Turn the 2nd Hex Nut counter-clockwise to snug it up against the Split Ring Hanger.
1. Carefully and tightly wrap the 1/2” end of the Coupling with your Teflon Tape. You’ll want to keep each wrap nice and clean so that it creates a smooth, even surface. Continue building up the tape until it fits very snugly into the opening of your bottle. You obviously don’t want it to fall in.
2. Insert the Wick into the Coupling until it sticks out about 1/4”. The Tiki brand replacement wicks are about 3/8” in diameter so they fit really well. Once they absorb the torch oil they’re even tighter.
3. Unscrew the Split Ring Hanger on one side and position the bottle neck into the ring.
4. Flip the front half of the ring back into place and tighten down the Hangerevenly on both sides. You may need to loosen the other side to make sure both sides are an even tightness. (Don’t over tighten the Hanger. You don’t want to break the glass.)
5. Use a funnel to fill the bottle with your favorite torch oil. (I use Tiki’s BiteFighter because it’s clear and seems to do a good job of keeping the mosquitoes away.)
6. Insert the Coupling & Wick into the top of the bottle and twist it snugly into place. Give the Wick a few minutes to absorb the oil before you try to light it.
7. I typically just blow my torches out. Use the Copper Cap to keep the Wick dry when you’re not using your torch.
7.) Turn Mason Jars Into Hanging Lights
It’s become pretty trendy to use recycled mason jars as home goods. This backyard DIY turns them into cute outdoor string lights. Outdoor lights can be expensive to purchase and set up. This DIY is affordable and fairly easy to put together! You’ll have a dreamy, romantic atmosphere for all your backyard hangs this summer.
1.) Remove the lids from the mason jars and set aside. Spray the interiors of the jars with a light, even coating of frosted-glass spray. Place the jars right-side up to dry.
2.) While the jars are drying, remove the metal inserts from the lids. Use a permanent marker to trace the shapes of the inserts onto the plexiglass sheet.
3.) Use aviator snips to cut outthe plexiglass circles. (We found it easiest to cut a square around each circle and then trim off the corners.) Smooth rough spots with sandpaper until the circles fit inside the lid rings.
4.) Remove the top portion of each stake light, which houses the solar cell and lightbulb. Apply glue to the perimeter of a solar cell and press it onto the center of a plexiglass circle. Repeat for the remaining lights.
5.) When the glue is dry, assemble each lantern by inserting the circle into the lid ring and screwing the ring to the jar. Set your finished lights where they’ll receive direct sun, and watch them glow in the dark later on.
8.) Turn Tin Cans Into Lanterns
In six simple steps these creative tin can lanterns can be yours! This backyard DIY costs next to nothing and creates beautiful speckled light for all your summer night entertaining. Try making a few and scattering them around your yard or lining them in a row down your backyard table.
- 2-4 cleaned, empty tin cans (you can use any size)
- a hammer
- an assortment of nails (for larger or smaller holes)
- colorful permanent markers
- paper, pencil, masking tape, scissors (if you plan to use a pattern)
- votive candles
- a towel
1.) Fill each can with water and freeze overnight until solid. The ice stabilizes the can and prevents it from bending when you punch holes in them later.
2.) Decide on a design for your punched-tin decorations. You can draw the pattern out ahead of time on a piece of graph paper and tape it to the can as a guide.
3.) Cradle the frozen tin can in a folded towel (to prevent the can from moving and to catch ice chips). Position a sharp, narrow nail above each mark on your pattern and gently tap it 3-4 times with the hammer until just the point has punched the tin can. Repeat for eachmark until you have completed your pattern.
4.) Rinse the can under a hot tap until the ice block pops out and allow the can to dry.
5.) If you want to add color to your new punched-tin lantern, you can create a variety of fun, shiny designs by simply using colorful permanent markers.
6.) Drop in some lighted votive candles and enjoy the fun, flickering patterns cast by your new handmade lanterns! Be sure to place the lanterns on a fire-safe surface as the candles can get hot.
9.) DIY Auxiliary Drawer For Your Backyard
If you’ve ever been frustrated by not having a convenient place to store barbecue or gardening tools this backyard DIY is perfect for you. This cool DIY transforms plain wooden crates into a rustic, rolling storage unit. It’s the perfect place to keep all your most essential backyard tools. Summer storage problems solved!
- 3 wooden fruit boxes
- 4 rotating wheels (IKEA)
- 24 wood screws 3 x 20 mm
- 4 small metal brackets (IKEA)
- Bosch PST 700 E Compact scroll saw
- Multi-sander with lithium battery PSM 10.8 LI
- Bosch IXO cordless screwdriver
1.) Gather 3 wooden crates. Saw the two boards on the widest side of each box using the Bosch PST 700 E Compact jigsaw.
2.) Sand the freshly cut edges to avoid any unsightly protrusion. The wood should be smooth and soft. Ideally use a delta sander.
3.) Choose the box that will go on the bottom of the cart and, in the four corners of its base, screw four rotating wheels on to the bottom.
4.) Finally, stack the three boxes one on top of the other, and screw them together with the help of metal joints that hold them together.
5.) You can leave the cart with a vintage touch, or treat its surface and paint it.
10.) Cinder Block and Wood Beam Bench
This might be the backyard DIY that gets the most use in your yard this summer. Instead of spending a lot of money on backyard furniture try making this wood beam and cinder block bench. Add some cozy cushions and you have yourself a cozy zen looking backyard couch. Perfect for lounging with a good book while you soak up the sun.
12 cinderblocks (6 for each side)
4 pieces of 4″ x 4″ x10 ft. lumber
- Start with one side. Set 4 cinderblocks vertically, and 2 that go on top horizontally.Allow approximately 8 – 9 ft. of distance before setting the next side of cinderblocks.
- Feed the wood through one side to the other. Make sure you have at least 6 inches sticking out on both sides. If you want smaller seating, you may always trim the excess wood.
- Once you are happy with the placement and size of the seating, temporarily remove the wood beams. Use the concrete adhesive to set the cinderblocks in place.
- After the concrete adhesive has dried, feed the wood beams through the top holes of the cinderblocks.
Looking for more DIY furniture projects? Try these 5 Genius DIY Pallet Wood Projects for Unique Home Furniture.