15 DIY Outdoor Projects

Dig into the DIY craze with these easy and fun projects for your backyard, patio, and garden!

Small backyard beachSmall backyard beach
Small backyard beach (click on photo above for instructions)
If you love the beach but can't find the time for regular visits, why not turn an unused corner of your backyard into a sandy retreat? This miniature beach can be put together over a weekend for less than $200. Decomposed granite, sand, driftwood, and grassy plants complete the seaside look.

Outdoor chandelierOutdoor chandelier
Outdoor chandelier (click on photo above for instructions)
Romantic outdoor lighting: With a wire basket, a few jars, and some tea lights and adornment, add a little handmade glow to your garden.

Romantic backyard cabanaRomantic backyard cabana
Romantic backyard cabana (click on photo above for instructions)
This backyard lounge serves as both a casual spot for year-round entertaining and a private refuge with resort style.

Perfect compost binPerfect compost bin
Perfect compost bin (click on photo above for instructions)
Designed by horticulturists at the University of California Cooperative Extension, this compost bin is inexpensive, easy to build, and features five stackable sections for simple, efficient composting.
Expect finished compost in about six weeks.

Alaska-style coldframeAlaska-style coldframe
Alaska-style coldframe (click on photo above for instructions)
Get an early start on your plantings with an Alaskan-style coldframe. This one is built with pressure-treated 2-by-4s and fiberglass sheeting. Pulley-drawn cords make it easier to open for ventilation.

Shady arbor benchShady arbor bench
Shady arbor bench (click on photo above for instructions)
Imagine sipping your tea or wine in the dappled light of your own backyard arbor bench, your favorite vine overhead.
Building a bench and arbor combo is in some ways less complicated than building a standalone bench. The arbor provides the structure, and the bench comes along for the ride with no complex angles or fancy joinery.

Backyard ScrabbleBackyard Scrabble
Backyard Scrabble (click on photo above for instructions)
"I like areas of double use," says Sacramento architect Kristy McAuliffe.
A friend helped her make this 5-foot outdoor Scrabble board with scored concrete in a wood frame.

Bee nesting blockBee nesting block
Bee nesting block (click on photo above for instructions)
Because of shrinking habitat, bee numbers are dwindling. One thing you can do to help is provide a nesting site for local, solitary bees.
This nesting block is simply a piece of untreated lumber with a grid of holes drilled into it.

One-pot vegetable gardenOne-pot vegetable garden
One-pot vegetable garden (click on photo above for instructions)
Not everyone has the room or time for a big edible garden. But even if you're limited to a lone container, you can still enjoy a summer's worth of homegrown produce for pasta, gazpacho, and even garden-fresh Bloody Marys.

Plant a cool potPlant a cool pot
Plant a cool pot (click on photo above for instructions)
Freshen up your porch or patio with a mix of white-flowered plants and bluish foliage.

DIY outdoor showerDIY outdoor shower
DIY outdoor shower (click on photo above for instructions)
This weekend project has three basic parts: two wing walls and a center pole with the plumbing attached.

Modern planter benchModern planter bench
Modern planter bench (click on photo above for instructions)
Instead of legs, this 10-foot-long bench sits on a pair of oversize ceramic pots. This makes it easier to build and more appealing than your average bench.
For the final touch, plant something stunning (we chose New Zealand flax).

The perfect raised bedThe perfect raised bed
The perfect raised bed (click on photo above for instructions)
Raised beds make gardening easy. Filled with soil mix, they provide the excellent drainage needed to grow picture-perfect vegetables and flowers. This version is our most popular ever.

Build a home recycling centerBuild a home recycling center
Build a home recycling center (click on photo above for instructions)
It's easy to close the back door and pretend that the jumble of recycling bins and garbage cans outside doesn't exist, but that only works when you're in the house. Building a short lean-to just big enough to hold everything solves the problem, and you can put it together in one weekend.

Creative tool hideawayCreative tool hideaway
Creative tool hideaway (click on photo above for instructions)
Keep your garden tools where you need them, but out of sight-by converting a mailbox into a small storage space.
Place it within easy reach just off a garden path or outside the back door.

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