47 easy ways to spruce up your backyard

Get your outdoor space ready for the new season! Check out our easy, DIY backyard projects for patios, paths, trellises, planters, fountains, and more.

Backyard Scrabble
"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.
> Get instructions for this project

One-pot vegetable garden

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.
> Learn how to plant this one-pot garden

DIY garden swing

Relax into the sway of a colorful swing for your porch, balcony or garden. This high-backed design hangs securely from sturdy, 5/8-inch-diameter nylon or hemp rope that runs through the swing's arms and frame. The average woodworker can build the swing in a weekend for about $150. (Staining and sealing will add several more days.) Most cuts can be made with a circular saw, handsaw, or saber saw, but the angled back support would be more easily cut with a table saw. A full-service lumberyard can generally do this for you.
> Download the plans for this swing

DIY fountain

The soft splash of a fountain brings life and motion to the backyard. It attracts more birds than still water alone, and its soothing sound track transforms your space into a peaceful retreat. We built the fountain pictured here for about $160 (not including stones), using two glazed pots (a shallow bowl nests snugly inside the larger pot), a bucket, and a small recirculating pump.
> Learn how to make this fountain

Romantic backyard cabana

This backyard lounge serves as both a casual spot for year-round entertaining and a private refuge with resort style. With our checklist of tools and materials, you can make yourself for about $300.
> Get the step-by-step instructions

Hanging wall garden

Try a modern take on traditional hanging baskets with a wall of these Woolly Pockets. Because they're lined with moisture barriers, you don't have to worry about any leaking.
> See how to make a hanging plant display

Modern planter bench

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).
> Get instructions on how to build this bench