Easy & Affordable Ways to Update Your Backyard for Summer

We reached out to a few of our favorite bloggers for small DIY ideas that will help you enjoy your outdoor space in a big way.


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Install String Lights

black and white backyard decor

Photo by A Beautiful Mess

Photo by A Beautiful Mess

Who wouldn’t want a twinkling pergola? This DIY version makes it a cinch to create the drama of outdoor lighting. Instructions are on abeautifulmess.com. Search for “Outdoor Patio Lighting.”


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Create Pallet Furniture

pallet outdoor seating

Photo by The Merrythought

Photo by The Merrythought

There’s a solid reason that pallets are all over Pinterest: They’re an inexpensive way to DIY furniture, like platform beds, bookshelves and more. Link to the full instructions for this chic outdoor couch at themerrythought.com. Search for “DIY Pallet Couch”—just add cushions! (There are all kinds of styles available on wayfair.com.) 

Where to find pallets:

  • Small local shops and facilities might be happy to give you once-used pallets. Big-box retailers usually have an internal recycling program. 
  • Contact a local pallet recycler and ask if they’d be willing to give you any non-standard pallets for free or a small fee. 
  • You can buy inexpensive new pallets at a hardware store or online, at uline.com.

RELATED: Our Favorite Outdoor Décor Picks for 2018


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Upcycle Beach Chairs

aluminum chair makeover

Photo by A Beautiful Mess

Photo by A Beautiful Mess

Give that on-its-last-legs aluminum beach chair (you know, the one with the broken webbing) a hipster refresh with colorful nylon cord. This project requires patience, but the instructions are very easy to follow. Just get zen with it, as if you were knitting…or enlist your teen to finish the job. Find the pattern and instructions at abeautifulmess.com; search for “Aluminum Chair Makeover.” 

Tip: Make sure to use durable nylon paracord. You can buy it in bulk in basically every color at paracordplanet.com.

ALSO SEE: Our Favorite Smart Home Products That Make Your Life Easier


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Paint Those Folding Chairs

spray painted folding chairs

Photo by Kelly's Moonlight

Photo by Kelly's Moonlight

If those chairs you pull out for parties look less than festive, brighten them up with a few coats of spray paint. Get tips on colors and techniques at kellysmoonlight.blogspot.com by searching for “Folding Chair Facelift.”

ALSO SEE: Simple Ways to Take Care of Your Lawn This Summer


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Make a Pool Float Holder

ring tosses

Photo by The Merry Thought

Photo by The Merry Thought

If you have a pool, you have floats—you just need a way to corral them. Instructions for this easy project are over at themerrythought.com; just search for “DIY Pool Float Holder.” And if you don’t already have food-shaped floats, we highly recommend treating yourself to some right now! 

Here are some of the best places for inventive floats:


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Paint an Outdoor Rug

colorful outdoor rug

Photo by A Beautiful Mess

Photo by A Beautiful Mess

Outdoor rugs add color, texture and definition to a patio or deck but can be a pain to clean. This painted pattern does it all without the high maintenance. Go to abeautifulmess.com and search for “Paint Your Own Outdoor Rug” for step-by-step instructions.


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Create Faux Tiles

outdoor stencil

Photo by A Beautiful Mess

Photo by A Beautiful Mess

Covering a patio with ceramic tiles? That’ll run you big bucks. Painting a concrete slab and stenciling on an Art Deco pattern with a paint pen? A bargain! Find out how to get the look at abeautifulmess.com. Search for “Faux Cement Tile DIY.”