If you are wanting to relax and enjoy during the warm summer days in your backyard and you’re on a tight budget, I’ve got you covered! Keep reading for ideas to create an inexpensive summer backyard!
It really felt like this day would never come: weather warm enough to lounge in the backyard. My husband and I were sitting under the gazebo while the boys were playing in the yard, and after the winter we had, I seriously felt like someone had just given us a new lease on life. It’s not good for any of us to be cooped up all winter – especially with 2 small kids! Knowing how crazy life is, it’s super-important to have a relaxing, serene spot to hang out with the kids and unwind, but coming up with the perfect summer backyard when you’re on a tight budget can be tough.
Whether your yard is big or small, manicured or a little more natural, it can be the perfect oasis for you to relax or entertain this summer, even when money is tight. There are some elements that you can include, regardless of the shape or layout, that will make your backyard your most favorite spot to be in all summer. It doesn’t have to include waterfalls, an inground pool or pristine landscaping – and, you don’t have to drain your bank account. Whatever budget you have to work with, you can create your perfect summer backyard.
Ways and Places to Find Budget-Friendly Backyard Decor
I recently wrote a post “How to Decorate Your House When You’re on a Tight Budget.” Many of the things I mentioned there apply here! I’m a big fan of DIY, repurposing thrift store items, yard sales, and finding cheaper versions of an expensive look. I’ll highlight those tips here – for all the details and to see how those tips worked for me in the house, check out the article!
- Big Box Stores – Walmart, Big Lots, Target offer great items at lower prices.
- Discount Home Decor – Stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Burlington are on trend and have cheaper prices.
- Dollar Spots – You would honestly be surprised at what you can find and put together with things from Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and Family Dollar.
- Facebook Marketplace – My personal favorite! We’ve gotten a TON of great items here. I like it better than yard sales because you can shop for a specific item – and sometimes you need to stalk it for popular seasonal items! Just be sure you have a large enough vehicle to load up. We’ve rented trucks at Home Depot for as little as $20 to transport.
- Thrift Store, Yard Sales, Estate Sales – Some of the cheapest bargains you can find at these sales. You can also repurpose and update a lot of the items you find here, too.
- DIY – Pinterest and YouTube are your best friends here! I love DIY when I find an expensive look I love but can’t afford. I just make it myself. There’s a tutorial for everything.
- Online Retailers – Amazon is my first go-to. Then I compare prices at Walmart and Big Lots. Then I look at Joss and Main, Wayfair, All Modern. Onliner retailers also happen to be my new favorite for backyard patio dining sets, if you’re in the market for that! Here’s a post with 15 beautiful outdoor dining sets (seating for 4 or 6), all for under $300! (2019 selection!)
- Shop Your House – With a little imagination and maybe a little paint too, you can move things around and create a whole new look. You’d be surprised at what indoor items would look great outside! Think about lanterns, vases, candlesticks, pillows, etc.
- Roadside Warehouse – This is the stuff people are throwing out! Can’t beat free! If you can set aside a little price and keep your eyes open while you’re driving, you’re golden.
These are all great ways to find cheap decor. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for sales and shop around. You can definitely find some great deals.
Small Vignettes for Your Backyard
Sometimes a backyard is such a big space that it can be overwhelming to think of how to fill it, especially when money is tight. If you section-off your backyard into smaller areas, it can be more cost efficient to decorate in little vignettes – small areas that have a decorative focus. Sometimes a bench or a plantstand can be a central piece to decorate around. There are many ways to make outdoor backyard vignettes using the money-saving tips above. You can also incorporate ideas for decorating porches that I highlight in this post. Lots of the same concepts and ideas translate from the front porch to the backyard.
What Do You Need Now for Your Backyard and What Can Wait for Next Summer?
It’s really helped me to ask myself what I can get by with and what I need for this season. If it’s something I needed for this year, I’m diligent to shop sales, shop around, and look for thrift/used items. However, there were a few things that I either couldn’t find used or I didn’t really need for this summer, but it’s something I wanted long-term. That’s a good thing to ask yourself: Do you need it this summer or can it wait? If it can wait, I highly recommend waiting until Memorial Day and 4th of July sales. I know summer is in full swing by that time, but if you can hold out, you’ll find some fantastic deals. Lots of places are already thinking back-to-school by that point. If you wait until August or Labor Day, you can score some great deals. And when summer comes around next year, you’ll have fresh, brand-new stock for your backyard.
What to Include in Your Perfect Summer Backyard
Below are 10 things you can include that will totally set you up to have a relaxing space that you will adore, in a budget-friendly way. Use some of the money-saving decor tips from above and apply them here. So much summer relaxation, without even leaving your house. And you’ll be even more relaxed with the money you save! Under each photo, I’ve also listed some of the best deals out there, some of the cheapest items in that category! Be sure to take a look! I’m sure you can find what you’re looking for in your budget range!
Also check out the original site below each main picture for more summer decor inspiration!
Ideas for a Perfect Summer Backyard on a Budget
This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission from items purchased at no cost to you.
1| Backyard Deck Rug
This instantly adds some coziness to any outside space. There are so many colors and patterns, and it’s great if you have little ones who crawl. It definitely gives your outside an inside, homey feeling! A rug works great to use an anchor for an open space that you are adding furniture to – it will tie the whole area together. As usual, Facebook Marketplace is one of my favorites. You can also find some great deals at stores like Walmart and Big Lots!
2| Backyard Firepit
There’s nothing better on a summer night than sitting around the fire. It’s perfect for roasting marshmallows or spending quality time. My husband and I love doing that after the boys go the bed – almost like being on a real date! You can try this DIY firepit from Shabby Creek Cottage or this one from Thrifty Little Mom. You can also look for inexpensive options at the discount retail stores or wait for the end of summer sales.
3| Thrifty, Colorful Mix-and-Match Decor
There are so many ways you can mix up furniture, and this is a great way to incorporate thrift store and second-hand items. By looking for chairs, pillows, tables, flower pots, accessories at yard sales or thrift stores, you can paint and repurpose them and give them a new life. A fantastic backyard doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy. A mix of styles and materials always adds interest, and because outside space is so big, it’s never overwhelming. You are good to go eclectic here!
4| Cozy Backyard Seating
Backyards almost look like living rooms these days, and I’m totally OK with that! A place where friends and family can kick back and relax apart from the eating area is ideal. This could just be lounges, chaises, sectionals – any place for you and your people to relax. I’ve seen many of these on sale on Facebook Marketplace. Look there first, but you might have to stalk it. Good deals on things like this go fast! Again, if you can wait til the end of the season, you can find some deep discounts!
5| Backyard Lounge Area
After a nice, big meal, there’s nothing better than being lazy and lounging around, maybe even taking a nice summer nap. Hammocks, swings and even outdoor day beds are perfect for this. I don’t know if there’s anything in the world that can beat an outside nap in the summer. If you’re up for trying your DIY skills, below is a great tutorial for an outdoor daybed!
6| Patio Lighting
So many great ways to do lighting in the backyard. White lights on a string are my personal favorites, but I also love using lanterns and tiki torches. Because it’s so fun to be outside at night during the summer, definitely consider which kind of lighting will suit your needs! These are very inexpensive.
7| Patio and Backyard Flowers and Plants
You might not have a backyard that is conducive to a garden, but flowers are a must! They can easily be incorporated in potted flowers, fresh flowers in a vase or hanging flowers as well. It is an instant and easy way to pretty up a backyard space. Potted plants and trees work super-well, too! A few potted plants are a very inexpensive way to decorate a backyard. Annuals are usually just a few dollars, and you can really use just about anything as a planter as long as you allow for drainage. I used a few tin flower containers from Dollar Tree that I just love!
8| Deck and Patio Sun Protection
There’s nothing worse than having a backyard that’s so hot that it’s not even functional to be in. A shaded area is a must if you’re entertaining or spending time out there. This can be easily done with umbrellas of all sizes and shapes – or you can go more elaborate with pergolas, gazebos and even awnings. Trying to get these used is a good option as well as waiting until the end of the season.
9| Patio and Deck Curtains
If you really want to add an extra touch, curtains are a great option! I love breezy, sheer curtains – and even mosquito nets are awesome to add an extra something to your backyard. Curtains generally are pretty inexpensive, but they can add a ton! They also help block sun and keep an area cool, as well as add some privacy if your neighbors are a little close! With a little creativity, those can be added fairly easily! (The one pictured below is a DIY!)
10| Backyard Dining Table and Chairs
OK, I know this goes without saying that you need a place to eat, but this list would feel incomplete without it. From little bistros to picnic tables to full-on outdoor meals family style at a large dining table – totally up to you. Some of my best memories when I was younger was eating dinner outside. It felt like such a big deal to eat outside, and your kids’ll love doing it.
Lots of people like to buy new sets, so there’s usually a great selection for used options. This is another great way to find an expensive one that you really liked for a lot less money! If you can wait for the end of the season, you’ll definitely score some deals. And I totally love the idea of this DIY picnic table like the one you can build here!
With getting our backyard summer-ready, it’s actually taken us a few years to get it just how we want it. It can seem overwhelming to try to incorporate all these things at once, but if you do it a little at a time, add a little something each season, in no time, you will have your perfect backyard space. And that can go a long way when you’re on a tight budget and need to spread out the funds. Just keep your eyes on the long-term big picture. It’s sort of an evolving process, but that’s how most things are anyway, right? Here’s to your best summer yet – without even leaving your house – and on a budget you can afford!!
I’d love to see what you come up with! Please tag me on Instagram if you take pictures! What ways have you come up with to save money on backyard decor? I’d love to hear what worked!
If you know someone else who would enjoy this, I’d love it if you shared! 🙂
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