Looking for some DIY outdoor projects to spruce up your garden? These awesome DIY backyard ideas will help you build a better yard.
I love discovering great ideas (thanks, Pinterest!) that help me plan for my next garden project. I recently found some creative garden paths and cool garden gates, so this week’s goal was to come up with DIY backyard ideas that will make my yard even better.
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the yard, doing all of the annual maintenance to get things ready for winter.
As always seems to happen when I’m doing this, I think of all kinds of DIY projects that I would love to build in my backyard.
Of course, since I’m not actually building anything right now, it’s easy to keep adding ideas to the list. We’ll see how many actually get done when spring rolls around.
But anyhow, in case any of you are looking for some DIY backyard ideas, here’s my ever-growing list of my favorite garden projects.
Improve Your Landscaping
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Install A Deck Tile Patio
Speaking of decks and patios, if you don’t have one and would like one…but don’t want to go to all the effort of building one from scratch, deck tiles might be your answer. It took me less than a day to install composite deck tiles around the outdoor kitchen area in my backyard.
Even better? These composite deck tiles* are very low maintenance. I don’t do anything with them other than blow the leaves off occasionally…much less work than my wood deck.
Put Up A Shade Structure
If you happen to have a yard that gets a lot of sun, then putting up a shade structure or two might be high on your priority list of DIY backyard projects.
I built this open-air gazebo from the plans in this book* and it is definitely the focal point of my backyard.
Fortunately if you don’t want to do that much work, there are lots of options to address this problem that range from shade sails to gazebos to creative sliding panels.
You can find more ideas from our list of backyard shade structures.
Add A Clear Roof To A Pergola
Adding a clear roof to an outdoor garden structure like a pergola lets you use your outdoor space even when it’s raining. But still lets light through.
So I decided to put one up over my outdoor bar area, and I love how it turned out!
If you’re interested, you can find the instructions for installing a clear roof on a pergola HERE.
Install Landscape Lighting
I think landscape lighting is one of the things that makes or breaks a garden at night. Which is why I always take the time to install it in both my front and backyards.
There are all kinds of different lighting effects you can do (which you can find HERE).
And installing the lighting yourself really isn’t as hard as it seems (you can find our landscape lighting installation tutorial HERE).
Build A Fountain In A Box
To me, there is nothing more relaxing than the sound of water in the garden. But installing a built-in pond and fountain that doesn’t leak is a lot of work! Which is why building a fountain in a box is the next one of my DIY backyard ideas.
With this garden project, you can make the fountain the size that you want and place it wherever you want to, without having to do a bunch of digging.
My brother made his even easier by using a galvanized tin bucket as the pond and attaching the fountain to his fence. The perfect solution for a very small space!
Create Some Privacy
Put Up A Privacy Fence
If your neighbors are a little too close for comfort, installing a privacy fence may be the next DIY backyard project you want to tackle.
To make it a little more interesting, come up with a custom design like the one I did for mine (you can find the tutorial for my custom fence design HERE).
I like this design because it blocks most of the view through it, is high enough that you can’t see over it, but it is still somewhat open so you don’t feel like you’re inside a prison wall.
Make A Privacy Screen
The next project on my list of DIY backyard ideas is to make a privacy screen.
If you live in a subdivision where the yards aren’t very big, a privacy screen (like this one around my mother’s deck) can help part of your backyard feel more secluded.
It creates a space that feels like a romantic secret garden which will give you a spot you will want to hang out in.
Privacy screens can also be used to define different areas in your yard. I use mine to separate the vegetable garden and shed from the rest of the garden.
Build A Latticework Trellis
Adding a pretty trellis to your garden is another DIY backyard project that will add some interest to your yard.
I have thing for arches and circles, so I love this DIY latticework trellis. The tutorial is for adding it to a porch.
But it would look good as a standalone structure as well, like my mother has in her garden.
Create A Trellis With Planters and Benches
If you want a more substantial structure in your backyard, you can combine your trellis with a bench and some planters using this tutorial from familyhandyman.com.
This would look great along the edge of a deck or even as a destination spot in your garden.
Add A Decorative Divider
This DIY decorative screen at the back of my deck creates a divider between the deck and the garden. And acts like a piece of garden art at the same time.
It’s an easy outdoor project that could also be used as a trellis or privacy screen.
Make Somewhere To Relax
Build a Hammock Stand
I have always wanted to have a hammock in my backyard. They remind me of being on vacation at a fancy resort where you can lie in a hammock by the beach and read a book. I’ve even gone so far as to buy a hammock. But I’ve never had a good place to hang it up, so it’s been sitting in the garage for a number of years now.
After running across this DIY hammock stand tutorial (which actually looks pretty easy to make) I think I’ll finally be able to make my dream a reality. Now if I can just get my wi-fi to reach that far, maybe I can work out there too 🙂
Install A Backyard Arbor and Swing
Speaking of DIY backyard ideas that are perfect for reading a book, this backyard arbor with a built-in swing looks like it is made for relaxing.
It’s a little more work to build than the hammock stand, but it’s also easier to get in and out of…so that’s a bonus for a lot of people.
Add A Tree Bench
Yet another DIY backyard idea for putting your feet up and relaxing is this octagonal tree bench tutorial.
Every time I see one of these tree benches, it seems to call my name to come and site down. Which could be a downside…if I had one in my yard, I might not get any yard work done.
If you’re not up for a full-scale DIY project, you can take on a smaller challenge by purchasing a tree bench* that you just have to put together. My mother had something like this in her front yard, and people walking by would stop to sit on it all the time (I guess I’m not the only one who feels like it is calling to me!)
Add Some Entertainment
Put Up An Outdoor TV Screen
The next one of DIY backyard ideas is another project that I have been wanting to do for a long time…install an outdoor TV screen. Watching TV on a big screen outside brings back memories of going to see drive-in movies when I was a teenager.
How comfy does this look? I think it would be so much fun to watch football games out in the backyard with a few friends.
Build An Outdoor Bar
This outdoor bar area is always the busiest spot in my backyard during the summer.
By tiling the top and upholstering the front with marine grade vinyl (that looks like leather), it definitely has an upscale feel…while being really easy to maintain.
That’s it for my list of creative DIY backyard projects. Hopefully you have found some inspiration for your own garden upgrades.
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This post was originally published on October 5, 2018 but was updated with new content on May 22, 2023.