5 Ideas for Budget-Friendly Backyard Structures

Have you been itching to give your backyard a makeover, especially after being stuck indoors so much lately? “But doesn’t backyard remodeling cost a fortune?” you may ask. It doesn’t have to.

The good news is your vision can become reality on a limited budget. Changing or adding some backyard structures is a great way to give your outdoor space new life — and it can be budget-friendly if you do it right. Here are some ideas for affordable backyard structures that will create the perfect at-home outdoor retreat. 

UPCYCLE PALLETS 

Stacks of pallets to make backyard structures

Ah, pallets. They’re perfect for DIY projects since they’re super easy to work with (even if you’ve never attempted a DIY project before). They’re extremely inexpensive – you could even score some for free if you’re lucky. Plus, you can use them as they are or give them a fresh coat of your favorite paint. Upcycling pallets is also an environmentally-friendly way to beautify your yard. Here are some ideas for upcycling pallets into backyard structures. 

1. Pallet Planters 

Save space and money by using pallets to create vertical planters. Growing vertically offers a way to enjoy some of your favorite plants while maximizing growing space and taking up less room. Pallets make great raised planters too. 

2. Pallet Furniture 

Pallet outdoor sofa and pergola showing backyard structures

Need new patio furniture? Wood tends to age well when it comes to outdoor furniture and is extremely durable. With pallets, you can create anything from sofas to tables, rustic to fancy – the options are plentiful. Since pallets are so inexpensive, if furniture goes beyond your DIY talents, you can use the money saved to get furniture made for you. 

3. Backyard Storage 

Outdoor pallet storage area

Need a useful yet attractive storage unit for all your backyard odds and ends? Pallets are an easy way to create a variety of storage options. From shelves to bins, benches to worktables, pallets can easily take care of your storage needs at a fraction of the price. 

DIY FIRE PIT 

When it comes to budget-friendly backyard structures, you’re allowed to think big. You can have a safe, sturdy, and good-looking outdoor fire pit on a budget. Fire pits are always a great idea, no matter the season. From cozying up on cold nights to throwing steaks on the grill, you can’t go wrong with a fire pit. Here are some inexpensive options to get you started. 

1. Paver Fire Pit

Backyard fire pit with a stick roasting marshmallows

All you need are pavers for the floor, retaining wall blocks for the wall, and sand to sweep across the pavers to lock them in place. This quick, inexpensive fire pit can be completed in a weekend. Begin by laying a ring of blocks, then install the pavers inside as the floor. Be prepared to channel your inner mason because you may have to round out some of the pavers to create a circle. If so, use a masonry chisel and hammer. Don’t forget to wear eye protection and heavy gloves. Safety first! 

2. Pond to Fire Pit 

If you’re thinking of getting rid of your Koi pond – don’t. Consider a transformation instead. Unused backyard ponds are the epitome of inexpensive backyard structures as they require very little money (and effort) on your part. Simply layer the bottom with sand, cover with rocks, and pile on the firewood. As long as your pond is lined with stones or concrete and is the right size, you may just have a new place for friends and family to gather.

THROW SOME SHADE 

If your backyard sees a lot of sunshine during the day – maybe even a little too much – you might want to consider installing a shade structure; especially if you live in areas with extremely high temperatures. Trees are ideal, but they’re not always possible. Plus it may take a few years before you can enjoy some real shade. Here are some backyard structures that give shade without blowing your budget.  

1. Penny-Pinching Pergola 

Pergola as one budget-friendly backyard structure option

Pergolas are great because they allow some sunshine to sneak through the beams while also providing a bit of shade. Save money by using reclaimed wood or beams. Not only is this an extremely affordable type of budget-friendly backyard structure, but it looks great too. Consider planting ivy or climbing roses to grow onto your structure to provide even more shade and add some height. 

2. Shade Curtains 

Curtains aren’t just for indoors, they’re perfect for outdoors too. Repurpose some old curtains or purchase inexpensive material to hang over and around a basic structure for quick and easy cover from the sun. Another benefit – you can swap out the material for a different color whenever you get bored. Shade curtains also provide privacy that other shade structures don’t.

REPURPOSING 

If you take a look around your backyard, you may see some random items that you no longer use or that are losing their “shine.” While you may see junk, I see items that can be given a new purpose. Repurposing items you already have means not having to spend any more money – all you need is a little elbow grease. We touched on repurposing some items above, but here are more ideas. 

1. Wheelbarrow Planter 

A wheelbarrow planter as one type of backyard structure

Got an old wheelbarrow hanging around? Clean it up, give it a fresh coat of paint, throw in some soil and your favorite flowers, and turn it into one of your new favorite backyard structures. You could even leave the rust on for a vintage look!

2. DIY Water Features 

This may require some creativity on your part – go wild! The most random of objects can be repurposed into personality-filled water features or fountains: 

  • Hanging watering cans 
  • Rustic windowpane with water falling like a waterfall 
  • Old teapot pouring water into a wooden barrel 
  • Old gutters 
  • Terra cotta pot fountain 

FIXER-UPPER 

A young woman outside building a backyard structure

Sometimes your existing backyard structures just need a little TLC. Perhaps your garden shed needs a fresh coat of paint or a new (reclaimed) door. Does your porch need more pops of color? Consider covering your outdoor furniture in inexpensive fabric or adding colorful cushion covers (DIY, of course). Maybe some of your garden pathway pavers need replacing or could go in a different direction? The point is, the problem isn’t always as big as it seems. Sometimes, something small can make a huge difference. 

Budget-Friendly Backyard Structures: Think Outside the Box 

No matter how big or small your plans are for your backyard, you can achieve the outdoor oasis of your dreams on a limited budget. A little creativity goes a long way (so does some elbow grease). Remodeling your yard could even become a fun activity with family and friends – call in some favors, ask for help when you need it. It might take some time, but your affordable backyard structures may soon be the envy of the neighborhood!