20 Low-Cost Backyard Living Ideas to Elevate Your Outdoor Living Areas

Outdoor living is a delightful experience, especially during the summer and fall seasons. Whether you're in Michigan or anywhere else, sprucing up your outdoor space doesn't have to break the bank. With a few simple...

Outdoor living is a delightful experience, especially during the summer and fall seasons. Whether you're in Michigan or anywhere else, sprucing up your outdoor space doesn't have to break the bank. With a few simple and low-cost ideas, you can transform your backyard into a beautiful oasis. So, let's dive right in!

Custom Outdoor Living

When we bought our home with 38 acres, we knew we had a lot of potential to work with. While the interior of the house required some changes to match my style, the previous owners had already laid the foundation for enjoyable outdoor living. From stamped concrete patios and walkways to a custom fire pit, the groundwork was already there. All I had to do was add my personal touches to make it truly ours.

Some updates we've made so far include DIY raised garden beds, creating a flagstone pathway in the garden, and painting the deck. I'll be sharing more details about the painting process in upcoming posts. Don't forget to subscribe to the blog to stay updated and gain access to my free 3-part e-course on designing your haven.

How to Create an Outdoor Living Space on a Budget

Whether you already have a custom outdoor living area or a blank canvas to work with, these 20 low-cost backyard living ideas will help you elevate your space without breaking the bank. Remember, you don't always need to make dramatic changes or undergo massive makeovers. Small tweaks can go a long way in creating an enjoyable outdoor space for your family and friends.

Set the Stage for Backyard Living

The first step in elevating your outdoor spaces is to focus on regular maintenance. Mowing the lawn, weeding, and general upkeep can make a significant difference in the appearance of your yard. It might not be the most exciting task, but it's a necessary foundation for a presentable yard with curb appeal.

Once you've tackled the basics, consider adding some evergreen shrubs. They add structure and color to your landscape, even during the winter months. Alongside the shrubs, landscaped flowers can bring simple beauty to your home. Whether you prefer wildflowers or more formal groupings, perennial flowers are a great addition that won't break the bank.

Create Zones for Your Backyard Living Spaces

Don't treat your outdoor space as one large open area. Instead, create zones with different purposes. It's essential to give your outdoor area a sense of purpose to make it inviting and functional.

In our outdoor areas, we have five main zones:

  1. Back patio for grilling and dining
  2. Deck (currently undeveloped, but soon to feature comfortable outdoor furniture)
  3. Fire pit for campfires and smores nights
  4. Front field for kids' activities like soccer, swing sets, volleyball, and trampoline fun
  5. Pond pad for lounge chairs

If you have a smaller outdoor space, choose what matters most to you for backyard living, and focus on those areas. Maybe you want a dining area or a simple fire pit. The zones don't have to be extravagant or magazine-worthy; they just need to serve a purpose.

How to Decorate Your Outdoor Living Space

After setting the stage and creating purposeful zones, it's time to decorate your outdoor living space. You don't need to go overboard with lavish decor and amenities. Instead, opt for simple and budget-friendly ideas that create a welcoming and low-maintenance ambiance.

Here are some of my favorite outdoor decoration ideas that won't cost a fortune:

  1. Hang baskets of flowers or ferns to add a touch of nature.
  2. Use a table runner to make the dining area feel special.
  3. Place fresh flowers, even those picked from your own yard, on outdoor coffee or dining tables.
  4. Hang outdoor string lights to create a magical atmosphere.
  5. Lay an outdoor rug to define different zones.
  6. Add a simple bench to your garden for a cozy spot to relax.
  7. Use an outdoor grill cart to make campfire entertaining easier and provide a place for necessities.
  8. Invest in comfortable seating to encourage spending time outdoors.
  9. Provide sun protection to make warm months more enjoyable.
  10. Ensure a bug-free environment with citronella and catnip plants, outdoor netting, and bug zappers.
  11. Use a portable serving station for convenient food service.
  12. Choose between using good dishes for a refined backyard party or paper plates for casual entertaining.
  13. Have affordable yard games, such as bocce ball, cornhole, volleyball, and more, for entertainment.
  14. Create a theme for each zone to add a fun and cohesive touch to your outdoor decorations.

Design a Backyard Living Space Your Family Will Love

Finally, when designing your outdoor living space, consider your family's specific needs and preferences. Don't just follow trends; design a space that truly reflects and satisfies your family's desires. Whether it's a small reading nook, a garden for fresh ingredients, or a concrete slab for basketball, tailor the space to your unique requirements.

Remember, your outdoor living space should be personal and meet your family's needs. Design with intention and set goals to create a haven that brings joy and relaxation for years to come.

So, start implementing these low-cost backyard living ideas and watch your outdoor space transform into a beautiful oasis. Write down your short and long-term action steps as you read this article, and take the first step toward creating your dream outdoor living area.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! Don't forget to subscribe and follow along on Instagram for more DIYs and decorating inspiration. And if you're curious about my outdoor decor sources, check out the affiliate images below to shop for the items mentioned.

[Picture: Sarah Signature]

This article is part of the Summer Seasonal Simplicity Series: Outdoor Spaces Tours. Click the links below to explore outdoor inspiration from other talented bloggers. Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or the countryside, there's something for everyone!

[Picture: Inspiration for Moms, She Gave it a Go, Grace in My Space, Deeply Southern Home] [Picture: Life is a Party, Nina Hendrick, Happy Happy Nester, Craftberry Bush] [Picture: Maison de Cinq, Hallstrom Home, House by Hoff, My Sweet Savannah] [Picture: The Happy Housie, Joanna Anastasia, Cassie Bustamante, The Tattered Pew] [Picture: Life is Better At Home, Tatertots and Jello, Finding Silver Pennies, Lemon Thistle] [Picture: A Pretty Life, Dans le Lakehouse, Clean & Scentsible, Willow Street Interiors]

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