12 Backyard Updates You Can Do in a Day

Whether you’re looking to increase storage space, expand your patio, or add interest to your garden, upgrading your backyard can be as fast and easy as an afternoon of labor

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Build a trellis

Bringing lush greenery to a space-starved backyard is as easy as building and staining this DIY trellis, then planting some climbing vines. This bit of garden ingenuity allows plants to grow up instead of out, allowing you to conserve valuable outdoor space but still enjoy a verdant retreat.

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Pour a patio

Don’t confine yourself to a tiny patio space. With a few tools and a bag of concrete mix, you can quickly and easily extend your outdoor room by adding a fresh concrete slab. To create a safe, skid-resistant finish, gently brush a broom over the concrete once it has lost its sheen.

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Add color to concrete

This clever idea from A Beautiful Mess transforms a bland patio into a fun and modern outdoor hangout. Just see how a pop of color adds personality to an otherwise underwhelming backdrop! Spray-paint a few concrete patio tiles in the colors of your choice, and don't be afraid to switch up the colors next season.

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Piece together a prefab shed

Storage shortage is a common conundrum inside and outside the home, but here's a fast fix from a Zillow Digs home that adds extra space in a hurry. A small garden shed is perfect for sheltering your lawn mower, garden equipment, and off-season items. With so many prefab sheds on the market and available for pickup at your local home center, this DIY addition is as easy as an afternoon's worth of work.

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Assemble a plant pot fountain

The tranquil sound of running water adds a special atmosphere to any backyard. To turn your outdoor space into a Zen sanctuary, consider installing this DIY garden fountain. This three-tiered version is made from repurposed planter pots—an idea so easy and versatile that it can be modified to fit any yard. All you need to build this fountain project is a small pump, 1/2-inch hose, a drill, rocks, and a little bit of time!

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Give your garden some edge

Garden edging helps to define the border between the flower bed and the lawn, and prevents soil erosion in a sloped garden bed. There are many edging materials to try, including concrete, wire, bricks, or stones, and all can be installed in an afternoon. For an eco-friendly take on edging, try this whimsical wine bottle project from Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics. The colorful glass reflects the sunshine while creating a unique look for a stand-out garden.

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Create shade with curtains

While a sunny backyard is an asset, the west-facing deck or patio may soak up more rays than your party guests can handle. To keep the cookout going, consider this simple shade solution that doubles as a privacy screen. For a festive touch, you can hang patio lights on the posts to illuminate the night. Be sure to anchor the metal posts firmly into the ground before hanging anything.

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Stack up a cinder-block bar and planter

Convenient but a little austere, this cinder-block bar from Hunted Interior is softened by succulents planted in the holes of the blocks. (Chicken wire and landscape fabric support the soil and plants.) Before building your own backyard bar, plan your dimensions and location, then join everything together with concrete adhesive. For a rustic finishing touch, stained wooden boards serve as the bar top.

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Construct a cinderblock bench

If you have a few hours, then you have enough time to build this mod stackable sculpture and outdoor bench for your patio. With a long cushion, this custom corner seat from The Horticult is a decorative and practical addition to any backyard.

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Raise up a garden

Raised garden beds make gardening easier and more successful: They prevent soil compaction and provide good drainage, and the structure helps keep pests and weeds to a minimum. If you’re planning on growing any edible plants, don't build your bed with pressure-treated lumber, which is impregnated with harsh chemicals. Instead, opt for a rot-resistant hardwood like cedar.

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Build a sandbox with seating

This DIY kids' sandbox is made parent-friendly (and cat-proof) by the addition of built-in seats that fold to cover the box when not in use. Maker and Co’s smart design prevents leaves and debris—as well as local wildlife—from entering the sandbox, and the seats provide a comfortable place for both kids and adults to perch.

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Decorate with plants and old tires

When it's time to select new planters for an outdoor container garden, the options are endless, but they can set you back a pretty penny. Save your money for the plants themselves by recycling old tires into whimsical planters instead of buying store-bought containers. Use chicken wire and landscape fabric to cover the hole at the base of the tire, then paint and stack your colorful new planters, or arrange them throughout your yard for a playful display.