June 10, 2017

13 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Small Outdoor Spaces

Brighten Up the Bland

This patio features a new table and containers with a colorful patina. Buy cheap containers on closeout at a local home and garden store and then take thinned latex paint and do a wash for an aged/weathered look.

Shop End-of-Season Sales

In a small space, you are already saving money by not buying a big outdoor furniture set, but cut your costs even more by visiting home decor and garden stores after Labor Day for end-of-season deals on items such as chairs. If you find a used set of chairs instead, you can spray paint the metal to freshen the finish.

Screen It

Frame a small patio with a bright lattice grill screen, which enhances privacy and gives a room-like feel to an outdoor space. This screen project uses 4×4-foot posts to serve as an outdoor wall, define patio space and help hide plastic storage bins.

Turn a Tray into a Tabletop

Use a metal tray to turn a cheap stool into an inexpensive side table, or make the stand yourself as a DIY project. You can use the tray for holding drinks or even potting supplies.

Build in a Bar

Take a corner of your patio and put it to use as an entertaining space. A bar is built in under the kitchen window in this outdoor space with a fire pit. The bar, which has a red acrylic top, is supported by decorative wood roofing brackets. Rope lighting underneath makes the bar look cool at night.

Think Tall

With small spaces, sometimes the sky is the limit. “Add verticality. Small spaces need an element to draw your eye up,” says Derrick Lepard, founder of  Cultivators Design & Landscape. When you add height, such as the bamboo in a container in this Atlanta courtyard, you don’t need to spend money on plants to fill every space across the fence or wall.

Find a Fountain for You

The contained nature of a small urban courtyard gives you a huge opportunity to bring in a cool feature.  A fountain also can be cheaper than a waterfall. You can recreate the look as a DIY project using a garden pot you already own or by hunting at yard sales.

Use Slimming Black

Using a black railing can fit with traditional or modern architecture of a patio or porch, and it can help the railing or a fence seem to fade away when you’re trying to relax and enjoy the view.  Mosaic spray-painted a chain link fence black and found the result is far less obvious and the fence more likely to fade into the background than with a silver chain link fence.

Add Mesh Details

Bring texture into outdoor spaces with materials, such as these mesh hanging screens made with a roll of chicken wire and wood, or search for old chicken wire or mesh doors at building material salvage centers that are run by charitable organizations.

Update a Table With Glass

A matching patio set can be a splurge, but you can draw inspiration from the table top. To glam up a wicker table you own or a yard sale item, add a mirror or a piece of glass to the top.

Shield Unused Spaces with Screens

Spaces underneath the deck can be unsightly, so screen the view under the deck with vines or hanging screens. If you enjoy gardening, animal troughs also can serve as planters, instead of traditional raised garden beds.

Gather Around a Glass Table

A round glass table is an ideal choice for small spaces because of its compact shape and its barely-there appearance. You can find them at yard sales and repaint the legs, or pair together legs from another table with a piece of glass, instead of buying a new piece. If you are looking for glassware, you often can find pieces at thrift shops.

New Use for Champagne Buckets

A semi-tarnished champagne bucket or used water pitcher can make a chic and unique flower vase. If you have a covered porch or patio, don’t be afraid to buy indoor pieces and spray paint them with outdoor protectant. Also, you can create a bar cart by buying an existing side table or thrift store steal and gluing a tray you already own to the top. Then paint it or stamp it with your initials or a welcome message for guests.
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