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59 DIY Landscaping Ideas and Tips to Improve Your Outdoor Space

The Curbly House 2017 | DIY landscaping ideas
The Curbly House 2017

Being a homeowner is a big responsibility, and while there's plenty to take care of inside you home, don't forget about the outside, either. If you've ever looked into the cost of hiring a professional landscaper, you know they're not cheap. Fortunately, there are a slew of inexpensive and affordable DIY landscaping ideas at your disposal, so long as you're willing to get your hands a little dirty. From the front yard to the back, barbeque pits to bistro lights, here are 59 ways you can affordably improve your outdoor space.              

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Front Yard Ideas

Layered flowers: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: Pretty Purple Door

1. To create dynamic visual impact with little long-term commitment, try layering flowers and low-growing greenery in your front yard. These plants are arranged in the ground in a curving pattern, rather than just straight across the lawn.

 

Layered lawn plants: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: Manitoba Design

2.  Add drama by layering the height of your plants. Big in the back, small in the front.

 

Decorative rocks
Source: Rocks With a Touch of Class and a Side of Sass

3. Have a section of your front yard that's too awkward to mow? Fill it with rocks. Problem solved.

 

Flower box
Source: At Charolette's House

4. Take the DIY landscaping ideas off the ground and to the house by installing a few window boxes (they're surprisingly easy to build).

 

Plant shelf
Source: Arbor Original

5. Or try an outdoor shelf instead.

 

Large boulders among flowers: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: Pine Landscape Center

6. If you have a large front yard with little dynamism, add large boulders and rocks for variety.

 

Create a berm: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: Gardening Know How

7. How about creating a berm? What's a berm, you ask? It's when you transform your totally flat yard by creating mounds of interest. Easy, and totally affordable. Be sure to do your research first before create a berm around the base of any tree, as too much dirt can suffocate the tree.

 

A DIY trellis
Source: Better Homes & Gardens

8. No trees on your lawn? Build a trellis or two for your front yard flowers to climb (they are also fairly inexpensive to purchase).

 

Flowers along a sidewalk
Source:  Curbly

9. Looking for inexpensive ways to create borders or edging? Border your walkway with plants and flowers to define lines in the front yard.

 

Brick edging
Source: The Home Depot

10. DIY landscaping ideas don't get much more affordable than this: install brick edging to outline areas of your yard using salvaged or recycled brick. 

 

Stone edging
Source: West Lake Landscaping

11. Go for a more natural look by using stone to edge your plants.

 

River rock edging
Source: Rocks with a Touch of Class & a Side of Sass

12. Or, edge flower beds with river rock. How easy is that?

 

Low ground cover plants
Source: This Old House

13. If you want to keep your yard tame but still want contrast, consider a ground cover plant. Add a few of these low-growing ground cover plants to add variation and color.

 

Large flower pots
Source: Better Homes & Gardens

14. Display flowers in containers along steps, walkways, or on ledges. This is a great way to add visual interest if you have a lot of brick or asphalt in your front yard.

 

DIY stone walkway
Source: The Spruce

15. You don't need a professional - learn how to add a pretty stone walkway that leads right to your front door.

 

Rope lighting in yard
Source: Christmas Lights Etc.

16. Use rope lighting to create illuminated borders to your front yard for a bright footpath at night.

 

Cliff landscaping - 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: Better Homes & Gardens

17. Have a steep front yard? Try creating cliffs with stone and native flowers to eliminate the need to mow.

 


Ways to Improve Your Backyard

Flowers along the fence line: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: Decoralink

18. Ugly or boring fences no more! Create layers of plants and bushes to frame out the edges of your backyard.

 

Close up of magnolias
Source:  Etsy

19. Grow marigolds in your back yard to deter mosquitos and aphids (you can also grow chrysanthemums, lavender, and basil).

 

Raised garden
Source: Sunset

20. Create a raised garden bed to grow your own veggies (or buy an inexpensive one). It will add visual appeal, and you'll be able to reap the benefits of your labor.

 

Paver patio
Source: Not Just a Housewife

21. Give your back yard some interest by building your own paver patio

 

DIY Pergola
Source: A Beautiful Mess

22. Or go for a full-blown pergola! A bigger back yard project, but much more affordable if you do it yourself.

 

DIY outdoor bistro light stands: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: Curbly; Photo by Faith Towers Provencher

23. Hang some outdoor bistro lights on these easy-to-build light stands to illuminate your yard.

 

A secret garden
Source: Not Just a Housewife

24. Get ready for DIY landscaping ideas straight out of childhood. Why not create a secret garden in your back yard? The 9-year-old in me is absolutely giddy over this idea.

 

Fences with built-in planters
Source: Not Just a Housewife

25. Create a flower-filled fence line. Here are some plans a fence with built-in flower planters.

 


DIY Fire Pits You Can Create

4-step fire pit: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: A Beautiful Mess

26. First time fire pit builder? Here's how to make this one in four easy steps.

 

Concrete modern fire place from ManMade DIY
Source: ManMadeDIY

27. Follow this tutorial for a more modern fire pit.

 

Fire pit made from an old washer
Source: House & Fig

28. If you have an old washing machine lying around, you can create this one-of-a-kind upcycled fire pit.

 

Skim-coated fire pit
Source: Oh The Potential

29. Would you have guessed that this fire pit was initially made out of cinder blocks? Learn how to skim-coat to create this clean look.

 

Minimal metal fire pit
Source: The Brick House

30. If you're handy with a welding torch, you can make a minimal fire place from metal.

 

Fire feature
Source: The Art of Doing Stuff

31. Maybe you don't want a whole fire pit, but a little glow would be a nice touch to your back yard. Here's how to create a mini glass fire feature.

 

Terra cotta fire pit
Source: Elisabeth McKnight

32. No back yard to build a fire pit? No problem. You can still toast marshmallows in a terra cotta pot.

 


Water Features to Add Appeal Outdoors

DIY bird bath: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source:  HomeTalk

33. Water features don't have to be complicated, or even powered. They can be as simple as a bird bath. Build your own, or purchase an inexpensive one. Give your yard something of interest, and beautiful song birds, too.

 

Urn water feature: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source:  Erica Glasener

34. Create visual appeal in your yard by building your own urn water feature from a ceramic vase.

 

Tiered water feature
Source: Addicted 2 DIY

35. Stack 'em up! With a little extra effort, you can transform the previous project on this DIY landscaping ideas list into a multi-level water feature.

 

Stone water feature
Source: The Family Handyman

36. You don't need special skills to build a water feature, just a bit of time and the right tools. Here's how to build one from stone.

 

Stone pond
Source: Curbly

37. This is one of those DIY landscaping ideas that is going to require the help of a friend, but if you're into drama, consider building a stone pond fountain.

 

Stone water feature
Source: The Family Handyman

38. Don't you love this low-to-the-ground look of this stone fountain?

 

Water wall DIY: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source:  The Interior Frugalista

39. Big impact at a little cost! Check out this tutorial for making a waterfall wall for under $300.

 

Man-made waterfall: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: The Spruce

40. For the ultimate "wow factor," accent your outdoor space with an outdoor waterfall.

 


Hedges, Fences, and Other Privacy Features

Shrub privacy fence: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: This Old House

41. Add privacy by planting some shrubbery yourself. It's as easy as digging a trench, dropping the plants in, teasing out the roots, and watering.

 

How to build a fence: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: The Home Depot

42. Nothing beats the backyard privacy of your own fence. Before you begin the building process, you'll need to be sure of a few things: Verify your property line, check with your city or township about the limitations and height-restrictions of your fence, have someone from the city come and check for gas lines, and have a neighborly chat with anyone you'll be sharing the fence line with.

 

Floating garden wall
Source: Curbly

43. Need just a bit of privacy? Build this floating garden wall. It comes complete with shelving for plants.

 

Copper pipe trellis
Source:  The Horticult

44. For natural privacy, build a trellis wall out of copper pipe to create a green barrier over time.

 

Wood trellis
Source: A Beautiful Mess

45. Create a visual divide and build a mod trellis.

 

Shou sugi
Source: The Faux Martha

46. Transform your privacy wall using shou sugi - the process of burning wood, making it water-resistant. Side effect, the shou sugi treatment transforms wood to a beautiful, rich black color. 

 

Trees to illustrate divide: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source:  Curbly

47. Create an implied wall to divide your yard using small trees or shrubs.

 

Leyland cypress trees
Source: Fast-Growing-Trees

48. Need lots and lots of privacy? There are cheap trees you can buy that over time will block out the neighbors, like the inexpensive Leyland Cypress.

 


How to Create Shade in Your Yard

A fabric gazebo for instant shade: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: The Home Depot

49. No shade? Create an outdoor hangout space by getting an affordable fabric gazebo.

 

DIY pergola curtains
Source: A Beautiful Mess

50. Or sew curtains to hang from your pergola to block a little light when needed.

 

Trampoline den
Source: DIY Network

51. Add a sun sail for immediate shade (bonus if you hang it over your own trampoline lounge!).

 

Rhododendron
Source: BHG

52. Grow shade by planting rhododendron in your yard. They're a dense evergreen with broad leaves, and the flowering in the springtime is lovely. 

 

Source: The Old Farmer's Almanac

53. Grow Chinese Wisteria on an existing structure or trellis to block light (be mindful - this plant is known as an invasive plant in some areas).

 


Creating Visual Interest Around Trees

Mulch around the bottom of trees: 59 DIY landscaping ideas
Source: Jacksonville Tree Service

54. Add mulch to cover the most shaded parts of your lawn.

 

Ground plants around bottom of tree
Source: This Old House

55. Another genius (and affordable) of the DIY landscaping ideas: Add ground cover plants to hide gnarly roots.

 

Moss
Source: Costa Farms

56. Or, opt to grow some moss instead.

 

Stone edging around tree
Source: Rocks With a Touch of Class and a Side of Sass

57. Use stone to edge the area around the base of your trees. 

 

Flower box around tree
Source: The Great Goodness

58. Or build a raised flower bed at the base of the tree (be careful not to add too much dirt around the base of the tree, as you could hurt or kill it).

 

Tree bench
Source: This Old House

59. For extra seating, create a one-of-a-kind tree bench.


59 DIY Landscaping Ideas
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Want more DIY landscaping ideas? Here are 13 more tips for landscaping on a budget.

Affordable landscaping tips

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