Curbly Original
How To Grow All The Succulents You Could Ever Want!

by M.E. Gray

How To Regrow Succulents | A Walkthrough

Succulents are awesome. I don't have the best luck with keeping indoor plants healthy (or alive), but succulents seem to always have my back. They're hardy, they don't mind if you forget to water them for a few days, and they don't require a ton of maintenance. Plus they are just adorable. Additionally, they are also easy to fill your home with for almost no extra cost. All it takes is a little propagation; as in, you can regrow succulents from existing leaves (magic, right?).     

Grow as many succulent plants as you want through the power of propagation!

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
How To Grow All The Succulents You Could Ever Want!

by M.E. Gray

How To Regrow Succulents | A Walkthrough

Succulents are awesome. I don't have the best luck with keeping indoor plants healthy (or alive), but succulents seem to always have my back. They're hardy, they don't mind if you forget to water them for a few days, and they don't require a ton of maintenance. Plus they are just adorable. Additionally, they are also easy to fill your home with for almost no extra cost. All it takes is a little propagation; as in, you can regrow succulents from existing leaves (magic, right?).     

Grow as many succulent plants as you want through the power of propagation!

Continue Reading

How to: DIY Painted Concrete Stepping Stones

by Lidy Dipert

DIY Modern Painted Cement Stepping Stones

Coming from a family of women who know how to garden well, the pressure is on! This year, I tried my hand at creating a garden in my home home, and, well... so far, it's not going as I hoped. Gardening takes time, patience and a lot of practice. Until then, it needs a little help. So I decided to create some DIY  modern stepping stones that can do wonders in the meantime!    

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
How to: Make a DIY Modern Planter Box for Under $40

by Lidy Dipert

DIY Modern Flower Box

It's that time of year again! The season to start thinking about our outdoor gardens and spaces! When we first moved into our home three years ago, the outdoor living space was...decent. But it wasn't quite our taste, and that made it a bit challenging to get over what we inherited and visualize an outdoor space that was meaningful to us.

But this year, we decided to take our first baby steps towards a more modern and clean outdoor space...

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Renter-Friendly DIY!: Make a Hanging Herb Garden

by Holly Wade
DIY hanging herb garden
Photo by Holly Wade

Renting can be a real buzzkill sometimes, but we find ways to deal with the non-permanence of it all. In my case, I got stuck with one of the only units in my apartment complex that doesn't have a window over the kitchen sink, leaving me without a windowsill to display the indoor herb garden I've wanted for years and cats who would attack my garden anywhere else. Since above the sink are kitchen cabinets that I cannot drill through (for fear of losing my deposit), I found that a tension rod was the perfect solution to my problems! By planting my DIY indoor herb garden in a hanging flower box, I could hang the garden from a tension rod resting between two cabinets for a drill-free DIY!          

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Renter-Friendly DIY!: Make a Hanging Herb Garden

by Holly Wade
DIY hanging herb garden
Photo by Holly Wade

Renting can be a real buzzkill sometimes, but we find ways to deal with the non-permanence of it all. In my case, I got stuck with one of the only units in my apartment complex that doesn't have a window over the kitchen sink, leaving me without a windowsill to display the indoor herb garden I've wanted for years and cats who would attack my garden anywhere else. Since above the sink are kitchen cabinets that I cannot drill through (for fear of losing my deposit), I found that a tension rod was the perfect solution to my problems! By planting my DIY indoor herb garden in a hanging flower box, I could hang the garden from a tension rod resting between two cabinets for a drill-free DIY!          

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
We Guarantee You Won't Kill These 10 Houseplants

by Lidy Dipert

 

Best Low Light Houseplants

Believe it or not, I use to be a professional plant killer. Turns out, with a little love and care, keeping plants alive is really not that hard! You just need to know a few key tips. So today I'm sharing 10 low light houseplants (I actually own all of these) that are tough to kill (because I haven't killed them yet!). So, if you want to introduce a few plants into your home, but you're not sure you can keep them green, here are some you might want to look into! 

Continue Reading

15 Clever Tips For Gardening On A Budget

by Faith Towers
15 Clever Tips For Gardening On A Budget
Photo: Country Living

Gardening can be a rewarding experience that produces beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables, but it can get expensive if you're not careful. There are ways to cut back on spending though, and today we're sharing 15 of our favorites. Keep reading to check out lots of clever tips that will keep your green thumb and your wallet happy.   

 

15 Clever Tips For Gardening On A Budget
Photo: The Garden Glove

1. Share with a friend. Go to the local nursery with a buddy and split seeds, 6-packs, etc. with them so that you have a nice variety for half the price. Check out The Garden Glove for lots more great ideas.

2. Ask a neighbor if you can split their hostas with them. Once hostas are large enough, they can be dug up, split, and then replanted.

3. Regrow vegetables from scraps. Many vegetables, such as celery and scallions, will regrow by placing the bottoms of the stalks in water and then planting them in the ground once they grow roots.

 

15 Clever Tips For Gardening On A Budget
Photo: Almanac

4. Choose things that spread. Mint is a great example of a plant that spreads like crazy, so give it a try for areas that you'd like to quickly fill with greenery.

5. Focus on perennials. Perennials will come back every year, making them a more budget savvy choice. Sure you'll make a larger investment the first year, but very little every year after.

 

15 Clever Tips For Gardening On A Budget
Photo: Veggie Gardener

6. Trade yard waste for compost. Some towns will take your yard waste in exchange for compost that they cycle through each year. Or you could start your own compost pile! Learn more at the Veggie Gardener.

7. Make a rain barrel. To save money on your water bill, collect rainwater in a rain barrel and use it to water the garden.

 

15 Clever Tips For Gardening On A Budget
Photo: Country Living

8. Grow from seeds. This requires more patience than the instant gratification of buying seedlings or plants, but it will ultimately save you tons of money. Get more tips over at Country Living.

9. Buy pots and other supplies at Goodwill. Thrift stores usually have planters and other tools at deeply reduced prices. It's worth a try!

10. Use existing natural elements to your advantage. Have rocky soil? Collect those rocks and make a border for your garden out of them. Or chop up that fallen tree and turn it into the sides for a raised vegetable garden.

 

Photo: Mother Earth News

11. Go organic. Skip the pesticides and chemicals... it'll save you money and keep you healthier. Check out more handy tips at Mother Earth News.

12. Grow plants that seed themselves. Some annuals will drop their seeds after they've bloomed, and those seeds will germinate in the spring. Some examples include poppies, cosmos and black eyed susans.

13. Check out Craigslist. Scroll through the Farm and Garden section for tools and materials, and take a look at the Free section too. You never know what you might find!

 

15 Clever Tips For Gardening On A Budget
Photo: My Stay At Home Adventures

14. Scour your area for sales and coupons. Local plant sales will often have great deals, and you can sometimes find coupons for your nursery in the paper. Find more helpful tips over at My Stay At Home Adventures.

15. Set a budget when you go to the nursery. Be sure to set a specific budget for your trip to the nursery. It's easy to go crazy and buy every pretty plant you see, but your wallet won't be happy. Create a plan before you go, and stick to it.

 

15 Clever Tips For Gardening On A Budget
Share this post on Pinterest! [Photo: The Garden Glove]

 

Continue Reading

62 DIY Projects To Transform Your Backyard

by M.E. Gray

The ultimate roundup of outdoor DIY projects to transform your yard space

Blooming flowers and fresh rain can only mean one thing: spring has definitely sprung! That means summer will be here before you know it. If getting your backyard in order is on your to-do list but you're having trouble getting started - don't fret! You don't need a total landscaping overhaul for your yard to feel refreshed and inviting. Sometimes it's just a matter of hanging up some string lights or creating a simple fire pit. We've rounded up 62 outdoor DIY projects to get you excited to be outside again as the weather warms up. From plants to playhouses, keep scrolling for more inspiration!       

What ways do you want to transform your backyard? Let us know in the comments!

TABLE OF CONTENTS


OUTDOOR SEATING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pallet couch
Photo: eHow & The Merry Thought

1. Pallet Couch: Doesn't this space look inviting? The good news is that it's made from free pallets and a few cushions!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Summer hammock
Photo: Design Sponge

2. Summer Hammock: Nothing says "ahhhhhhh" like a gently-swinging hammock. Get ready to relax in the fruits of your labor with this DIY.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Lawn chair transformation
Photo: Curbly

3. Colorful Chair Makeover: There are no rules to how bright colors can be outside. See how these once bland lawn chairs got their day in the sun.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY porch swing
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

4. DIY Porch Swing: As Liz Lemon says, "I want to go to there!" Swinging in the spring breeze is a total DIY reality with this project from A Beautiful Mess.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Fringed hammock
Photo: The Merry Thought

5. DIY Fringed Hammock: This hammock brings boho to the backyard with the addition of fringe.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Macrame hammock chair
Photo: eHow

6. Macramé Hammock Chair: I can"knot" get over how gorgeous this hammock chair is! 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY outdoor cushions
Photo: Curbly

7. DIY Outdoor Cushions: Update your existing patio furniture by stitching up some of these quick and easy DIY outdoor cushions. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Easy outdoor bench
Photo: eHow

8. Easy Outdoor Bench: Emphasis on "easy!" Instant seating comes to life with wood beams, concrete blocks, and a bit of paint.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Modern outdoor sofa
Photo: Fix This Build That

9. Modern Outdoor Sofa: This number is so sleek I might want to bring it inside my house! The good news is it's built to withstand the elements, which means you can make your back deck super classy.

 


OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Simple grilling cart
Photo: Home Depot via C.R.A.F.T.

10. Simple Grilling Cart: Grillin' on the go! With a built-in drink cooler, what more could you ask for out of an outdoor DIY project?

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Outdoor bar
Photo: The Merry Thought

11. Outdoor Bar: If you're not really the grill master type, but more of a whiskey woman, why not make a drink bar for your backyard?

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Wall-mounting serving station
Photo: Live Laugh Rowe

12. Wall-Mounted Serving Station: Want to entertain but don't have space for a full outdoor kitchen? Go vertical by building this simple serving station with drop-down tabletop! 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Built-in beer cooler table
Photo: Domesticated Engineer

13. Built-in Beer Cooler Table: Woah Nelly, what is this ingenious contraption? Never get up from your chair again with this DIY.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: S'mores station centerpiece
Photo: Curbly

14. S'mores Station Centerpiece: Acting as both a lovely centerpiece and a warming station for marshmallow and chocolate, party guests are sure to be impressed by this s'mores machine (made from glass dishes!).

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Cinder block bar
Photo: Design Sponge

15. Cinder Block Bar: Combining two awesome things (plants and booze), this bar provides an easy builder's solution.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY grill countertop
Photo: Our Fifth House

16. DIY Grill Countertop: Basically like having an outdoor kitchen, this brick counter space built around a grill surely makes outdoor entertaining a breeze.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Drink cooler stand
Photo: Eddie and Steph

17. Drink Cooler Stand: If you're constantly entertaining outside, or if you just enjoy having a cold beverage available whenever, this drink stand provides a classy solution to the standard cooler.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: IKEA outdoor bar cart
Photo: Runaway Chef

18. IKEA Outdoor Bar Cart: This entertaining station falls under the category of "why didn't I think of that?" 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Built-to-last concrete fire pit
Photo: Man Made DIY

19. Built-To-Last Concrete Fire Pit: With a little elbow grease, you can build your own fire pit that you can enjoy for many summers to come. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Minimal fire pit
Photo: The Brick House

20. Minimal Fire Pit: If clean lines are more your style, explore this fire pit put together by The Brick House.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Upcycled fire pit
Photo: House & Fig

21. Upcycled Fire Pit: I don't want to pick favorites, but this outdoor DIY project is high on the list. See what unusual upcycled material this flaming beauty was made from!

 


OUTDOOR LIGHTING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Bug-repelling citronella candles
Photo: One Little Project

22. Bug-Repelling Citronella Candles: These outdoor lights do double-duty by providing light and shooing away unwanted pests.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Fire column
Photo: Curbly

23. Fire Column: Nothing says "class" like fire in glass. Shed a little light in your outdoor dining space with this simple DIY project.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pendant light
Photo: Design Sponge

24. Pendant Light: This DIY might make you want to eat outside for every meal! Create a classy dining nook by hanging some proper light fixtures. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Ping pong ball lights
Photo: Created by V

25. Ping Pong Ball Lights: Maybe the easiest outdoor DIY project on this list, these ping pong ball lights instantly add charm to any space.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: String lights hanging poles
Photo: City Farmhouse

26. String Light Hanging Poles: If you want to hang string lights outside but don't have anywhere to put them, City Farmhouse has an easy solution that also involves plants!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Portable fire pit
Photo: Design Sponge 

27. Portable Fire Pit: This flame is on the move! Which is perfect if you are an renter or apartment-dweller.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Recycled bottle tiki torch
Photo: Gerardot and Co.

28. Recycled Bottle Tiki Torch: Old wine bottles get new life as mounted tiki torches with this outdoor-friendly DIY!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Tin can lights
Photo: Die Landfrau

29. Tin Can Lights: This project is a classic, and couldn't be left off the list! If you need a quick, easy, and cheap solution for your outdoor lighting situation, grab some tin cans, tea lights, a hammer and a large nail, and get to punching!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Mason jar lamps
Photo: Orchard Girls

30. Mason Jar Lamps: Another classic, these jar lights are a simple and sweet way to brighten your backyard.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pool noodle luminaries
Photo: Create Craft Love

31. Pool Noodle Luminaries: Even if you don't have a pool, you can set these floatable candles off in a large container of water to add ambiance to any space. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Flower pot fire pit
Photo: The Blue Eyed Dove

32. Flower Pot Fire Pit: Who says fire pits can't be cute? Beautiful in blue, this outdoor DIY project only requires a flower pot, stones, and a little flame.

 


OUTDOOR PLANTING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY trellis with planter box
Photo: Deuce Cities Henhouse

33. DIY Trellis with Planter Box: Give crawling plants somewhere to go by building them a trellis. This project is also great if you're looking to fill visual space in your patio or deck area!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Hose housing station with built-in planter
Photo: DIY Candy

34. Hose Housing Station with Built-In Planter: Gardening hoses are hard to keep neat and pretty. This project solves that solution by keeping the hose hidden! Plus there are flowers involved, which is always a bonus.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Homemade flower beds
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

35. Homemade Flower Beds: Bump up your home's curbside appeal by installing these flower beds you can make on your own.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Window boxes
Photo: Deuce Cities Henhouse

36. Window Boxes: Aren't these just the sweetest? Deuce Cities Henhouse (local gal to us!) has tips on creating the perfect window boxes.

 

62 DIY Outdoor Projects: Vertical planter
Photo: Helpful Homemade

37. Vertical Planter: Take your plants a step up. Perfect if you're low on space but big on greenery!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Plant chandelier
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

38. Plant Chandelier: Ooh la la! Who needs lights when you can have leaves?

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Succulent letters
Photo: House & Fig

39. Succulent Letters: Say it with succulents! Create "wall art" to hang in your outdoor space.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Tapered cedar planter
Photo: Jen Woodhouse

40. Tapered Cedar Planter: Giant planters are not cheap, but with a little woodworking you can craft your own from cedar. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Geometric cinder block planter
Photo: Little Miss Momma

41. Geometric Cinder Block Planters: Cinder blocks are at it again! With a simple paint job, you can create a modern-looking planter to house all kinds of greenery.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Wooden plant stand
Photo: Shanty 2 Chic

42. Wooden Plant Stand: If you're looking for ways to add visual height to your plant-scape, Shanty 2 Chic has the plans to build a wooden plant stand. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Gardening table
Photo: Design Sponge

43. Gardening Table: Got a green thumb? You're going to need a place to work! Learn how to make your own gardening table, courtesy of Design Sponge

 


OUTDOOR FLOORING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Colorful patio tiles
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

44. Colorful Patio Tiles: I can't get over what a simple and transformative idea this is! If you can't commit to painting your patio, try chalk for a temporarily colorful time!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Painted patio
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

45. Painted Patio: If you're looking for a way to bring bold to the backyard, this paint job takes the cake.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Stenciled concrete
Photo: Jen Woodhouse

46. Stenciled Concrete: This stencil job mimics the look of a rug with the low-maintenance factor of concrete! Try this look on for size if you're trying to create a more intimate outdoor living space. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY rug from drop cloth
Photo: DIY Network

47. DIY Rug from Drop Cloth: Personalize the patio by making a rug from a drop cloth. It'll withstand the elements, too!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pallet walkway
Photo: Funky Junk Interiors

48. Pallet Walkway: A couple of pallet boards bridge the gap in this DIY. Totally doable, and totally cheap!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Painted outdoor rug
Photo: Curbly

49. Painted Outdoor Rug: Most outdoor rugs are "blah," but painting them is easy enough. See how with our tutorial for this modern and simple design!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pea Gravel Patio
Photo: City Farmhouse

50. Pea Gravel Patio: Want to build your own patio? Pea gravel makes it easy to create a patio space without all the pavers. 

 


OUTDOOR PLAYING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Tree swing
Photo: Momtastic

51. Tree Swing: How sweet is this swing? Even if you're grown, there's nothing quite like swaying under a tree.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Circular rope swing
Photo: Dukes and Duchesses

52. Circular Rope Swing: If you're working on your balance, try this swing on for size!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Sandbox with lid
Photo: Ana White

53. Sandbox with Lid: It's a gross reality, but if you have cats, you have to have a sandbox with a lid. Ana White has the plans for how to build one of your own.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Sandbox with seating and awning
Photo: Ana White

54. Sandbox with Seating and Awning: Keep the kiddos safe from the sun by adding an awning to your sandbox. Plus these plans come with adorable seating!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY bungalow playhouse
Photo: That's My Letter

55. DIY Bungalow Play House: With chalk board panels, this playhouse can be imagined into any space. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Play tent
Photo: Make It Love It

56. Play Tent: Can I move in? This cloth tent is also collapsible, so it's easy to move inside and out!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Hula hoop hideout
Photo: Alanna George

57. Hula Hoop Hideout: Give each kid their own special space with some fabric and a few hula hoops. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Recycled Tire Teeter Totter
Photo: Sugar Bee Crafts

58. Tire Teeter Totter: Alliteration aside, this teeter totter is adorable. Plus it's made from recycled materials, so it's good for the kids and the earth.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY tether ball
Photo: Simply Kierste

59. DIY Tether Ball: This DIY feels like a throwback! Do you guys remember playing tether ball long into the afternoon? Turns out it's pretty easy to make one of your own for you or your offspring to enjoy!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Mini bowling lane
Photo: Handmade with Ashley

60. Mini Bowling Lane: How adorable is this?? Bowling never looked so cute, plus it's small so it doesn't take up a lot of space!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Giant four-in-a-row
Photo: Home Depot

61. Giant Four-in-a-Row: Everything better when it's bigger. Fair warning: you may end up being house-party-central if you build one of these.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Giant jenga
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

62. Giant Jenga: Last but not least, this thrilling game is the perfect addition to a summertime backyard party.

 

 


 

Bonus! Author Christina Pfeiffer is sharing What to plant for more drought resilient containers

By their nature, containers require more frequent watering than plantings in the ground.  Smaller containers in full sun can need watering twice a day during hot spells.  Go large when choosing new containers to save on time and water demands.

Choose a group of plants that are compatible in looks and culture.  Match up their needs for light and water first, then play with combining colors and texture.  

Sedums

These perennials are my first 'go-to' s for drought tolerant containers.  They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors with blooms that benefit pollinator insects and ask for little in terms of water and fertilizer.  Most will overwinter and also combine well with other drought tolerant plants.

Herbs for garden and kitchen

Culinary and ornamental herbs are another group happy in well drained soil and sun.  Those with variegated foliage are stunning accents planted solo in a container.  Among my top favorites are:

Variegated lemon thyme
Sages that are edible and ornamental: 'Berggarten', 'Aurea', 'Purpurescens' and 'Tricolor'
Oregano 'Kent Beauty' trails beautifully out of hanging baskets and into the marinara sauce.

Perennial favorites

These garden perennials make a successful leap between garden beds and containers and back again:

Coral bells, Heuchera 'Green Spice', 'Peppermint Spice' and 'Moonlight'
Geranium x 'Johnson's Blue' and other hardy geranium
Oxalis tetraphylla 'Iron Cross'
Dusty Miller -
Sunrose, Helianthemum 'Wisley Pink' and 'St. Mary's'
Hardy fuchsia
Cape fucshia

Add these grasses and grass-likes for contrasting texture

New Zealand Flax, Phormium and  variegated  iris both offer tall, strappy, striped leaves.  
Low growing glack mondo grass has dramatic dark foliage and and small white or purple flowers.
Variegated lily turf, Liriope muscari 'Variegata', 'Silver Dragon' and 'Sunproof'  all have white edged leaves and purple blooms.

Annuals that can take the heat (and a bit of drought)

Many of the popular annuals used for seasonal color do best with regular water and fertile soil.  Be sure to keep these birds-of-a-feather together.  Here are some great annuals that don't like as much water and fertilizer and that combine well with other types of plants listed in this article:

African daisy, Osteospermum Symphony series
Sweet allysum, Lobularia maritima
Coreopsis tinctoria
Dwarf snapdragons, Chinese Lantern series

 

 

 


Ready to get your backyard in order? We've rounded up 62 outdoor DIY projects to help you get out in the sunshine
Share these outdoor projects on Pinterest!

 

Looking to freshen up your indoor space instead? Check out these 72 organization tips!

72 Organization Tips and Projects

 

Continue Reading

62 DIY Projects To Transform Your Backyard

by M.E. Gray

The ultimate roundup of outdoor DIY projects to transform your yard space

Blooming flowers and fresh rain can only mean one thing: spring has definitely sprung! That means summer will be here before you know it. If getting your backyard in order is on your to-do list but you're having trouble getting started - don't fret! You don't need a total landscaping overhaul for your yard to feel refreshed and inviting. Sometimes it's just a matter of hanging up some string lights or creating a simple fire pit. We've rounded up 62 outdoor DIY projects to get you excited to be outside again as the weather warms up. From plants to playhouses, keep scrolling for more inspiration!       

What ways do you want to transform your backyard? Let us know in the comments!

TABLE OF CONTENTS


OUTDOOR SEATING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pallet couch
Photo: eHow & The Merry Thought

1. Pallet Couch: Doesn't this space look inviting? The good news is that it's made from free pallets and a few cushions!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Summer hammock
Photo: Design Sponge

2. Summer Hammock: Nothing says "ahhhhhhh" like a gently-swinging hammock. Get ready to relax in the fruits of your labor with this DIY.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Lawn chair transformation
Photo: Curbly

3. Colorful Chair Makeover: There are no rules to how bright colors can be outside. See how these once bland lawn chairs got their day in the sun.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY porch swing
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

4. DIY Porch Swing: As Liz Lemon says, "I want to go to there!" Swinging in the spring breeze is a total DIY reality with this project from A Beautiful Mess.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Fringed hammock
Photo: The Merry Thought

5. DIY Fringed Hammock: This hammock brings boho to the backyard with the addition of fringe.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Macrame hammock chair
Photo: eHow

6. Macramé Hammock Chair: I can"knot" get over how gorgeous this hammock chair is! 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY outdoor cushions
Photo: Curbly

7. DIY Outdoor Cushions: Update your existing patio furniture by stitching up some of these quick and easy DIY outdoor cushions. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Easy outdoor bench
Photo: eHow

8. Easy Outdoor Bench: Emphasis on "easy!" Instant seating comes to life with wood beams, concrete blocks, and a bit of paint.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Modern outdoor sofa
Photo: Fix This Build That

9. Modern Outdoor Sofa: This number is so sleek I might want to bring it inside my house! The good news is it's built to withstand the elements, which means you can make your back deck super classy.

 


OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Simple grilling cart
Photo: Home Depot via C.R.A.F.T.

10. Simple Grilling Cart: Grillin' on the go! With a built-in drink cooler, what more could you ask for out of an outdoor DIY project?

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Outdoor bar
Photo: The Merry Thought

11. Outdoor Bar: If you're not really the grill master type, but more of a whiskey woman, why not make a drink bar for your backyard?

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Wall-mounting serving station
Photo: Live Laugh Rowe

12. Wall-Mounted Serving Station: Want to entertain but don't have space for a full outdoor kitchen? Go vertical by building this simple serving station with drop-down tabletop! 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Built-in beer cooler table
Photo: Domesticated Engineer

13. Built-in Beer Cooler Table: Woah Nelly, what is this ingenious contraption? Never get up from your chair again with this DIY.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: S'mores station centerpiece
Photo: Curbly

14. S'mores Station Centerpiece: Acting as both a lovely centerpiece and a warming station for marshmallow and chocolate, party guests are sure to be impressed by this s'mores machine (made from glass dishes!).

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Cinder block bar
Photo: Design Sponge

15. Cinder Block Bar: Combining two awesome things (plants and booze), this bar provides an easy builder's solution.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY grill countertop
Photo: Our Fifth House

16. DIY Grill Countertop: Basically like having an outdoor kitchen, this brick counter space built around a grill surely makes outdoor entertaining a breeze.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Drink cooler stand
Photo: Eddie and Steph

17. Drink Cooler Stand: If you're constantly entertaining outside, or if you just enjoy having a cold beverage available whenever, this drink stand provides a classy solution to the standard cooler.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: IKEA outdoor bar cart
Photo: Runaway Chef

18. IKEA Outdoor Bar Cart: This entertaining station falls under the category of "why didn't I think of that?" 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Built-to-last concrete fire pit
Photo: Man Made DIY

19. Built-To-Last Concrete Fire Pit: With a little elbow grease, you can build your own fire pit that you can enjoy for many summers to come. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Minimal fire pit
Photo: The Brick House

20. Minimal Fire Pit: If clean lines are more your style, explore this fire pit put together by The Brick House.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Upcycled fire pit
Photo: House & Fig

21. Upcycled Fire Pit: I don't want to pick favorites, but this outdoor DIY project is high on the list. See what unusual upcycled material this flaming beauty was made from!

 


OUTDOOR LIGHTING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Bug-repelling citronella candles
Photo: One Little Project

22. Bug-Repelling Citronella Candles: These outdoor lights do double-duty by providing light and shooing away unwanted pests.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Fire column
Photo: Curbly

23. Fire Column: Nothing says "class" like fire in glass. Shed a little light in your outdoor dining space with this simple DIY project.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pendant light
Photo: Design Sponge

24. Pendant Light: This DIY might make you want to eat outside for every meal! Create a classy dining nook by hanging some proper light fixtures. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Ping pong ball lights
Photo: Created by V

25. Ping Pong Ball Lights: Maybe the easiest outdoor DIY project on this list, these ping pong ball lights instantly add charm to any space.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: String lights hanging poles
Photo: City Farmhouse

26. String Light Hanging Poles: If you want to hang string lights outside but don't have anywhere to put them, City Farmhouse has an easy solution that also involves plants!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Portable fire pit
Photo: Design Sponge 

27. Portable Fire Pit: This flame is on the move! Which is perfect if you are an renter or apartment-dweller.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Recycled bottle tiki torch
Photo: Gerardot and Co.

28. Recycled Bottle Tiki Torch: Old wine bottles get new life as mounted tiki torches with this outdoor-friendly DIY!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Tin can lights
Photo: Die Landfrau

29. Tin Can Lights: This project is a classic, and couldn't be left off the list! If you need a quick, easy, and cheap solution for your outdoor lighting situation, grab some tin cans, tea lights, a hammer and a large nail, and get to punching!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Mason jar lamps
Photo: Orchard Girls

30. Mason Jar Lamps: Another classic, these jar lights are a simple and sweet way to brighten your backyard.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pool noodle luminaries
Photo: Create Craft Love

31. Pool Noodle Luminaries: Even if you don't have a pool, you can set these floatable candles off in a large container of water to add ambiance to any space. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Flower pot fire pit
Photo: The Blue Eyed Dove

32. Flower Pot Fire Pit: Who says fire pits can't be cute? Beautiful in blue, this outdoor DIY project only requires a flower pot, stones, and a little flame.

 


OUTDOOR PLANTING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY trellis with planter box
Photo: Deuce Cities Henhouse

33. DIY Trellis with Planter Box: Give crawling plants somewhere to go by building them a trellis. This project is also great if you're looking to fill visual space in your patio or deck area!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Hose housing station with built-in planter
Photo: DIY Candy

34. Hose Housing Station with Built-In Planter: Gardening hoses are hard to keep neat and pretty. This project solves that solution by keeping the hose hidden! Plus there are flowers involved, which is always a bonus.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Homemade flower beds
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

35. Homemade Flower Beds: Bump up your home's curbside appeal by installing these flower beds you can make on your own.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Window boxes
Photo: Deuce Cities Henhouse

36. Window Boxes: Aren't these just the sweetest? Deuce Cities Henhouse (local gal to us!) has tips on creating the perfect window boxes.

 

62 DIY Outdoor Projects: Vertical planter
Photo: Helpful Homemade

37. Vertical Planter: Take your plants a step up. Perfect if you're low on space but big on greenery!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Plant chandelier
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

38. Plant Chandelier: Ooh la la! Who needs lights when you can have leaves?

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Succulent letters
Photo: House & Fig

39. Succulent Letters: Say it with succulents! Create "wall art" to hang in your outdoor space.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Tapered cedar planter
Photo: Jen Woodhouse

40. Tapered Cedar Planter: Giant planters are not cheap, but with a little woodworking you can craft your own from cedar. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Geometric cinder block planter
Photo: Little Miss Momma

41. Geometric Cinder Block Planters: Cinder blocks are at it again! With a simple paint job, you can create a modern-looking planter to house all kinds of greenery.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Wooden plant stand
Photo: Shanty 2 Chic

42. Wooden Plant Stand: If you're looking for ways to add visual height to your plant-scape, Shanty 2 Chic has the plans to build a wooden plant stand. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Gardening table
Photo: Design Sponge

43. Gardening Table: Got a green thumb? You're going to need a place to work! Learn how to make your own gardening table, courtesy of Design Sponge

 


OUTDOOR FLOORING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Colorful patio tiles
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

44. Colorful Patio Tiles: I can't get over what a simple and transformative idea this is! If you can't commit to painting your patio, try chalk for a temporarily colorful time!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Painted patio
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

45. Painted Patio: If you're looking for a way to bring bold to the backyard, this paint job takes the cake.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Stenciled concrete
Photo: Jen Woodhouse

46. Stenciled Concrete: This stencil job mimics the look of a rug with the low-maintenance factor of concrete! Try this look on for size if you're trying to create a more intimate outdoor living space. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY rug from drop cloth
Photo: DIY Network

47. DIY Rug from Drop Cloth: Personalize the patio by making a rug from a drop cloth. It'll withstand the elements, too!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pallet walkway
Photo: Funky Junk Interiors

48. Pallet Walkway: A couple of pallet boards bridge the gap in this DIY. Totally doable, and totally cheap!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Painted outdoor rug
Photo: Curbly

49. Painted Outdoor Rug: Most outdoor rugs are "blah," but painting them is easy enough. See how with our tutorial for this modern and simple design!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Pea Gravel Patio
Photo: City Farmhouse

50. Pea Gravel Patio: Want to build your own patio? Pea gravel makes it easy to create a patio space without all the pavers. 

 


OUTDOOR PLAYING

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Tree swing
Photo: Momtastic

51. Tree Swing: How sweet is this swing? Even if you're grown, there's nothing quite like swaying under a tree.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Circular rope swing
Photo: Dukes and Duchesses

52. Circular Rope Swing: If you're working on your balance, try this swing on for size!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Sandbox with lid
Photo: Ana White

53. Sandbox with Lid: It's a gross reality, but if you have cats, you have to have a sandbox with a lid. Ana White has the plans for how to build one of your own.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Sandbox with seating and awning
Photo: Ana White

54. Sandbox with Seating and Awning: Keep the kiddos safe from the sun by adding an awning to your sandbox. Plus these plans come with adorable seating!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY bungalow playhouse
Photo: That's My Letter

55. DIY Bungalow Play House: With chalk board panels, this playhouse can be imagined into any space. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Play tent
Photo: Make It Love It

56. Play Tent: Can I move in? This cloth tent is also collapsible, so it's easy to move inside and out!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Hula hoop hideout
Photo: Alanna George

57. Hula Hoop Hideout: Give each kid their own special space with some fabric and a few hula hoops. 

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Recycled Tire Teeter Totter
Photo: Sugar Bee Crafts

58. Tire Teeter Totter: Alliteration aside, this teeter totter is adorable. Plus it's made from recycled materials, so it's good for the kids and the earth.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: DIY tether ball
Photo: Simply Kierste

59. DIY Tether Ball: This DIY feels like a throwback! Do you guys remember playing tether ball long into the afternoon? Turns out it's pretty easy to make one of your own for you or your offspring to enjoy!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Mini bowling lane
Photo: Handmade with Ashley

60. Mini Bowling Lane: How adorable is this?? Bowling never looked so cute, plus it's small so it doesn't take up a lot of space!

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Giant four-in-a-row
Photo: Home Depot

61. Giant Four-in-a-Row: Everything better when it's bigger. Fair warning: you may end up being house-party-central if you build one of these.

 

62 DIY Projects to Transform Your Backyard: Giant jenga
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

62. Giant Jenga: Last but not least, this thrilling game is the perfect addition to a summertime backyard party.

 

 


 

Bonus! Author Christina Pfeiffer is sharing What to plant for more drought resilient containers

By their nature, containers require more frequent watering than plantings in the ground.  Smaller containers in full sun can need watering twice a day during hot spells.  Go large when choosing new containers to save on time and water demands.

Choose a group of plants that are compatible in looks and culture.  Match up their needs for light and water first, then play with combining colors and texture.  

Sedums

These perennials are my first 'go-to' s for drought tolerant containers.  They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors with blooms that benefit pollinator insects and ask for little in terms of water and fertilizer.  Most will overwinter and also combine well with other drought tolerant plants.

Herbs for garden and kitchen

Culinary and ornamental herbs are another group happy in well drained soil and sun.  Those with variegated foliage are stunning accents planted solo in a container.  Among my top favorites are:

Variegated lemon thyme
Sages that are edible and ornamental: 'Berggarten', 'Aurea', 'Purpurescens' and 'Tricolor'
Oregano 'Kent Beauty' trails beautifully out of hanging baskets and into the marinara sauce.

Perennial favorites

These garden perennials make a successful leap between garden beds and containers and back again:

Coral bells, Heuchera 'Green Spice', 'Peppermint Spice' and 'Moonlight'
Geranium x 'Johnson's Blue' and other hardy geranium
Oxalis tetraphylla 'Iron Cross'
Dusty Miller -
Sunrose, Helianthemum 'Wisley Pink' and 'St. Mary's'
Hardy fuchsia
Cape fucshia

Add these grasses and grass-likes for contrasting texture

New Zealand Flax, Phormium and  variegated  iris both offer tall, strappy, striped leaves.  
Low growing glack mondo grass has dramatic dark foliage and and small white or purple flowers.
Variegated lily turf, Liriope muscari 'Variegata', 'Silver Dragon' and 'Sunproof'  all have white edged leaves and purple blooms.

Annuals that can take the heat (and a bit of drought)

Many of the popular annuals used for seasonal color do best with regular water and fertile soil.  Be sure to keep these birds-of-a-feather together.  Here are some great annuals that don't like as much water and fertilizer and that combine well with other types of plants listed in this article:

African daisy, Osteospermum Symphony series
Sweet allysum, Lobularia maritima
Coreopsis tinctoria
Dwarf snapdragons, Chinese Lantern series

 

 

 


Ready to get your backyard in order? We've rounded up 62 outdoor DIY projects to help you get out in the sunshine
Share these outdoor projects on Pinterest!

 

Looking to freshen up your indoor space instead? Check out these 72 organization tips!

72 Organization Tips and Projects

 

Continue Reading

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard with Hummingbird Food

by Rachel Jacks
How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard with Hummingbird Food
Photo: Andrea Reiman

Hummingbirds are good for your garden ecosystem, and very entertaining little creatures. It's easy to fall in love with these tiny, charismatic birds that whiz around with little concern for us (unless you're getting too close to their food sources--then they'll give you a talking-to, and maybe even try to chase you off). A visiting friend who saw them for the first time in person on my front porch said he felt like he was in an animated Disney movie. If you're ready to attract them to your own yard, you just need to bribe them with hummingbird food, and maybe a few other amenities. Read on to learn how.         

 

Why should you attract hummingbirds to your garden?

Hummingbirds are beautiful and entertaining. The iridescent feathers of ruby-throated hummingbirds are particularly lovely. If you haven't had the joy of encountering them in person, you might not know how much personality they have. They're curious, fearless creatures who quickly realize that us slow humans don't pose much of a direct threat. I've had them fly up and hover quite close to me, presumably studying me for food possibilities.

Photo: Bill Williams 

The physical engineering required for these natural marvels to fly forwards and backwards, flapping their wings 70 times per second, is amazing. They need to eat every 10-15 minutes to keep that kind of exertion. You would need to drink more than a can of soda per minute to keep up. 

Aside from their entertainment value, hummingbirds are pollinators, insect predators, and help disperse seeds. That means that they're good for your garden, and perform important roles in a healthy ecosystem. Unfortunately their habitat is increasingly being destroyed by humans through development and climate change. Making your yard welcoming to hummingbirds is one way to help make up for that.

Photo: Bill Williams

How do you make hummingbird food?

Hummingbird food is so incredibly easy to make that a child can do it (in fact, I did make it as a kid). Here's the very simple hummingbird food recipe:

Put 1/4 cup white sugar for every 1 cup of water in a pan (in other words, 1 part white sugar and 4 parts water ). Bring the water to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Cover, and let cool.

Photo: Nathan Anderson 

Is sugar water healthy for hummingbirds?

According to the Audobon Society, the best hummingbird food is their natural diet of nectar from native plants. But sugar water very closely mimics the chemical makeup of flower nectar. So it's fine as a supplement to their natural diet. As long as you don't use anything other than refined white sugar water to feed hummingbirds, and keep their feeder clean, it's not unhealthy for them. 

Does hummingbird food need to be dyed red?

Red dye is definitely not recommended for hummingbird food. It is unnecessary, and may even be harmful. 

What else can hummingbirds eat (besides nectar)?

According to Bird Watcher's Digest, in addition to nectar and homemade hummingbird food, hummingbirds also eat insects, tree sap, fruit juice, and pollen. When feeding them yourself, you'll want to stick to the sugar water recipe above, supplemented with their favorite flowers. If you're feeling particularly generous, you can put overripe fruit near the feeders to attract fruit flies for them to snack on. 

Photo: Andrea Reiman

Top flowers to attract hummingbirds

The best flowers to attract hummingbirds are natives that grow in your area, especially those with red, pink, or orange flowers in a tubular shape. A variety of flowers with different blooming schedules are preferable, so there's always something producing nectar. The Audobon Society has a very useful native plant database that allows you to search by your zip code, then filter by the type of bird you want to attract. 

Here are some examples of flowers that attract hummingbirds: Bee balm, sages, daylilies, lupines, foxgloves, hollyhocks, petunias, flowering quinces, lantana, manzanita, mimosa, morning glory, trumpet honeysuckle, yucca, scarlet runner bean, and columbine.

Best hummingbird feeders

The best hummingbird feeders are ones that are easy to keep clean and filled. Hummingbirds are very territorial, so multiple feeders spread throughout your yard, each with fewer feeding ports, are preferable to one big one. I've had various feeders over the years, and the one below is by far my favorite because of how easy it is to disassemble and thoroughly clean. Hummingbirds seem to like it, and it's much more attractive to me than the popular plastic red ones.

This hummingbird feeder is available here.

If ants are a problem (they love the sugar water, too), you can buy various types of ant moats or guards to keep them from getting to the feeder. You can also do what I did before they were widely available, and make your own

How to clean feeders

Once you've gone to the trouble of making your yard welcoming to hummingbirds, the last thing you'll want to do is cause them harm. So you need to keep their feeders clean, mold-free, and filled with fresh food. The hotter the weather, the more often you'll need to clean them, but a weekly cleaning is usually fine. Keeping them in the shade can help prevent the sugar from fermenting and turning cloudy as quickly.

There are several ways to clean hummingbird feeders. The simplest is to soak them in one part white vinegar to four parts water. Use a bottle brush to scrub the feeder, or add grains of rice and shake vigorously. If your feeder has developed mold, soak the feeder in a solution of solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water for one hour to thoroughly sterilize. With any of these methods, be sure to rinse thoroughly with water before refilling.
Photo: joel herzog

What else can you do to attract hummingbirds?

Besides making them hummingbird food, there are several additional things that you can do to make your yard welcoming to hummingbirds.

Provide nesting material: Leave spider webs and fluffy plant material alone so that hummingbirds can use them to build their nests. I still treasure the time I saw one collecting cat fur from the top of a fence that my cat often climbed over. Hopefully some baby birds were quite snug in their hummingbird nest of soft cat belly fur. 

Ditch garden chemicals: Spiders and insects are an important part of a hummingbird's diet, especially when they're nestlings. Pesticides can make insects more difficult to find, and potentially travel up the food chain. Systemic herbicides can wind up in nectar that the birds eat. 

Provide water: Hummingbirds like to bathe frequently, and especially like sprinklers and misters. Attach a mister head to your hose, or go all out and install a DIY patio misting system to cool off the whole household.

Catch their eyes: Tie bright orange or red plastic surveyor's tape around bushes, trees, or railings so that it blows in the wind. When birds fly down for a closer look at the bright colors, hopefully they'll discover your hummingbird habitat. 

Provide perches: Hummingbirds like to perch on branches of trees and shrubs to rest, spot insects to grab, and survey their territory. Trees are also the best place for them to locate a hummingbird nest. 

Keep the blooms coming: Remove dead flowers from flowering plants, which encourages them to bloom again. This one is definitely a win-win, because who doesn't want more flowers?

Share this on Pinterest!

 

Continue Reading

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard with Hummingbird Food

by Rachel Jacks
How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard with Hummingbird Food
Photo: Andrea Reiman

Hummingbirds are good for your garden ecosystem, and very entertaining little creatures. It's easy to fall in love with these tiny, charismatic birds that whiz around with little concern for us (unless you're getting too close to their food sources--then they'll give you a talking-to, and maybe even try to chase you off). A visiting friend who saw them for the first time in person on my front porch said he felt like he was in an animated Disney movie. If you're ready to attract them to your own yard, you just need to bribe them with hummingbird food, and maybe a few other amenities. Read on to learn how.         

 

Why should you attract hummingbirds to your garden?

Hummingbirds are beautiful and entertaining. The iridescent feathers of ruby-throated hummingbirds are particularly lovely. If you haven't had the joy of encountering them in person, you might not know how much personality they have. They're curious, fearless creatures who quickly realize that us slow humans don't pose much of a direct threat. I've had them fly up and hover quite close to me, presumably studying me for food possibilities.

Photo: Bill Williams 

The physical engineering required for these natural marvels to fly forwards and backwards, flapping their wings 70 times per second, is amazing. They need to eat every 10-15 minutes to keep that kind of exertion. You would need to drink more than a can of soda per minute to keep up. 

Aside from their entertainment value, hummingbirds are pollinators, insect predators, and help disperse seeds. That means that they're good for your garden, and perform important roles in a healthy ecosystem. Unfortunately their habitat is increasingly being destroyed by humans through development and climate change. Making your yard welcoming to hummingbirds is one way to help make up for that.

Photo: Bill Williams

How do you make hummingbird food?

Hummingbird food is so incredibly easy to make that a child can do it (in fact, I did make it as a kid). Here's the very simple hummingbird food recipe:

Put 1/4 cup white sugar for every 1 cup of water in a pan (in other words, 1 part white sugar and 4 parts water ). Bring the water to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Cover, and let cool.

Photo: Nathan Anderson 

Is sugar water healthy for hummingbirds?

According to the Audobon Society, the best hummingbird food is their natural diet of nectar from native plants. But sugar water very closely mimics the chemical makeup of flower nectar. So it's fine as a supplement to their natural diet. As long as you don't use anything other than refined white sugar water to feed hummingbirds, and keep their feeder clean, it's not unhealthy for them. 

Does hummingbird food need to be dyed red?

Red dye is definitely not recommended for hummingbird food. It is unnecessary, and may even be harmful. 

What else can hummingbirds eat (besides nectar)?

According to Bird Watcher's Digest, in addition to nectar and homemade hummingbird food, hummingbirds also eat insects, tree sap, fruit juice, and pollen. When feeding them yourself, you'll want to stick to the sugar water recipe above, supplemented with their favorite flowers. If you're feeling particularly generous, you can put overripe fruit near the feeders to attract fruit flies for them to snack on. 

Photo: Andrea Reiman

Top flowers to attract hummingbirds

The best flowers to attract hummingbirds are natives that grow in your area, especially those with red, pink, or orange flowers in a tubular shape. A variety of flowers with different blooming schedules are preferable, so there's always something producing nectar. The Audobon Society has a very useful native plant database that allows you to search by your zip code, then filter by the type of bird you want to attract. 

Here are some examples of flowers that attract hummingbirds: Bee balm, sages, daylilies, lupines, foxgloves, hollyhocks, petunias, flowering quinces, lantana, manzanita, mimosa, morning glory, trumpet honeysuckle, yucca, scarlet runner bean, and columbine.

Best hummingbird feeders

The best hummingbird feeders are ones that are easy to keep clean and filled. Hummingbirds are very territorial, so multiple feeders spread throughout your yard, each with fewer feeding ports, are preferable to one big one. I've had various feeders over the years, and the one below is by far my favorite because of how easy it is to disassemble and thoroughly clean. Hummingbirds seem to like it, and it's much more attractive to me than the popular plastic red ones.

This hummingbird feeder is available here.

If ants are a problem (they love the sugar water, too), you can buy various types of ant moats or guards to keep them from getting to the feeder. You can also do what I did before they were widely available, and make your own

How to clean feeders

Once you've gone to the trouble of making your yard welcoming to hummingbirds, the last thing you'll want to do is cause them harm. So you need to keep their feeders clean, mold-free, and filled with fresh food. The hotter the weather, the more often you'll need to clean them, but a weekly cleaning is usually fine. Keeping them in the shade can help prevent the sugar from fermenting and turning cloudy as quickly.

There are several ways to clean hummingbird feeders. The simplest is to soak them in one part white vinegar to four parts water. Use a bottle brush to scrub the feeder, or add grains of rice and shake vigorously. If your feeder has developed mold, soak the feeder in a solution of solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water for one hour to thoroughly sterilize. With any of these methods, be sure to rinse thoroughly with water before refilling.
Photo: joel herzog

What else can you do to attract hummingbirds?

Besides making them hummingbird food, there are several additional things that you can do to make your yard welcoming to hummingbirds.

Provide nesting material: Leave spider webs and fluffy plant material alone so that hummingbirds can use them to build their nests. I still treasure the time I saw one collecting cat fur from the top of a fence that my cat often climbed over. Hopefully some baby birds were quite snug in their hummingbird nest of soft cat belly fur. 

Ditch garden chemicals: Spiders and insects are an important part of a hummingbird's diet, especially when they're nestlings. Pesticides can make insects more difficult to find, and potentially travel up the food chain. Systemic herbicides can wind up in nectar that the birds eat. 

Provide water: Hummingbirds like to bathe frequently, and especially like sprinklers and misters. Attach a mister head to your hose, or go all out and install a DIY patio misting system to cool off the whole household.

Catch their eyes: Tie bright orange or red plastic surveyor's tape around bushes, trees, or railings so that it blows in the wind. When birds fly down for a closer look at the bright colors, hopefully they'll discover your hummingbird habitat. 

Provide perches: Hummingbirds like to perch on branches of trees and shrubs to rest, spot insects to grab, and survey their territory. Trees are also the best place for them to locate a hummingbird nest. 

Keep the blooms coming: Remove dead flowers from flowering plants, which encourages them to bloom again. This one is definitely a win-win, because who doesn't want more flowers?

Share this on Pinterest!

 

Continue Reading

Round Up: 8 Great Indoor Plants that you Totally Won't Kill

by Stephanie Lee
Alt text
Photo: The Blackbird

As I'm sure we're all aware by now, I have the world's WORST brown thumb. I've been known to commit plantslaughter with hardy creatures like mint and calathea that other people swear are impossible to kill. So I thought I'd put together a list of the plants that have shared a house with me and survived against all odds. I consider them my 'go-to hardy houseplants' - if they've thrived with me and my brown thumb, then they can live through anything!

Continue Reading

59 DIY Landscaping Ideas and Tips to Improve Your Outdoor Space

by M.E. Gray
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
Share this roundup on Pinterest!

 

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

Affordable landscaping tips

Continue Reading