The coronavirus pandemic is changing how we work, learn, communicate — and spend our leisure time. As countless families swap summer vacation plans for staycation plans, backyards are becoming stars of the show.
If your yard, porch, patio, deck or balcony has been an afterthought for years, it’s time to show it some love. Here are some ways to start upgrading your outdoor space (and your summer) for $100 or less.
1. Install a Ring Video Doorbell
The smartest outdoor upgrades include smart security. With a Ring Video Doorbell, you can monitor your property, interact with visitors remotely and secure deliveries. The Ring Video Doorbell sells for around $100. And with three simple steps, setup takes only minutes.
2. Paint the front door
Your home’s front door is a statement — an invitation to friends, family and visitors. Improve your home’s curb appeal and your yard by giving some attention to this often neglected entryway.
With a little preparation and a few basic supplies, painting a front door is a simple process. The first step? Consider choosing Sherwin-Williams paint. Homeowners agree it’s the best paint for your house’s exterior as well as the interior.
Since a gallon is more than you’ll need, find a store that offers Sherwin-Williams quart-size paint samples. One quart is plenty for a front door and won’t set you back much.
3. Create a labyrinth
Labyrinths are similar to mazes, but without multiple paths and wrong turns. Instead of confusion, they’re designed to promote quiet thought and introspection. Bring meditative quality to your outdoor space by designing your own backyard labyrinth.
Instead of building a labyrinth using brick pavers, explore less expensive options. Pathways can be bordered by heavy rope secured with stakes, by plants and tall grasses, or by stones. The labyrinth Society — yes, that’s a thing — offers multiple guides on how to make your own labyrinth.
4. Set up a fire pit
Cool summer nights gathered around a fire with friends and family close: What could be better? Turn that image into a reality by setting up a fire pit.
Amazon offers fire pits, fire tables, fire rings and outdoor fireplaces at a range of prices. But if building sounds better than buying, create your own fire pit. Keep costs low — and have more money for s’mores — by using basic materials from your local home supply store.
5. Erect a trellis or arbor
If you’re handy with a saw and screwdriver, build a simple entry arbor. Keep costs to a minimum by using scrap lumber or repurposing fallen tree branches as decorative elements.
6. Hang windchimes
Transform your yard into a multi-sensory experience. Besides helping to dampen traffic noise, wind chimes add a bit of musical personality to outdoor spaces.
7. Add a natural fiber rug
Make covered patios and gazebos cozier by adding a natural fiber rug. Woven jute and sisal rugs work well, particularly in areas that aren’t directly exposed to rain. The 4-by-6-foot Wolsingham hand-braided jute and sisal rug currently sells for around $100 on Wayfair.
Want to bring new life to an old rug? Painting natural fiber rugs is a simple, inexpensive craft project the whole family can help with.
8. Build a game set
Add a little friendly competition to backyard barbecues with a bean bag toss game. Sometimes called “cornhole,” a regulation-size game set costs around $100 at Walmart.
Since each game board generally comprises only eight pieces of wood, making your own cornhole set is a relatively easy weekend project. (Unofficial game rule: The person who built the boards makes the first toss.)
9. Upcycle tin cans into hanging lanterns
We’ve all seen those patio string lights with Edison-style bulbs, but the price often isn’t so bright.
Create your own outdoor ambiance using the humblest of household items — the tin can. Everyone has cans piling up in their recycling bin. Upcycle them into outdoor hanging lanterns.
It’s easy to make tin can lanterns. Using a hammer and nail, strategically puncture each can to create custom designs that glow when a small tea light or LED candle is inserted. Add a loop of wire to each can and make rows of hanging lanterns. Cost? Minimal. Results? Brilliant.
10. Hang a hammock
Gaze at your handmade twinkling lanterns from the comfort of a hammock. Could there be a better way to spend a warm summer evening?
Amazon offers models that are designed to hang from trees as well as freestanding models, both with options that cost less than $100.
11. Install a bubble window for dogs
Hey, dogs have big summer plans, too. Help them keep an eye on squirrels, neighbors and delivery people by installing a bubble window.
Crafted of durable acrylic, bubble windows are placed along the bottom of wood fences to give our furry friends a better view. Most pet bubble windows on Amazon cost well below $100.
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