With our yard covered in snow, it’s hard to believe that spring starts next week. Yet, as the snow melts and we start to see the green foliage again, we’ll soon be getting our yard in shape for spring.
Last year, Ash and I did a lot of outdoor projects in our yard, and many of these projects have saved us time and money.
Here are our 6 favorite DIY backyard projects that undoubtedly make our lives easier.
1. Raised Planter Box with a Rain Barrel
Hoping to have a garden this year? Think about using a raised planter box.
Not only will you have awesome homegrown food (which saves money, shortens your shopping list, and is all around healthier), but you can easily keep critters and pets away from your vegetables with this planter box.
This easy build can be completed in a weekend – and you can reap the benefits all summer. It also holds up great from to year-to-year too!
As an added feature, we built a rain barrel reservoir that collects rain water to water that we then water the garden with. (Make sure to check out your local laws to see if conserving water is allowed.)
If you are looking to grow your own veggies this summer, this planter box definitely will make for easy gardening.
Check out our planter box tutorial.
2. Storage Shed
If your garage looks anything like ours did, it was a haphazard mess. It housed Ash’s tools, workbenches, riding mower, snow blower, gardening tools, holiday decorations, outdoor furniture, and pretty much anything else we could jam in there.
Ash isn’t the most organized person but he wholeheartedly does recognize when enough is enough. That’s when he started his dream project of building a shed from the ground up. It took him a couple of months, but he single-handedly built this beautiful backyard structure.
With the gardening tools, outdoor toys and furniture, and riding mower moved to the shed, our garage is much more organized.
If you are in need of more storage, think about building a shed. It will hold so much, making it easier for you to find and store your things.
Check out the step-by-step plans on how my computer programming husband built a gorgeous shed from the ground up.
3. Shade Sail
Too much sun in your backyard? Thinking about a porch or an awning? You can save money and get some shade by installing a shade sail.
These are simply fabric canopies suspended in the air, providing relief from the sun in a cost-effective way.
We weren’t ready to drop the money for an awning, and we weren’t sure we wanted to turn our sunny patio into a porch, so the shade sail was an easy, good choice for us.
Check out our shade sail post – one of our most cost-effective backyard projects.
If you have large yard, do a lot of landscaping, or are tired of hauling heavy yard bags around the yard, think about building a wagon for your riding mower.
This wagon, which can be hitched to the riding mower or used as a stand-alone cart, has certainly been earning its keep around here.
This wagon has reduced the time and energy we spend carrying things around our yard. We constantly use it to move yard bags to the curb and transport items between the shed and the garage.
It’s more sturdy and stable than a wheel barrow, and it holds a lot more.
Here is a picture of the wagon in action:
Check out how Ash made this wagon.
Although less fun than building a wagon or a shed, walkways and pathways are aesthetically pleasing and make getting around your yard easier.
Over the years, Ash and I have put in two pathways – a stone pathway from our house to our floating deck and a boardwalk connecting our patio to our yard.
Both of these were quick projects that yielded a lot of benefits.
Below is the stone pathway from our first home, where the patio and the deck are separated by the yard.
We put this stone pathway in and were surprised at how much use it got. It gave a direct path to the deck and the grill, and our dog used it all the time to avoid the mud and snow 🙂
In our second home, we had no direct path from our patio into the yard. It was more like a downhill, rocky nature walk.
Knowing that wouldn’t work for our toddler or our dog, Ash removed some shrubs and built a wooden pathway, making for a beautiful entrance from our patio and deck into the yard.
Both backyard projects took a weekend or less and definitely had impacting results.
6. Picnic Table
After putting all that hard work into your yard, why not top it off with a quick picnic table build?
A picnic table is an easy place for your family to eat from the grill, without having to carry the food back in the house. Eating outside keeps your kitchen table and floors cleaner, as the birds can eat the crumbs 🙂
The picnic table is different from other outdoor furniture because it can stay outside year round. This build also holds up really nicely from year-to-year.
Check out our tutorial on building a nice-looking picnic table in just one day.
We have personally completed all of them, and we truly benefit from them all season long.
The raised planter box provides us with healthy, easy veggies without worrying about critters getting in, the shade sail makes relaxing on the patio pleasant during the hot summer months, and I don’t know what we would do without the storage that the shed provides.
The wagon helps with the yardwork (and has provided a few fall wagon rides), the pathways were a necessity to make our yard more functional for our family, and the picnic table is a perfect summer spot to enjoy stress-free summer meals.
Most of the backyard projects (aside from the shed) take only a weekend of time – and you can enjoy them all season long.