How to Make a Wagon for Yard Work that Attaches to the Mower
Backyard | Gardening & Landscaping | Outdoor Projects

​6 Backyard DIY Projects that Make Life Easier

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.

These 6 DIY Projects for your backyard will simplify your life

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.

How to make a DIY planter box for your garden

Planter boxes also offer better weed and pest control. You don’t have to worry if your yard doesn’t have good soil. Additionally, planter boxes are also great for those who are elderly or disabled.

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 rainwater 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.

How to build a DIY shed from scratch

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.

4. Wagon

If you have a 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 wheelbarrow, and it holds a lot more.

Here is a picture of the wagon in action:

DIY Backyard Projects - Building a Wagon

In addition to the time and effort saved, it was a fun, easy build.

Check out how Ash made this wagon.

5. Pathways

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 🙂

Proven Ways for Increasing Curb Appeal on a Budget

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.

DIY Backyard Projects - Wooden Pathway Tutorial

Both backyard projects took a weekend or less and definitely had impacting results.

Check out our stone pathway and wooden pathway tutorials.

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 into 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.

If you are looking to make your life a little easier throughout the warmer months, think about undertaking one of these DIY backyard projects.

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 yard work (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.


    1. Eileen @ Just Measuring Up says:

      Thanks so much Sherry! We appreciate the pin:) have a great week!

  1. Great round-up of backyard projects. Love the dog in the wagon! I’d love to add a couple of pathways around our yard so this reminds me to hint at my husband! Visiting from Sunday’s Best Linkup.

    1. Thanks Victoria! Yes the pathways turn out so nice and are so functional! Good luck with the hinting:)

    1. Thanks Kristin! So nice to have our own garden 🙂

    1. Thanks so much:) have a great week!

  2. I truly enjoyed reading this post. You’ve given me some great ideas! I have been thinking of installing a shade sail over my kids’ play area.

    Thanks for sharing on Meet Up Mondays!

    1. Thanks Angela! Yes, the shade sail is awesome. I think it would be perfect over a kids’ play area 🙂

  3. I keep meaning to try out that rain barrel tutorial, but just haven’t found the time yet. Keep up the awesome projects and thanks for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Thanks Leslie! It’s a great one – just set one up at my parents house 🙂

  4. Thank you for the great ideas. I love DIY ideas, especially for my yard. Thanks for sharing at Wonderful Wednesday Blog. Pinned and Shared.

    1. Thanks Amy!! Us too – we are always working on the yard:)

  5. I love a good DIY project, even better if it makes my life easier. I love the idea of the raised bed, with the rain water barrel. And you have a very chilled dog, mine would freak if I put him in a wagon like this!

    1. Thanks so much!! Yes, the raised planter and rain barrel make gardening so easy! Haha Zeus was happy for the attention! The next ride was with me and our son – and Zeus jumped right back in:)

  6. Jann Olson says:

    Great projects! I especially love pathways in the garden. They are practical, but at the same time add interest. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  7. You’ve done so much great work on these projects! My favorites are the wagon, the shed, and the walkway. Thanks for publishing tutorials.

    1. Thanks so much, Carol! Those are my favorites too:)

  8. These are all really great projects. The rain barrel is so smart and simple to do. My favorite is the little wagon because I have a very large dog and he would love a downsized version to give him purpose in the back yard. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Thanks Leanna! Awww our dog LOVES the wagon – he always wants to be where ever we are! Bet yours would love it too:)

  9. Great ideas . . . love the garden path and the maintenance free picnic table 🙂

    1. Thanks Connie! The picnic table is amazing. I love the composite material – it holds up beautifully!

  10. We have a shed and a sidewalk. Two down and four to go! Thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story, and I hope your week is going great.

    1. Hahaaa! Great job! Have a wonderful week, Sandra:)

  11. DIT projects are so rewarding. We are building a paved patio under our pergola this year. I could use that picnic table!

    1. That sounds amazing! A pergola is one of my goals for next summer:)

  12. Kathleen Rupp says:

    Great Projects! The shed looks amazing. I’m impressed it took only one weekend to build. Your outdoor projects are great. I will have to go back for each tutorial!:)

    1. Thanks Kathleen! The shed took longer than a weekend, especially since Ash built it all by himself – but the other projects were weekend projects:)

  13. I added a lot of these just this year. A new patio, sidewalk but I am loving the cart, now that would come in handy! Thanks for sharing at the Dishing It & Digging It Link Party. We loved reading it.

    1. Thanks Christine! We love your link party! The sidewalk and patio sound awesome:)

  14. What wonderful projects! I especially the photos of your dog! Thank you for sharing this post at Tuesdays with a Twist! I hope you have time to join us again this week! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    1. Thanks Marci 🙂 Our dog Zeus loves getting in all the photos! Have a wonderful week!

  15. Absolutely wonderful backyard DIY projects you have featured here! I love your tips about pathways. I really want to add some to my yard this year. By the way, your doggy is adorable 🙂 You have been featured this week at Dishing It & Digging It. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

    1. Thank you so much, Angie!! The pathways were great – they brought more function they we thought they would! So excited to be featured – thank you so much!!

  16. I love the shade sails that installed in the backyard. It’s really suit and amazing.

    1. Thanks Mae! We are loving the shade sail too, especially on these hot days 🙂

  17. These are some amazing projects! I so want to add some of these into my life! Thanks so much for linking this post up for the Let’s Be Friends Blog hop!

    1. Thanks Chelsee! We love working on outdoor projects – so fulfilling!

  18. Great projects, one and all–you two are incredibly prolific! Thanks so much for sharing your terrific outdoor projects with us at Vintage Charm 🙂

    1. Aww Diana – you are too sweet!! Thank you for your link party 🙂 Have a great week!

  19. I live in an apartment in Athens near the sea. It is big enough but it is an apartment! I wish I would had the space to do all these beautiful backyard projects 🙂

    1. Aww thanks Christina! Your apartment by the sea sounds incredible! 🙂

  20. Wonderful outdoor projects! I especially love the shade sail and the picnic table. Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle. Pinning.

    1. Thanks Beverly! We love a nice outdoor project:)

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