Last Updated on June 1, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
Backyard DIY projects aren’t just a great way to get outdoors for the weekend, they are an investment that pays off all year. A weekend’s investment in one of these projects can pay off for you and your entire family for years. Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or plan to stick around for a while, adding functionality to a backyard expands the livability of your home. Think of your backyard as an extension of your living space, like a new room that can give everyone more space to relax and play. This post features some backyard DIY projects, listed from easy to challenging.
DIY Outdoor Mini Bar
Whether you’re reaching for a cold beverage after mowing the lawn or hosting a backyard gathering, having a bar for your outdoor space is something you will grow to appreciate. This simple yet stylish mini bar doubles as a serving surface and, most importantly, a mini fridge protector. This one is easy to build with a couple of tips that make this easier and more affordable.
- In the recommended tool section they suggest using a chop saw. For this project, that may be overkill. You could do all of this with a circular saw or even a jigsaw, as long as you have a steady hand. There aren’t any complicated cuts here.
- This video also recommends using cedar, which is certainly pretty. The drawback to cedar is that, while weather resistant, it turns gray over time. Some folks like that weathered look, but you will get a lot more mileage out of treated lumber that’s tinted to look like cedar. Cedar equivalent treated boards will also save you a lot of money.
If a mini fridge isn’t going to give you enough room, there are many ways to take an old full-sized fridge, flip it on its back, add some casters underneath it, and wrap it in whatever kind of wood you prefer. This gives you both an ice box and a way to keep summer treats cold.
No-Dig Garden Border
We love this one because it’s an easy project and it helps to clearly define where your garden starts and your lawn ends. Grass and weeds are constantly encroaching on your garden space, and this is a great way to make them stop.
The four items make this a good afternoon backyard DIY project, and they are easy to find at a local home improvement store. You can repeat it for each of your gardens over the summer, as time permits. By using fast setting concrete, you can skip the part where you have to mix up bucket after bucket of the very heavy mortar. The no-dig plastic border is another time and back saver.
Homemade Raised Garden Planter
If you’re into sustainable, organic eating, having your own garden pays many dividends. A small garden is a great activity to do with the kids, plus it can teach them all kinds of things like weather, biology, healthy eating habits, and hard work. The great thing about raised vegetable gardens is that they can squeeze into any area of your backyard, and the walls can keep out some critters, such as bunnies. The video below shows you how to make a really efficient, inexpensive backyard DIY raised garden planter.
There are some very important points in this video.
- He uses Douglas Fir boards, and not treated wood, to prevent the chemicals from leaching into the soil. This will limit the life of the raised garden to about 7 years before the wood rots out.
- He countersinks all the screws so they don’t stick out at all. Since he correctly advises drilling pilot holes, you might want to use two drills–one for drilling and one for screwing in the deck fasteners. This will save you a lot of back and forth. A corner clamp or two might also help you achieve very precise results.
- While this outdoor project has many advantages, the ability to control the soil quality may be one of the more important factors. If you just dig a garden, the soil quality can be very questionable. Using the right mix from the beginning will improve your results.
One hint for your garden placement. Wait, make that two.
- If you’ve got level ground, use it. Over time, putting this on a slope will affect both watering and dirt distribution.
- If you’ve got full sunlight on areas of your yard, use that too. Most vegetables you will plant will need all-day sun.
Fire Pit Backyard DIY Project
You may not use a fire pit all the time, but having one can certainly turn occasions into special occasions. For the kids, they are perfect for backyard fun– roasting marshmallows and telling stories. For adults, they create an environment of connection and reminiscing. For couples, an outdoor fire is just pure romance, especially with some string lights added.
There are a lot of great things about this backyard DIY project video. Here’s what we like and a couple of tips:
- These guys aren’t afraid to admit their mistakes. That’s pure gold and will save you time and frustration.
- When planning out the size of your fire pit and paving stone area, consider what kind of seating will be around the fire. Adirondack chairs, for example, take up a lot more room than benches or lawn chairs.
- Use the kit and take instructions seriously. The folks who design these projects put a lot of time and thought into them. Then they test-build the design, usually multiple times, to make sure the project actually works the way they say it does. In this video, he comments on failing to use the proper spacing. Cutting a stick ⅜” thick and using is as a spacer would have saved him multiple placements of the same stones.
- They could have saved a lot of work and time by renting or borrowing a rototiller. That would have made short work of the sod and loosened up the underlying soil so they could cart it away easily.
- Before you get started on this project, make sure you check your city’s ordinances on fire pits.
Even though they admitted to mistakes, these DIY “bros” got a lot right in this video. Most importantly, they called it a “4-day” project, which will help you set realistic expectations about how long this project will take. The finished project speaks for itself.
Backyard Brick Grill
A grilling structure, such as this one in the video, makes the statement “we take our backyard living seriously.” This grill is both classy and substantial. In these days when grills are getting bigger and more multi-functional, this one will stand out. It’s simple but it’s not easy.
Our DIY expert Craig Phillips, however, makes it look easy. After all it’s just a pile of bricks, some mortar and the grill components. Watch this video carefully, because Craig’s brick-and-mortar skills are rock-star level.
For example, when he mixes up the mortar to the precise consistency he wants for the project, you are seeing years of experience. Same when he starts putting down the layers of bricks. His work with the different trowels is nothing short of amazing. Near the end when he cuts a brick in half with a brick hammer, you are witnessing pure craftsmanship.
When you try this, watch the video a couple of times–and take notes. If you can pull off this backyard DIY project, you will learn a ton about how to work with brick and mortar. You will also ascend to the “next level” of DIY.
*Remember to use safety precautions when building your grill. Make sure you provide enough space between your grill and flammable structures, and follow your city’s laws regarding grill regulations.
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