We’ve all seen and pinned cool DIY backyard wood projects that we say we’re going to tackle. One day. Well, that time is now.
After all, many of us have spent countless hours inside lately, and we’re all itching to get out and enjoy the warmer weather. But like a lot of folks, if your outdoor space could use some organizing and sprucing up, it can be worth it to spend a little extra time.
“Outdoor spaces are certainly important as another place at home to relax, so people want it to look aesthetically pleasing. But the usefulness of that space is on everyone's minds, too,” said Sarah Fogle of the DIY home improvement blog Ugly Duckling House.
While some might be intimidated by the scope of the work, Fogle explains how she’s managed projects over the years.
“DIY projects are easiest to tackle when you look at them as a series of steps rather than one big, intimidating task,” Fogle said. “Gather the tools you think you'll need. Research the parts you aren't confident about. Armed with knowledge, I feel more prepared.”
If you run into some unexpected hiccups, she suggests you stop and research the project.
“Accept that mistakes may be part of your learning process, and that's totally ok,” Fogle said.
Sophisticated DIY Outdoor Lighting Project
When Fogle bought her Atlanta, Georgia home more than a decade ago she knew it would lead to many DIY projects.
Even though her grandfather was in construction, Fogle said she has no formal training, she just inherited the family enthusiasm for projects, from her father too, who taught her tons of DIY skills and landscaping basics, “and that 90% finished is good enough.”
“I simply grew up in a house that rarely hired help or could afford it; to even consider it was almost absurd,” Fogle said.
Last year she added lighting to her deck. Always creative, she decided to place poles to support strings of lights within planters. In case this sounds like it wouldn’t work, look at the top image for the glam results!
Her step-by-step plans are available on her website. A project like this just makes sense.
“It's a logical next step for anyone that hadn't considered it before but now find themselves in need of a space that provides fresh air, a break from the home office, and promises no awkward run-ins while in pajama pants and unwashed hair.”
Building a DIY Shade Structure
Beatriz Valenzuela first got the idea to build a shade structure in her sunny Southern California backyard about three years ago. But she didn’t have the financial resources, and most of all, time, until this year.
She also wanted to do something special for her 15-year-old daughter, Audrey Valenzuela-Davalos, who had recently given up her bedroom so her grandmother could move in with the family. To give her daughter her own personal space, Valenzuela decided to follow through with building what she calls “la casita,” which means little house in Spanish.
While Valenzuela does a lot of the repair projects in her home, she had never embarked on such a big wood project. Thankfully, the internet and her father were there to help.
She researched free project designs online before she settled on one that suited her backyard space. While the design called for using 2x4’s for the platform, four posts and a pitched roof, Valenzuela opted for a slope to just one side. She also added a railing so it felt more like an enclosure. You can find instructions for your own structure online.
Being a novice, Valenzuela said her father reminded her she needed to level her project site before she could begin. She and her daughter also learned how to use some new power tools. After a lot of effort, the structure came together over the span of a couple of weekends of work.
“I was really proud when I saw the space come together and when I noticed that it was exactly what she needed,” Valenzuela said, adding her daughter has used it to do some distance learning.
It was so gratifying to seeing her daughter not only learn to use power tools, but also gain confidence to take on large projects.
To fine tune the new space, Valenzuela eventually added mesh fabric on the roof for shade and some solar light fixtures. She also acknowledged she became obsessed with OfferUp, a mobile marketplace app, where she found a rug and round wicker chair to help adorn the space.
This project has already motivated Valenzuela on her next outdoor task, a fire pit and seating area. The two areas will help her organize her outdoor space, especially when it comes to outdoor parties. Valenzuela envisions the kids hanging out in “la casita” while the adults congregate around the fire pit.
How to Make a Vertical Garden Out of Pallets
A quick search online for pallet projects reveals the endless ways they can be transformed into planters or vertical gardens. This is a great way to start with an easier project, one that can organize your plants in your backyard in one eye-catching space. Before you begin, decide if you want to leave the wood as is or paint it to match your outside décor.
You can buy the metal rings that hold the pots up for about $25 for a pack of three on Amazon or use an adjustable metal hose clamp, found at hardware stores, as a cheaper substitute. These are more flexible and give you the flexibility to use different container sizes, and even recycled metal cans for your pots.
If you’re not into flower pots, you can try, planting inside the pallets, using weed barrier cloth, found at any garden center, to hold in your dirt.
This is a great way to decorate a blank wall in your backyard without having to fully commit to the change.
Fogle noticed the pandemic has shifted people’s priorities with their projects.
“Some are doing more research on projects they've long put off but are home-repair in nature,” she explained. “Some are trying to beautify their spaces with more landscaping knowledge by identifying or propagating plants they already have. Some are cleaning out their sheds and garages and looking for something to do with their scrap wood pile.”
Let us know what cool projects you’ve built recently. While you’re focusing on your outdoor space, we have some great tips for garden storage tips. We’ve also got some cool ideas for creating pathways in your backyard.
But if you feel like just enjoying your newly decorated outdoor space, then here’s a wonderful recipe for guacamole. Just add chips and relax. You’ve earned it.