DIY Backyard Projects on a Budget

Now that spring is in the air and summer is right around the corner, I plan to take full advantage of all that the warmer weather has to offer, from boisterous barbeques and lively pool parties to serene sunbathing and leisurely lounging.

However, if you’re anything like me, gardening and yard maintenance took a backseat during the winter months. What with the hustle and bustle of the holidays and doing anything to avoid being outside in the cold, the backyard that took weeks last summer to turn into a tropical paradise is now a wasteland of wilted, gray flowers and crunchy, pale leaves.

Well, have no fear! Here are easy and cheap DIY projects to bring some color, whimsy, and life to your backyard just in time for your next cookout.


DIY Tire Planter

The next time you, a friend, or a family member has to get a new car tire, upcycle the old tire into quirky flower planter that can be hung on an exterior wall, from a cover patio’s ceiling, or from a sturdy tree branch.

Materials                                    Cost
Old tire                                    FREE
Spray paint w/ primer                        $4
Fabric weed barrier                        $6
Packing peanuts                        $9
Chain and s-hook (optional)            $12

Total Cost*: $19

*Without chain and s-hook

Tools Needed:
Power drill
½-inch drill bit


  • Scrub tire with soap and water and allow to dry completely.
  • Cover with a few coats of spray paint in the color of your choice. Allow to dry completely.
  • Use a ½-inch drill bit to drill six holes in the “bottom” of the tire (wherever you decide the bottom should be) for drainage.
  • Line the inside of the “bottom” of the tire with fabric weed barrier and packing peanuts.
  • Pour in potting soil over the fabric weed barrier and packing peanuts. Plant flowers in potting soil.
  • Hang finished tire planter on a wall or from a sturdy tree branch using the chain and s-hook.
    (Information from


DIY Crate Seats

The food is ready, everyone has fixed a plate, and it’s time to eat. But wait! There aren’t enough chairs outside, and you can’t have your guests eat while standing, trying to juggle plates, drinks, napkins, and silverware. Don’t despair! These DIY crate seats can be pulled out for just such occasions. They’re cute, comfortable, and can be completely customized for your own backyard.

Materials                                                Cost
6 storage crates                                     $24
Plywood, cut to fit bottom of
each crate                                                $20
1-inch foam roll                                    $15
1 box staples                                                $3
1.5 yards fabric                                    $8

Total Cost: $11.67 per seat

Tools Needed:

Box cutter
Spray adhesive
Staple gun

Helpful Tip: When buying the plywood, take a crate with you so that the wood can be cut to fit the dimensions of each crate.


  • Roll out foam on a flat surface. Lay plywood (already cut to size of crate) on top of foam and trace around with a box cutter, cutting out six individual pieces of foam to fit each of the six boards. Use scissors to help cut through the foam if needed.
  • Using spray adhesive, glue each foam square onto a plywood board.
  • Place board foam-side down on fabric. Cut enough fabric to cover the foam-side of the board and the sides, leaving a few inches of overhand.
  • Fold the overhanging fabric over the plywood-side of the board. Use a staple gun to secure the fabric.
  • Turn the board foam-side up and place on top of crate.
    (Information from


This DIY Key Wind Chime is an easy project you can tackle with the kids! Gather a bunch of spare or old keys and paint them different colors. You can make them striped, polka dotted, or even glittery. Use cotton twine to tie each key to the branch of a tree, making sure the keys end up at similar lengths so that they can knock into each other when the wind blows. (Information from

Materials                                    Cost           

Spare or old keys                        FREE
Acrylic paint, 8 pack                        $8
Cotton twine                                    $1

Total Cost:                                    $9


Health Life – March-April 2017

Written by: Anna Limoges

DIY Backyard Projects on a Budget

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