8 Budget-Friendly DIYs for Your Deck or Patio

Tackle these projects and spend more time outside this season.

It’s that time of year again: With the weather warming up, you’re likely thinking about sprucing up your deck or patio to get more use out of it this spring and summer. Outdoor furniture and decor can be expensive, especially for a space you may only use a few months out of the year. Luckily, you can make a big impact outside with wallet-friendly DIYs. Tackle some of these projects — from privacy solutions to entertaining essentials — and create an outdoor space you’ll want to spend time on. Bonus: Many of these ideas are great for renters and small-space dwellers, too.

Upcycled Bar + Buffet

Upcycled Cabinet Mini Bar 01:31

Transform a hutch into an outdoor snack and mini bar.

Have an old hutch or cabinet at home that's just collecting dust? Transform it into an outdoor entertaining station with plenty of storage and serving space. You can even add a mini fridge to keep drinks and snacks cool.

Almost-Free Entertaining Ideas

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#1: Outdoor Dinner Party

Think you don’t have an outdoor dining table to host an outdoor dinner party? Think again! Just borrow your indoor dining table. Be sure to bring it back inside before the weather turns.

Set the Table

Bring plates, chargers, table runners and other decor outside to create a festive dining area. When the sun goes down on your outdoor party, light candles so the celebration can keep going.

#2: Outdoor Brunch

An alfresco brunch doesn’t necessarily call for a formal dining table. Instead, arrange your outdoor seating around a coffee table. Display treats on tiered serving platters to maximize space.

Pillows and Throws

Comfy guests are happy guests. Embellish your outdoor furniture with plush pillows and throws from inside your home. These items can’t withstand the elements long-term, but they’ll add an extra layer of coziness during your brunch.

Multipurpose Table

Turn an old table into something cool – literally.  Just cut out a circle the size of an ice bucket in the center of the table and place the bucket inside. Now, you have a multifunctional piece of furniture for serving and stashing drinks.

Serving Station

If you’ve got an old cabinet or hutch in the house that’s not getting a lot of use, upcycle it into an outdoor bar and buffet complete with a mini fridge. This versatile piece can hold all of your outdoor entertaining essentials: glasses, plates, drinks, snacks and more.

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Easy Chalkboard Menu

Borrow a framed piece of art from inside your home and turn it into a handmade menu so your guests know what you’re serving. Just flip the artwork and paint the backing with chalkboard paint for a sign that will rival any outdoor bistro.

Mirror Mirror on the Bar

Need a tray for serving drinks? Use a mirror from inside your home. Its reflective surface will make your glassware look even more gorgeous.

Colorful Wine Glasses

Install a stemware rack on the underside of a shelf and put colorful wine glasses on display.

#3: Outdoor Movie Night

Who doesn’t love watching a movie under the stars? Start by creating an easy DIY screen using PVC pipes and a white sheet. In no time you and your guests will be watching blockbusters from the cozy comfort of your own backyard movie theater.

Assorted Seating

The beauty of an outdoor movie theater is that the seating doesn’t have to be uniform. Gather various lawn chairs around the screen and cozy them up with pillows and throws.

Side Table

Take side tables from inside your home and bring them outdoors to give guests a spot to put their drinks and snacks.

Makeshift Sofa

Bring cushions and pillows from your indoor couches outside to create a cozy lounge where guests can settle in to watch the flick.

Concession Stand

Stock your buffet with pretzels, popcorn and other favorite movie snacks. Your chalkboard menu can be repurposed to announce the evening’s entertainment.

Soft Lighting

The right lighting can keep your festivities going well into the night. Try string lights for a soft glow that won’t interfere with what's on the screen.

Storage Bench

DIY Outdoor Storage Bench

DIY Outdoor Storage Bench

Add extra seating to your patio or deck with this DIY outdoor bench featuring beautiful fretwork panels and hidden storage under the seat. Using minimal tools and a few supplies from the home improvement store, you can build this stunning storage bench in one weekend.

Photo by: Jen Woodhouse

Jen Woodhouse

Who couldn't use more storage outside? This DIY bench with beautiful fretwork panels has a hidden compartment under the seat. Get the lumber cut to size at the hardware store to simplify the project.

3 Outdoor Furniture Flips

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These three outdoor furniture pieces had seen better days before we got our hands on them. See the before-and-after photos and get step-by-step instructions for the projects.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Wooden Chaise Longue: Before

Bringing wood furniture back to life after a year or two outdoors can seem daunting, but it’s actually very easy and oh-so-satisfying when you’re done. This wooden chaise was sun-bleached and a bit grimy after laying out under the sun and rain, but overall it was still in great structural shape.

From: Samantha Pattillo

Wooden Chaise Longue: The Makeover

A good cleaning, sanding and staining will work wonders on a tired piece of wood furniture. But if you want to take your makeover up a notch, consider adding a fun, tropical-inspired design like we did here. Oil-based paint pens make it super easy to add intricate details. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

From: Samantha Pattillo

Wooden Chaise Longue: After

This tropical-inspired lounge chair is now the perfect place to relax poolside. Add a few toss pillows and a great magazine and get your chill on. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

From: Samantha Pattillo

Metal Bar Cart: Before

Vintage and antique items, like this midcentury modern bar cart, can be great alternatives to buying new. They offer one-of-a-kind style and are often more affordable, but sometimes they need a little TLC.

From: Samantha Pattillo
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Metal Bar Cart: The Makeover

You can follow the same steps to clean up any outdoor item made of wrought iron. If the piece is rusty, you’ll want to tackle that first with trisodium phosphate (or TSP) and a wire brush. Luckily, this bar cart didn’t have any rust spots, so we skipped straight to sanding and spray painting. Apply multiple light coats of paint (rather than one or two heavy coats) for a smooth finish. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

From: Samantha Pattillo
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Metal Bar Cart: After

After a little elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint, this bar cart looks as good as new. We stored extra glasses and mixers on the bottom shelf and designated the top for drink prep and snacks. Now let’s party! Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

From: Samantha Pattillo

Rattan Peacock Chair: Before

Intricately hand woven out of rattan, peacock chairs made their way from England in the 19th century and took their place in gardens across the US. Now, they’re coming back in a big way as part of the new boho style trend. This miniature peacock chair just needed a little love and a punch of color to get back on the style bandwagon.

From: Samantha Pattillo
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Rattan Peacock Chair: The Makeover

After a thorough cleaning, we gave this chair a fun ombre paint treatment using a chip brush to really get into the crevasses. Next, we wrapped the outer frame with bright teal ribbon. This allowed us to cover the existing black wrapping that was cracked and fading. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

From: Samantha Pattillo
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Rattan Peacock Chair: After

Bring the whole look together with a fun toss pillow that pulls in the colors of the paint, ribbon and (in this case) the front door. Rattan, while great for outdoor use, needs to be taken care of. Keeping it under a covered porch or entry (as seen here) is a great way to protect it from hard rain and sun. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

From: Samantha Pattillo
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Photo By: unknown

Movie Screen

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen 02:12

Make your own collapsible screen for outdoor movie nights.

There’s nothing quite like watching a movie under the stars. An all-weather TV can cost hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars, but you can set up a projector and screen for much less. Make this easy DIY movie screen using PVC pipes and a white sheet.

Family-Friendly Backyard Tips

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Family Fun Zone

This family-friendly backyard is outfitted with items the whole family can enjoy: games, a picnic area, a pet spot and a kid-friendly tent.

Kid-Friendly Fort

Give the little ones a private place to read, play or relax. Add a tent to your backyard and cozy it up with blankets and throws. 

Pint-Sized Table

Add a kid-sized table and chairs to your outdoor space, and encourage the kids to take their homework or artwork outdoors. 

Outdoor Games

A few fun lawn games are sure to get the whole family off the couch and in the fresh air. Make a point to schedule outdoor game nights when the weather is nice.

Storage + Seating

Make your kid-friendly yard easy to tidy up with a designated storage spot for toys and games. As a bonus, this storage chest doubles as a bench when closed.

Family Garden

A small herb garden is a great outdoor project for the family to work on together. Get the kids involved in watering and harvesting the herbs, then try a new recipe together.

Pet Central

If you have pets, create a special spot just for them in your backyard. Pick a place where there’s plenty of shade so they can stay cool when they’re not joining in the fun.

Outdoor-Friendly Bed

An elevated hammock or cot is a great choice for the backyard. Since it’s off the ground, it’ll keep your pup cool, and it’ll dry out fast after a heavy rain.

Automatic Water Bowl

If your furry friend likes to hang out in the backyard, providing him with plenty of cool, clean water is a must. A self-dispensing water bowl will keep him hydrated no matter the temperature.

Toy Storage

Use a small pail to collect all of your pets’ toys and keep them in one place.

Grooming Station

Grooming your dog outside keeps all that unwanted fur out of the house. Find some fun hooks and stash brushes, combs and other pet essentials in one convenient spot.

String Light Solution

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights From DIY Posts

Café lights add a gorgeous glow to an outdoor living space, but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have trees or other tall objects to string them from. Here’s a freestanding solution for hanging lights that uses planters and wood posts. It’s totally temporary, so it’s perfect for renters.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Café lights add a gorgeous glow to an outdoor living space, but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have trees or other tall objects to string them from. Here’s a freestanding solution for hanging lights that uses planters and wood posts. It’s totally temporary, so it’s perfect for renters.

Low-Budget Lighting Tips

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Shining Example

Layers of light are as important to designing a welcoming outdoor living area as they are to indoor spaces. So, just as you might include recessed overhead lights, lamps and wall sconces in your living room, outdoors you can plan to brighten walls, landscaping elements and even overhead. In this project, landscape architect June Scott installed small directional lights in a large tree to create what she calls a “moonlight” effect. Additional fixtures graze the walls, “creating shimmering patterns.” She supplemented with candle lanterns around the perimeter — an easy and affordable option that works in any space, no wiring required.

Photo By: Martin Cox Photography; Design By: June Scott, June Scott Design

Magic Lanterns

Decorative lanterns, vintage or new, are one of the easiest and most attractive ways to add lighting to an outdoor space. Cluster them on the dining table, group them at points around the edges of the space or line them up on a wall — the options are many and varied. You can use real wax candles or outdoor LED “candles.” This battery-operated lantern comes with three flameless candles.

Photo By: Grandin Road

Fine Dining

There’s nothing like a chandelier to create an elegant dining atmosphere. But wiring for an outdoor fixture can be complicated, and wet-rated styles are somewhat limited. One solution is to hang a candle chandelier from the beams of a pergola or covered patio, as designer Howard Roberts did here. Use battery-operated LED “candles” for easy operation. Add string lights radiating from the chandelier’s mounting to create a magical canopy of light above diners' heads.

Photo By: Howard Roberts, Liquidscapes

Step Lightly

Lighting on steps and walkways is a smart safety measure — and, fortunately, one that won’t require you to call an electrician. Just mount these solar deck lights to any flat surface with screws included (or just place them on the ground); they’ll charge when the sun is out during the day, and turn on two LED bulbs at dusk.

Photo By: Gardener’s Supply

Instant Romance

“To create a warm, soft and romantic glow, I used pillar candles in a few spots on this front porch. The candlelight offers just the right amount of lighting, not to take away from the breathtaking view of the sunset over the hillside vineyard,” says designer Miyuki Yamaguchi. “Use battery-operated pillar candles — they’re a much safer option to enjoy from dusk till dawn,” she adds.

Photo By: Patricia Chang; Design By: Miyuki Yamaguchi, Miyuki Yamaguchi Design Studio

Vintage Charmers

A string of twinkling lights will add a little something special to any outdoor space, but vintage-style lights with exposed filaments go the extra style mile. These Edison string lights add a fun party attitude to decks and patios and look great wrapped around an outdoor umbrella.

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Photo By: CB2

Holding Court(yard)

Overhead string lighting positioned at regular intervals across this verdant courtyard creates the illusion of a “roof” of light, but adds illumination without competing with the starry skyscape. “We also used copper DSE uplights for the trees, shrubs and pottery,” says landscape architect Warwick N. Hunt.

String Light Solution

Café lights add a gorgeous glow to an outdoor living space, but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have trees or other tall objects to string them from. This freestanding solution for hanging lights uses planters and wood posts. It’s totally temporary, so it’s perfect for renters.

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Flower Power

Vessels for spectacular blooms by day, lighting elements by night: These solar illuminated planters are powered by the sun, so you can display them anywhere without worrying about outlet placement. Choose color-changing mode or select a single color to complement your plantings.

Photo By: Gardener’s Supply

Work and Play

For a multifunctional outdoor living room that would serve as a family gathering space and a meeting area for the owners’ clients and colleagues, landscape architect Mark Tessier created an accordingly varied lighting scheme. Traditional outdoor lighting illuminates the area without making a statement, while style enters from above and below, via a flickering fire pit and paper lanterns of various sizes hung randomly throughout the space. “After dusk, these lights cast a warm, inviting glow festive for simple or elegant gatherings any time of the year,” says Tessier.

Photo By: Jennifer Cheung; Design By: Mark Tessier, Mark Tessier Landscape Architecture, Inc.

Bright Thought

Lamps aren’t only for indoors. Electric table lamps approved for outdoor use are ideal decorative accents that extend your outdoor time. This indoor/outdoor lamp takes a regular 60 Watt bulb and comes with a cheery geometric shade.

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Photo By: Grandin Road

Smart Solution

Landscape architect Mark S. Garff recalls that his client’s new patio space was poorly lit, only illuminated by a sconce next to the front door. “By installing low-wattage overhead string lights, we added ambient light on the ground plane that, rather than shining into eyes or creating hot spots, blankets the site with a warm, soft glow at night,” he says.

Firefly Effect

Here’s a fun project for kids and grownups alike: Upcycle empty bottles to create solar garden lighting. This solar bottle lantern kit consists of a rubber stopper with three short LED light strings attached. Just insert the light strings into a bottle of your choice and place the stopper in the top of the bottle. A small solar panel on the top charges the battery so that when dusk falls the twinkling LED lights begin to glow. Display the weatherproof project anywhere you like, year round.

Photo By: Gardener’s Supply

Reflect on This

If you have a pool or water feature in your outdoor living area, don’t forget to take advantage of the reflective qualities of water at nighttime. String lights, as shown here, rows of lanterns or solar-powered fixtures along the edges of the pool will cast a subtle light that will appear to dance across the mirrorlike surface.

Sleek Spotlights

Candles aren’t your only choice for impromptu outdoor illumination. If you prefer a more modern look, consider these saucer-shaped oil lamps. They're made of poly/resin/stone for a modern take on midcentury terrazzo. Filled with mineral oil or citronella oil, the lamps will burn for up to eight hours.

Photo By: CB2

Safety Counts

Highlight your deck railing, posts or stairs with these solar deck accent lights. They turn on automatically at dusk and add attractive amber-hued ambiance for approximately eight hours after a full day of sun.

Photo By: Plow & Hearth

Plant + Privacy Wall

DIY Plant Wall 02:15

Learn how to make a DIY plant wall in just a few easy steps.

Don’t let a tiny patio (or a tiny budget) stop you from enjoying lots of lush greenery on your outdoor space. Make this DIY living wall with a few low-cost supplies, then hang potted plants from it. As the plants grow, they’ll also provide privacy.

Small-Space Gardening Ideas

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Suspend Your Garden

Ryan Benoit and Chantal Aida Gordon of The Horticult threaded stainless steel rods through terra-cotta pots and suspended them from horizontal surfaces. These striking vertical gardens can punch up the smallest balconies and patios. See the tutorial at The Horticult and a time-lapse video on Instagram.

Photo By: The Horticult

Ladder Makeover

Turn that rickety old ladder into a showcase for colorful plants and herbs. Karla Holley of Small Town Rambler spray-painted her wooden ladder in pastel blue then adorned it with a variety of pretty pots and planters. The ladder can also be used to store garden tools and potting soil.

Photo By: Small Town Rambler

Pocket Full of Plants

These attractive planters from Woolly Pocket come in versions with one, three or five pockets, and you can hang them on any vertical surface no matter the size of your outdoor space.

Photo By: Woolly Pocket

Vertical Crate Garden

Chris Gardner from ManMade created a vertical garden by artfully stacking handmade cedar boxes and securing them to a wall. The garden leaves a small footprint in space-challenged decks and patios.

Photo By: ManMade

Freestanding Wall

If you’re a renter, you may not be allowed to hang anything from your outdoor walls. Instead, make this freestanding plant wall using wood and mesh rebar. Hang potted plants using S-hooks, and they’ll provide privacy for your space as they grow.

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Ammo Box Planters

Bring an industrial look to your garden by potting plants in ammo boxes. In this particular creation, Ryan Benoit and Chantal Aida Gordon of The Horticult suspended two rows of ammo box planters from chains. See more ammo box ideas at The Horticult.

Photo By: The Horticult

Tiered Pots

A tiered potted garden tucks nicely into the corner of any deck or patio. Lisa Darnell of Fancy Frugal Life placed upside-down pots underneath the soil to prevent upper tiers from sinking into the dirt.

Photo By: Fancy Frugal Life

Don’t Toss That Shoe Organizer

Kate Richards of Drinking With Chickens holds her plants in a natural canvas shoe organizer. Fill the pockets directly with soil or place small plastic pots in each pocket. It’s a cheap solution and stores a large number of herbs.

Photo By: Drinking With Chickens

Garden in a Gutter

The slim profile of this portable herb garden makes it ideal for small outdoor spaces. Amy Baesler of Her Tool Belt painted three lengths of gutter in robin’s nest blue then suspended them from a DIY stand. See the tutorial at Her Tool Belt.

Photo By: Her Tool Belt

Stacked Steel Tubs

To prettify the space outside her back door, Carrie Eddleman of The Vintage Wren punched drain holes in three galvanized steel containers and stacked them atop one another. Herb gardens don’t get any easier.

Filed Under Garden

Michael Wurm, Jr. of Inspired By Charm grows his favorite herbs in a vertical magazine storage rack. Line the rack with coco fiber liners, insert soil and plant herbs — all in less than an hour.

Photo By: Inspired By Charm

Raskog to the Rescue

Is there anything the IKEA Raskog utility cart cannot do? Cassidy Tuttle of Succulents and Sunshine lined the top shelf of the Raskog with window screening then filled it with soil, moss (to mask the soil) and succulents. Small potted succulents fill the other two shelves.

Photo By: Succulents and Sunshine

Upcycled Spice Rack

Line a wire spice rack with burlap and load each shelf with soil and plants. Chris McLaughlin of Laughing Crow & Company recommends plants that can thrive in shallow soil, such as herbs, alyssum, strawberries and succulents.

Photo By: Laughing Crow & Company

Hanging Garden

The grid design of this hanging garden allows for many potted plants in a small amount of space. You can build one row or multiple rows. See Ben Uyeda’s tutorial at HomeMade Modern.

Upside-Down Tomato Planters

If you don’t have space for tomato trellises, simply thread the start of your tomato plants through plastic jugs, fill them with soil and suspend. See Sayward Rebhal’s tutorial at Bonzai Aphrodite.

Photo By: Bonzai Aphrodite

Hang-a-Pot

Adorn the walls of your patio or deck with potted plants using these easy-to-conceal hangers from Hang-a-Pot. The hangers work on a variety of surfaces, from trellises and fences to brick and stone.

Easy Rug Update

Gray Outdoor Rug With Painted Stripes

Gray Outdoor Rug With Painted Stripes

Give a drab gray rug the color treatment with paint samples and tape. With a few colors or a lot of colors, this pattern offers infinite ways to add a punch to your patio.

Outdoor rugs can be pricey, but you can give a plain, inexpensive one a colorful, customized makeover with some paint and tape. 

3 Outdoor Rug DIYs

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Look #1: Colorful Stripes

Give a drab gray rug the color treatment with paint samples and tape. With a few colors or a lot of colors, this pattern offers infinite ways to add a punch to your patio. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

Materials

For this project, you'll need a basic outdoor rug, painter’s tape, paintbrushes and paint samples in your chosen colors.

Create Stripes With Painter’s Tape

Start at one corner of the rug. Place strips of tape across the entire rug to create stripes.

Create Perpendicular Stripes

After you’ve taped stripes on half of the rug, add some stripes perpendicular to these on the other side of the rug.

Start Painting Stripes

Paint several stripes with your first color. Try to pick ones randomly around the rug.

Continue Painting Stripes

Fill in empty stripes with your three remaining colors. Let the paint dry overnight.

Remove Tape

Once paint is dry, pull off all of the painter’s tape.

Admire Your Work

Voila! You have a custom-made colorful geometric rug to jazz up your patio space. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

Look #2: Nautical Rope Border

For a nautical touch, use cotton rope to make a border on a basic rug. Add lots of plants, lanterns and bowls of seashells to create a coastal-inspired outdoor space, no matter where you live. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

Materials

For this project, you'll need a basic outdoor rug, cotton clothesline rope, a hot glue gun and glue sticks.

Glue Rope to Rug

Make a line of hot glue starting a few inches from the corner of the rug. Press the rope into the glue.

Keep Gluing

Continue gluing the rope onto the rug. When you get a few inches from the corner, turn the rope and continue gluing.

Start a Second Row

Glue the rope all the way around the rug. When you get to the beginning, glue the rope inside of the first row. Glue another line of rope all the way around the rug.

Finish Rope Border

Start a third row once you get to the beginning. Make your border as wide as you want; here, I did five rows of rope. The border gives the rug an easy, instant nautical update. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

Look #3: Mod Dots

For the modern patio, take a basic outdoor rug and give it your personal spin with simple painted dots. The fastest of the three updates, you can use any colors for the dots. I’d love to see one in all shades of blue to match the spring sky. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

Materials

For this project, you'll need a basic outdoor rug, white paint, black paint and two paintbrushes.

Paint White Dots

Starting in one corner of the rug, paint a round dot using white paint. Continue up the rug and add more white dots in a variety of sizes.

Paint Black Dots

Now add in a few block dots, filling in the spaces between the white dots.

Continue Painting Dots

Fill the entire rug with medium and large size dots. Use two separate brushes to avoid mixing the two paint colors. Fill in the empty spots with small dots until you’re satisfied with the design. Get step-by-step instructions for this project >>

Tabletop Fire Pit

Tabletop Fire Pit 02:20

Create a cozy area on your porch by building a tabletop fire pit.

The warmth of a fire pit can instantly cozy up a patio, but they can take up a lot of room. Make this space-saving tabletop version that’s just as beautiful as a full-size one.

Patio-Sized Fire + Water Features

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Cascading Water Wall

Fit for a patio or deck, this do-it-yourself water wall was created by Marie Blackburn of The Interior Frugalista and her husband. Water trickles down two tempered glass panels mounted in a wood frame. 

Photo By: The Interior Frugalista

DIY Modern Concrete Fire Pit

For less than $50 and half a day, you could be toasting marshmallows over this modern DIY fire pit made from weather-resistant concrete. Cooking gel as fuel makes for a no-mess burn. Chris Gardner of ManMade shows you how it's done.

Photo By: ManMade

Flower Pot Fountain

Jordan Grantham of The Happy Homebodies and her husband transformed two ordinary flower pots into a bubbling fountain for their patio. Make your own flower pot fountain with any two pots — one larger than the other — a water pump and landscaping rocks. Note that this fountain must be placed near an outdoor electrical outlet in order to run.

Photo By: The Happy Homebodies

Wok Fire Pit

What do a cement bowl and restaurant-quality steel wok have in common? This ingenious DIY fire pit by Bob and Sydney Kanaga. Because the cement bowl is so heavy, it's supported by a custom-welded steel base. In the summer, the family removes the wok and fills the bowl with ice to create a drink station for parties.

Photo By: Bob and Sydney Kanaga

Zen Water Fountain

Add the soothing trickle of water to your deck or patio with this recirculating modern water fountain. Water pumps through three tiered basins, with the second basin lit from within by an LED light. Set it up once and enjoy it, because this fountain is made from weather-resistant stone resin.

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  1. modern style

Photo By: Hayneedle

DIY Concrete Fire Feature

This do-it-yourself fire pit uses flagstone, concrete and pebbles for a statement making patio piece. More impressive than how it looks? That your friends and family will know you did it yourself. Find step-by-step instructions here.

Chiminea Outdoor Fireplace

Keep the smoke out of your eyes with an attractive — and often affordable — chiminea fireplace. This outdoor fireplace has a single-mouth opening and the whole unit hovers above the ground to protect you and your property from flame. Chimineas come in clay, steel and copper options, but cast aluminum (while more expensive) has better longevity and requires less maintenance.

©Dorling Kindersley Limited

Terra Cotta Flower Pot Fountain

This DIY flower pot fountain is beautiful and budget-friendly. With a $20 fountain pump kit, Jordan Grantham of The Happy Homebodies used two terra cotta pots and river rock to create a Tuscan-inspired design for a deck. Note that this fountain must be placed near an outdoor electrical outlet in order to run.

Photo By: The Happy Homebodies

Wood-Burning Fire Pit

This black steel wood-burning fireplace makes heating your patio a breeze. The 29" diameter pit will keep friends and family warm, plus it comes with a protective cover and poker for rearranging wood. For safety, best to place on concrete or stone rather than a deck.

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Photo By: Lowe's

Solar Koi Fountain

This blue ceramic fountain requires no electrical outlet access because it's powered by the sun. Place in direct sunlight anywhere on your deck or patio for a pop of color and a soothing sound.

Photo By: Amazon

Fire Pit Kit

Using a kit purchased from a local landscaping company, Stacy Gaynor of Red Door Home transformed an empty area of her pebble patio into a wood-burning fire pit. The kit included cinder blocks and a metal inner ring, and made for quick and easy assembly. Check your local garden stores for a similar design.

Photo By: Red Door Home

Bubbling Bamboo Fountain

Have a small deck or patio? This bamboo fountain by Susan Forint of Saf Affect will easily fit in your space. An inexpensive bamboo tiki torch finds new life as a water spout for the fountain.

Photo By: Saf Affect

Portable Fire Feature

Take your fire feature with you wherever you sit outside with this DIY by Linda Nortje of With a Blast. Make this project with minimal supplies: a wooden frame, steel cut mesh, glass panes and a smokeless cooking gel as fuel.

Photo By: With a Blast

Classic Garden Fountain

Attract birds to your patio with Old World charm and the soothing sound of water. This budget-friendly garden fountain is made of weather-resistant resin with a bronze finish. No plumbing needed — it comes with a recirculating pump.

Photo By: Jet

Water Bowl

This bowl water feature provides a relaxing focal point for patios. Aquascape is known for its sustainable, low-maintenance water gardens, and this lightweight patina bowl with interior pump is no exception. In this photo, the bowl on the left is shown with an additional spillway bowl on the right.

Photo By: Hayneedle

Portable Privacy Screen

DIY PVC Pipe Privacy Screen

DIY PVC Pipe Privacy Screen

Can’t hang curtains from your deck or patio? Get the look by making this portable privacy screen with PVC tubing and simple, inexpensive bedsheets. You can use any color sheets for this customizable project to complement your other outdoor decor.

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Can’t hang curtains from your deck or patio? Get the look by making this portable privacy screen with PVC tubing and simple, inexpensive bedsheets. You can use any color sheets to complement your other outdoor decor.

18 Outdoor Privacy Solutions

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Drop Cloth Curtains

Fashion outdoor curtains from plain old drop cloths by spray-painting the cloth with a simple, bold pattern then hanging it from DIY curtain rods — all for less than $20. See the tutorial from Corey Willis of Hey There Home.

Photo By: Hey There Home

Repurposed Shutters

Diana Wearing of DIY Den & Treasure Showcase zip-tied old shutters to an existing wire fence. The one-of-a-kind fence can be removed or rearranged at any time.

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  1. privacy wall

Photo By: DIY Den & Treasure Showcase

Shutter Screen

Alternatively, you can upcycle old shutters into a folding partition for your outdoor space. Just attach them together with a few hinges.

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Pretty Partitions

Portable partitions, such as this three-panel wicker partition from Versare, are just as easy to mount as they are to remove. It’s the perfect solution for renters in search of a non-permanent privacy fix.

Photo By: Versare

Chevron Privacy Wall

Erin Trafford of DIY Passion built a stylish chevron wall to add some privacy to her freestanding deck. The materials cost less than $150. See a step-by-step tutorial at DIY Passion.

Photo By: DIY Passion

Fast-Growing Privacy Plants

Privacy plants are an attractive solution for over-exposed decks and patios, but it can take a long time for them to mature. Design firm Eco Minded Solutions recommends planting fast-growing trees like the Emerald Green Thuja, which can grow up to five feet per year.

Photo By: Eco Minded Solutions

Bamboo Plants

San Diego design firm Eco Minded Solutions used bamboo to build a high wall of green around this family’s back patio. Bamboo grows high and brings exotic charm to any outdoor space. Just be sure to pick a non-invasive species.

Photo By: Eco Minded Solutions

Faux Hedges

If you want the benefits of privacy plants without the hassle of maintaining them, line your patio with faux boxwood hedges. Strategically placed faux hedges provide privacy in a pinch for anyone who likes green spaces but lacks green thumbs.

Photo By: At Home

Pop-Up Gazebo

Enjoy the four-walled privacy of your own gazebo without spending hundreds of dollars on a wood structure. Canvas gazebos are easy to set up and you can bring them with you to your next home.

Photo By: Wayfair

Fabric Windscreens

This New York City patio desperately needed privacy. Lifestyle blogger Anna Osgoodby’s budget-friendly solution was to attach an affordable (less than $50) mesh windscreen to her chain link fence using a bit of twine.

Freestanding Curtain Rods

Hang curtains of your choice from a freestanding curtain-and-rod set. This portable set-up from Improvements can accommodate curtains up to 84 inches long.

Photo By: Improvements

PVC Pipe Screen

Make your own freestanding privacy screen using PVC tubing and simple, inexpensive bedsheets. You can use any color sheets for this customizable project to complement your other outdoor decor.

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Upcycled Garage Doors

Karen Berg of Redoux Interiors upcycled garage door panels by securing them together with scrapped wood. The result is a privacy fence with a bohemian industrial vibe.

Photo By: Redoux Interiors

Dress Up Your Pergola

Jenny Johannsen of Anything Pretty wove 4’ x 15’ drop cloths through the slats of her already existing pergola. Hang some lights for a budget-friendly privacy roof that dazzles both day and night.

Photo By: Anything Pretty

Panel Over Existing Fence

Rather than pay to remove the unsightly metal fence from her Chicago apartment patio, Erica Lugbill of Lugbill Designs covered it up with stained and pressure-treated lumber. The horizontal panels create privacy that the pre-existing metal fence didn’t offer.

Privacy Planters

Bring privacy as well as some plant life to your deck with these charming self-watering planters with trellis. Each planter has four wheels (two that lock), so you can easily move it around or keep it stationary.

Photo By: Improvements

DIY Plant Wall

Make your own freestanding living wall using wood and mesh rebar. Hang potted plants using S-hooks, and they’ll provide privacy for your space as they grow.

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Retractable Shades

Retractable shades are ideal for apartment-dwellers in buildings with closely spaced balconies. The shade offers privacy when needed, but you can always retract it to open up the space. Pick a color that pops, such as this orange shade from Craft-Bilt Manufacturing Company.

Photo By: Craft-Bilt Manufacturing Company

Keep Reading

Next Up

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How to Keep Your Deck Safe for Kids and Pets

Follow these eight tips to keep your outdoor space kid- and pet-proof.

String Light Solution: Hang Patio Lights Using Planters and Wood Posts

Café lights add a gorgeous glow to an outdoor living space, but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have trees or other tall objects to string them from. Here’s a freestanding solution for hanging lights that uses planters and wood posts. It’s totally temporary, so it’s perfect for renters.

What's Your Patio Personality?

Are you a garden guru or an outdoor entertainer extraordinaire? Take our quiz to find your patio personality, then learn how to design a space that’s right for you.

Upcycle a Hutch Into an Outdoor Bar and Buffet

Have an old hutch or cabinet at home that’s just collecting dust? Turn it into a beverage and food station for your outdoor entertaining area. Add a mini fridge and wine glass racks, and you’ll have yourself a multifunctional piece of furniture for serving and storage in no time.

How to Paint Mod Black and White Dots on a Basic Rug

For the modern patio, take a basic outdoor rug and give it your personal spin with simple painted dots. Choose any colors that complement your other outdoor decor.

How to Add a Colorful, Geometric Pattern to a Basic Outdoor Rug

Give a drab gray rug the color treatment with paint samples and tape. With a few colors or a lot of colors, this pattern offers infinite ways to add a punch to your patio.

How to Make an Easy DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

Transform your backyard into an open-air movie theater with this easy DIY screen made from PVC pipes and a white sheet.

How to Make an Outdoor Privacy Screen From PVC Pipe

Can’t hang curtains from your deck or patio? Get the look by making this portable privacy screen with PVC tubing and simple, inexpensive bedsheets. You can use any color sheets for this customizable project to complement your other outdoor decor.

How to Build an Outdoor Plant and Privacy Wall

Even if you have a small deck or patio, you can still enjoy lots of lush greenery. Take advantage of vertical space by hanging potted plants from this DIY living wall. As the plants grow, they’ll also provide privacy for your outdoor living area. 

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