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30 Budget Backyard DIY Ideas That Will Make Your Neighbors Jealous

30 Budget Backyard DIY Ideas That Will Make Your Neighbors Jealous

The idea of DIY has changed considerably in recent times, both inside and outside of the home. Creative thinking and the rise of online video tutorials have enabled home-owners to revamp their properties and make their homes look luxurious (for example), even if they are operating on a tight budget. This creates an even playing field throughout society. Now, even modest homes can be transformed into picturesque abodes.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the some examples of affordable, low budget backyard DIY ideas that will optimize your outdoor space. Consider the following options to make your neighbors jealous.

1. Create Grand and Innovative Outdoor lighting using Solar Power

Even if you are unfamiliar with how solar energy works, this technology offers a sustainable way of lighting the exterior of your home. With this in mind, consider replacing all outdoor bulbs with solar lights. Place this in a waterproof frame or case that can be hung from a tree or the facade of your home. If you use a simple wooden case, be sure to treat this with a suitable and protective varnish.

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    2. Install Exterior Mirrors to Create the Illusion of Space in your Garden

    While this may sound odd, clean and simple mirrors can be strategically placed in your garden to create the illusion of space. Whether you want to use interior mirrors or create a product that has been recycled from old windows is unimportant, as long as you fit them securely and position them in a way that makes your back garden appear bigger in size.

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      3. Create Mirrored Lawn Ornaments Using Looking Glass Spray-Paint

      On a similar note, you can also create an eclectic array of garden ornaments using looking glass spray-paint. Simply select ornaments of various sizes and shapes and apply two coats of the paint. Leave them outside to dry overnight, before giving them pride of place in your garden.

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        4. Make a Multi-Person Swing

        Here’s another breathtakingly simple idea. It is possible to take a pallet and some discarded rope to create a functional, multi-purpose swing. Pallets can be sourced for free from local warehouses or supermarkets. Brand new lengths of rope can be purchased for a nominal fee of between $5 and $15, depending on the size. You can then secure the rope to each corner of the pallet. Remember to ensure that it is hung safely from a sturdy tree branch.

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          5. Coat Planters and Plant Pots with Glow in the Dark Paint

          Whether you are an avid gardener or not, most households have access to large planters or smaller scale plant pots. Furniture brand IKEA stores even sell basic plant pots for as little as $1. You can transform these into affordable and sustainable night lights using glow-in-the-dark paint. The whole project can cost as little as $5 to add a definite wow factor to your garden.

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            6. Use Wooden Stakes and Material to Create Outdoor Lounge Hammocks

            Hammocks offer an ideal resting place during the summer. Homemade versions can be easily be made using wooden stakes and your material of choice. Simply take your wooden stakes and fix them securely in the ground, using a total of four to create a triangular shape. Then take your material, like recycled nylon hammocks or simply use discarded bed sheets, and attach them to the stakes to create three individual resting places.

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              7. Fashion a Makeshift Splash Pad Using Tarp and a Spinkler

              If you have a garden slide but are struggling to find a suitable landing space, you can create an effective splash pad using some tarp and a sprinkler. Tarp can be purchased for up to $20, depending on the precise area of material that you require. If you do not have sprinklers in your garden, you can achieve the same effect with an outdoor hose and running water.

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                8. Take Glow-in-the-Dark Necklaces and Bracelets and Create a Fun Outdoor Game

                Those long summer nights are ideal for outdoor entertainment. They also offer you an opportunity to develop a host of fun, interactive and creative games. If you want to challenge your kids to a few evening rounds of ring toss, for example, you can create this by fixing a wooden stake or metal pole in the ground while using glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces to pitch.

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                  9. Create a Waterproof Frame filled with Flat Stones to Wash your Feet after Frolicking

                  Frolicking outdoors can create mess, and the last thing you want to do is tread this back into your house. So after a day playing with your children or gardening, why not rinse off your feet and hands outdoors with a DIY frame? Simply craft a wooden box and coat it in waterproof sealant before filling it with flat stones and placing it near your back door. You can then wash using a fresh water supply, while also giving your feet or hands a smooth massage.

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                    10. Paint the stones in your garden

                    While stones may seem like mundane garden objects, they often have smooth surfaces that are receptive to paint and color. This offers you a unique opportunity to infuse your garden space with brights shades and hues. You apply block colors or mix it up and paint intricate patterns. So long as each stone is painted as part of an overall vision and theme, you can create a colorful aesthetic that will be the envy of your neighbors.

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                      11. Spray-Paint Metal Outdoor Chairs for Outdoor Entertaining

                      Most of us own at least one or a handful of metal garden chairs, which tend to rust or deteriorate over time. They can be refreshed easily and cheaply, however, simply by spray-painting them in your choice of colors. Don’t forget the importance of a suitable and purposeful spray-paint. Rustoleum primer and Krylon are amongst the best for this particular task.

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                        12. Use Toilet Paper to Fashion Effective Seed Paper

                        Growing colorful plants and flowers remains the best way of embellishing your garden space, but it can be expensive to ensure that they achieve their full potential. You can use toilet paper to fashion cheap and effective seed paper, however. The tissues help to absorb moisture and space out smaller seeds, such as carrots or smaller vegetables. Considering how cheap toilet paper is, this can help you to save money without compromising on the look of your garden.

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                          13. Place Diapers in the Bottom of your Plant Pots

                          Interestingly, toilet paper is not the only money saving tip that can help you to effectively grow your plants. By placing diapers at the bottom of your plant pots, you can ensure that your plants retain their moisture and look fresher for longer. This will improve the overall look of your garden without forcing you to spend outside of your means.

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                            14. Repurpose your Tree Stumps

                            Tree stumps are often considered in a negative light, although they can be creatively re-purposed to create a unique garden feature. Simply by placing and securing plywood or oak over the top of an exposed tree stump, you can create a functional table for little or no cost. Alternatively, you can decorate a stump in attractive summer flowers or moss to create a unique exterior adornment.

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                              15. Use Exterior Latex Floor Paint to Bring your Patio to Life

                              The concrete tiles on your patio are an often overlooked aspect of your garden, but typically they can present a dull and faded aesthetic. You can correct this with a single tin of exterior latex floor paint. This will add color to your patio, while giving the surface tough and long-lasting protection. Be sure to apply two coats, and use non-glare paint to create a low level of sheen.

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                                16. Invest in Low Cost Rope Lighting to Line the Boundary of your Garden

                                Available online from sites such as Amazon, rope lighting is sold in fixed lengths. Consumers can usually purchase up to ten meters for as little as $30. This is waterproof and can be used to line the boundary of your garden, creating a chain of light that illuminates the space at light. You can even put it on an automated timer. You can also use ropes as dividers to separate the rope from the lawn or decking.

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                                  17. Integrated a Beer Cooler into your Patio Table

                                  If you want to add functionality to a stylish patio table, you should look to integrate a beer cooler into the surface. This is easy enough to do if your table is manufactured from a thick material such as oak. You can simply hollow out a small, rectangular section of the surface and line this with a standard cooler. Then add some ice and store your beers inside during summer barbecues and parties.

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                                    18. Use Part of a Dismantled Trampoline as a Makeshift Diving Board

                                    Sometimes, the best DIY ideas can be created free of charge using existing household items. If you have ever owned a trampoline, for example, you will know that this is a product sold in single parts that need to be fitted together to create the finished product. By taking the surface of the trampoline, you can align it with your pool to create a safe and makeshift diving board. If you do not own a trampoline, simply head online and buy a flat jumping mat for between $50 and $60.

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                                      19. Create an Outdoor Shower Using just a Hose and Homemade Rigging

                                      As recent reports concerning the dangers of radioactive exports from Japan prove, the U.S. and European nations are fortunate to enjoy an uncontaminated supply of water and food. If you want to capitalize on this to turn your garden into a makeshift campsite for the summer, you can use a standard hose and a ladder to create an outdoor shower. The hose itself will connect to an outdoor water supply. The ladder can be made with tree branches to create secure rigging.

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                                        20. Use Decorative Sheets to Create a Colorful Canopy

                                        Similarly, you do not need to invest in a high quality and expensive tent to make the most of the summer weather. These products cost a great deal as they are designed to resist wind, rain and adverse elements. Remember these properties are not an issue during warmer periods. So to reduce the cost of your homemade camp site, simply take decorative and colorful bed sheets and suspend them over a secured wash line to create a unique canopy.

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                                          21. Build a Wooden Bar and Drawstring Cover to Form an Outdoor Bar

                                          Whether you are relaxing or working in your garden, there is always a pressing need for liquid refreshments. To this end, why not create a basic wooden bar that can house your favorite tipples and a selection of glasses? You will simply need to construct a basic, wall-mounted shelving unit and easily attach this securely to an exterior wall. Then add a drawstring door using two pieces of rope. This way you can keep the bar closed when necessary and also provide a flat service to pour beverages.

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                                            22. Use Discarded Pallets to Create Additional and Diverse Seating

                                            We spoke earlier in the article about how full-size pallets could be used to create a multi-person swing in the garden. Discarded pallets also have additional purposes, as they can be sawed or cut into segments to create additional seats of various shapes and sizes. Simply use a wood-cutting tool to create the desired shape and number of seats. Then you just need to add some cushions so you can sit and relax.

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                                                  23. Install a Chalkboard Outside to Create a Multi-purpose Play Area

                                                  Rather than creating extravagant solutions to embellish your garden, you can sometimes make simple additions that will revolutionize the space and drastically improve the layout. Simply by buying a $20 chalkboard and securing it to a fence, for example, you can turn your garden into a recreational area with multiple dimensions where children can express their creativity. It can also serve as a positive focal point for their interaction and activity.

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                                                    24. Develop Dens and Play Pods from Shower Curtains and Hula Hoops

                                                    In terms of creating an interactive and fun space where children can play, it is important to offer them a colorful den or hide away. This can be created extremely cheaply, simply by suspending hula hoops from a tree branch using string. Then attach a shower rail using clips to the perimeter of the hoop. Now your children have a play pod that they can make their own. These can even be decorated to embellish them further.

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                                                      25. Build a Simple Table that Opens out from the Fence

                                                      Have you ever been hosting a barbecue and found it difficult to rest your beer while also cooking the meet? To solve and other garden issues, why not create a foldaway table that is connected to one of your fence panels? All you need is a flat piece of plywood (or preferably treated lumber) to act as the surface, and a set of hinges that are to be attached to the fence. Then you have a convenient table that can be used as and when you choose.

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                                                        26. Add Steel Pipe Edging Around the Perimeter of your Garden

                                                        When creating your garden layout, you may want to section off any designated planting areas. This can be done simply using discarded steel piping, which is cut into sections of a desired size using bench sheers. These pieces of pipe are then inserted into the ground and filled with soil, in which you are able to plant smaller seeds and succulents. If you are not keen on the rustic look, be sure to treat your pipes first using a colored primer.

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                                                          27. Offer Birds Comfortable and Colorful Nesting Materials

                                                          Birdhouses add a loving touch to any home exterior, but you can also create structures that add color and character. With this in mind, you can buy colorful yarn in bulk for a pittance and add it to your birdhouse or station. Gathering birds will then take this and use it in their nearby nests, adding dashes of color and hue to various areas of the garden. This is also a good way to reuse any excess yarn that you may have in the home.

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                                                            28. Create Tiki Torches for Illuminating the Garden

                                                            With an emphasis on creating variable shades of sustainable light, the construction of tiki torches offer an affordable and innovative solution. Simply take a clean empty wine bottle, add a tiki torch refill wick, a dash of citronella lamp oil, and a metal washer to hold your components in place. Then place them in elevated spaces throughout the garden and embellish them with flowers, decorative petals or moss.

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                                                              29. Turn Discarded Keys into a Stunning Wind Chime

                                                              If you have ever moved home or changed locks, you will find that your house is littered with useless and discarded keys. These can be put to use in your back garden, as they have the potential to be combined and turned into a stunning wind chime. Simply gather your keys and color them with primer. Now they’re ready to be hung up. Use yarn and attach them to a large branch. You can also choose to paint your chosen branch using an acrylic shade of choice, so long as this is part of a wider color scheme.

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                                                                30. Construct a Stream in your Backyard

                                                                While the sound of running water is restful and comforting, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a stream or brook in their garden. You can fashion a man-made stream in your backyard, by applying a little elbow grease and creative thinking. Simply dig a shallow trench that meanders through your garden space. Make sure to avoid any utility lines before bordering this with discarded wood or steel pipes. You should also construct the stream on a downhill slope, which will aid the natural flow of water. Then gather rocks, stones and other decorative elements of your choice to complete the project.

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                                                                  Last Updated on January 2, 2019

                                                                  How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                                                                  How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                                                                  Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

                                                                  Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

                                                                  Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

                                                                  This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

                                                                  Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

                                                                  What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

                                                                  Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

                                                                  When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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                                                                  How It Leads to Financial Improvement

                                                                  It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

                                                                  Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

                                                                  Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

                                                                  It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

                                                                  Types of Personal Finance Software

                                                                  When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

                                                                  Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

                                                                  For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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                                                                  Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

                                                                  When to Use Personal Finance Software

                                                                  So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

                                                                  Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

                                                                  1. You Have Multiple Accounts

                                                                  There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

                                                                  If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

                                                                  Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

                                                                  2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

                                                                  Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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                                                                  There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

                                                                  With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

                                                                  3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

                                                                  Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

                                                                  Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

                                                                  Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

                                                                  4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

                                                                  Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

                                                                  You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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                                                                  How to Get Started

                                                                  From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

                                                                  Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

                                                                  It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

                                                                  When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

                                                                  Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

                                                                  Final Thoughts

                                                                  Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

                                                                  In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

                                                                  Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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