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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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                                                                  Published on May 7, 2019

                                                                  How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                                                                  How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                                                                  When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

                                                                  Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

                                                                  Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

                                                                  You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

                                                                  Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

                                                                  1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

                                                                  Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

                                                                  But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

                                                                  • Will you spend more time with your family?
                                                                  • What does retirement mean to you?
                                                                  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

                                                                  Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

                                                                  Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

                                                                  2. Figure out When to Invest

                                                                  “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

                                                                  It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

                                                                  The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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                                                                  A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

                                                                  Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

                                                                  3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

                                                                  Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

                                                                  Why?

                                                                  Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

                                                                  Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

                                                                  Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

                                                                  Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

                                                                  4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

                                                                  Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

                                                                  If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

                                                                  You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

                                                                  1. Vanguard
                                                                  2. TD Ameritrade
                                                                  3. Charles Schwab

                                                                  5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

                                                                  Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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                                                                  Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

                                                                  That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

                                                                  Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

                                                                  A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

                                                                  6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

                                                                  The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

                                                                  Robo Advisors

                                                                  Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

                                                                  Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

                                                                  Bonds

                                                                  Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

                                                                  Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

                                                                  Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

                                                                  1. Treasury bonds
                                                                  2. Government bonds
                                                                  3. Corporate bonds
                                                                  4. Foreign bonds
                                                                  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
                                                                  6. Municipal bonds

                                                                  Mutual Funds

                                                                  Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

                                                                  One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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                                                                  Real Estate

                                                                  Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

                                                                  Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

                                                                  This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

                                                                  But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

                                                                  Savings Accounts

                                                                  Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

                                                                  7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

                                                                  Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

                                                                  So how can you master delayed gratification?

                                                                  By building your discipline.

                                                                  Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

                                                                  Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

                                                                  8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

                                                                  I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

                                                                  It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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                                                                  More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

                                                                  But, how can you invest yourself?

                                                                  Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

                                                                  Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

                                                                  But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

                                                                  Retire Happy with Excess Money

                                                                  The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

                                                                  It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

                                                                  I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

                                                                  Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

                                                                  One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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                                                                  Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

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