These DIY Backyard Ideas Will Help You Design Your Own Outdoor Oasis

There are so many outdoor projects you can take on yourself.

Private Backyard with Flowers and Shrubs
Photo: Eric Van Lokven / GETTY IMAGES

Your backyard is full of potential. Whether you have a wide, sprawling space or a small plot, your exterior can easily be transformed into the outdoor oasis of your dreams.Starting from scratch, however, can feel overwhelming. That's why we're sharing our best DIY backyard ideas that you can design, make, or cultivate yourself—no landscaper necessary.

The backyard ideas on our list truly run the gamut. Beginner crafters, gardeners, and even well-seasoned wood-workers will find DIY projects that fit the bill. We also have easier—and smaller-scale—backyard ideas that will add some subtle freshness to your outdoor space. A flowing water fountain made out of primordial pots will make your great outdoors feel that much more tranquil. Best of all, it's really not that difficult to create: This simple DIY project involves only four steps and we're sharing plenty of ways to customize your creation. Another water feature worth considering is a birdbath; while you won't be able to use it yourself, you'll love that it that will have winged friends flocking to your space. Ours is made of terra-cotta and comes together in under five steps.

Explore more of our favorite DIY backyard ideas to spruce up your space, no matter its size.

01 of 17

Create a Vining Garden

unfinished wooden garden lattice with greenery
Mona Makela / Getty Images

Want to bring both more color and more privacy to your backyard? Grow vining plants, like climbing hydrangea, roses, or honeysuckle, up over a section of lattice. While it's a fairly hands-off project—you'll just need to set up the lattice panels, then plant your preferred shrub—it will require time for your flowers or greenery to become established.

02 of 17

Add Some Color to Your Furniture

puppy sitting on an outdoor sofa
Ashley Poskin

Use some paint to add a pop of blue (or whatever hue suits your fancy) to your backyard furniture—the finished product is sure to delight. This simple restoration will make your outdoor area your new favorite place to get some fresh air. If you don't have an old outdoor sofa to upgrade, seek one out at a flea market or antique store.

03 of 17

Build a Pond

small pond backyard patio area
Eirasophie / Getty Images

Yes, it is possible to create a pond in your own backyard, but it's a project that'll require some time and a fair amount of work. The finished product is well worth that effort: Not only will it look great, but the trickling sound of water has a calming effect, too.

04 of 17

Use an Outdoor Rug

Aaron Dyer

Who says rugs (when they're made of the right fabric) can't be used outside? If you have one that you love that's seen better days, make this easy DIY: Simply purchase an outdoor-friendly runner and, using water-resistant paint, stencil on some stripes.

05 of 17

Make a Bird Bath


Terra-cotta is a tried-and-true medium for an array of DIY backyard projects, but we think it lends itself most beautifully to a birdbath. Make your backyard an oasis for feathered friends, too, by setting up this beautiful piece in your backyard.

06 of 17

Give Your Patio Set a Refresh

outdoor patio table and chairs
Ashley Poskin

Elevate your backyard furniture with a little bit of paint and creativity. After a few hours, you'll have transformed your entire seating area without ever having purchased new pieces.

07 of 17

Grow Fragrant Flowers

sweet pea spring annual
Getty / Ruth Brown

A backyard idea that will delight multiple senses? Plant sweet-smelling blooms like gardenias or sweet peas, pictured here. Most flowers will require some level of ongoing tending, but the beautiful, colorful results will make the process entirely worthwhile.

08 of 17

Plant an Herb Garden


Create this tower of herbs and you're giving yourself the gift of fresh, flavorful ingredients all season long. Add it to your backyard and place it where it'll receive ample sunlight.

09 of 17

Hang a Wreath

sweet laurel retreat hanging orange wreath

Whether hanging from a tree or from your back door, this citrus garden wreath is a fun idea to liven up your outdoor space. Best of all, it's a project you can complete quickly, which means you can easily swap it out for a new design anytime the mood strikes.

10 of 17

Make a Bird House


Whether you're a bird watcher or someone who just loves to experience animals in the backyard, creating a birdhouse is the perfect DIY project for you. Creating this modern A-frame is actually easier than it looks, but it does involve a bit of woodwork. Customize your finished piece to suit your home's unique style.

11 of 17

Construct a Deck

white and gray Room and Board patio furniture
Courtesy of Room & Board

If you have ample backyard space, building a deck is a great way to make the most of it—and it can even add to your home's curb appeal. The process is definitely time-consuming and will require a great deal of work (and potentially permit requests from your municipality), so it's important to fully consider what you're getting into first. If a DIY doesn't sound up your alley, talk to a local contractor about having one professionally built. Either way, it's bound to be a feature you'll use for years to come.

12 of 17

Add a Raised Garden Bed

california house vegetable garden bed
Kimber Collective

Whether you want an elevated patch to save your back or you love container gardening, incorporating a raised garden bed into your backyard will help you yield lots of gorgeous crops.

13 of 17

Grow a Vegetable Garden

farmer holding an assortment of vegetables
Getty / RossHelen

Do you have an unused plot of land in your backyard? Put it to good use by transforming it into a vegetable garden. After all, few things are quite as rewarding as enjoying the fruits of your labor. Plant anything from peppers to tomatoes—depending on the climate—and enjoy your harvest.

14 of 17

Make a Water Fountain


Yes, you can make a trickling water fountain in your backyard—all you need are a few extra pots, a pump, and some piping. Once it's done, sit back and relax in your new zen-like oasis.

15 of 17

Make a Fire Pit

outdoor fire pit overlooking a sunset
Getty / Chandlerphoto

Making a fire pit is actually easier than you might think—and it serves as a welcome addition to any backyard once the weather begins to cool off. If building your own sounds too labor intensive, purchase a pre-built option and devote your time to landscaping around the area where you'll set it out.

16 of 17

Welcome Bees

diy bee home for backyards
Brendan Austin/courtesy Space10

Bringing pollinators to your backyard is a way to ensure your garden stays blooming all season long. You have a few options on how you'll achieve this goal: Building a beehive that they can call home is great, but filling your beds with pollinator-friendly plants will also welcome these important creatures to your backyard.

17 of 17

Set Up a Trellis

arch trellis covered pathway with climbing pink roses and vines
Getty / Thomas Janisch

Trellises are perfect for growing vining plants, but they also help create a shade-like canopy and lots of visual interest. Purchase a pre-built trellis, then get to work planting your favorite flowers and greenery to grow along each section.

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