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1. Pull together decor for an outdoor room or just cover up an ugly surface with an indoor/outdoor rug built to weather rain and more.
2. Cover up a hard surface that, tbh, is beyond visual help with interlocking Teak tiles you don't need tools to install. They're great for rental properties because you can take them apart and take them with you when you move!
3. Don't shy away from scattering container plants throughout your yard! They'll give your space ~levels~ of visual interest, especially if you're working in a space with few (or no) flower beds and lots of hard surfaces — like in this gorgeous Brooklyn backyard makeover.
4. But if you're not sure where you start, invest in a pair of matching containers you can set on your patio, along walkways, or around seating areas.
5. Roll out a weather-resistant cedar pathway along garden beds or other paths where your family tends to tread and wear down the grass.
6. Or place some smol picket fencing (1 foot tall!) around your prized garden beds to deter kids and pets from getting into them.
Promising review: "I have been looking for fencing to keep skunks out of my 'patio pond'....this fit the size, is good quality and is 'flexible' enough to bend around corners. Problems with the way they attach to each other but that seems to be common to these types of fencing. The manufacturer should look into some sort of clips to keep the pieces connected......decent price for as many as I got!" —Roseann from Dayton, OH
Get 18 composite pieces from Wayfair for $43.99.
7. String up waterproof globe lights for a big style impact when hung along your roofline, draped on outdoor structures like a pergola, or just strung up solo so you can enjoy the lights *and* the stars.
Reviewers note that you should remove the bulbs before stringing up the strands and then install the bulbs.
Promising review: "These lights were perfect for my patio, I've recieved plenty of compliments so far. The Edison light bulbs and beautiful and offer the perfect amount of lighting for any occasion...the clips were ideal for my eaves, the overhang of the roof, which made for simple installation...now just need to find a dimmer capable of handling the required wattage and the package will be complete." —Brody Vins
Get a strand from Amazon for $16.95+ (available in six styles and four lengths).
8. And stake solar lights along a walkway or pond right where you need 'em. Lighting is key for getting more use out of your outdoor space. Oh, and they look nice in the daylight too!
Promising review: "Impressed with the size of the cell which provides a larger surface area for charging. The lights are the brightest I've seen for a solar light and the illumination covers a nice range. Placed them along my pond giving the place a classy look." —Percussionist
Get six from Amazon for $35.99 (available in three colors and also in a pack of eight).
9. Stash recycling bins, bikes, a lawnmower, and other hefty tools you have no other place to look in this nice-looking shed if you don't have room for a full-fledged shed.
10. Switch to rapid-fill water balloons so you can cut down on prep time and get to the backyard fun so much faster.
11. Or try out a set of reusable water balloons in case you wanna keep the fun going with FAR less waste. *And* they won't sting when you get nailed, unlike regular water balloons.
Mama Love Boutique is a Sellersville, Pennsylvania-based shop that specializes in these balloons and knit hats.
These water balloons are handmade with a chenille-like yarn, which means they're soft, absorbent, and a great alternative to wasteful plastic single-use water balloons.
Promising review: "Got them, opened them, used them in the same day. I have two boys with LOTS of energy and they had so much fun pummeling me with these water 'balloons' 🤣 and I had fun throwing them right back. Not just for kids. Very well made. So happy with this purchase!" —Carley Campbell
12. Win the Parent of the Year Award with a mini sprinkler pool that'll help the fam cool off and get some water time without having to dump out a kiddie pool's worth of water once the fun has wrapped.
Several reviewers shared that this little pool kept their kids engaged for hours.
Promising review: "My kids love this. It is soo easy to plug the hose into and turn the water on and the kids can have hours of fun. Once the kids are done playing, I disconnect the hose let the water drain, and hang it over the porch." —Austin
Get it from Amazon for $24.96+ (available in five designs).
13. Allow your neighbors to marvel over some magnetic grill lights that I'm sure even Hank Hill hasn't heard of!
But really though, why isn't every grill equipped with these from the factory?
Promising review: "This was a surprise for my husband. He loves them. The lights are nice and bright and make grilling those last few things that didn't get finished before dark hot. He's also used them early in the morning when he's setting the smoker up before dawn. He's happy and finding them very useful. He especially loves the magnet on bottom so he can hang them off of so many things while he's busy and he can use the flexibility to shine them where he needs them. Very awesome and easy to use." —Holly Gomez
Get two from Amazon for $23.95.
14. And keep an instant-read meat thermometer handy to help you FINALLY cook the perfect steak while you're grilling. Or maybe just not give your family food poisoning!
Promising review: "Couldn't be easier to use really. I tested it with ice water and boiling water and it seems to be pretty accurate. I've already cooked some steaks using it and they came out perfect. Plan to use it a lot with my smoker and expect good results there too. I love that it has the magnets so I can stick on the fridge, the grill or the smoker and it's always handy. And you really can't beat the price at under $10!" —FCC
Get it from Amazon for $10 (available in two colors and also in a two-pack).
15. Let an outdoor drink stakes set hold your beer while you tend to the fire pit or check out how those burgers are faring on the grill.
Promising review: "As always, my order was shipped quickly and in perfect condition. I love the bright colors and they are talk and sturdy. They are perfect for bottles, cabs, and cups... Not so good with stemmed wine glasses! No problem: I just ordered silicone stemless wine glasses!" —LaDonna Clark
16. Spruce up stained concrete patios or walkways with some concrete paint for a refreshed look that'll make a HUGE difference.
17. But if you're renting or painting is out of the question for other reasons, a power washer will give you an oh-so-satisfying "after" when it comes to stained and worse-for-wear concrete surfaces. (And the same goes for fences!)
18. Extend your backyard time by investing in a lighted umbrella that'll tilt (literally) to your whims and give you the right amount of shade and light when/where you want it.
19. Use a brick pizza oven building kit (with a foam form for easier building) in case you've given up hope on having one after trying to price them out...this Etsy shop has tons of plans to help you DIY and save!
Brickwood Ovens is a Lynden, Washington-based shop that sells downloadable pizza oven plans for less than a buck, along with this form! With this form you can build the base and oven in just three weekends (or less). And it looks great with any color of fire brick.
20. Buy a conversation set with coordinating seats and a table so you can sit and enjoy your revamped backyard awhile. You deserve it!
21. Attach a roll of faux ivy to ugly wire fencing, railing, or a trellis to obscure a view you don't love.
22. Place a handsome privacy screen as a design element that'll also help obscure something less than desirable (like recycling bins or a neighbor's super ugly swing set).
23. Make a lil' oasis for yourself — even in the smallest of backyards! — with a hanging lounge chair your dog will adore too.
24. Nestle some light-up flowers amongst the *real* flowers in your flowerbeds around seating areas for a whimsical touch that'll make your backyard look like it's out of a fairytale once the sun sets.
25. Bring the island(-ish) vibes to your landlocked home with a light-up palm tree as a fun lighting option where you need it.
26. Set up shop in your new grass-side paradise with a double hammock you totally have permission to use just by yourself.
27. Invest in a set of s'mores sticks to *safely* reach closer to the fire for you so you can achieve the perfect level of toasted on that marshmallow. It's extremely important!
Promising review: "These roasting sticks will get the job done. They retract easily and will be perfect for light use (roasting marshmallows) with our fire pit. Not extremely sturdy but not flimsy either. The metal points are not sharp which is a good thing if kids are handling them. I like the storage pouch it comes with too." —Sheri J. O
Get a set of five from Amazon for $9.98 (available in four color combos).
28. And some chocolate-stuffed marshmallows that'll take an extra step out of making s'mores. Plus they'll perfect your chocolate-marshmallow ratio!
Promising review: "A friend had come across these once when they had gone camping for making smores. I thought that they would be great for our 'camping' that we have done during our lockdowns. They make the smores making experience so much easier. I love how the chocolate gets all warm too.
I have been brave and even tried some of their recipes for other uses for the marshmallows like making hot chocolate for the chocolate/chocolate ones. Super yummy, just make sure to cut them in half and that your milk is very warm before adding them." —MG.
Get two bags (one original, one chocolate-on-chocolate) from Amazon for $13.49 (also available in in a three and four-pack).