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Top 10 DIY Upgrades For The Ultimate Summer Yard

Get away without going away! These Step-by-Step projects will help you turn your backyard into an instant vacation. -Tabitha Sukhai,

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2. Porch Ceiling Fan

Take a few indoor comforts with you when you go outside this season. Create your own cool breeze with a porch ceiling fan. And, don't limit yourself to outdoor furniture that's hard plastic. Go for plush, weatherproof seating and brightly-painted end tables. While you're at it, throw down an outdoor rug, a few planters, and a coffee table. Now, just look at all the livable space you just added to your house for the summer. Take a tour of the rest of this outdoor space.

3. Porch Swing

If there's no swing on your porch, you're doing porches wrong. Hang one like the York Harbor Porch Swing by Penobscot Bay shown here, or channel your inner carpenter and assemble one from a DIY kit. You'll learn the strongest, safest way to hang it at that last link, too.

4. Privacy, Please.

Noisy (or just nosy) neighbors? Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to make your yard a more private retreat. Shown here, staggered wooden boards create a one-of-a-kind privacy fence softened by shrubs and shade trees. (That takes care of visual barriers, but you can even reduce noise pollution with water features. More on that later.) See the aptly titled 10 Ways to Add Privacy to Your Yard for more ideas.

6. Garden Fountain

We mentioned earlier that adding a fountain to your backyard can mask unwanted sounds like passing traffic or noisy neighbors. It's easy enough to make one out of just about anything, including a salvaged urn or a stack of rocks (shown).

8. Outdoor Dining

Set up a bistro set for brunch with your sweetie. Unpainted wood sets like this one may require annual sealing with a penetrating oil, such as teak or tung oil, to maintain their luster.

Similar to shown: Living Accents 3-Piece Wood Bistro Set in acacia, about $80;

See also:

25 Thrifty Ways to Create Outdoor Dining

How to Build a Small Deck