25 Backyard Landscaping Ideas On A Budget 2024 (2024)

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Do you have a boring backyard in desperate need of a makeover but lack the budget to make it happen?

Many people think that landscaping is an expensive hobby. But what if I told you that landscaping ideas on a budget for your backyard are now a thing, and it doesn’t actually cost a fortune to create your own slice of heaven outside your home?

Just like so many other DIY projects, landscaping on a budget is possible and there are so many tips and tricks you can use to save money. And there are so many materials you can work with, too: from the cheap to the expensive.

I’m as thrifty as they come and I am always trying to use DIY backyard ideas I find on the internet to spruce up my backyard on a small budget. So, buckle up as I guide you through an inspiring collection of images that will teach you how to landscape a yard on a budget.

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Contents

  • 1 Spectacular Stepping Stones
    • 1.1 Natural Bamboo Wall
    • 1.2 Scatter the Pattern
  • 2 Creative Containers
    • 2.1 A Piece Of Greece
    • 2.2 Backyard Honeymoon
    • 2.3 Pots ‘N Plants
    • 2.4 Jasmine Accolades
  • 3 Hanging By a Moment
    • 3.1 Drops of Color
    • 3.2 Wooden Support
  • 4 Terrific Towers
    • 4.1 Succulent Ideas
    • 4.2 Flower Tower Madness
  • 5 Exquisite Garden Beds
    • 5.1 Setting The Stage
    • 5.2 Miniature Herb Garden
  • 6 Rockin’ Rock Beds
    • 6.1 Rocky
    • 6.2 Pebbled Patterns
    • 6.4 Bed of Rocks
  • 7 The Minimum Is the New Maximum
    • 7.1 Out of a Fairytale
    • 7.2 No Stress with Less
  • 8 Trees and Fences
    • 8.1 Elementary, My Dear Yard
    • 8.2 Tree Playtime
  • 9 Take It Outside
    • 9.1 Hot Summer Nights
    • 9.2 A Trip Down Romance Lane
    • 9.3 Rockabye Baby
    • 9.4 Inside Out
  • 10 What Are The 7 Principles Of Landscape Design?
    • 10.1 Unity Or Oneness
    • 10.3 Balance
    • 10.4 Simplicity
    • 10.5 Variety
    • 10.6 Emphasis
    • 10.7 Sequence Or Transition
  • 11 FAQs
    • 11.1 Is there a free app to design landscape?
    • 11.2 Can you just lay pavers on grass?
    • 11.3 What is the least expensive landscaping material?
  • 12 Did You Like Our Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget?
  • 13 About The Author

Spectacular Stepping Stones

Natural Bamboo Wall

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There’s something about stepping stones in a backyard that almost offers a book-like feel, as if you’re taking a mysterious path to a land of adventure.

For simpler yard landscaping ideas, I recommend pairing the pathway with a natural bamboo wall, it’s basically a complete fairytale picture. In my opinion, bamboo can also easily be replaced with Thuja Green Giants.

ProsCons
Adds sense of adventure and mysteryDepending on the size and layout may not be practical or feasible

Scatter the Pattern

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If you’re looking for budget landscaping ideas for a small backyard, take note of this one: stepping stones backyard accompanied with bushy plants of your preference. I love it because any stone will blend in well with the lawn.

Front yard or backyard, it really doesn’t matter. Asymmetrical and staggered stepping stones with a natural lawn will give you a sense of balance yet elegance through its simplicity.

ProsCons
Budget-friendlyPlants may require regular pruning and upkeep
Adds a natural and serene look

Creative Containers

A Piece Of Greece

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The imposing elegance of these tall vases isn’t just aesthetically pleasing but also easy to obtain, despite budget restrictions. This is the design I’ve been trying to recreate in my front yard. The entire setup is reminiscent of a Santorini landscape, which can easily be recreated in your very own backyard.

ProsCons
Impressive and elegant designMay not fit with the overall style or theme of your yard
Easy to obtain and recreate

Backyard Honeymoon

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If there’s anything that can give you that killer Punta Cana type of backyard look, it’s this floral/container/tiki torch combination. This is a wonderful combo that brings together earth, flowers, and fire and proves that you can make your yard look as amazing as you want.

ProsCons
Combines different elements for a cohesive designCan be expensive
Can be customized to fit preferencesRequires maintenance

Pots ‘N Plants

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The next on my list is probably one of the easiest backyard landscape ideas that artfully combines potted trees and plants.Just look at these lemon trees in their big containers! What a stunning visual effect! Not only will this idea give your backyard a unique vibe, but it’s affordable and allows you to play with colors to give your outdoor space a dream-garden look.

ProsCons
AffordableRequires frequent watering and fertilization
Adds a unique vibeMay take up space in the backyard

Jasmine Accolades

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Affordable and appealing, check out this climbing potted plant idea that gives you an Instagrammable archway, so you can maximize the greenery in your backyard. I’ve been improving my gardening skills for years and still find this backyard idea a bit complex. So, if you’re a pro, go for it and make your neighbors jealous.

ProsCons
Affordable and appealingMay take time and effort to maintain
Can be a fun DIY gardening project

Hanging By a Moment

Drops of Color

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With a raised flower bed and a solid wooden fence, you can create a wonderful backyard setup that offers both privacy and relaxation. And when you add some hanging potted plants to the equation, you’re giving life to what would otherwise be just another wooden fence! I just love how well hanging greenery can fit into any design on my list; they are truly versatile.

ProsCons
Raised flower beds add visual appealCan be expensive to install
Solid wooden fences offer privacy

Wooden Support

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I always feel excited when I talk about hanging flowers. The beauty of having them in your garden is that you don’t need to place them alongside a wall or a fence. As you can see in this image, you can get really creative with your plant supports. This idea gives those wooden posts that are lying around in your garage a meaningful purpose.

ProsCons
Hanging flowers add beauty and colorMay attract pests like aphids or spider mites
You can get creative with plant supportsMay not last long ore require regular maintenance

Terrific Towers

Succulent Ideas

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A small backyard fountain is another affordable trick that can create an elegant effect in any yard. Plant some succulents inside the fountain for an evergreen setup that’s bound to give your guests something to talk about at the next gathering.

ProsCons
Affordable way to add eleganceCan be costly to maintain
Easy to maintain
Can be customized to fit any style

Flower Tower Madness

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Flower towers will never go out of style, and that’s not just because they are an affordable centerpiece for any yard. Instead of buying them, I managed to make them myself for fun. It’s pretty easy, and it can be a DIY project that can get the family together on a Saturday afternoon, resulting in something that everyone can take pride in.

ProsCons
AffordableRequires regular maintenance
Never go out of style

Exquisite Garden Beds

Setting The Stage

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Elevated garden beds are another great way to landscape your backyard if you’re short on cash. I like to play around with different edging materials, as you see here. Wood makes a nice statement, but you can always use metal, brick, or even cobblestones.

ProsCons
Can be customized to fit any backyardRequire more water due to faster drainage
Can extend the growing season

Miniature Herb Garden

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Oh boy, this little project right here has got me super excited! It’s basically an elevated garden bed divided into sections that allow you to plant your favorite herbs and spices. All you really need are some wooden planks to create the edges and separate the sections and some good soil.

ProsCons
Gives easy access to fresh herbs and spicesRequires regular maintenance
Saves space in small yards

Steep & Beautiful

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Not going to lie: this elevated garden bed might be inexpensive, but building it involves a lot of elbow grease and hard work. It’s probably better left for those of you with an inclined yard. The only thing that’s missing here to make this scene picture-perfect is a man-made creek, flowing through the rocks.

ProsCons
Inexpensive option for a garden bedRequires a lot of physical labor
Can be a fun DIY project

Rockin’ Rock Beds

Rocky

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Do you see something in this picture that’s caught your eye, but you can’t quite put your finger on it? Let me help you: it’s the rocks. Store-bought or collected from your journeys, rocks will always make the perfect landscaping material, be it for an improvised fountain or driveway edging according to our stone expert Christopher DeFeo.

ProsCons
Durable and long-lastingMay not be suitable for all types of landscaping styles
Adds natural beauty

Pebbled Patterns

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Here’s one more example of how rocks can complete your garden bed and add more personality and elegance to your landscaping. I usually use a low or flush metal edge to create an intricate border and fill it with pebbles.

ProsCons
Can serve as a natural weed barrierRequires regular maintenance
Durable

Round & About

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Decorating yards isn’t my only passion – I always scout for ​patio landscaping ideas on a budget. I like keeping simple yet attractive designs, just like this one.

I find white rocks magical. You can achieve a marble-like effect with them, making the corners of your yard look more elegant and expensive. Rounded stones give this patio a fine look, and the hidden floor lights will create playful shadows during nightfall.

ProsCons
Easy to implementWhite rocks may be difficult to clean and maintain
Creates an elegant and neat look

Bed of Rocks

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If you have rocks and stones of different colors that you’d like to include in your landscaping project, this setup shows you how to do it. You can use the larger rocks around the edges, while filling in the gaps with smaller stones for a beautiful look.

It is also a great idea for covering up mud and dirt in your backyard as I wrote in one of my posts.

ProsCons
Creates a beautiful landscape lookSetup may take a lot of time and effort
Can be used to cover dirt and mud in backyard

The Minimum Is the New Maximum

Out of a Fairytale

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Even when you don’t have that much backyard space to work with, you can add trees in the corners of your garden or plant smaller ones to save space.

Trim the bushes around the fence, and you’ve got yourself the perfect spot to chill at the end of a long day.

ProsCons
Adds aesthetic appealTrees may take years to grow and fully mature
Trees provide shade

No Stress with Less

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If it’s a minimalistic landscaping idea you’re into, you surely won’t exceed your backyard budget with this idea. A trimmed and healthy lawn is your best bet for keeping it simple while still offering yourself and your guests a corner where they can relax and enjoy the view.

ProsCons
Minimalistic landscapingRequires regular maintenance
Cost-effective

Trees and Fences

Elementary, My Dear Yard

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A fresh green lawn, some plant beds along the edge of the fence, and some perfectly aligned trees for symmetry: this is what you get when you follow these simple backyard landscaping ideas on a budget.

ProsCons
Plant beds add color and textureLandscaping can be expensive
Aligned trees can add order and symmetry

Tree Playtime

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You may think that this backyard design is very similar to the landscape ideas for fences I’ve mentioned earlier. However, its minimalistic beauty differentiates it from the rest.

Bookmark this page if you want to save some backyard space but still create an amazing landscape for less money. You can plant your favorite flowers at the base of the trees or simply let the lawn do its magic.

ProsCons
Minimalistic and aesthetically pleasing designLimited options for plant placement
Cost-effective

Take It Outside

Hot Summer Nights

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It’s amazing what a large impact a few throw pillows can make in any backyard gathering spot. You can purchase affordable outdoor furniture or repurpose and revamp that old couch in the garage by adding a bunch of throw pillows. Landscaping on a budget doesn’t have to be a headache.

ProsCons
Throw pillows add a pop of color and personalityMay require more maintenance and cleaning if used frequently
Affordable way to update your backyard decor

A Trip Down Romance Lane

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Don’t be fooled by this idea — I promise you it doesn’t take a lot of money to create that romantic look with pillows, lights, and a bunch of greenery (use some easy plants like hostas).

Lights are super inexpensive and available in a lot of different home improvement stores and throw pillows are so easy to make, you can do it yourself on a lazy weekend afternoon.

ProsCons
Can be a fun DIY projectRequire some level of skill and creativity
Easy to find materials in home improvement stores

Rockabye Baby

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Did you know that you can make your own outdoor wooden swing in one day and enjoy the results for a long time to come? I haven’t seen a better landscaping option than this one. I always bring up the idea of a swing whenever somebody wants peace and quiet in their own backyard.

ProsCons
Provides a relaxing and enjoyable outdoor spaceIt requires time, effort, and skill to build
Can add value to your home

Inside Out

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What’s not to love about having your favorite outdoor living room seating spot nestled under the dark, starry sky? If this firepit looks too fancy for you, you can always replace it with an outdoor coffee table, the perfect spot for your glass of red wine.

ProsCons
Creates a cozy and inviting outdoor living spaceWeather-dependent
Great for outdoor entertainingRequires maintenance

What Are The 7 Principles Of Landscape Design?

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Thanks to an article written by David Whiting, an Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist at Colorado State University, and Jeffry De Jong, a horticulturist from Canada, I found out there are 7 interconnected principles of landscape design you must adhere to if you wish to create a practical and pleasing outdoor living space.

So, what are the 7 principles of landscape design? I have made a simple list for you:

Unity Or Oneness

Unity is when everything works together. It is achieved by connecting all the outdoor areas by building paths, stairs, and fences.

Repetition is a crucial part of unity, as long as you do not overdo it. You can also stress one focal point in your outdoor space and build your design around it – this is called dominance. For example, I based my design around a large tree in my yard.

As I learned from Whiting and de Jong, every outdoor space should have a storyline, too.

The storyline shows what the owners want to feel or do when they spend time in their outdoor space and what they want to communicate to others. For example, my garden is a place where I can relax, while my neighbors created an active playground for their kids. A space without a storyline is not a design but rather a mix of plants, decorations, and outdoor furniture.

Scale & Proportion

According to Dave Garcia, owner of DPG Pavers and winner of the gold medal at the renowned San Francisco Flower & Garden show, the size of your space and the elements you use in your landscape design should be proportioned. In this regard, the big tree I was telling you about is not good since it draws too much attention from the rest of my garden.

Balance

As I read in a guide to sustainable landscaping in Santa Clara County, every element you use in your landscape design carries a certain visual weight. Finding balance means making sure this weight feels even throughout your outdoor space. There are two ways to do this:

  • Formal balance (symmetrical) – when both sides mirror each other.
  • Informal balance (asymmetrical) – when sides look different but carry equal visual weight.

I prefer the latter since it creates a more vivid space.

Simplicity

“Less is more” worked for my interior design, so why wouldn’t it work for my landscape design? Simplicity can be highly effective, suggests the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook. It points out that you should not struggle to fill every inch of the space. Instead, try prioritizing and creating a simple design with simple lines for a clean look and safe environment. This kind of space will be easier to maintain too!

Variety

The already-mentioned Dave Garcia explains that variety means using elements of different sizes and shapes. The goal is to create visual interest. If you overdo it, you will forfeit simplicity and risk having a hectic garden, like one of my neighbors.

Emphasis

According to the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, emphasis serves to spark interest and help focus attention on a dominant aspect of landscape design. You can accentuate parts of your design by using a splash of color, interesting texture, or a particular form. I vote for some crazy colors!

Sequence Or Transition

Kimberly Toscano and Michael V. Holmes from Oklahoma State University explain that sequence is a transition from one area in your outdoor space to another. If two areas have a similar scale, it is best to make a gradual transition to avoid ruining the harmony. If they are very different in scale (a small, confined space vs. a large, open space), you can make an abrupt transition (door, gate, or hedge).

If you’re having trouble understanding these 7 principles, try watching a great video I found:

FAQs

Is there a free app to design landscape?

There is a free app to design your landscape. If you have an Apple device, I suggest trying iScape, since it was of great help to me. Android users should check out the PRO Landscape Home app (available for iOS users too).

Can you just lay pavers on grass?

You can just lay the pavers on the grass, but there is a great possibility that they will sink and become uneven over time. It is thus far better to create a stable base for them to sit on, as confirmed by Western Interlock, a reputable paving stone supply company.

What is the least expensive landscaping material?

The least expensive landscaping material is foliage, especially if you trade plants with your neighbors like I do.

Did You Like Our Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget?

What did you think of my round-up of inexpensive landscaping ideas for backyard? As you can see, redesigning your backyard on a budget isn’t all that complicated. I, for one, am guilty of keeping bits and pieces of material and old stuff that I think I won’t need.

But, as long as you put your imagination to good use, these seemingly useless items (like garden sculptures) can really add some style to your backyard projects.

What’s the strangest household item you’ve used in a landscaping project? Be sure to leave a comment below to let me know, and if you think this piece might be useful to someone you know, feel free to pass it on!

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    Candace Osmond

    Award Winning Designer, Candace Osmond has been in the industry for more than 10 years. She studied Interior Decorating & Design and is also an accomplished writer and multi-published author. Apart from being an author on our website, she also writes for https://www.backyardboss.net/. In her free time, Candace can be found traveling, tending to her garden, or enjoying the outdoor haven on the earth that is her backyard. Candace currently lives in the beautiful Maritimes of Eastern Canada with her husband, two beautiful kids, and a bulldog.

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