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13 ways for transforming your yard into an oasis on a budget over the weekend that won’t break your budget. (From cheapest to less cheapest-er)

Some people have a natural talent for landscape design. They can see what looks good and use their intuition to set things in motion. Others of us, myself included, can benefit from a having things spelled out a little more directly. Below are 6 guidelines to steer you clear of some common newbie mistakes and spark some creative ideas.

Like everything else, these are just guidelines and sometimes they are meant to be broken, but as a general rule, if you follow these tips, your yard will have a bit more mystery, feel more inviting, and have your neighbors wishing they had your eye for design. Without further ado…..

1) Create mystery.

People are drawn to things that intrigue them-the sound of water, a large garden gate, a meandering walkway, or even the mystery of what could be around a corner. Set up things in a way that make you and your guest want to see more and get closer. Most of the time this means creating little mystery, you’ll know you’ve done it right when you hear your internal monologue say ‘I wonder where that goes?’ or ‘I wonder what’s over there?’. An effective strategy is to obscure the view of a focal point just around a corner, but draw attention to the fact that there is something there worth seeing.

 2) Build rooms in your yard.

People naturally tend to congregate in literal circles about 9ft in diameter. Why? Because we enjoy talking to each other. A task that’s hard to do when we are much further apart than that.

3) Water features

Water is one of the primal necessities of every human being needs. It’s no wonder that simply hearing the sound of it puts us into a more relaxed state. Water features make great focal points as well as being a work of art. You’d be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck. I found several on craigslist for hugely discounted prices. Sometimes you can even get it delivered by offering an extra $20 or so.

4) Fire Pit

Just like water, fire is another one of those primal triggers. It’s natural and inviting once sun starts to set. Set up a basic fire pit using some blocks, bricks, or just buy a cheap used one on craigslist or offerup.com. People tend to think that bigger is better but this is not necessarily true. A small metal fire pit will have just as much draw as a big one. As always, plan for safety first and have a hose nearby to avoid any unnecessary drama.

5) Pavers

 6) Edging

7) Use lawn art to make center piece or accent piece.  

8) ramada

9) plants (from seeds)

10) grass,

11) arbor/trellis

12) pathways.  

This one tops the list because it’s so easy to make and so versatile. A simple pathway creates wonder and anticipation in the eye of the viewer. It can also draw your attention to areas of your yard that you want to highlight, such as a piece of yard art, a fountain, or just around a corner to an outdoor game area.

13) Plant grass/water grass

14)  Shade sails

  15) String lights.

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