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The Great Outdoors DIY

Summer in Kansas City means two things: it’s too hot outside to do anything but relax in the shade with a cold cocktail, and before long you’ll be trading that lawn chair and margarita for a fire pit and spiked apple cider. In both cases, an inviting outdoor space is essential.

Whether you’re an amateur design aficionado or your idea of outdoor seating is a stump from an old tree you cut down, there are plenty of budget-friendly, simple ways for anyone to spruce up an outdoor space.

  1. Go Green: There are countless ways to add life to your back patio with plants and flowers. Pinterest is a great resource for everything from landscape design to DIY stackable pots and vertical planters. Depending on how green your thumb is, you may want to consult an employee at your local gardening store to learn about the hardiness of different plants. Choose specimens that will thrive based on the climate of your space and the amount of time you have to care for them, and they’ll stay beautiful all season long.
  2. Feel the Burn: Every backyard is better with a good fire pit setup. You can purchase a simple pre-fabricated fire pit or chimenea from a store like Home Depot for anywhere from $100 to $1000, or you can just purchase a few basic materials and build your own. Lowe’s has a complete instructional video with written step-by-step instructions on their website that could be done from start to finish in one afternoon, so you’d even have time to sit and enjoy your hard work the same day.
  3. Be a Benchwarmer: The best part about having a nice outdoor space to enjoy is filling it with family and friends. Make sure you have plenty of seating for all of your loved ones with a simple rustic bench. All it takes is a few cinderblocks and 6x6 wooden posts, but if you need help visualizing the finished product 1001 Gardens has a few different styles to suit any taste.
  4. Hit the Bar: An outdoor bar is a stylish and practical addition to any back patio, whether you’re a master mixologist or you just need a good place to set out the snacks for your garden party. Woo Home has a range of options and styles, but there is something to be said for the simplicity and economy of vertical wooden pallets with a countertop and stain of your choice.
  5. Light It Up: Turn your backyard into a midsummer night’s dream with a dreamy lighting scheme. Perhaps you’re looking for something more permanent, such as wine bottle torches or mason jar lanterns, or you want to play around with party ideas like paper bag lanterns and hanging tea lights. Whatever your goal, Buzzfeed has a list of 28 de-light-ful ideas to get you there.

If you’re wanting to do a total outdoor overhaul and don’t have time to implement all of these ideas, be sure to keep an eye out for end-of-summer and Labor Day sales. You can snag great deals on outdoor essentials like furniture and garden décor, and still have time to enjoy the season.