4 Easy Backyard Projects You Can Tackle Over the Weekend

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Avery Johnson

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Published on June 25, 2021

Craving a summer project? While we love a good home shopping foray (and yes, July 4th does mean good sales, too…), there’s something to be said for the satisfaction of getting your own hands dirty and putting a truly personal touch on your space. You know, that way when someone asks “where did you get this??” you can nonchalantly, and ever cooly, respond: “oh that, I just made it myself.” Mic drop.

Sure, you can take on a big home reno. But those take more time, and bigger budgets. If you’re looking for an easy DIY, Havenly lead designer Brady Burke shares his top picks for simple household projects you can do yourself — over the course of a weekend. We’ll cheers to that.

Whether you want to prep in advance of your July 4th gathering, or use the long weekend to tackle a fun home project, we can promise you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor for the rest of your summer. Let’s get to work!

Grow a Rustic Vegetable Garden

Every home has a few bare spots and some remnants from old home projects simply collecting dust. Repurpose that extra scrap wood and an empty corner of your yard by transforming it into a rustic vegetable garden. Simply dig out a square or rectangle of space and create a frame around it with wood, filling the center with potting soil and your rows of vegetable seeds or plants for an easy garden. (We won’t tell if you go the starter seedling Home Depot route. Cause we did, too.)

If you’re looking for a more creative challenge, old or broken planters and vases can be used to create tiered flower beds and add a bit of eclectic style to your yard. Consider repurposing a ladder (or even creating your own ladder-style frame with that extra scrap wood) to lean up against the side of your home. This works particularly well in smaller spaces without a massive yard, even your apartment patio. Simply fill the planters with different veggies and arrange them on the ladder for a lush vertical garden look. With a little TLC, you’ll be harvesting your own salads (or cocktail herbs) by summer’s end.

Apartment Patio with Wall Succulent Planters

Add Shutters, or Window Boxes

Windows are like the eyes of a home, and as we all know, sometimes a little mascara can go a long way (metaphorically speaking). If you love the homespun aesthetic, this is the moment to try out wooden shutters for a touch of traditional style. Pro secret: the shutters don’t even need to be functional to upgrade your house and give it more curb appeal—it’s just the look and idea that adds the charm.

Or, embrace that Parisian lifestyle and bring a pop of color and life to the front of your home with window boxes. Not only are they super easy to install, they also come in a variety of styles to suit your home and your personality. Wood will give you a more rustic look, metal adds an industrial flair, and of course, basket-styles are always a classic. Plant your favorite flowers or greenery, and you’re good to go.

For kitchen window boxes, we love planting herbs. Then you can feel like Ina Garten as you reach outside to snag some basil for dinner!

Backyard patio with potted succulents

Plant a Vertical Succulent Garden

For those of us who are lacking a green thumb or simply don’t have much time to tend to a garden, succulents and air plants are your new BFF. Disguise large swathes of exposed outdoor wallspace with a vertical garden of succulents, air plants, mosses, and other low-maintenance plants. The result, an organic green wall that doesn’t require much upkeep.

Brady reminds us to be aware of the plants’ sun requirements—don’t mix plants that need direct light with those requiring indirect light so they can all grow happily side by side.

Backyard patio with fire pit coffee table

Build Your Own Outdoor Fire Pit

Nothing says summertime like the sound of crackling wood, the gentle orange glow of flames, and sticks of marshmallows poised for s’mores. While a custom fire pit build can cost a pretty penny, this simple DIY approach requires no gas lines or major construction.

Clear a space in your grass, digging a circle at least 6-inches deep, and fill it with gravel. Add a steel ring to create a structure and keep flames contained (yes, like everything else, you can find these on Amazon).

Then, after a super cheap Home Depot run, layer old bricks or cinder blocks around the steel ring. Tap each layer of stone down with a rubber mallet to secure the blocks or bricks as you build it higher. Now you’ve got yourself a fire pit, easy peasy.

Last, but certainly not least, surround your pit with Adirondack chairs and watch your outdoor gatherings extend from day to night. Ghost stories are not a requirement.


Interested in more ideas to weave personality and character into your space? Our designers have got you covered. Start your design journey with our style quiz.

Boho patio with rattan outdoor furniture

Words by Avery Johnson