When the weather is nice, I want to go outside and enjoy it — and my favorite place to hang out is my own backyard. If you’re as determined as I am to create an outdoor haven, there are tons of cheap things that make your backyard so much nicer, and I’ve collected some of my favorites below. And since you’ll be hanging out at home, these items can also help you save money in the long run.
For example, instead of spending a small fortune at the movies, you can have your own outdoor movie night with a mini projector and portable movie screen. And instead of going out for dinner and drinks, you can cook on a portable charcoal grill and fill up this cooler with your favorite beverages. Bonus: The cooler also doubles as a table, so you’ll have a place to rest your drink while you relax. That’s not all — you’ll also find ways to upgrade your outdoor seating, lighting, and decor, and each item is easy to set up in no time.
If you’re ready to make your backyard way nicer without spending a lot, read on for affordable items that’ll make your outdoor space inviting and comfortable.
1. This bench that easily converts to a table
If you have a spot in your yard that’s begging for a bench, this convertible frame is a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to turn that spot into a place to pause and rest. It quickly converts from a bench to a table with seating on one side. You can fit this clever frame with any wood you like to create a customized bench and table that match your aesthetic and budget.
2. A patio umbrella to shade you from the sun
If the thought of too much sun exposure is keeping you indoors, set this patio umbrella down next to your lounge chair to create the perfect shady spot. The umbrella has a 7.5-foot diameter and the heavy-duty fabric shade tilts to create a comfortable angle. Plus, the lightweight aluminum pole comes apart for easy storage. Choose from five styles.
3. A decorative base to keep your umbrella standing
Slide your patio umbrella into this heavy resin base to create shade anywhere — next to a lounge chair, shielding a dining table, or behind a bench. The resin is impervious to weather, rust, and rot and it weighs over 25 pounds, so it won’t tip over easily. It also adjusts to accommodate different umbrella columns. Choose from antique bronze and black.
4. A side table so you have a place to set drinks
When you take your coffee or cocktail outside, set it down on this simple side table while you enjoy the weather. The table is easy to assemble and, since it’s powder-coated steel, it’ll withstand whatever the elements throw at it. It comes in seven colors, including lime green, black, and peacock blue.
5. This shade sail that protects outdoor spaces from sun
Stretch this simple and elegant shade over an entire outdoor area to create a sheltered space for humans, pets, and plants. It’s available in 13 sizes and installs easily to shade the patio or a portion of the yard that gets too much sun. The canopy comes in four colors — sand, terra, graphite, and cream — and boasts over 4,000 five-star reviews.
6. This hammock chair that creates a refuge anywhere
Hang this chair hammock from a tree or a support beam to create a relaxing refuge in your yard. It requires only one suspension point and features a roomy and comfortable canvas seat that’s large enough to nap in but upright enough that you can read. The hammock comes in two sizes and two colors: white or light gray.
7. These water-repellent cushion covers for outdoor seats
Outfit your patio seat cushions with these water-repellent covers to keep them protected from light rain and spills. The covers stretch to fit your seat cushions and have an elastic band for easy on and off. They’re available in three sizes and thirteen colors, including coffee, sand, and gray. Each cover is sold separately.
8. This soft Turkish rug that brightens your outdoor space
This soft indoor and outdoor rug can instantly brighten up your outdoor space. The Turkish-style rug is made from a cotton blend that’s durable and stain-resistant, so you can use it season after season. It fits beautifully in an entryway or at the foot of a deck chair.
9. These artificial flowers that require zero maintenance
If you don’t have the time or inclination to water and tend flowers, these big bunches of artificial flowers look like the real thing but require no care at all — and they’re always in full bloom. Just tuck them into a pot or place them into some soil and forget about them. Choose from 11 colors.
10. A reversible couch cover that resists water
If you have a couch on a covered deck, throw this reversible slipcover over it to keep it dry and free of pet hair, so you only have to wash it occasionally. This soft, water-resistant cover comes in seven colors, and it’s machine washable. It’ll protect your couch from damage, so you can use it year after year.
11. This buffalo plaid rug to upgrade your entryway
Set this buffalo plaid rug at the entryway, either on its own or under a smaller doormat, to create a charming and warm welcome. It will also stop dirt, mud, and other debris from crossing the threshold on the feet of people and pets. Over 3,600 Amazon reviewers have given it five stars, and it’s available in four colors and a range of sizes.
12. These rectangular throw pillow covers
Outdoor throw pillows suffer the assault of weather all season long, but you can spruce them up with these inexpensive and colorful covers. Pick the color that matches your decor and zip them over the pillows you have. They come in 28 colors and there are sizes to match just about any pillow.
13. These throw pillow inserts that pair with your favorite covers
Pair these pillow inserts with your favorite throw pillow covers — like the ones above — to make your patio furniture feel more comfortable and festive. The plush polyester pillows are available in eight sizes, and you can swap the covers as often as you like.
14. These flameless candles for perfect lighting
Candlelight creates a wonderful ambiance outside as well as indoors, and these flameless candles are safe and easy to use. The water-resistant candles can tip over without causing a problem, and you can turn them on and off using a remote. The set includes 12 candles, and each one is powered by two AA batteries (sold separately).
15. These artificial succulents that light up
Create a decorative centerpiece with these artificial succulents, which feature LEDs in the base. The battery-powered boxes are easy to place anywhere and feature a simple on/off switch. Use them to quickly create a zero-maintenance decoration on your deck, pool, or patio. Each set includes three plants.
16. These sphere lights that create a starry night
These starburst lights feature LED bulbs on flexible wires, so you can easily bend them into the shape you like. Each wire has five LEDs for a total of 200 lights per sphere, and you can use the included remote to adjust between 10 brightness levels and eight optional flashing modes. Four AA batteries are required (sold separately).
17. These hanging plants for no-labor greenery
You can instantly create a lush atmosphere in your backyard with these artificial hanging plants. Sold in a set of three, each of these fabric ivy plants is over 3 feet long and 9 inches wide, so they will create lots of believable greenery that requires no maintenance or care.
18. These solar patio lights that manage themselves
Once you hang these waterproof solar lights on your patio or in a tree, they will take care of the rest. They charge themselves with sunlight during the day and automatically glow for up to 14 hours at night. There are eight lighting modes and the control panel automatically remembers the mode you last chose, so you can set them and forget them.
19. A solution to your mosquito problem
Set this safe and easy-to-use mosquito repeller on the patio table to create a 15-foot protection zone against bug bites. The device uses heat and an unscented, plant-based repellent — so there’s no DEET involved — and gets over 14,000 five-star reviews from people who are astonished by how well it works. Choose from seven colors.
20. These solar-powered security lights with motion sensors
The only thing these solar-powered security lights require from you is the initial installation — and you can put them anywhere because they pull power from the sun, not the grid. The weatherproof lights have built-in motion sensors and adjustable brightness, timers, and motion detection settings.
21. An affordable firepit with a safety lid
When the weather gets chilly, you can create a campfire atmosphere in the backyard with this 28-inch firepit. It’s affordable, compact, and comes with a mesh spark guard and an easy-to-use lid lift tool. Reviewers note this firepit is easy to assemble and a great value for the price.
22. This quick privacy fence that looks like ivy
Just unroll this artificial ivy privacy screen and attach it to your fence or balcony to create a backyard hideaway. The durable, fade-resistant ivy looks lush year-round, and you don’t have to wait for actual plants to grow or water anything. The privacy fence is easy to install with zip ties or double-sided tape, and there are six sizes to choose from.
23. This genius hiding place for the trash
The yard looks great but where do you put the trash? Stash it in this decorative outdoor trash can. It’s made from durable resin and features a hinged lid with a latch, so it closes securely to keep odors and animals at bay. The hideaway trash can has a 33-gallon capacity.
24. A water fountain for rustic backyard decor
Create rustic backyard decor with this two-tier barrel waterfall. The weather-resistant fountain is easy to install — just plug it into an outdoor outlet, fill the top levels with water, and enjoy the soothing sound. The decorative fountain is the perfect size for a patio or backyard and boasts hundreds of five-star reviews.
25. These drink holders you stick right in the ground
These drink stakes are great for your croquet games, garden parties, or sitting in the sand at the beach house. Just stick them into the ground, sand, or a potted plant and set your drink into the cage at the top. It’s a cup holder that can follow you around the party. There are four per set, each a different color, and they hold a wide variety of beverage containers.
26. These inflatable loungers for outdoor naps
Get comfortable with these inflatable loungers, which don’t require a pump for inflation — just wave each one through the air until it fills up. The lightweight loungers are water-resistant and work as floating devices in the pool, too. Plus, there are pockets on the side so you can keep a phone or beverage handy. Choose from seven colors.
27. This inflatable pool big enough for adults
Remember that kiddie pool you enjoyed as a child? This is the grown-up version and it’s deep enough to lounge in. The inflatable pool sets up quickly — just inflate the top ring and fill the base with water. You can choose from four sizes.
28. This sprinkler for green grass and a fun place to play
With this lawn sprinkler, you can keep the grass looking lush and have a fun way to cool off on hot summer days. The affordable sprinkler offers adjustable spray and coverage of 3,000 square feet, giving you an easy way to maintain medium and large yards.
29. A small grill you can take anywhere
Whether you want to barbecue in the backyard or at the beach, this portable charcoal grill will do it quickly. Even though it’s compact, the grill offers a spacious cooking surface that allows you to fire up four to six burgers at a time. Plus, it weighs just two pounds and features three lid locks for safe and easy transport.
30. This cushion that turns up the comfort on your lounger
Make your outdoor seating more comfortable with this chaise lounger cushion. It’s long enough to fit a zero-gravity lounge chair — about five feet — and thick enough to provide comfortable cushioning on your chair. Plus, it ties into place at six points so you don’t have to adjust it constantly. The polyester cushion comes in two colors: gray and wine red.
31. A game of ladder toss for backyard fun
This game of ladder toss is easy to set up and comes in a handy carrying bag so you can whip it out at lawn parties, take it to the beach, or keep it on the deck for impromptu entertainment. With weather-resistant rubber balls, bright colors, and a built-in scoring system, this game provides hours of outdoor fun.
32. This set of solar torch lights for the lawn
These solar torch lights create a flickering flame effect that looks like the real thing — but these are flameless and waterproof, so they’ll never burn out. They charge with the sun and turn on automatically at sunset, providing up to 12 hours of light in the summer. Choose from packs of two and four.
33. A waterproof speaker for jamming at outdoor parties
Use this portable Bluetooth speaker to play music at your next outdoor hangout. The compact, water-resistant speaker connects to Bluetooth devices up to 100 feet away and offers up to 24 hours of playtime on one charge. If you buy two speakers, you can pair them with a single device for surround sound. Choose from five colors.
34. This outdoor outlet that lets Alexa control the party lights
Plug your outdoor lights into this smart outdoor outlet to control them from anywhere. The outlet is compatible with Alexa and Google Home, so you can control the lights with your voice, or you can manage them with a free smartphone app. The three outlets work simultaneously, so everything turns on and off at the same time.
35. A set of candles that look nice and chase mosquitoes away
These oversized soy-based citronella candles are perfect for the deck or yard. Each one has three wicks to throw beautiful light on your outdoor activities. And because they are infused with citronella oil, they’ll keep mosquitoes away, too. They even have a lid to match the base so they won’t fill with water.
36. A set of skewers for roasting hot dogs & marshmallows
If you have any kind of firepit in your yard, you can use this highly rated skewer set to roast hot dogs for dinner and marshmallows for dessert. The roasting sticks expand to 32 inches long, so you can keep your fingers away from the flame, and each one has a colorful accent on the handle.
37. This volleyball-style game that adults & kids will love
This Slammo game is a lot like volleyball — especially the spiking part — and it’s easy to set up in the backyard or take to the beach. The set includes a target, two competition balls, and one training ball, and there’s a travel case for portability. The game is fun for ages 12 and up and boasts over 3,200 five-star reviews.
38. This cooler that’s also a table
This clever cooler has a lid that pops up — and stays that way — to create a table on top of your ice and beverages. You can set your drink and phone down on it and you won’t have to move everything to get a drink out of the cooler. It has a built-in handle for easy carrying and a 4.2-gallon capacity, which is enough room for about 15 beer cans with ice.
39. This portable screen so you can watch a movie anywhere
This projector screen folds up small enough to fit in a backpack and is easy to set up. Use it in the yard, take it on camping trips, or mount it in the family room and you can watch a movie on a 150-inch screen as soon as the sun goes down. It comes with clips and ropes, which — according to reviewers — work quite well to hang it from anywhere.
40. A tiny projector that fits in a backpack
This mini projector is great for outdoor movie nights. It features built-in speakers, HD resolution, and all the inputs you need — including HDMI, USB, Micro SD, and more — so you can connect to a laptop, TV box, or HDMI-enabled device. Plus, it will connect to a portable power bank if you want to take it off the grid.