You don’t need a ton of time or even effort to upgrade your outdoor space.

In fact, in an hour or less you could complete a project that will further turn your backyard or balcony into an impressive oasis.

Here are 10+ such projects to consider.

10. Get Rid of the Pests

Get Rid of the Pests

Nothing kills an outdoor party like insect bites. Make your own citronella candles or turn an empty wine bottle into an attractive mosquito repelling torch. The simplest and quickest bug deterring “project,” though? Plug in a fan.

9. Create a Vertical, Space-Saving Garden

Create a Space-Saving Garden

Even the smallest of spaces can sport great greenery, as long as you have some sun exposure. This canvas shoe organizer, for example, instantly becomes an herb garden once you hang it up and add some herbs.

Take it to the next level by adding a hydroponic watering system. Or you could create a vertical garden with a wooden pallet too, and perhaps fill it with mosquito-repelling plants for a two-in-one project.

8. Turn Your Backyard into a Theater

Backyard into a Theater

For under $10, you can create a portable projector screen for both indoors or out (a quicker alternative to the Wired build shown above, which takes an afternoon at least).

If you want to get more advanced than that and have more money (and possibly more time to spend), you’ll find answers to all things outdoor theater at Backyard Theater.

7. Stream Music Outdoors

Stream Music Outdoors

You gotta have good tunes for your outdoor oasis. Build audio components into an outdoor table or, for an easier solution, just stream music with Plex to your mobile phone (hooked up to portable or outdoor speakers).

You can even make your own waterproof speakers (that float!).

6. Build an Outdoor Oven

Build an Outdoor Oven

Cooking outdoors doesn’t have to be limited to just your grill. Make a cheap tandoor oven for baking naan and other flatbreads using just some terra cotta pots, a metal bucket, and some sand.

You can also create a solar oven out of cardboard and let the sun do all the work for you. (The sturdier solar oven version shown above might take you more than an hour unless you’re a speedy carpenter.)

5. Create an Outdoor, Weather-Shielding Canopy

Weather-Shielding Canopy

With a dropcloth and four poles, you can shade your outdoor retreat and protect guests from sudden rain. Not only is it quick and simple to put up, but a DIY canopy also costs a lot less than a custom shade or buying an umbrella.

4. Create a DIY Smoker

Create a DIY Smoker

For a different kind of cooking and the unmistakable flavor of smoked meats, turn flower pots into a smoker or hack your grill into a cold smoker. (Bonus project: turn terra cotta pots into a drink cooler.)

3. Turn Mason Jars into Outdoor Lights

Turn Mason Jars into Outdoor Lights

How about some simple, cheap mood lighting? Ubiquitous jars make handy hanging candle lanterns, battery-powered LED garden lights and solar-powered sun jars.

2. Make a Mini Fire Pit or Flaming Bowl

Make a Mini Fire Pit or Flaming Bowl

For lighting with more flare, consider creating these flaming rock bowls or mini fire pit. Both make an impressive fire show for your patio or deck.

1. Build Some Epic Outdoor Games

Epic Outdoor Games

Finally, liven up the outdoors with some classic fun games, like this DIY giant Jenga, huge Slip ‘n Slide, super-sized DIY bubble wand, or a lawn game made from pipes. Enjoy!


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