Your backyard would be so much better if you did any of these simple things, according to experts

The grass is greener on your side.

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Once warm weather hits, the backyard is the place to share a good meal, roast marshmallows, or just lie out in the sun. If yours could use a little refresh, you’ve come to the right place, as I’ve connected with a handful of experts — including landscapers, contractors, and designers — who were more than happy to share their favorite simple tricks for making any backyard so much better. From gardening tools to cleaning hacks, make your yard a 10 out of 10 with these practical tips.

01

Add mulch to your yard & garden beds

Steve Sylva, owner of Steve's Services landscape company, has an easy trick for a better-looking backyard. “A simple yet effective way to make your yard more vibrant is through the use of mulch,” he tells Mic. “Not only does it prevent weed growth, but it also helps retain soil moisture and improves the overall aesthetic of your garden beds.”

This particular bag of mulch is made using dye-free, sustainable wood, making it safe to use around kids as well as pets. A 3-inch layer is all you need in order for it to prevent weed growth — and it’s so versatile that it can be placed in gardens filled with vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs, or even trees.

02

Use a smart sprinkler to keep your lawn hydrated

A dry, brown lawn can make even the prettiest homes look crummy. “An efficient solution is installing a smart sprinkler controller,” Sylva shares. “I've observed significant improvements in lawn health and water savings with the use of such devices.”

Though if you aren’t sure which sprinkler to choose, fear not — Sylva goes on to recommend this version. “It adapts watering to the weather and allows you to control the sprinklers right from your smartphone, ensuring your lawn gets exact water amounts without waste,” he explains. The weatherproof design also means you won’t have to worry about it short-circuiting if it gets wet on rainy days. Most reviewers were able to get it up and running in 30 minutes or less.

03

Brighten up dark areas with easy solar pathway lights

You don’t have to head indoors just because the sun has gone down. Instead, Sylva recommends installing solar-powered lights. He tells Mic, “These lights can be staked along pathways or around sitting areas to provide a beautiful night ambiance without added electricity costs.”

Not only does the solar panel on top of these pathway lights keep them powered for up to eight hours at night, but the waterproof design ensures they’ll keep working come rain or shine. Installation is as easy as pressing them down into the ground — no hardwiring required.

04

Use a simple soaker hose to keep plants watered

A soaker hose may be the solution if you’re tired of watering your yard. “Soaker hoses are one of my favorite garden hacks,” explains Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love. “These kinds of hoses are specifically designed for watering plants. They can be moved around easily and have a large number of tiny holes that evenly drip water directly into soil at a low pressure.”

This particular soaker hose delivers a consistent, even drip throughout its entire length, so there’s no need to worry about certain plants getting more water than others. You can also bury it underneath soil or mulch if you want your plants to get a more direct dose of water. Plus, the lie-flat design helps prevent kinks throughout its length.

05

Incorporate native plants to your yard & garden

If your backyard is missing, according to Scott McLeod, owner of McLeod Landscaping, the answer could be as simple as planting some wildflowers. “[...] I have found that one of the best ways to enhance a backyard simply and economically is by incorporating native plants into your landscaping,” he affirms. “Native plants are not only cost-effective since they are adapted to the local environment and require less water and maintenance, but they also help support local wildlife.”

McLeod goes on to recommend the beauty beyond belief brand, which offers seed blends “[...] tailored to different regional climates and can help kickstart a native garden area” — such as this collection of wildflower seeds. They will thrive in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 9, and are resistant to drought — which is great in the event you don’t have time to water them every day — and one packet is enough to cover more than 100 square feet of space.

06

Start a vegetable garden to save yourself some money

If you’d like a side of veggies with your wildflowers, consider starting a vegetable garden. This starter kit comes with everything you need to grow five different veggies: lemon crystal cucumbers, red lettuce, golden beets, purple salad onions, and rainbow radishes. And since each kit is currently available for less than $25, you should recoup your initial investment after just a few harvests.

07

Keep plants hydrated with a drip irrigation system

To simply and consistently maintain your yard (ideal for those who forget to water), you can consider adding a drip irrigation system. According to McLeod, “It saves time and reduces water wasted through evaporation or runoff compared to traditional watering methods.”

This particular drip irrigation system is not only affordable, but it also comes with enough hose to cover up to 50 square feet of space. Its two-way faucet lets you easily divide the flow of water between different spaces. To install, just connect to your outdoor spigot and add water outlets wherever you need.

08

Opt for multipurpose furniture to maximize space

McLeod tells Mic that “[...] creating an outdoor living space with multi-functional furniture can maximize the utility of your backyard.”

This storage ottoman features a watertight top that lifts up to reveal hidden storage space where you can stash pillows, gardening equipment, or anything else you can think of. And with a weight limit of up to 300 pounds, you can easily use it as a seat for guests.

09

Store cold drinks inside of this pop-up side table

If you’d like to prevent having to walk all the way to the kitchen for a bevvie, this outdoor side table has your number. Not only is the exterior made from weather-resistant resin, but the top also lifts up to reveal a hidden cooler on the inside. It features enough space to store up to 40 standard-sized cans — and a drainage plug on the bottom makes it easy to empty once all your ice has melted.

10

Light a fire pit to create a cozy, relaxing vibe

Few things are as cozy as gathering around a crackling fire — especially when it’s in your own backyard. “Conversations with family and friends are always better around a fire pit in the backyard,” says Josh Rudin, owner ASAP Restoration LLC. “Fire pits are a great way to tie all of the open space in a backyard together in a way that makes sense for everyone.”

With that in mind, this fire pit is absolutely worth a look. Each order includes a poker, waterproof cover, as well as a protective mesh top to help protect your backyard from flying sparks. And if it’s too warm to light a fire, you can also remove the mesh top, fill it with ice, and use it as a cooler for drinks.

11

Use a container garden for accent greenery

Whether you want to create distinct yard zones or add greenery to a paved area, a garden box is a clever way to do so. “Container gardens aren’t just for fruits and veggies, they can also be used for accent and statement plants that become a conversation piece when guests are over,” explains Rudin. “They can also be an effective way to establish a privacy fence if something like bamboo is cared for in the containers.”

This raised garden box comes in five different sizes, making it suitable for backyards both large and small. It’s made from galvanized sheet metal, with a rust-resistant finish to help keep it looking good from season to season. The open base helps prevent your plants from developing root rot — and many reviewers raved about how easy it was to set up.

12

Add flavor to your yard by planting an herb spiral

From earthy basil to bright cilantro, planting herbs is a clever way to keep yourself in fresh ingredients and give your backyard a fresh scent. “Everyone loves herbs and spices in their food, but they can also be a fragrant and gorgeous way to add flavor to your yard,” explains Rudin. Even if you don’t have a ton of space for an herb garden, it’s not a problem, as Rudin suggests opting for an herb spiral. He tells Mic that it’s “[...] an excellent way to get these aromas around you all the time, and in a decorative and fun way to present them as well.”

With that in mind, this vertical planter is worth a look. Its five tiers give you ample room to plant all sorts of herbs — and the compact base even helps you save space. Choose from three colors: stone, hunter green, or black/white.

13

Decorate bland patios with colorful sculptures

If you want to enhance your yard beyond plant life, it may be time to try decorating with some sculptures. “Not only are sculptures a fantastic way to make your yard stand out from the Jones’ next door, but you can also support your local art community by displaying examples from community artists,” explains Rudin.

With its colorful wings and sturdy metal frame, this bird statue is a gorgeous addition to any backyard. The rustproof paint won’t fade over time — even when left out in direct sunlight. Plus, each order comes with a set of screws so that can you secure it down to the ground for added stability.

14

Prune any plants that have untrimmed ends

Spring cleaning isn’t just for the inside of your house — especially if your yard could use some pruning. According to Ryan Carrigan, CEO & Co-Founder of Move Buddha, warm weather months are “[...] a good time to get outside and trim back any overgrowth and start tending to your sod.” He also recommends handling business in the yard. “If your lawn needs weeding, do that first. Getting any weeding and raking out of the way first leaves you with a blank canvas to start from.”

With that in mind, this Japanese gardening knife is great for digging, sawing, and slicing. The full-tang blade is made from sharp stainless steel that’s resistant to rust — and each order includes a protective sheath for storage. Plus, the tropical rose hardwood handle is just as sturdy as it is resistant to decay.

15

Get rid of those unsightly weeds

This clever tool is designed to reach down into dirt, pulling up weeds by their roots so that they don’t regrow. Its padded handle makes it easy to keep a firm grip when working outside. And since it’s made from tough stainless steel, there’s no need to worry about it breaking or rusting over time.

16

Fertilize your lawn using a spreader bucket

Springtime is a fantastic time to treat your backyard to a fertilizing. “All the April showers that will bring May flowers will also help that fertilizer penetrate the surface level of soil and get right to the root of your sod,” explains Carrigan. “This helps replenish nutrients your grass may have missed over the winter.”

Carrigan recommends using this spreader bucket. He tells Mic, “It’ll come in handy too if there is any seeding of bald spots that you need to do. It makes the fertilizing and seeding process quicker.” It can hold enough fertilizer to cover up to 1,500 square feet, so there shouldn’t be any need to constantly refill it. And once the cold winter months come around, you can also use it to spread salt on your driveway.

17

Use a fertilizer that helps prevent weed growth

When it comes to beautifying the lawn and nourishing your grass, this bag of fertilizer is worth its weight in gold. It’s formulated to control more than 50 different types of weeds, including clover, dandelion, chicory, purslane, and more. You can use it on nearly any type of grass — and one bag is enough to cover up to 5,000 square feet.

18

Treat all the plants with high-quality food

This versatile plant food is formulated for flowers, vegetables, trees, or nearly any other type of greenery in your backyard or garden. You only need to add it to your plants once every two weeks for best results, and this one is guaranteed not to burn your plants when used as directed.

19

Build an attractive retaining wall with yard rocks

Building a retaining wall is a high-efficiency means of landscaping. “This is something you can do yourself, and you can get the pavers at any local hardware store or stone lot. Another way to do it is by building a literal rock wall,” Carrigan tells Mic. Beyond aesthetics, he adds that retaining walls “[...] will help divert any water runoff if you have trouble with that during the rainy season.”

With all this in mind, this gabion cage is currently available for under $100 and is poised to become a longterm addition to your landscape. It’s made from galvanized steel that’s completely rustproof and is designed to be filled with stones or gravel.

20

Enhance safety & visibility by installing security lights

It doesn’t matter how good your backyard looks if it’s too dark to see it. “[One] aspect often overlooked is the power of proper outdoor lighting,” explains David Skulbru Jr., project manager at Alfred’s Roofing. “By installing motion sensor lights [...] you can enhance safety while providing sufficient illumination for evening activities.”

These outdoor flood lights feature a motion sensor, and their dusk-to-dawn sensor also prevents them from wasting electricity when it’s still light out. Plus, the three LED heads can rotate 270 degrees, making it easy to direct light wherever you need it.

21

Illuminate dim areas with solar deck lights

Another easy outdoor illumination trick, these solar deck lights are an energy-efficient choice. Install the waterproof lights using standard screws wherever you need them. They’re waterproof to withstand the weather, and the solar panel atop each one charges in just four to five hours and can stay on all night with its automatic dusk-to-dawn feature.

22

Set up a sustainable rain collection system

Sometimes the best tips are the ones you least expect — like the idea of setting up a rainwater collection system in your backyard. “This eco-friendly method not only reduces your water bill but also provides a sustainable water source for gardening,” explains Skulbru.

And while that may sound complicated, don’t worry — the process is as easy as placing a barrel underneath your gutter downspout. Skulbru tells Mic that this barrel makes “an easy-to-install option that integrates seamlessly into a backyard space, ensuring you have a direct, naturally sourced water supply for your gardening needs without depending on the main water system.” Its flat back allows you to sit it flush against the outside of your home. Plus, the stabilized frame has been designed to hold up against harsh sunlight for up to 12 years.

23

Use a gutter diverter to channel rainwater

Whether you’re using a barrel or another vessel on-hand, this gutter diverter makes setting up a rain collection system easy. It’s designed to fit any standard-sized downspout, and comes with a 4-foot high flow hose so that you can direct all that rainwater into your vessel. A switch on the side lets you control how much water to collect.

24

Invite wildlife into your backyard by hanging up a bird feeder

“One of my favorite backyard [elements] is a bird feeder to attract birds and add wildlife-friendly elements to your backyard,” explains Kamil Kozorys, interior designer and co-founder at Unique Tiles.

This bird feeder is available for less than $20, yet it’s so big that it can hold almost 3 pounds of bird seed — and the large opening at the top makes it easy to fill without making a mess. Choose from five colors: brown, gray, green, purple, or gold. And if you prefer to build your own, Kozorys shares, “You can even construct a DIY bird feeder station using recycled materials or repurposed household items [like] old bowls, mugs, or even wine bottles.”

25

Attract hummingbirds with a dedicated feeder

If you live in an area with a hummingbird population, you can attract the busy and beautiful little creatures to your yard with this specialized hummingbird feeder. Crafted from a durable, fade-resistant polymer in colorful, flower-like hues, this easy-to-fill feeder works with honey or sugar water (one part sugar to four parts water) to bring the birds to the yard.

26

Compost organic waste to create fertilizer for your garden

A compost bin is one of the most eco-friendly upgrades you can add to your backyard. “As a sustainable backyard enhancement, you can use a compost bin to recycle organic waste and create nutrient-rich compost for your garden,” Kozorys tells Mic.

This compost bin is currently available for less than $40 and handles food scraps, yard waste, cardboard, and more. It can expand out to 4 feet high, and features ventilation holes so that air can circulate freely throughout. Plus, the durable polyethylene frame is designed for long-term use.

27

Create a pathway using gravel, river stones, & more

You don’t have to hire a professional if you want a stunning pathway in your backyard. Instead, Kozorys suggests that you “[...] create a DIY pathway using stepping stones, gravel, or mulch to connect different areas of your backyard and create a sense of flow and cohesion in your outdoor space.”

With that in mind, this pathway template is worth a look. Not only does it help ensure that your pathway pattern is uniform throughout, but you can also reuse it across multiple projects. Kozorys adds, “I often use natural and inexpensive materials like slate, river rocks, or recycled bricks to add texture and character to the pathway.”

28

Use river rock stepping stones to create a natural look

If the idea of making a pathway from scratch doesn’t strike your fancy, consider taking a look at these stepping stones. Not only are they an easy (and gorgeous) way to create a pathway in your backyard, but each one is made from lightly polished river stones, giving them an upscale vibe that’s sure to look good in just about any backyard. Choose from three shapes: round, hexagon, or rectangle.

29

Add flair to gardens & pathways with river rocks

Whether you’re creating a pathway or adding some flair to your garden, this bag of river rocks is a solid pick. Each order comes with 5 pounds’ worth of rocks — or about 60 rocks per bag. And with three colors to choose from (natural, marble, or white), you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that suits your backyard.

30

Hang up string lights to create a warm, inviting vibe

No outdoor oasis is complete without some string lights hanging overhead. “Dress up your patio with string lights and hanging plants,” affirms Evan Torchio, CEO and founder at Tree Menders. He suggests to “[...] drape them around your patio or pergola, or weave them through tree branches for a magical evening glow.”

These particular string lights feature waterproof sockets, so feel free to leave them up all year long. You can connect up to 60 strands together in order to cover extra-large spaces — and the plastic bulbs won’t shatter if dropped. Choose from two strand colors: black or white.

31

Use vibrant planters to add pops of color

Torchio recommends that you “[...] use terra cotta pots or hanging planters (also readily available on Amazon) to add pops of color and life.” This ceramic planter houses your greenery while adding some pizzazz. It comes in seven different colors, and a drainage hole on the bottom helps prevent overwatering. Plus, soft pads on the bottom of the water saucer help prevent scratches should you place it on a table.

32

Put your plants on display in unique pots

If you prefer a lightweight planter, opt for this terra cotta-look pot instead. The dragonfly etchings around the base makes it stand out from the crowd — and since it’s made from weather-resistant plastic, there’s no need to worry about how it’ll hold up from season to season. Choose from three colors: terracotta, chocolate, or beige.

33

Opt for low-maintenance plants if your thumb is less than green

You may want to opt for plants that require very little maintenance in order to thrive. “Spider plants, ferns, and even herbs are all low-maintenance choices that thrive in hanging containers,” says Torchio. “It's a budget-friendly way to create a cozy and inviting outdoor space.”

These spider plants do well in indirect sunlight, making them great for backyards that are largely covered in shade. They also require very little water in order to grow — and the included planters also feature attached hooks so that they’re easy to hang up.

34

Display plants in stylish hanging planters

To help your greenery enhance your decor even more, these hanging planters are worth a look. They’re made from weather-resistant plastic, with a faux marble pattern that makes them look way more expensive than they are. And if the faux grey marble doesn’t suit your backyard, you can also grab them in four other styles: speckled white, speckled black, rock gray, and matte white.

35

Grow aromatic herbs in hanging planters for a fragrant refresh

Torchio recommends herbs as another low-maintenance, hanging planter option. This set of four sweet mint plants fits the bill. Their aromatic leaves send light notes of mint wafting through the air, and they grow just as well in partial shade as they do in full sun. Though if you don’t particularly care for sweet mint, you can also grab live peppermint as well as spearmint plants.

36

Avoid the need for regular watering by opting for drought-resistant plants

Marco Picano, co-owner of Picano Landscaping, has an even easier suggestion. “A simple and budget-friendly tip for transforming your backyard is to incorporate low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants,” he tells Mic. “These plants require less water and care, making them ideal for busy homeowners.”

Picano recommends this live succulents collection, which he calls “[...] perfect for adding a touch of greenery without the hassle of frequent watering.” These succulents require minimal care to thrive. Plus, they’ll grow just as well indoors as they will outside — all they need is direct sunlight.

37

Use wooden planks to make pathways or garden edging

You don’t have to spend big bucks on brand-new materials in order to makeover your backyard. Picano suggests using recycled or repurposed materials. “For instance, reclaimed wood can be used to create attractive, eco-friendly pathways or garden edgings. This not only reduces waste but also adds a unique rustic charm to your outdoor area.”

These planks are made from 100% naturally weathered wood, giving any DIY project a rustic touch. Each piece is completely unique from the next one, essentially guaranteeing that no two projects will come out looking the same.

38

Landscape with eco-friendly materials

Speaking of eco-friendly materials, these stepping stones are made from recycled rubber that not only looks good, but is designed to last. Installation is as easy as laying them down wherever you like. And they also have a grippy surface that helps prevent slips and falls when wet.

39

Make sure you have proper tools for your DIY project

Any project is going to require the right tools in order to get the job done. “For those looking into DIY projects, purchasing a basic toolset like the ‘BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Drill & Home Tool Kit’ can be a great start [...]” explains Picano. It comes with a 20-volt hand drill, hammer, various drill bits, and more — all of which come packaged in a handy travel case. Plus, the rechargeable lithium ion battery can hold its charge for up to 18 months.

40

Opt for a tool set that won’t break your budget

If that previous drill was a little too pricey for your liking, this set is a budget-friendlier option. It comes with 19 different drill bits to help you tackle nearly any project — and the drill even features a built-in LED light to help you see exactly where it’s pointed.

41

Clean your outdoor space to keep it looking good

A well-kept backyard will always look better than one that’s covered in grime. “It [...] doesn’t occur to many homeowners that cleaning patios, paths and decking can transform a space,” explains Michael Witherspoon, national sales manager at GK Products. “A slab that you may have thought was dark and gloomy can be a much lighter and attractive piece of stone once jet-washed and dried.”

With that in mind, this pressure washer is absolutely worth a look. It powers through dirt, grime, mildew, and more — all without any scrubbing required. At only 15 pounds in weight, moving it around should be no trouble at all.

42

Boost your pressure washer’s cleaning power with some cleanser

Now that you’ve grabbed that pressure washer, it’s time to complete the job with this cleaning solution. Its peroxide-based formula is free or harsh chemicals and is specifically made for use with pressure washers. It’s also suitable for use on gazebos, driveways, plastic furniture, pavers, and more.

43

Use a hard bristle broom to scrub away dirt & grime

Witherspoon also has a more affordable alternative to help get your backyard looking oh-so-clean. He tells Mic, “If you don’t have access to a jet wash then cleaning solution with a hard bristle brush will do a very good job and freshening the floor and removing build-up of algae, moss and dirt.”

This particular broom features six layers of hard, stiff bristles, making it easy to brush away all sorts of dirt. Its 63-inch handle means you won’t have to bend over in order to clean deep underneath patio furniture. Plus, a loop at the end of the handle lets you hang it up in storage to help save space.

44

Embrace old-school charm with a wooden swing

Nick Hedberg, founder of As-Is Home Buyer, tells Mic, “With a swing in your backyard hanging by an old tree - the area will look straight out of a vintage novel.”

This particular porch swing is made from real wood — not plastic — and has a weight limit of up to 880 pounds. Setting it up only takes about 20 minutes using two people. Choose from five finishes: natural, brown, black, white, or rustic.

45

Hang up a tree swing that’s kid-friendly

If you’re looking for a kid-friendlier alternative to that porch swing, search no further than this tree swing. More than one child can easily fit on it, as it has a weight limit of up to 900 pounds. The weather-resistant Oxford polyester is designed to stay looking good from season to season — and the adjustable ropes make it easy to hang from sturdy trees of nearly any size.