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DIY with Pride: Outdoor Projects to Show off Your Skills

By Sarah Finazzo May 20, 2024

do it yourself landscaping projects

Many of us love the satisfaction that comes with completing a project on your own. Whether it's a small task or a larger project, the feeling of accomplishment is hard to beat. If you're looking for a way to improve your home's curb appeal, create an entertaining oasis in the backyard or just add some personality to your outdoor space, there are plenty of DIY yard projects that can help you do just that.

From simple landscaping updates to more complex projects, these ideas will help you create a backyard oasis that you'll be proud to show off.

So, grab your tools and let's get started!

Pollinator Gardening

You don't have to be a master gardener to accomplish this one! This is a DIY landscape project that gives back to both you and local wildlife.

Consider which pollinators you want to help and then do some research on what attracts them that is native to you climate. Native plants are key for this project. Native plants have adapted to their local environment over time, and they are the best choice for supporting diverse local populations of birds, insects, and other species. These plants will help keep your ecosystems in balance and truly make a difference.

do it yourself landscaping, add a pollinator garden to your front yard
Tilly in Illinois

Add or Update a Walkway

A walkway is a great home improvement project from both a practical and beauty standpoint. And believe it or not, walkways can be a DIY landscaping project - just check out some of Tilly's DIY walkways!

Depending on your level of expertise you can work with a variety of hardscaping materials. The simplest options are gravel and mulch, which can be laid and kept in line by garden edging. Or try fantastic stepping stones - through grass or with ground cover surrounding them. Getting more complicated there are beautiful ways to do it yourself brick, stones and more!

do it yourself landscaping update a walkway in your front yard
Tilly in Virginia

Mulch Your Garden

We know... we are a bit of a broken record on mulching, but it truly makes a wonderful difference. Not only does mulching give your garden a finished feel - but there are benefits, such as water retention and protecting your plant's roots that make it a truly valuable task that you shouldn't skip! It will also help reduce weeds from growing in your garden. While mulching is work, it will actually cut down on your garden maintenance in the long run.

Mulching around your garden bed, shrubs and flowers in a front yard can truly make a difference in your landscaping and curb appeal - and it's a project that doesn't have to break the blank. Just remember to go with natural mulch!

Read read more about mulching in our recent blog post.

diy landscaping add mulch
Tilly backyard plan

Create a Certified Wildlife Habitat® to Benefit Wildlife

If you're into the idea of planting a pollinator garden to help local wildlife, you may love the idea of creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat® in your yard. Tilly, along with the National Wildlife Federation™ can design your yard to meet the requirements of this certification. The requirements include design items such as having food, shelter, water and places to raise young in your yard. The good news is that many of these requirements can be met just by adding native plants to your space.

A Certified yard promises to add a splash of color to your backyard with the vibrant blooms of native flowers that help meet the established standards.

choosing plants and bright flowers for a pollinator garden in a front yard
Tilly in Illinois

Spruce Up the Side Yard

Side yards don't have to be forgotten spaces or simple pass throughs. Think about the goals of your yard and if you can use your side yard to meet any of them. Dreaming of a zen garden but don't have room in your backyard? Wishing you had an herb garden but your yard is too shady? Maybe the side yard is the answer.

We've designed side yards with sneaky play spaces for children, quiet patios for solitude, a mini golf putting green, and many more ideas.

But you don't have to dream big, a great do it yourself landscaping project can start with cleaning up your side yard or giving it a simple refresh to be more visually appealing! In some cases this may be a landscaping project that can be accomplished in a weekend.

diy landscaping spruce up the side yard of your house
Tilly in California

DIY Fire Pit

Looking for ideas the whole family can get involved with? A DIY fire pit is a great, fun addition to a backyard that everyone can enjoy year round. Fire pits will keep you warm in the winter, and have you stargazing and roasting marshmallows all summer long.

Fire pits have can be as simple or complex as you like. You can purchase a portable bowl at the hardware store, you can have a professional install a fancy fire pit area - or there are fantastic ways to DIY a fire pit nook.

Consider what type of project you are ready to tackle (and your budget!) and then start to plan. If you're not sure where to start, Tilly can help you with our DIY fire pit product that connects you with a professional landscape designer. Your designer will create a DIY fire pit area custom for your yard, needs and budget. You'll receive a detailed plan and instructions you can follow to complete the job on your own.

rustic fire pit with beautiful annuals, flowers and landscaping that enhance the area
Tilly in New York

Modern Gravel Patio

Having a designated space for entertaining is a great way to make the most of your outdoor space. Believe it or not a patio is also something you can DIY, especially if it's using a simple hardscaping material like gravel.

Gravel patios are inexpensive compared to other options. We love gravel patios for a chic, modern look in a backyard. Surround them by flower beds, plants and landscaping and you've got a beautiful garden oasis to enjoy all year.

gravel patio ideas with planted gardens surrounding
Tilly in Texas

Edging for a Polished Look

Don't underestimate the difference that edging can make when gardening. Edging is a way to create visual separation between your lawn and garden beds. It helps your yard feel neat and organized, which is especially important in a small backyard or front yard.

There are many types of edging for your garden borders- from thin metal, rubber, stones and bricks. You can also edge with no products, but using a flat shovel to create a straight line between your grass and garden. If you are feeling like your yard is overgrown or chaotic, edging is a great way to help create visual barriers that feel organized and contained.

Check out this article on edging for tips and tricks on what works and inspiration on the perfect solution for your garden.

edging ideas around garden beds with soil and flowers
Tilly in New Jersey

Paint Furniture

As you probably know from the inside of your house, painting can make a big difference. Consider giving furniture, benches or an old shed a fresh coat of paint to upkeep the appearance. You'll be surprised at the new life your furniture can take on with a new coat of paint!

herb gardens next to a house
Tilly in California

Landscape the Garage

Like a side yard, depending on where your garage is located, the surrounding area can often be neglected. Try updating the landscape design around the area, which will seem more manageable than your entire yard (and is easier on the budget!)

For this we recommend focusing on some evergreen shrubs that will offer color year round and then complimenting with your favorite flowers that are appropriate for your given climate and sunlight conditions.

Remember to design in layers so you have something tall, medium and small. If you only do two of the three, your design can seem unbalanced and like it has empty spots. For more tips, you can check out our article on how to design a front yard, which offers landscaping pointers!

landscaping around the garage for visual interest
Tilly in Massachusetts

Add an Outdoor TV

Become the most popular destination on the block by adding an outdoor TV to your backyard.

Make sure to purchase a television that is designed for outdoor use and is outdoor rated. This is important since TVs designed for indoor won't be able to handle the elements.

Additionally, think about the location for the TV. It should be placed in a spot where it will be sheltered from the elements and and be within view of your desired seating area. You can consider a cabinet that opens and shuts for extra protection. Keep it within safe distance of features like a fire pit or a pool where it may get splashed.

When considering placement, it's also important to consider power options and where you will be mounting it.

Lastly, for the ultimate entertaining enjoyment add some outdoor speakers to balance out the surrounding outdoor noise. Happy viewing!

do it yourself landscaping project, tv in a small backyard
Tilly in Indiana

Add a Small Garden Bed

A rewarding do it yourself landscaping project can be adding a small garden bed to your yard. This is a fun project that can actually lower the maintenance on your lawn if you are removing grass. Here you can enjoy adding trees, flowers or plants that you personally enjoy. Have fun and embrace your garden style.

This can be done on any budget or phased if you are working on a larger project.

plant a small garden bed
Tilly in Washington

Create Curb Appeal with Planters

We love easy weekend tasks and updating planters or containers with some of your favorite annuals is a great way to get started gardening. Have fun with your planters and chose whatever style pots speak to you - rustic, cottage, modern, tropical!

This is something you can maintain year round, with mini evergreens in the winter, lots of color in the summer, and festive holiday arrangements in between. You can spend as little or much as you like and the possibilities are endless. Just make sure that you chose flowers that are appropriate for your zone and sunlight conditions.

You can gather more seasonal planters ideas in our recent blog post.

tropical house with different plant and hardscape materials in the landscaping
Tilly in South Carolina

More on Tilly

Tilly’s easy online landscape design process has been embraced by homeowners across the country and in Canada. From Texas, Florida, Colorado to Illinois - we have a team for you! Tilly designs front yards, backyard or your entire property. We match you with a professional landscape designer who is familiar with your region. 

To start our process you’ll fill out a questionnaire about your property that helps our design team understand your goals, needs and existing landscape. You can add 3d renders, lighting plans or side yards to your design package. You’ll then connect with your designer on a video call to meet them, show them your space and talk about your priorities.

When you receive your design you will be able to purchase your plants at a discounted rate through our team of plant experts and have them delivered directly to your curb. Tilly can also provide recommendations of local installers who can help you complete your landscape project.

Tilly also offers individual do it yourself landscaping projects. With DIY Spaces, you are matched with a landscape designer who will design a custom project for your yard. This will include a scaled drawing, lists of materials (which you can order directly through Tilly to install your project) and detailed installation instructions to help even a first time DIY’er tackle a yard project!

Wherever you are in your yard journey, we can help!

Read more about: Tilly Portfolio, Landscape Design Tips