Jul 18, 2012

DIY Projects to Make Any Backyard Into a Staycation

HGTV: The tranquil seaside sunbeds at the Afro Chic Diani Beach Kenya
I've been so Inspired by an article I read on HGTV  DIY Outdoor Projects Inspired by Boutique Hotels.
They used a lot of pretty resorts and hotels  as inspiration to creating a backyard oasis.  I like the ideal of your backyard feeling like a resort, your escape on the weekend.  One example  in this article is to use white or sheer curtains  off your deck or balcony and to use bright yellow accents.  They also suggested styling with beach accessories (pictured below).   Don't have a deck or balcony?  You could make a gazebo using PVC pipes or purchase one for $100-200 ( I did a quick search and found one at Home Depot for $150).  I think I'll either make a living (plants) room divider for our patio, or buy or make a PVC gazebo next year.  This year for our outdoor patio, I'm working on making a plarn (using plastic bags as yarn) crocheted outdoor rug (post to on on that soon) and scouring estate sales for the perfect patio furniture. 

DIY Your Own Private Cabana  In Your Backyard image via HGTV

Buy Patio Furniture That Doesn't Look Like Living Room Furniture.   
Bistro sets are excluded from this (I'm really digging the classic french bistro wrought iron sets right now).  I have come to love outdoor furniture that looks like it should be inside.  I especially love the ideal of an outdoor sectional.  I'm dreaming that I'll advance enough in my woodworking skills to make this outdoor section plan by Anna White.    I'm totally obsessed with her site and she has inspired me to try to learn woodworking (I took a class and made a foot stool this spring).  There are 3 pictures people have submitted that have completed the plan, below is my favorite one, she said it costs her $240 in materials.  I love that you can actually pull the pieces apart and use them as chairs. I would stain the wood dark and have beige cushions.  You could make this sectional bigger or smaller than pictured as well.

DIY a Bold Outdoor Rug 
You can paint a drop cloth, crochet a plaryn rug or buy an outdoor rug. I've been dreaming of getting an outdoor rug for awhile but can't stand the thought of paying so much for one!   I've decided to make my own out of plarn (plastic bags as yarn). It looks like a N hook will probably work the best. Now why did I  recycle all thoose plastic bags...?  I'll post when I finish!

DIY Painted Outdoor Canvas Rug HGTV
Plaryn Outdoor Rug by Seaddle Bags

Have an Outdoor Daybed   
 Daybeds are just as functional outside as they are inside.  They can make a great "couch" for entertaining or you can lay down and read a book, even take a nap!  Prudent Baby made one out of pallets that has me wanting to hunt down pallets!  I like the round pillows on the side.  It makes it look more couch like.  I just would cover the exposed pallet bottom myself.  I would either use thin wood pieces or formaldehyde free plywood to cover it.

Check out the daybed at the Palmilla in Los Cabos, in Mexico a 5 star Resort image via HGTV
Check out how to make this pallet daybed from Prudent Baby

You could also make a canopy daybed or a lounger like the one user Tiki262 on Rate My Space did.  He says " The base of the canopy was bought as is. The canopy was made with 8 2"x2"x8' pieces of basic wood from the hardware store. We drilled in a piece at each corner. We bought 8 1x2 brackets and drilled to the top of each of the vertical pieces (2 sides each, and laid the 4 horizontal pieces, cut to measure, inside. Drilled them in for stability. Stained the entire thing. Used muslin for the canopy. Sewed 2 very long pieces together for the width of the canopy, then added 2 more pieces perpendicular at each end. Of course you will need to measure for your specs at each step."  Check out his page here.

lounger canopy bed by Tiki 262 via HGTV

Dramatic Lighting is an Easy DIY with Big Results
One ideal I got from watching a video Emily of "Secret's of a Stylist" on HGTV  A bohemian Room on a Budget is to use string solar lights to create a Whimsical "ceiling" in the summer, and use for Christmas decorations in the winter. Below are some stills from the video, you can see her full posts here.

Still from the bohemian outdoor makeover Emily Henderson did of HGTV
Still from the bohemian outdoor makeover Emily Henderson did of HGTV
Below are some other good examples of using light outdoors.  My favorites are lanterns made out of  paper or glass (hanging, on table tops, paths, and lawns), solar string lights (in trees, bushes, structres), and candles (on table tops).  There are also lots of cool ways you can make your garden itself glow.  One way is to use glow in the dark paint on garden bling.  

  love the table and ceiling lighting
Use your canning jars as candle holders via Apartment Therapy
Lanterns can line a path as well as be placed on tables
a great via inspire bohemia example of how using lanterns, candles, and string lights can create a magical evening

Make an Outdoor Stocked Mini Bar 
The Peninsula Beverly Hills exclusive villa suites come with fully stocked bars.  When you look at extras at hotels you have a new understanding about just how all those little extras really do spell luxury.  A bar cart is a glamourous throwback from the 60's and an easy DIY that screams luxury and staycation!  You can build your own cart or repurpose used furniture or by a cheap bookcase from your local box store.  Olive Our House made a really cool bar from an old book case using wine and glass racks from Ikea (pictured below).  How nice would that be as an outdoor bar?!  I also really like the ideal of using a bow rake to hang on a wall  next to your cart to hold glasses.    If you don't already have one check out estate sales to get one cheap and then follow the tutorial from Country Living.

photo by Peninsula Beverly Hills via HGTV
HGTV's version of a bar cart The basket is secured to the cart
Use a bow rake to hang  on a wall  next to your cart to hold glasses  Check out how at Country Living
DIY Trunk Bar Cart Via Apartment Therapy
Book case turned bar from Olive Our House
Build your own with Anything Pretty's  tutorial  extra bonus is it could be used as a potting or grilling  stand too!

Create a Living Wall
 The easiest way to garden on the vertical is to create living walls.  I've seen some gorgeous versions of this (see the first photo below of a Vancover loft space), some pretty ones (framed succulent art that wold be super cute hanging above a couch), and some down right ugly ones (sorry not a fan of the pallet living walls).  Bottom line is I'd only try it if you really thin it will add to the space and is easy to maintain (dead plants aren't pretty).  If you have stucco walls I wouldn't bother (like I do), just to make sure you don't damage it.  We repaired a crack once for close to $1000 once!  

Love this Wall of plants via Style at Home
Plant succulents in wall trays and frame for a living work of art find out how at Country Living

Better Homes and Gardens has a great tutorial on how to make a succulent work of art by using a shadow box, frame, and hardware cloth if yo don't want to by anything special to make it.  So how do you keep plants on a wall?  I was wondering the same thing!  Check out this video below for some great ideals about how to do large living wall installations.

Check out this balceny makeover with a large living wall installation (10 min)

Are you like me and don't have a wall to use?  You can still plant on the vertical.  I love the ideal of using an old dresser as a planter.  Check out Somewhat Quirky's gorgeous dressor and DIY (pictured below).  I love this ideal it easy inexpensive and allows you to plant more.  You even have another surface for entertaining or planters. I think dressers as planters would look fab either fancy looking (think glam bedroom), country rustic, or painted a fun color. 

Check out somewhat Qirky's tutorial for making this dresser into a planter

You can also create a living wall with vining plants and a wall of trellises.  This would be a great way to define an outdoor room.  I'm working on a tutorial on how I built mine to come soon until then you can check out this one here.

I hope I've inspired you to make your backyard, or balcony, or what ever out door space you have into your own oasis.  I know it will take years to get mine where I want it, but the journey is the fun part!

©2010-2012 A Minneapolis Homestead All rights reserved. Photos and content cannot be reproduced 


  1. Ha! Ok, not that I'm going and commenting on all your posts, but you and I are a lot alike I think! :-) I am in the process of finding furniture for two areas, one is a new sitting area I created in the backyard, and the other is new furniture for our screened in porch. Funny! I'll be blogging about those projects in detail once I'm done too. The screened in porch might have to wait until next year because of cost... but my husband is planning on building something for the backyard sitting area yet this year. I'm thinking of making the cushions myself, cushions are the most expensive part! Fun stuff!


    1. LOL. Comment all you want! I love getting feedback that' what makes blogging fun. This post was kind of like me thinking/ dreaming out loud for the future. This year I'm just hoping to find a good deal on an iron bistro set and make a rug. I figure getting a sitting area started is the best place to start. Can't wait to see what you guys end up doing. If you need any help in learning how to make cushions feel free to e-mail me. I'm sure I could find some online resource to help ya. I teach sewing through community education and have a degree in fashion design. I would suggest going to SR Harris http://www.srharrisfabric.com for your outdoor fabric, I have bought some there before. They're short on staff (you have to cut your own fabric) but have an amazing selection at 1/2 the price of Jo Ann's or Hancock. They have a coupon for $6/yard for outdoor fabric you can see it here: http://www.srharrisfabric.com/pdf/coupons_01_12.pdf It is by far my fav fabric store.

    2. I can't wait to see what projects you end up doing. Thanks for the tips on the fabric. I wish I would have known that last year! :-) I made a cover for a large bench in our basement and I didn't even know how to sew. It was pretty stressful! I was thinking about taking a community ed class, you'll have to give me details about that. My friend and neighbor helped me through my sewing project, but I wish I knew how to sew better. It's kinda fun! I'll let you know about the cushions. I'm nervous about the thickness of the fabric, and this would only be my second sewing project. Ha! I'm probably biting off more than I can chew with this one. :-)


    3. I forgot to tell yo I don't know if SR Harris has foam or batting (don't know what you plan on using to fill it with). Filling materials tend to be pricey, but you can sign up for deals with both Hancocks and Jo Ann Fabrics and they will send you coupons for like 30-50% a reg price item. As for sewing, I'm assuming you at least know how to do a basic stitch, but if you need a refresher I created an online sewing class that gets you to that point. It also show you how to sew corners. I plan to expand on it more when I teach sewing in the fall.


      Your welcome to join my class if you want it starts at the end of Sept at Southwest High School(through Mpls Community Ed). I think it will meet for seven sessions on Tuesdays 6:30-8:30 and doesn't meet on Halloween. Wouldn't that be funny if you had signed up for my class and didn't know I was teaching it? Let me know if you have any questions while working on your project. I'm happy to help. Good luck with your project. Let me know how it turns out.

    4. Thanks for letting me know. I was just planning on going to JoAnn and getting some advice from them. I have no idea what type of fill is safe to use outdoors. Thanks for the link to your sewing tips, I'll definitely check that out. It would have been hilarious if I was in your class and didn't know it. I wonder how long it would have taken for me/us to figure that out! :-) I might just look into that class and see if it would work in my schedule. I have a few other classes I wanted to take too, it's a matter of trying to figure out what is most important and works with my schedule. I always have too many things I want to do and never nearly enough time. Anyway, I'll let you know how the project turns out (if I decide to try it).


    5. I just got a reminder from Community Ed about when my class is, and I told ya the wrong day of the week. It's Wed 6:30-8:30 (6 sessions)instead of Tues and it starts on Sept 26 and I think you can start to register at the end of Aug. Just thought I'd let ya know in case you are insterested in my class. I teach it every fall and spring, so if your too busy you can always take it another time.