It may still be a touch too brisk to feel it now, but in just a few weeks Memorial Day will be here, unofficially kicking off summer. Chances are, you haven’t given your outdoor space much thought since last year and it looks more like lunar terrain than an oasis. That’s fine. With just a little help from DIY and Done, Walmart’s hub for beginner-friendly outdoor projects, turning your backyard into a warm-weather destination is simple. And the best news? There’s no traveling required.
Have a plan
Figure out the layout of your outdoor space. Take into consideration the flow, lighting, and your storage needs. Designate areas based on your summer plans. Hosting cookouts? Have ample seating so visitors aren’t sitting on a yoga ball. Entertaining? Configure a space that mimics a living room, just outdoors. Arrange furniture to encourage conversation when the barbeque turns into a fireside chat.
People are—and always will be—enchanted by fires. The sound of crackling wood was the original ASMR.
This two-seater could, in theory, convert to a three-seater, the better to get to know each other. Bonus, its open-weave design doesn’t trap any water.
Use a hearty jute rug to delineate sections. If a sandal slips off and your foot lands on this, it’s nicer than concrete.
Imagine how picturesque prawn cocktail would be on this tomato-colored side table. It’s also an ideal height to hold a cup of coffee for Sunday morning solitude.
Weatherproof string lights are an integral part of keeping the evening going well after sunset. These would never be confused with Christmas lights.
Fill this to the brim with dirty tools, shut the door, and never look back.
Get yourself some green
While you’re at it, block off some space for plants. If the idea of cultivating greenery sounds scary, don’t worry—the garden of your dreams can actually be pretty low maintenance. Novices can start off with an herb garden as they are affordable, low-risk, and yield dividends in the form of fragrant and flavorful additions to your dishes. Find a spot with consistent full sun, and in about a month, you can start plucking from your harvest and enjoying the spoils.
Need suggestions? Basil, the heart of any pesto worth a darn, also sits harmoniously atop any red pasta sauce. Garnish your standard plate of penne with whole basil leaves so diners can hand shred to their liking. It will make them feel involved and like sous chefs. While you’re at it, throw in some lemon basil—mosquitoes hate the bright citrusy smell. Rosemary can be added to potatoes and even tabletop floral arrangements that could use some rustic charm.
A moveable garden bed means you get to put your greenery wherever the lighting conditions are ideal—not just where there already happens to be dirt.
Attractive baskets allow you to hide the aesthetic-killing plastic planters that tend to come from nurseries. You could also use this to hide a coil of garden hose, like a snake charmer.
Breaking up your garden with planters of varying heights adds visual interest and adds vertical oomph to a garden that’s just starting out.
Save your manicure with this handy tool.
Mind the elements
Outdoor entertaining isn’t about predictability and control. If it were, it’d be indoor entertaining. Sometimes you can’t help that the weather does whatever it wants when it wants. Not to fret: A big umbrella means you can have high-tea at high-noon. A spacious canopy means that a sudden shower won’t soak your hotdog buns.
The aforementioned big umbrella.
Envision yourself under a gazebo like this, being fed grapes.
The weather-resistant fabric comes in enough colors to match any decor style from “steampunk western” to “mid-century Tiki room.”
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