A recent New York Times article by Tim McKeough offered a checklist of ideas on how to improve your outdoor décor. The article, for good or ill, seems aimed at the 1%. Since most of us aren’t part of the 1%, it might be helpful to look for more cost-effective ways to make your outdoor space look great without breaking the bank. Here are six other options Tim hasn’t highlighted.

First, Choose the Furniture

Outdoor furniture can be downright expensive. Tim encourages you to think about custom, built-in benches that are a mere $5,000. Here’s a better idea: try furniture made from resin. Resin is low-maintenance and weather resistant so whether you’re in New York, Arizona, or Seattle, the weather doesn’t matter! Most of these options run $500 – $2,000. Now you’ve got money to buy the rest of the things you need.

Then Get Some Planters

Tim’s recommendation is a set of planters that ranges from “$50-600.” Ouch! Try www.designsponge.com instead. For less than $100 / planter you can get everything you need and still have cash to buy plants!

Don’t Forget Watering

Sure, automatic systems are really nice but $1,000 is a lot to keep plants alive. It’s likely you live in a neighborhood so for the times you’re gone, offer to pay Johnny Doe $15 to water your plants every-other-day. Now you can buy something nice on vacation!

Lighting Is Key

Ambient lighting is cool – especially during a hot summer night. The nice part about outdoor lighting is that you don’t need an electrician but it can still cost you over $1,000. Go to your local hardware store and buy a string of lights, get some mason jars, drill holes in the lids for the lights, hang. Now go buy a nice steak!

Define Space With A Rug

Rugs outside are really challenging because one bad storm and you’re done. Instead of buying something new, go to an estate sale and find a rug with character already worn into it. People will love your style and frugality!

Make Sure There’s Shade

You can go as high as $5,000 for a custom pergola but for most of us, that’s out of the ballpark. Shop around, try craigslist.com, or overstock.com – all will get you the shade you need at a price that won’t burn.

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