5 easy ways to upgrade your outdoor space this fall

(BPT) - As the temperatures cool but it's still pleasant outside, now is the perfect time to improve your backyard. Fortunately, there are many affordable projects that can make your outdoor area more attractive and enjoyable this autumn - and for many seasons to come.

Here are five simple upgrades you can make to enhance your outdoor space.

1. Create a warm focal point

Fall is a delightful time to gather around a fire to chat, toast marshmallows and enjoy the season. You can find many affordable options to add a simple fire pit, such as simply purchasing a low-cost free-standing fire pit.

You could also build your own fire pit, using stones or cinder blocks. An online search will lead you to dozens of ideas. Be sure to follow safety instructions such as keeping your fire pit at least 10-25 feet from your home or other structure and away from overhanging trees, and creating a non-flammable base.

Note: Check with your local municipality for regulations around fire pits, as many areas require permits.

2. Light it up

Today's choices for outdoor lighting are numerous, from solar lights to LED lights, and include string lights, path lights or downlighting installed on your home's exterior. Improving your outdoor lighting not only makes your space more attractive and extends outdoor entertaining into the evening hours, but also provides additional safety and security for your home.

3. Have it made in the shade

Building a simple pergola is one great way to add a little shade, define an area of your outdoor space and create visual interest. You can find many free building templates for pergolas in a variety of sizes and styles on the internet. Adding climbing plants or flowering vines to your pergola makes it even better - improving shade and making the space feel like a natural sanctuary.

4. Embrace your favorite tree

Another fun DIY project is to create a wooden bench that goes around a favorite tree in your yard. This creates a cozy spot for reading or hanging out that kids especially will enjoy. Most templates online are hexagonal (6-sided) in shape and not difficult to construct. You can then make or buy cushions or pillows so it's extra comfy.

5. Lead them down the garden path

Although paths made from materials like brick and stone are attractive and durable, they can also be expensive and challenging to install. An easy and affordable alternative is building a path yourself, using plastic forms and pre­mixed packaged concrete like Quikrete® Crack Resistant Concrete. You can also add Quikrete Liquid Cement Color to easily customize the color and style of your path so it's exactly how you want it.

Using Quikrete Walkmaker forms, select the style of path you want, including natural-looking Country Stone Pattern, Running Bond Brick, European Brick Block or Basket Weave Brick pattern. The forms are 2 feet by 2 feet and require one 80­-pound bag of concrete, so you can work on your path at your own pace, one form at a time. You can customize your path further by incorporating liquid colors, stains and/or embedding gravel or other small aggregates into the concrete.

Steps for laying a concrete path:

  • Remove sod and soil to the desired width, shape and length of your path, keeping the ground as flat and level as possible.
    Thoroughly mix concrete and water in a wheelbarrow with a garden hoe or shovel, or in concrete mixer, according to the directions on the bag.
  • Lay the form at the beginning of your path and fill with the concrete mix, pressing the concrete firmly into corners with your trowel.
  • Promptly remove the form and smooth the edges of the path with your trowel before the concrete mix hardens. For a nonslip finish, brush the surface with a stiff broom.
  • Continue by rotating the form a quarter turn and placing it against a completed section of path. Then fill with concrete mix, remove the form and smooth the surface. Repeat this process until your path is complete.
  • To create a curved walkway, after removing the form from a freshly poured section of path, reposition the form in the direction of the curve and press down to slice off the corner. Use a trowel to consolidate and smooth cut-off edges.

Note: When working with cement products, always wear eye protection and gloves.

For more tips on laying a concrete path, including step-by-step how-to videos for this and other home projects, visit or their Facebook page.

Using some of these tips this fall, you can transform your outdoor space into an even more attractive oasis for entertainment, enjoyment and relaxation.

November 8, 2023

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