Recycle the items that you already have
Instead of spending money on brand new pots, an old sprinkler can make a great flower vase, while a worn down chandelier can be upcycled into an affordable outdoors light fixture if you fit it with candles.
Turn old fabric, made from yardage for instance, into inexpensive shade that keeps heat and UV rays away. This way, you can enjoy a cup of tea or a meal on your backyard patio even in the middle of a summer day.
Moreover, backyard seating doesn’t have to be expensive; simply dry-stack some concrete blocks and cover them with a foam pad to make the seating truly comfortable.
Build living fences
Turn a blank side wall into a vertical garden, or adorn it with an espalier. An espalier, or a living fence, can be purely ornamental, or can make fruit; magnolia, bamboo and a flowering crabapple are good decorative choices, while a dwarf apple or pear are great for the latter type of espalier.
Note that you will have to wait three years before you can enjoy fruit, though.
You can create a living fence simply by training small trees to grow into decorative patterns; you can do this with standard pruning techniques each year.
You will need to decide on a pattern and build a support out of 8 feet-apart posts, a top rail, and horizontal supports; these horizontal supports should be made of heavy-gauge wire that you can stretch between posts, leaving 1 foot between them.
Since you will place the support against an outer wall, make sure to leave 12 inches between the wall and the framework so that the trees can breathe and you have room to prune them as needed.
Moreover, if you plan your espalier against a free-standing support instead of a wall, you will gain not only fresh fruit, but also more privacy.