The Best Places To Retire In 2015 by William Barrett a contributor for Forbes Investing

Let’s face it. After retirement, most people are going to have less income than before. But at the same time they’ll have the opportunity to do something about it–like move to a place with cheaper costs, or at least one more to their liking in terms of population density, climate or economic growth. It’s a big country and there are a huge variety of places out there.

Toward that end, Forbes has pinpointed 25 communities of wildly differing sizes and styles for its 2015 list of The Best Places To Retire. This year’s edition include entries in 19 states in all four time continental zones. Five states–Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky and Arizona–have two or more listings. Most of our picks are in climates considered warm or moderate. But not all. Fargo, N.D. is back on for the fifth straight year, joined by some other places with cold winters, including Great Falls, Mont.; Casper, Wyo., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Colorado Springs.
Gallery
25 Best Places To Retire In 2015

For the full list, click on the picture above. Our list is in alphabetical order. That means there’s no significance to where a place falls on the list.

Nine of the entries were also on last year’s list. All but three–Port Charlotte, Fla.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Rochester, Minn.–have been on some Forbes retirement list in the past five years.

As in previous years, our emphasis continues to be our highlighting places that offer what we consider good retirement value.

There are a number of reasons why on our towns may come and go from our list, including changes in relative underlying economics. Each year we screen more and more cities, and the competition gets more intense.

This year, we weighed data on nearly 500 cities from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The most important factors were economic: overall cost of living and home prices as compared with national averages, and general state tax climate for retirees (a point that Forbes has been tracking for years.) These are also the main reasons why there are just a few locations (Pittsburgh, Pa., and the Portland, Ore., suburb of Oak Grove) in the pricey Northeast and West Coast.
Recommended by Forbes

If money is no object, we have a list for that: 25 Top Places To Retire Rich.

For cost of living, we largely used data from bestplaces,net. Home prices came from a number of sources: quarterly reports of the National Association of Realtors, trulia.com, zillow.com, topix.net, bestplaces.net, realestate.com and coldwellbanker.com

Assuming money is a consideration, cutting housing costs in retirement may be a big objective. According to the Realtors, the average national price of single-family home is $208,700, up 1% in a year. Seven places on our list come in at less than $150,000. The lowest is Pittsburgh at $133,000, followed by Bowling Green, Ky., $138,000; Athens, Ga, $139,000, and Lexington, Ky, $143,000. Three have a typical price more than 10% above the average: Oak Grove, $279,000; Casper, Wyo., $245,000; and Blacksburg, Va., $235,000.

Cost-of-living is expressed as an index, with 100 being the national average. We generally look for places with indexes no higher than 105. Two on the list are higher: Oak Grove (115) and Boise, Id. (107). Five places have indexes at 90 or lower, meaning at least 10% below the national average: Abilene and San Angelo, Tex. (83), Pittsburgh (84), Bowling Green (89) and Lincoln, Neb. (90).

With a significant number of retirees working at least part-time, especially in their early years, we also take into account estimates of current and future economic prosperity. This might also provide a boost to home prices down the road if you decide to sell. These stats include local unemployment rate as compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and future growth projections as gauged by the Milken Institute. For January 2015, the national unemployment rate was 5.4%, the lowest in years. Only one place on the list is substantially above that, Tucson, at 5.9%. Most are below, and sometimes way below: Fargo, N.D., 2.9%, Rochester, Minn. and San Angelo, both 3.1%; and Abilene, 3.2%.

Our consideration of a state’s tax climate for retirees takes into account the notion that what is low tax for retirees isn’t always the same as for working-age folks. Nine states don’t have a broad-based state income tax–Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. But such states tend to make up for that with other, higher taxes, most notably, higher sales and real estate levies, which can hit seniors harder. On the other hand, many states with income taxes give special breaks to retirees, such as light or no taxation of Social Security and pension benefits, and inheritances. In our view, the best states for retirees from a tax perspective are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia.

Seniors rightly worry about physical as well as economic security. So we also give weight to violent crime rates for cities and their surrounding areas as calculated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.We look at the number of doctors per capita as a proxy for the accessibility of health care. We also take into account the latest Milken Institute report on “Best Cities For Successful Aging.” The study evaluates and ranks 352 metropolitan areas using a variety of factors touching on health care, wellness, transportation. living arrangements and economics.

Besides safety, retirees now want to keep fit and active. So we look at ratings for attributes that encourage an active retirement. One we use is Bicycling Magazine‘s ratings of cities for “bikability”. High grades here go to Boise, Columbia, Mo.; Colorado Springs, Pittsburgh and Tucson.

Another is walkscore.com ratings for walkability, or the ability to shop and get places on foot (great for both exercise and non-reliance on cars). Top grades go to Lexington, Ky.; Athens, Ga., and Pittsburgh.

Considerations beyond our ability to assess include personal tastes and needs, such as staying near friends and family. We also don’t directly evaluate intangible qualities such as cultural milieu and scenic beauty. But perhaps 10 cities on this list might be considered college towns, which often provide enhanced cultural and other opportunities for their communities. This group consists of Athens (University of Georgia), Blacksburg (Virginia Tech), Bowling Green (Western Kentucky University), Columbia (University of Missouri, Stephens College, Columbia College), Lexington (University of Kentucky, Transylvania University), Lincoln (University of Nebraska), Pittsburgh (University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Chatham University), Raleigh, N.C. (North Carolina State University, Shaw University), San Marcos, Tex. (Texas State University) and Tucson, Ariz. (University of Arizona).

And a fair number of our 25 offer mountain or water environments, including Asheville, Blacksburg, Boise, Cape Coral, Casper, Colorado Springs, Great Falls, Logan, Utah; and Port Charlotte,

Follow William P. Barrett on Twitter @WilliamPBarrett.

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What to Expect From the Housing Market in 2015 MONEY MAGAZINE

Consumers think 2015 will be a better year than 2014, especially for selling a home. But the recovery faces an uphill climb.

What does 2015 have in store for the housing market? Nine years after the housing bubble peaked and three years after home prices bottomed, the boom and bust still cast a long shadow. None of the five measures we track in our Housing Barometer is back to normal yet, though three are getting close. The rebound effect drove the recovery after the bust but is now fading. Prices are no longer significantly undervalued and investor demand is falling. Ideally, strong economic and demographic fundamentals like job growth and household formation would take up the slack. But the virtuous cycle of gains in jobs and housing is relatively weak, and that will slow the recovery in 2015. All the same, consumers are optimistic, according to our survey of 2,008 American adults conducted November 6-10, 2014.

Consumers Expect 2015 to Be Better, Especially for Selling a Home

Consumers are as optimistic about the housing market as at any point since the recovery started. Nearly three-quarters — 74% — of respondents agreed that home ownership was part of achieving their personal American Dream, the same level as in our 2013 Q4 survey and slightly above the levels of the three previous years. For young adults, the dream has revived: 78% of 18-34 year-olds answered yes to our American Dream question, up from 73% in 2013 Q4 and a low of 65% in 2011 Q3.

AmericanDream

Furthermore, 93% of young renters plan to buy a home someday. That’s unchanged from 2012 Q4 despite rising home prices and worsening affordability.

Which real estate activities do consumers think will improve in 2015? All of them – but especially selling. Fully 36% said 2015 will be much or a little better than 2014 for selling a home. Just 16% said 2015 will be much or a little worse, a difference of 20 percentage points. The rest of the respondents said 2015 would be neither better nor worse, or weren’t sure. More consumers said 2015 will be better than 2014 for buying too. But the margin over those who said 2015 will be worse was not as wide.

BetterorWorse

Despite this optimism, barriers remain to homeownership. Saving for a down payment is still the highest hurdle, as it was last year, followed by poor credit and qualifying for a mortgage. Not having a stable job has become considerably less of an obstacle, dropping to 24% this year compared with 36% last year thanks to the recovering job market. But affordability has become a bigger obstacle. Some 32% of respondents cited rising home prices, compared with 22% last year.

BiggestObstacle

Housing Recovery in 2015: Rebound Effect to Fade Before Fundamentals Can Take Over

Different engines power each stage of the housing recovery. During the early years—roughly 2012 to 2014 – the rebound effect drove the recovery. Investors and other buyers scooped up undervalued homes and took advantage of foreclosures and short sales, boosting overall sales volumes. Local markets hit hardest in the housing bust posted the largest price rebounds. Now, though, the rebound effect is fading. Price levels and price changes are both approaching normal, foreclosure inventories are dwindling, and investors are pulling back. This is inevitable as the market improves and therefore shifts to slower, more sustainable price increases and a healthier mix of home sales.

So what replaces the rebound effect in the next stage of the housing recovery? The market increasingly depends on fundamentals such as job growth, rising incomes, and more household formation. But here’s the hitch: These fundamental drivers of supply and demand haven’t returned to full strength. They aren’t able to fully take the reins from the rebound effect. Importantly, the share of young adults with jobs is still less than halfway back to normal, many young adults are still living with their parents, and income growth is sluggish. This points to a tricky handoff, and means housing activity in 2015 might disappoint by some measures, though the rental market will remain vigorous.

Here’s what we expect:

  • Price gains slow, but affordability worsens. Price gains slowed in 2014 and we’ll see more of the same in 2015. In October 2014, prices increased 4% year-over-year, down from 10.6% in October 2013. The slowd
    • own has been especially sharp in metros that had a severe housing bust followed by a big rebound. Now, prices nationwide are just 3% undervalued relative to fundamentals. That leaves fewer bargains and scant room for prices to rise without becoming overvalued. What’s more, with consumers expecting 2015 to be a better year to sell than 2014, more homes should come onto the market, cooling prices further. Nevertheless, despite slowing price gains,home-buying affordability will worsen in 2015 for two reasons. First, even these smaller price increases will almost surely outpace income growth. In 2013, incomes rose just 1.8% year-over-year in nominal terms, and a negligible 0.3% after adjusting for inflation. Second, the strengthening economy and the Fed’s response should push up mortgage rates.
    • The rental market will keep burning bright. Next year will see strong rental demand and lots of new supply. The demand will come from young people leaving homes belonging to parents or roommates and renting their own places. Until now, they’ve been slow to leave the nest. But the 2014 job gains for 25-34 year-olds should lead to the rise in household formation we’ve been waiting years for. At the same time, the 2014 apartment construction boom will mean more supply in 2015 since multi-unit buildings take about a year to build. Will rent gains slow? Probably – provided that this new supply keeps up with formation of renter households. This surge of renters will probably cause the homeownership rate to fall. To be sure, the ranks of homeowners will probably rise. But an even larger number of young adults will enter the housing market as renters.
    • Single-family starts and new home sales could disappoint. While apartment construction is breaking records, single-family housing starts and new home sales are still not much better than half of normal levels. They’ll improve in 2015, but not as much as we’d like. Our consumer survey suggests more people will try to sell existing homes. That would add to the supply on the market and possibly reduce demand for new homes. Also, the strongest source of housing demand will be young people getting jobs and forming households. But they’ll be moving into rentals and saving for a down payment rather than buying homes right away. Finally, the vacancy rate for single-family homes is still near its recession high, which discourages new construction. The apartment construction boom shows that where there’s demand, builders will build. But buyer demand for single-family homes simply hasn’t recovered enough to support near-normal levels of single-family starts or new home sales.

    If these predictions for 2015 sound similar to our predictions for 2014, you’re right. As the rebound effect fades and fundamentals take over, the recovery gets slower and the market starts to look more similar from one year to the next. But there’s good news here. Even though the recovery remains unfinished, the housing market is becoming more stable and more certain for buyers, sellers, and renters.

    Markets to Watch in 2015

    As the rebound effect fades, our 10 markets to watch have strong fundamentals for housing activity. These include solid job growth, which fuels housing demand, and a low vacancy rate, which spurs construction. We gave a few extra points to markets with a higher share of millennials. These young adults are getting back to work and that will drive household formation and rental demand. We didn’t include markets where prices looked at least 5% overvalued in our latest Bubble Watch report. Here are our markets to watch, in alphabetical order:

    1. Boston, MA
    2. Dallas, TX
    3. Fresno, CA
    4. Middlesex County, MA
    5. Nashville, TN
    6. New York, NY-NJ
    7. Raleigh, NC
    8. Salt Lake City, UT
    9. San Diego, CA
    10. Seattle, WA

    MarketstoWatch1

    These markets are spread across the country: Boston, Middlesex County (just west of Boston), and New York in the Northeast; Dallas, Nashville, and Raleigh in the South (the Census considers Texas part of the South); and Fresno, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and Seattle in the West. No Midwestern metros make the list because they generally have slower job growth and higher vacancy rates than other markets, even though many are quite affordable and prices are rebounding.

    In 2015, more markets will settle back into their long-term housing patterns. Fast-growing markets that boomed last decade, collapsed in the bust, and then rebounded are now leveling off. Even the markets that have been slowest to recover and have struggled longest are seeing foreclosure inventories decline and the sales mix moving back toward normal.

    At the same time, first-time homeownership, single-family starts, and new home sales won’t come close to fully recovering in 2015. But if 2015 brings strong job growth, big income gains, and the long-awaited jump in household formation, then 2016 could be the year when we see a major turnaround in homeownership and single-family construction.

Stylish Solutions: 10 Rules for Foolproof Decorating

From the perfect pillow-pairing formula to the ideal curtain-hanging height, these tips and tricks make it easy to style your home.

1. PALETTE MATH:
For a room that looks polished (not chaotic), choose one color for 60 percent of the space, a second color for 30 percent, and an accent color that’s brighter than the others for the remaining 10 percent.
2. CREATE A FINISHED FOYER:
It’s easy to style an entryway—all you need is a spot to sit, a mirror, and a table (or shelf), with a small area rug to define the space.

ottoman

​3. SWITCH UP SHAPES:
If most of the furniture in your living room is boxy, choose a round coffee table, ottoman, or side tables to balance the room’s aesthetic.
4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT COFFEE TABLE:

An ideal coffee table is two-thirds the width of your sofa and a couple of inches lower than the seats (typically 14 to 16 inches from the ground).
5. HANG CURTAINS HIGH: 
Instead of installing them directly above the window, hang curtains between the ceiling and the top of the window, and your room will feel a lot more spacious. (Side note: don’t let the bottoms pool on the ground; they should just graze the floor.)

6. MOUNT A MIRROR: 

Place a mirror across from a sunny window—it will bounce light around the room, making it feel brighter and bigger. The just-right height for hanging it: 60 inches from the floor to the center of the mirror.
mirror

7. ADD AN AREA RUG: 

A rug makes a room warmer and more welcoming, but it should never float in the middle of the floor. Anchor the rug by placing it under at least the front two feet of a chair, sofa, or bed.
8. THROW-PILLOW MATH: 

For a sofa that looks styled, follow this formula: choose two 20-inch square pillows in a matching bold pattern, and place one on each end of the couch. Next, add two 16-inch pillows in a coordinating solid color, overlapping the square pillows. Finish by placing one lumbar pillow in a subtle pattern (like a pinstripe) in the middle.

Photo :  David Prince
9. PLAY WITH PATTERNS:
For no-fail pattern mixing, combine bold, large-scale prints with subtle, smaller-scale prints in complementary colors
10. THINK IN THREES: 

Similar-sized accessories on a shelf or a table look better grouped in odd numbers. Even amounts can feel too uniform and stiff.
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13 Summer Sunsets That Are Almost Too Perfect To Be Real

1. The quintessential tropical sunset over the Gulf of Thailand:

The quintessential tropical sunset over the Gulf of Thailand:

You can practically feel the trade winds blowing through your hair.

2. The picture-perfect sunset over Santorini, Greece and the Aegean Sea:

The picture-perfect sunset over Santorini, Greece and the Aegean Sea:

3. The magical, misty sunset over Oxtongue Lake in Ontario, Canada:

The magical, misty sunset over Oxtongue Lake in Ontario, Canada:

Comstock Images / Getty Images

4. The cotton candy sunset in Cape Town, South Africa:

The cotton candy sunset in Cape Town, South Africa:

Neil Overy / Getty Images

5. The glowing red rock towers of Monument Valley, Arizona:

The glowing red rock towers of Monument Valley, Arizona:

6. The glassy hues of the sunset over the Great Salt Lake:

The glassy hues of the sunset over the Great Salt Lake:

7. The golden sunset over the legendary waves of Oahu’s North Shore:

The golden sunset over the legendary waves of Oahu's North Shore:

Bob Abraham / Getty Images

8. The hot pink glow over the hot pink wildflowers of the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine:

The hot pink glow over the hot pink wildflowers of the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine:

9. The dreamy golden hour of the world-famous Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

The dreamy golden hour of the world-famous Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

10. The watercolor sunset over the Baltic Sea in Poland:

The watercolor sunset over the Baltic Sea in Poland:

11. The end of a perfect summer day in Santa Monica, California:

The end of a perfect summer day in Santa Monica, California:

Blend Images/Pete Saloutos / Getty Images

12. The cannonball sunset at Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho:

The cannonball sunset at Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho:

Patrick Orton / Getty Images

13. And the paradisiacal Seychelles sunset that should only exist in dreams:

And the paradisiacal Seychelles sunset that should only exist in dreams:

Summer is the best time of year no matter where you are. Slip into a pair of Havaianas and enjoy every minute of it.

Summer is the best time of year no matter where you are. Slip into a pair of Havaianas and enjoy every minute of it.

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    Instant Curb Appeal For Under $100

    There are dozens of small, inexpensive home improvements that you can do to your house to add instant curb appeal. Adding curb appeal to your house not only makes it easier to sell, but it also gives your house that nice and finished look in which you can take pride in. When deciding on how to add instant curb appeal to your house, make sure your consider what your house currently looks like and what will look best with it. Also, consider how much time you have to put into your home improvement project and what your budget is.

    Here are a few DIY home improvement projects that all cost under $100 and will add instant curb appeal to your house.

    Paint Your Front Door, Trim, or Shutters on Your House

    Most exterior paint will cost you approximately $25 a gallon. To paint your trim, shutters, or front door it on your house, it should not take you more than $100, unless you have a very big house. Painting your home can definitely add some brightness and revive your house while adding curb appeal. Pick a bold color that makes your house stick out, but just make sure that you match it to the rest of the colors on your house. This home improvement project may take several hours depending on how much you choose to paint, so plan for at least a day of painting.

    Upgrade Your Mailbox

    It doesn’t matter if you have a regular mailbox by the road or if you have a box mounted to your house for mail, adding a new and upgraded mailbox can make your home feel upgraded, which adds curb appeal to it. You can find a new mailbox for your house from anywhere from $10-$100. When you install your mailbox, make sure that you are following the regulations that are set forth in the city that you live in. If you have a simple mailbox mounted on your house, this home improvement project should take less than an hour to complete. If you have a full-size mailbox at the road, plan for at least 2 hours or so to complete the home improvement project.

    Install New House Numbers

    If your house has old or faded house numbers on it, purchase some new numbers to spruce up the curb appeal of your house. Look for modern house numbers that are made from stainless steel, brass or aluminum. Try to match your new house numbers with the finish that is on your exterior light fixtures to add the best curb appeal. Simple house numbers can start at $2.00 for a number or you can look into customized plaques that can cost $50-$100.

    Plant a Tree

    Planting a tree is one of the most common ways to add curb appeal to your house. It is a simple home improvement project that can really liven up your house. Before you plant a tree in your yard, make sure you consider how big the tree will get and how it will affect your house. If you have enough space, try planting two trees to frame your house or your entryway into your house. You can find trees to add curb appeal to your house starting at $25. Planting a tree does not take very long and is a short home improvement project.

    Replace Exterior Light Fixtures

    When buying new exterior light fixtures to add curb appeal to your house, be sure to consider both the style of the light fixtures and the function of them. You want your light fixtures to be able to adequately light up your entryway to your house and make it safer. Also, look for light fixtures that have the same mounting system as the current ones that you have to save yourself some time on this home improvement project. Exterior light fixtures can be found anywhere from $20 and up.

    Install Flower Boxes

    If your house is lacking curb appeal and color, then try adding some flower boxes to your house. Install the flower boxes in the windows of your house or on the front porch railings. Flower boxes are relatively cheap and will only cost approximately $25. The thing that you have to remember with this home improvement project is that you will also have to pay for the flowers and soil for inside the flower boxes and you will also have to maintain the up-keep of the flowers to actually add curb appeal. If you rather not add flower boxes to your house, then consider buying some container gardens in pots and placing them on your front steps or porch.

    41 Cheap And Easy Backyard DIYs You Must Do This Summer

    Go outside! You look like you need a little sun.

    Christina Lu/BuzzFeed

    A Beautiful Mess | Lena Sekine

    1. Cover the springs of your trampoline with sliced up pool noodles as an extra safety precaution.

    Cover the springs of your trampoline with sliced up pool noodles as an extra safety precaution.

    2. Save your pinecones for bedding, which will keep pups and cats out of your plants.

    Save your pinecones for bedding, which will keep pups and cats out of your plants.

    3. This brilliant kit lets you create a trellis in any shape that you want.

    Perfect for your garden graffiti wall. Get it here for $24.50.

    4. Use an Ikea curtain system as an impromptu shade during the summer.

    Use an Ikea curtain system as an impromptu shade during the summer.

    Attach one side to the house and the other side to a pole or tree, then slide the curtains across for shade.

    5. Paint your cinderblocks and use them as an outdoor coffee table or flower box.

    Paint your cinderblocks and use them as an outdoor coffee table or flower box.

    6. With a few long pieces of wood, you can also use cinder blocks to create an impromptu couch.

    With a few long pieces of wood, you can also use cinder blocks to create an impromptu couch.

    See how they did this here.

    7. Use latex floor paint to color cement tiles on an outdoor patio.

    Use latex floor paint to color cement tiles on an outdoor patio.

    Get more info about how they did this here.

    8. Repurpose an old chandelier as a bird feeder.

    Repurpose an old chandelier as a bird feeder.

    9. Rejuvenate and brighten your solar lights with clear nail polish.

    Rejuvenate and brighten your solar lights with clear nail polish.

    Your solar lights will likely get weathered and cloudy over time. Read more about it here.

    10. Spray paint pebbles with glow-in-the-dark paint to light a path at night.

    Spray paint pebbles with glow-in-the-dark paint to light a path at night.

    Or you can buy them at a nickel apiece here.

    11. Use concrete crack filler to keep unwanted weeds from sprouting up.

    Use concrete crack filler to keep unwanted weeds from sprouting up.

    12. Turn a tree stump into a “gnome home,” or fairy garden.

    Turn a tree stump into a "gnome home," or fairy garden.

    13. Paint chicken wire to look like truffula flowers.

    14. Make treated pine cones for colored fire in your fire pit.

    Make treated pine cones for colored fire in your fire pit.

    It’s a heady process that involves technical-grade chemicals, but think of how MAGICAL your summer nights will be. Directions here.

    15. Sew together a giant pillow quilt for picnics, sleepovers, or outdoor movie viewing.

    Sew together a giant pillow quilt for picnics, sleepovers, or outdoor movie viewing.

    Joon & Jung / Via inthralld.com

    16. A mailbox makes a great outdoor toolbox.

    A mailbox makes a great outdoor toolbox.

    17. A bucket table provides a storage space for things you don’t want to leave out in the rain, like citronella candles and pillows.

    A bucket table provides a storage space for things you don't want to leave out in the rain, like citronella candles and pillows.

    See how this was made using just lumber and a bucket or galvanized tub.

    18. You can plant little mini gardens inside of steel pipe edging.

    You can plant little mini gardens inside of steel pipe edging.

    Fill the pipes with soil and plant succulents on top. You’ll have the most meta garden ever.

    19. Build a giant xylophone that your kids will love.

    Build a giant xylophone that your kids will love.

    Watch the instructional video here.

    20. A DIY fence table is great for BBQs or just another surface to set drinks on.

    A DIY fence table is great for BBQs or just another surface to set drinks on.

    Get the directions here.

    21. A tuna fish can, a PVC pipe, a dollar store vase, and a candle crafted together will create elegant walkway or patio lighting.

    A tuna fish can, a PVC pipe, a dollar store vase, and a candle crafted together will create elegant walkway or patio lighting.

    Get the DIY here.

    22. Make cement stepping stones out of large leaves.

    Make cement stepping stones out of large leaves.

    Get the full instructions here.

    23. Rubber door mats also work as pretty molds for concrete stepping stones.

    Rubber door mats also work as pretty molds for concrete stepping stones.

    Get the directions here.

    24. Tall grass in galvanized tubs create extra privacy or partitions.

    Tall grass in galvanized tubs create extra privacy or partitions.

    Bonus: If you plant lemongrass, it’ll keep the mosquitoes away.

    25. Upside-down wine bottles are a creative way to do garden edging.

    Upside-down wine bottles are a creative way to do garden edging.

    26. A painted pot doubles as a table.

    A painted pot doubles as a table.

    Use the tray as a table top instead of a draining receptacle! Full directions here.

    27. Don’t have a pool? Make a leak-proof water blob.

    Don't have a pool? Make a leak-proof water blob.

    Your kids will love it, I promise. Get the directions here.

    28. Purchase stair risers, add some window boxes, and you’ve got a perfect place for an herb garden.

    Purchase stair risers, add some window boxes, and you've got a perfect place for an herb garden.

    29. Plant M&Ms.

    Plant M&amp;Ms.

    Or at least give the illusion that you are by painting your rocks.

    30. Making an outdoor movie screen is easier than you think.

    Making an outdoor movie screen is easier than you think.

    If you already own a projector, you’re halfway there! Get the directions here.

    31. This insanely simple rope swing will provide hours of fun.

    This insanely simple rope swing will provide hours of fun.

    Get the directions here.

    32. Create a buried pot garden for easy landscaping.

    Create a buried pot garden for easy landscaping.

    Everything in its place.

    33. Save your prunings so you can make awesome little twig fences for your fairy garden.

    Save your prunings so you can make awesome little twig fences for your fairy garden.

    34. Apply stone or tile to the siding of the foundation of your home.

    Apply stone or tile to the siding of the foundation of your home.

    Because the outside of your home should be just as pretty as the inside.

    35. Hang dollar store solar lights on basket hooks.

    Apparently, you can get these solar lights at Family Dollar. They’re like pretty sconce light fixtures for your backyard!

    Plants look great hanging on them too, especially if you don’t have garden space for flowers.

    36. Use cement or stone bricks to edge your garden — the lawn mower can cut right up to the edge!

    Use cement or stone bricks to edge your garden &mdash; the lawn mower can cut right up to the edge!

    And you don’t have to worry about mulch or pebbles getting into your lawn. Get the directions here.

    37. Make a towel rack out of PVC pipe.

    Make a towel rack out of PVC pipe.

    Get the directions here.

    38. An old rake is just right for hanging up garden tools.

    An old rake is just right for hanging up garden tools.

    39. Stone tiles in the garden create an easy walkway.

    Stone tiles in the garden create an easy walkway.

    Or make an extra big one to create a cement birdbath.

    Or make an extra big one to create a cement birdbath.

    Directions here.

    40. Wine corks stuck to a piece of wood makes a dibble for even seed planting.

    Wine corks stuck to a piece of wood makes a dibble for even seed planting.

    Get the DIY directions here.

    41. If you’ve always wanted a “secret garden,” a mirror in the backyard creates that illusion.

    If you've always wanted a "secret garden," a mirror in the backyard creates that illusion.