One of the most popular housing trends in recent years has been the inclusion of some type of outdoor living space capable of providing families with somewhat of an outdoor family room in which they can enjoy meals, entertain or just relax outside. Most of these spaces offer a roof or awning for shelter and some type of flooring, ranging from chat or pebbles to concrete, decking or stone. Even with these existing features, however, it can be prohibitively expensive for homeowners and renters to outfit these areas with all the furnishings and accessories needed to make them comfortable and enjoyable for their families. If you have an outdoor living space and a tight budget, consider using one or more of the following scrap yard finds to make it inviting without breaking your budget.
Frugal, friendly fire
For most families, a favorite use of an outdoor living area is to enjoy the beauty of the flickering flames of an open fire. Whether it is to add ambiance for time spent with a special loved one or to make s'mores with the kids, an open fire offers a special kind of magic for any outdoor living space. If purchasing a commercially available freestanding fire pit or having a permanent one built is outside the limits of your current budget, a visit to a local scrap yard can offer a great way to add one for the mere cost of a used truck, tractor or other large vehicle rim.
When trying to find the right rim for your fire pit, look for one that will offer an opening with enough depth to hold the size and type of wood that you have available to burn in it. Smaller rims can be used to burn short lengths of small limbs and twigs and are a good choice for those who just want a small fire to enjoy for an hour or less. Larger rims such as those found on semi-trucks and some types of tractors and trailers are often deep and wide enough to hold large diameter sticks of firewood and offer a longer burn time of several hours.
If you would like to have the option of cooking on your fire pit, ask the scrap yard owner about purchasing a narrow piece of heavy steel grating that you can lay across the wheel. Look for one that is wide enough to hold cast iron skillets, griddles or other cookware suitable for cooking over an open fire and long enough to be adequately supported by the side and curvature of the rim.
Sleek, sexy seating
The purchase of comfortable upholstered seating can take a huge bite out of the budget you have set aside for decorating your outdoor space. However, sleek, sexy seating options can also often be found at the local scrap yard in the form of seats from cars that are waiting to be scrapped. These can often be had for just a few dollars and the bit of work required to remove them from the vehicle.
The best seats for this purpose include;
- bench style front seats from older vehicles or heavy trucks that can be removed in one piece and then used by simply placing them atop a single layer of concrete blocks to bring them up to a comfortable height and located along a wall or railing to stabilize the seat back
- one-piece captain style chairs, usually found in vans, big trucks or recreational vehicles that can be attached securely to wooden decking or a sturdy wooden platform that will offer stability, yet allow them to moved about as needed
- bench type bus seats from old school, church or commuter buses that can bolted to a wooden decking or a homemade, stabilizing wooden base capable of holding each seat
If you want to use these seats without the expense of adding protective covers, be sure to choose seats that made of a water-resistant material, such as vinyl, and make sure they are in good condition with no rips or tears. If possible, limit the colors to a few shades of the same color or complementary colors so that you can create a pleasing arrangement in your outdoor living space. Vinyl vehicle seating from salvaged vehicles can be wiped clean and moved easily and will last for years when sheltered from the sun and moisture.
Check out a scrap yard like City Auto Wreckers to find some great pieces to update your backyard with!