If you flip through home improvement magazines, you may see perfectly manicured yards worthy of, well, a magazine spread. Naturally those yards take a lot of time and money to maintain. However, you don't need to have perfectly manicured landscaping to create beauty in your yard. Spend a little time on a few easy updates that enhance your yard's natural beauty.

Scatter Wildflower Seeds

One of the most charming types of gardens is the cottage style, which is characterized by a lush profusion of flowers. While a true cottage garden does take some planning, you can get the same effect by scattering wildflower seeds. Choose a sunny spot that needs a dash of color, and prepare the soil. Clear out any weeds, and till the area to remove old roots. You could mix the seeds with sand to more easily see where they're going, and then scatter over the area. Water until the soil is moist, and follow the directions on the seed packet to maintain your wildflower garden.

Install Yard Art

Yard accent pieces also add beauty to your landscape. Water fountains can be a little tricky because you need a power source. However, you can install a bird bath and still enjoy the interplay of sunlight and water. If you want a whimsical look, shop the local garden stores for colorful art pieces. For a more classic look, consider scouring flea markets for old stone troughs or planters. You can use these as a focal point for container gardening.

Add a Container Garden

Speaking of container gardens, these are an easy but attractive addition to your yard and even porch or patio. You have so many options for gardening in a container. For example, if you want to beautify your porch, consider hanging planters. For these you want flowers or vines that spill over the lip of the planter itself. You could also choose a selection of pretty planters and cluster them on a corner of your patio. For larger planters, include a tall plant and filler plants as well as the ones that spill over the side. You can also use large containers for small trees, such as fig or dwarf citrus. That way you can wheel them inside when it's cold.

Include Outdoor Lighting

Don't forget to ensure your yard is beautiful at night, too. Electrical lighting requires running wires – it's important for walkways but not essential for the rest of your yard. Instead, Better Homes and Gardens recommends solar lighting. Solar lights won't cast as much illumination, but they can be a pretty addition to light up your yard art or wildflower bed. Choose solar lights that also look pretty in the daytime.

Utilize easy steps, such as planting a wildflower garden or installing yard art, to add beauty to your yard.