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You can fairly easily build a DIY flagstone or paver patio. If you're lucky and not too picky, you might be able to pick up enough flagstones or pavers for free from Craigslist or Freecycle, etc. The hardest part of building the patio is excavating the space. Then it's just laying in weed
For the garden, I have heard that your bigger Georgia garden centers offer free landscaping plans if you buy all the plants at their shop. Take some photos of the yard, and make some simple blueprints. They should be able to help you design a simple and attractive garden. Keep in mind that native plants will require less work and less water (meaning less money in the long run).
Make sure to take some pictures to share your project with the HomeTalk community!
Kelly Bowan is a great person to work with.