Root Cellar - the author said it cost about $1,000 for this 8x8 foot cellar: concrete blocks were $1 each at the time, and he used about 320. About $500 for concrete and mortar, and the remainder for rebar, wood, etc. He contacted a local gravedigger to use a backhoe to dig out the space for the cellar.
Inexpensive 16-in x 16-in patio stones surrounded by pea gravel form a low-maintenance patio. Dig out and level the base, then place the stones and gravel. With basic tools and beginner skills, a small patio can be completed in one or two weekends. It’s a practical no-water alternative to a lawn too.