Improving Your Backyard
If you’re like most people in the northern hemisphere, summer is when you spend the most time in your backyard. After enduring a chilly winter and rainy spring, nothing beats getting back out in the sun and reconnecting with your natural environment. If you find yourself out in your backyard and looking for inspiration, there is no shortage of projects and simple improvements to enhance both the appearance and your experience within your backyard.
Starting a Garden
Planting a garden is not only a great way to save money on products but also a physically active and mentally clarifying pursuit. Frames for raised beds can be built upon the existing lawns, using newspaper to suppress further growth of grass. Soil is best built over time using compost, food scraps, leaves, and clippings, but could also be purchased commercially to give you an initial head start to get growing immediately. Find a spot with full sun, purchase or begin to build your soil, and then select seeds or starts that are appropriate for your geographic area and the season.
Water Feature Installation
A great way to customize your yard with a unique and serene atmosphere is to add water features to your backyard. Trickling water creates a soothing and peaceful sound and draws the eye, creating an ambiance reminiscent of sitting by a burbling brook. Fountains come in many shapes, sizes, and materials, meeting the needs and budget of any person looking to accessorize their backyard.
Outdoor Fireplace or Kitchen
Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are a natural draw for evening and nighttime backyard loungers. Not only do they create a natural focal point that instinctively draws the eye, but also they bring people together, centering them around a visually captivating show.
Add a Hot Tub
Who doesn’t love a good soak? What better way to observe the big dipper and watch the meteorite showers than from a 100-degree bath? While planning for site location, consider sun versus shade, privacy, and a solid foundation to support the estimated 2 tons of water weight you’ll be bringing in.
Gazebos, bridges, and trellises all create vertical structures and help define space within your backyard. While a gazebo itself serves as an outdoor room, other structures such as pergolas and arbors can help define zones and functional areas within your yard. Consider integrating these structures with different plants, and using each area to create different functional and aesthetic “rooms.”
Accessorize with Outdoor Furniture
Make your backyard an extension of your indoors with patio and deck furniture. There is no shortage of outdoor furniture fabrics and materials. Weatherproof synthetics, as well as classic wrought or cast iron and traditional wood, are just a few of the choices available for outdoor furnishings.
Consider integrating the furniture with one or more outdoor structures, or within eyesight and earshot of your water feature. Play with color contrasts, fusing various complementary colors of furniture with potted flowers. Create whimsical aesthetics and welcome shade with a funky umbrella over a table or couch. Sustainable outdoor furniture within proximity to a grill and table will ensure that everyone becomes a part of the dinner preparation experience.