Spending time outside to eat, talk and play bonds family members — from small kids to adults — in incredible ways. With that in mind, how can you design your backyard to be an inviting, activity-boosting space where the whole family wants to spend time? Here’s a look at some key tips for turning your backyard into a favorite family destination.
Start With the Big Picture
Before buying new pillows for the lounge furniture or flowers for the beds, consider this: What do you want from your backyard? A space to entertain on weekends, or a space to eat dinner together every warm night? Do you want areas for sports and/or a fire pit? Once you know what you’re looking for, you know where to start. Think about what already works well for your goals, and what doesn’t. This can guide your efforts in design.
Add the Right Elements
Based upon your desires and goals, add elements to the backyard that make it more usable and enjoyable. By creating a fun and functional outdoor space, you can promote health and wellness for everyone. Consider adding the following:
- Outdoor lighting makes your yard usable at night as well as day. Consider landscaping lights to highlight your foliage, string lights to illuminate eating areas, and solar-powered lights to take advantage of the power of the sun in creating evening ambiance.
- Give yourself and your loved ones protection from the sun’s blazing heat with quality shade structures. From umbrellas to canopies, shades can make eating areas and seating nooks more comfortable.
- Outdoor Seating and Play Areas. Fancy furniture might be fun for the adults, but if you have small children, be sure to include them in your design, too. Make sure there are seating and play areas for everyone who will need them. Differentiate a few seating nooks where adults can gather as well as larger, informal spaces where the whole family can spend time. Likewise, consider adding a sandbox or a tree swing for kids.
- An Outdoor Grill. There’s nothing quite so quintessentially summer as grilling outside or picnicking on a beautiful day. Use this season to make big, healthy dinners of fresh produce like corn on the cob or zucchini grilled with herbs and oil. Getting everyone together is half the fun of spending time outdoors, and eating deliciously healthy food is icing on the cake.
- A Fireplace. There’s nothing quite like a cozy fire to create backyard warmth and ambiance on a cool night. You could buy a fireplace or, if you’re handy, make one using DIY tutorials online. In either case, a commanding fireplace will turn your yard into a true showpiece for entertaining and relaxing.
- A Backyard Garden. A backyard garden is more than a way to boost your summer vegetable crop; it’s also a project you and your kids can work on together. Whether you add a raised bed garden or plot out space in the yard itself, help your family connect to nature and understand where food comes from by growing from seeds or starters to a wide variety of plants.
- Sports Equipment. Children aren’t the only ones who benefit from time to play. Give the whole family an excuse to get active and have fun by including a bocce ball court, some baseball gloves and balls, a soccer ball and other activity-encouraging features that you can enjoy together.
When it comes to smart backyard design, the key is knowing your own family and what works best for your needs. Look at the way you work and play together and turn your yard into a space that cultivates time outside! Then, when you’re hanging out with loved ones in the yard throughout this season, you can build memories and relationships that last a lifetime.
About the author:
Brent Derbecker is the National Sales Manager of Superior Skyspan, a shade division of Superior Recreational Products. The company designs umbrellas and shade structures for any unique space to improve your outdoor comfort and protection.