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Summer has finally arrived. The sun is shining, the weather is warm, the birds are singing…and every time you try to go somewhere fun on the weekend, you have to fight traffic, jockey for a parking space, cram yourself in with the rest of the crowds and spend lots of money just to have some fun. Why bother with all of that? If you have a backyard, you can turn it into your own little piece of summer heaven. The only parking space you’ll have to find will be in your garage, and the only crowds will be the ones you invite (and you can ask them to leave when you’re ready).
Here are some ways you can make your own summer getaway, right in your own backyard.
- Porch: If you have a front or back porch, kick it up a notch. Rather than picking out hard plastic furniture, go for some plush chairs, end tables, and a coffee table. Install a ceiling fan and add a few lamps, and you’ve got yourself an outdoor living room.
- Swings: They’re not just for little kids. A porch swing, or a freestanding unit in your yard, is great for relaxing with a cool drink and a good book, or a little romantic star gazing. See #3 for another perfect accompaniment for a swing.
- Fire pit: Can’t you just taste the gooey melted chocolate and marshmallows between graham crackers? Nothing says summer night better than sitting around a fire, talking, laughing, and making S’mores. Building a fire pit or outdoor fireplace means you can use your yard pretty much any time you want.
- Deck: The uses for a deck in your backyard are endless. You can put out chaise lounges for sunbathing, a table for meals, and the grill to cook up a classic outdoor meal. You can cover part of the deck with a canopy or pop-up gazebo for shade, and string lights along the railings for enjoying evenings outside.
- Patio: You can define space in your backyard by laying a patio. Patios can be any variety of shapes or sizes. A patio among trees can make a nice shady spot to escape the sun’s heat. The patio doesn’t have to be right off the house, either. You can install further out into your yard or near the corner of the house, and install a walkway leading to it. This will create the illusion of size, even in a smaller yard.
- Outdoor kitchen: If you’re a gourmet, you’ll want a state-of-the-art outdoor space to show off your skills. Outdoor kitchens feature much more than just a grill. They can include cooktops, refrigerators, and islands for food prep or eating.
- Pond: A small backyard pond not only looks beautiful, but attracts pretty butterflies and birds. If you add a waterfall to the pond, you can listen to trickling water rather than noisy cars.
- Gardens: If you’re looking for beauty, privacy, or practicality, you can’t beat a garden. Beautiful flowers can add color to your yard. Building a “wall” of evergreens along your property line can act as a natural fence, giving you privacy from your neighbors. You can also plant a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your yard to add to some delectable meals and snacks.
- Pools: the pièce de résistance of a backyard is, of course, the pool. What better way to cool off, enjoy time with friends, and laze away sunny afternoons or warm nights than relaxing by the pool? Whether your space is large or small, there are ways to incorporate either an above-ground or in-ground pool into your yard that will provide years of joy and entertainment.
- Poolscape: Almost as important as the pool is the poolscape. With the right décor by way of a patio, deck, or sunroom, you can have your very own resort right out the back door.
- Sunrooms: If you have the space, you can also consider adding a sunroom onto your home. While it has many of the same uses as a porch, deck, or patio, the extra bonus here is that a with the right combination of screens and glass, you can use the room in on all but the coldest of days.