We don’t know about you, but there aren’t many feelings in the world as satisfying as standing on the back porch, dirty hands on your hips, grass stains on your white New Balance shoes, surveying a freshly mowed lawn. Laugh now, but try it, you’ll see what we mean!
With many of us sticking close to home this summer, the backyard has become the best place to spend time outside, get some exercise, and enjoy the beautiful Northern Michigan spring and summer weather. If your backyard isn’t quite the outdoor heaven you want, there are some easy things you can do to bring it up to snuff. Here are some of our favorites.
Put in Gardens That Actually Grow Themselves
For those with a green thumb, gardening is a challenge to see how far they can push their horticultural abilities. But for the rest of us, gardening is basically a two-part process of buying plants and then slowly killing them.
Don’t worry, you can still get all the benefits of gardening (like stress relief and lower blood pressure) without the pain of watching your plants die. Start with some easy foliage plants like hostas.
They love the shade, are fairly drought resistant and don’t require a lot of maintenance. Plus, they are perennials, so they come back every year!
Carve Out Some Space for the Kids to Play
We’re going to go on record here and say that we don’t know if we would have made it through the last couple of months without Netflix and Disney+. Seriously, Mickey Mouse, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU.
But, we don’t want the kids inside all summer. Whether they tell you or not, your kiddos miss being outside, they miss playing on the playground at school and miss getting exercise. If you don’t have a play structure or some sort of area in your backyard dedicated to giving your children a place to play, get one. There are some pretty awesome hidden benefits here too (ever want a quiet house, just for five minutes?), so check out some options like the ones at Sam’s Club – they’ll even deliver and set it up for you too.
Build a Firepit
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be Bob Vila to get this project done (if you don’t know who Bob Vila is, well, that makes us feel really old). Think about some of the fondest memories you have of family vacations to the lake. We bet at least some of those involve sitting around the campfire together.
Fires are community builders, including communities in your own family, and putting a fire pit in the backyard will bring even the most reclusive of teenagers out of their cave. There are literally dozens of videos on Youtube that will teach you the steps for building a firepit, here is one of our favorites from the DYI Network.
Install Some Dramatic Lighting
Most of us are left to the ugly (but functional) security lighting in our backyard, making it not the most inviting place to be after the sun goes down. But your outdoor oasis doesn’t have to be a daytime-only spot. There are a ton of fantastic lighting options including uplighting for trees of your home, solar lights to line paths with, or even rope lights that you can install under patio features for a movie set feels every time you go outside for a breath of fresh evening air.
Home Depot has a great selection of backyard lighting stuff that they will ship to you for free, so you can start your lighting design from your laptop right away.
Create Some Outdoor Living Space
You’re most likely to stay in your backyard longer if you have places to sit, to socialize, to eat, and most importantly, to be comfortable. This doesn’t mean that you have to drop $5,000 on brand new furniture though. You can start with a basic picnic table (incredibly, something you can buy on Amazon now), then maybe add a patio to put that picnic table on, then consider some sort of umbrella or even a pergola.
The best part about creating an outdoor living space? It lengthens the amount of time the whole family spends outside. When the kids are playing on your newly installed play structure, rather than running inside to get a drink and take a break (and risk getting distracted by Minecraft and Animal Crossing), they’ll run to where you’ve already set up refreshments outside, keeping them active, and keeping them enjoying your outdoor space.
Run Electrical (and Wi-Fi) to Where They’ll Be Used
OK, we get it, this does sort of fly in the face of some of the reasons we want out families to spend more time outside (to get away from the electronic devices), but this one is more for you, the newly minted work-from-home warrior.
We can’t tell you the number of times we’ve wanted to grab our laptop and set up outside, only to be foiled by a lack of power and connectivity. If you’re going to be spending more time at home (including work time), why spend it cooped up inside when you’ve got a perfectly great backyard you could spend it in, getting some much-needed vitamin D and getting the last of the Friday reports finished up at the same time.
Need a New Backyard? Brick & Corbett Can Help.
If all of these projects ideas have you chomping at the bit to get started, only to realize your backyard simply won’t hold all your hopes and dreams, it might be time to level up. Despite what many in the real estate industry feared, now remains a great time to buy and sell a home. There are more buyers than expected at this stage in the pandemic recovery, and these buyers are looking for homes (and backyards) just like yours. We’d love to show you how we can get your home sold for the best price possible, and what we can do to level up your backyard game. Reach out to Brick and Corbett today, we’re here to help.