Your home is more than a physical structure – it extends into the surrounding land. Whether you have 0.25 acres or 25 acres, your backyard is an extension of your indoor living space. If you aren’t maximizing this valuable square footage, you’re missing out on an opportunity to fully enjoy your property.
5 Tips for Establishing a Killer Backyard
The backyard should be a place where you can hang out, relax, entertain, and burn off energy. It’s a space that should work with your interior design – not against it. But if you’re unsure of where to start, it can all seem a bit intimidating.
Here are some useful tips for revitalizing this dead space and creating a backyard that you actually want to spend time in:
- Clear Out the Mess
Have you ever thought about why you don’t spend much time in your backyard? If you’re anything like most homeowners, it has something to do with the mess. Whether it’s weeds, unkempt shrubs, or dog poop, your backyard feels more like an oasis for bugs and bacteria than humans. So the first step is to clear out the mess and create a blank slate.
If this is your biggest limiting factor in starting a backyard overhaul, hire out the work. Pay someone a couple hundred dollars to come in and pull weeds, trim shrubs, and clear out trash and yard debris. If it compels you to move, it’s well worth the investment.
- Establish Some Privacy
Lack of privacy is another factor that holds people back. After all, how can you relax in your backyard if neighbors have a clear view of everything you’re doing?
There are plenty of ways to create privacy – regardless of size, orientation, or style. HGTV recommends things like portable partitions, trees and shrubs, hedges, fences, trellises, stone walls, and outdoor curtains and screens.
- Make it Comfortable
Let’s face it: Your family won’t spend time outside if they aren’t comfortable. So, you need to strike a balance between raw nature and elements of comfort. Here are some ways you can do this:
- Install an outdoor fireplace so you can use your backyard even in the cool of early spring or late fall.
- Turn a deck into a screened porch so that you have protection from rain, mosquitoes, and other unwanted elements.
- Invest in quality outdoor furniture that’s comfortable (not rigid aluminum chairs and bulky wood benches).
You know your family better than anyone. If there are certain elements you can include in your backyard design to make them more comfortable, it’s worth the investment.
- Make it Practical
A backyard can’t just look good – it needs to be functional. In other words, there has to be some practical value that compels people to spend time outside. Depending on your family’s interests, this could look like:
- Having a swimming pool for kids to enjoy with friends.
- Installing an outdoor kitchen where you can spend time grilling.
- Having a special area where you can enjoy your gardening hobby.
A good backyard blends functionality and aesthetics for a well-rounded space that’s both beautiful and inviting.
- Establish Zones
According to home blogger Melissa Michaels, the ultimate backyard consists of four zones: a zone to grow; a zone to rest; a zone to eat; and a zone to play.
While it’s recommended that you have each of these zones in your backyard, they don’t have to be carefully partitioned and separated. There will be some natural flow and cohesion between them. The important thing is that you touch on each. Otherwise, your backyard becomes too one-dimensional and won’t get the use it deserves.
DIY vs. Hiring it Out
Taking a backyard from a bland and underutilized space and turning it into a private oasis takes strategy, planning, and precise execution. If you’re someone who likes getting your hands dirty and is good with projects, a DIY approach will save you money and ensure you get exactly what you want.
If you lack the time or expertise, hiring it out to a contractor/landscaper is probably the better option. It’s more expensive, but it’s also faster. Come up with a plan, weigh your options, and take action. There’s no better time than the present to invest in your home!