If you're lucky enough to have a backyard, you know that you should be enjoying it. You should get out there and spend time out in the sunshine, get fresh air in your lungs, enjoy the smell of fresh mown grass. You know that you ought to spend time out there, but what do you actually do with your backyard, other than mow it and look at it? You want to spend time out there, but you just don't have all that many reasons to spend time out there. Here are seven ways you and your family can make the most of your backyard.
Cooking and eating outside can be a great way to spend time and have fun in your backyard. Grilling and barbecue are both traditional outdoor cooking activities, but with a little investment it’s very possible to have a serviceable little kitchen and bar area outside. In fact, having a space outside for cooking and eating can even improve the value of your home, as well as improve the value you get from your backyard while you are there.
There are countless games to play outside, many of which only take a ball and some enthusiasm. Croquet and badminton are just two games traditionally played outside. Not only are outdoor games good fun, they’re good exercise. Any excuse to get moving and be outside is a good excuse. Keep a good stock of games and game equipment, if your backyard is big enough for those activities.
There's nothing like the crackle of a fire outdoors, sending sparks up into the sky. Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits can be a wonderful and safe way to get rid of lawn detritus while at the same providing enjoyment for the whole family. Whether you’re roasting marshmallows for s’mores, warming your fingers, and just enjoying that campfire smell, you’re sure to have a fun time.
Water is another element you can have fun with in your yard. Even if you don’t have space for a pool, or you don't want the trouble and expense of maintaining it, you can still pull out a sprinkler and play in the water. Pets and kids especially love water-based activities on a hot summer days, and a hot tub can be a more grown-up way to enjoy the water, no matter the season.
Not all pets enjoy outside time, but if they are the kind of pet who likes to feel grass under their paws, you can always provide it for them, given the right preparations. As long as your yard is properly pet-proofed with fencing or a leash run, you can spend time outside with your pets. It’s a good way for both of you to get the exercise, sunlight, and fresh air you need. Just make sure that your setup will keep your pet safe from the local wildlife as well as keeping local wildlife safe from your pets.
If you’ve got dirt, you can have a garden, and if you enjoy getting your hands dirty and seeing something grow, you may find that gardening is good for you. Break up your boring old lawn with garden beds. Plant flowers if you want something pretty, and enjoy the colorful benefits all summer. Alternately, you can try growing some of your own produce with a vegetable garden.
Doing nothing but soaking up sun and breathing fresh air are absolutely a valid outdoor activity. Lie around in a hammock, take a nap, read a book. If you've got a comfortable spot to spend time outside, you'll spend time outside, even if you're not doing anything special. So indulge in some comfortable lawn furniture, or keep around a picnic blanket to lie around on. It’s your back yard, after all. You get to decide what to do with it, even if what you decide to do is nothing at all.