Thursday, May 20, 2010

Creating a Backyard Destination

If money is tight and your summer vacation was postponed this year, create a backyard destination that you can enjoy every day. Your oasis will give you a place to de-stress after a long day and enjoy quality time with friends and family all summer.
  • Create privacy with a fence, a trellis, shrubs, trees, flowering vines or even outdoor fabric hung like curtains. Any of these can help block the view of the road or the neighbor’s yard, reduce noise and give you a hidden feeling.
  • Cultivate your green thumb by planting flowers, plants or trees and add color, fragrance and a lush feel at the same time. If you plant in containers or pots, you can move them around every few weeks to give the yard a new feeling. Add a couple vegetable plants to help save money this summer with fresh produce.
  • Use flagstone, cobblestone or pavers to create a simple patio or pathways in your yard. Add small gardens, a bench or water fountain along the path.
  • Have your yard treated for mosquitoes and ticks. Most mosquito sprays will last 3-4 weeks and there are organic options on the market now that are quite effective. While you can DIY for most of the list, I’d recommend calling in the professionals for this one.
  • Keep that grass green! Make sure you're staying on top of mowing, weeding and fertilizing. Contract with a local maintenance company to do the "heavy lifting", while you sit back and enjoy the results!
  • Add a hammock, patio table with umbrella or a picnic table to create a relaxing place to kick back to you backyard area or patio. I love this outdoor living room idea from Crate and Barrel. Accessorize with pillows and cushions made of weather- and water-resistant fabric. Place a rug under furniture, just as you would inside, but choose one that can be hosed off for cleaning.
  • Install outdoor speakers or just open the windows to hear your stereo when you are outside. If you want a more tranquil atmosphere, hang wind chimes on a porch or from a nearby tree.
  • Lighting will extend your relaxing days into the evening. Think about tiki lights, solar lighting, lanterns or candles scattered about the backyard. How about a couple of these bamboo solar lights?
  • Fire pits will quickly become a gathering point for family and guests to warm themselves and have outdoor cookouts. The light from the fire will stretch the time you spend outdoor into the evening hours. Just make sure you check the rules and regulations in your town before you install one. Here are some great affordable options.
There are a lot of easy ways to create a backyard, patio or balcony that you and your family will love to spend time in. If you're especially budget conscious this year, check out yards sales and thrift shops for pieces that can be painted or refurbished for your space. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy the fresh air and warm weather - you deserve it!

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