Summer is the perfect time for being outdoors. You probably have a summer barbecue or two planned and your kids are probably planning on spending hours on end playing in the backyard. But when your backyard is an eye sore, the last thing that you want to do is host an outdoor party or have your kids’ friends over. Rather than keeping your children indoors and avoiding the backyard like the plague, why not spend a weekend or two and spruce it up?
Luckily improving your backyard does not have to be expensive or incredibly time-consuming. Here are some ways to spruce up your backyard to make it a fantastic place to entertain this summer. And best of all, most of these projects are relatively simple or cheap and should only take you an afternoon or two.
#1- Add a Bird Feeder
This may sound incredibly simple, but bird feeders can really add some excitement to your backyard. Having wildlife regularly visiting your yard (even if it is just blue jays and hummingbirds) will help give it a natural, cozy feel. And your kids will absolutely love watching the birds for hours on end and adding food to the bird feeder on a regular basis will provide them with a fun project.
Bird feeders can be purchased at most home improvement stores starting at around $10. More elaborate bird feeders can cost upwards of $100. Another great resource for buying bird feeders is etsy.com, an online marketplace where people sell their own quality handmade goods. There are currently more than 1,700 hand-made bird feeders for sale on Etsy. Many of the feeders are elaborate yet reasonably priced.
#2- Put in a Garden or Planter Box
Putting in a garden or planter box will add color to your backyard and fill the air with the fresh scent of fruits and veggies. Gardens are not only visually appealing and incredibly fragrant, but they are also an effective way to encourage your family to eat more fruits and vegetables. This will save you money on produce (because you won’t have to buy it at the grocery store) and will help you eat healthier as well. And it is no secret that produce straight from the garden tastes a heck of a lot better than vegetables bought at your local Wal-Mart. If you don’t want to go through the work of installing a whole garden bed, simply put in a planter box. Add some vibrant sunflowers and some cheerful tulips and your yard will be rejuvenated in no time.
For step-by-step instructions on how to build your own raised bed garden, check out this helpful site: OrganicGardening.com
#3- Add a Water Fountain or Pond
If you are looking for a way to bring a little bit of tranquility and peace to your backyard, consider putting in a water fountain or pond. There is something about the drip, drip, drip of water fountains and ponds that will instantly take you back to nature and make your stress literally melt away.
And even though water is the focal point of a pond or fountain, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get creative and showcase your personal taste. Buy pretty accessories (like plants and rocks) to compliment your water fountain or pond and throw a couple of coy fish in for an added splash of color.
Here is a great resource that will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to build the perfect backyard pond. ThisOldHouse.com
#4- Buy a Vibrant New Patio Set
Something as simple as buying a colorful patio set can really breathe new life into a tired backyard space. It will not only add some visual interest to the area, it will also provide extra seats when you entertain. However, buying a new patio set does not mean that you have to drain your bank account. First check out thrift stores, garage sales and antique shops. You will occasionally get lucky and be able to purchase a fantastic piece for very little money.
If you want to go the more traditional route, most department and home improvement stores have a wide assortment of patio sets to choose from. In fact, Home Depot has a great guide right on their website that gives buyers the ins and outs of types of outdoor furniture, materials and accessories. It is definitely worth checking out.
#5-Do a Serious Clean Up
Oftentimes, improving the appearance of your backyard does not need to involve buying new furniture or doing major construction projects. You can drastically improve the appearance of your backyard by simply rounding up your kids and doing a clean-up. Doing a thorough cleaning job may take the better part of your weekend, but it will definitely pay off in the long run. Follow these steps:
1. Clean up the fallen leaves and overgrown weeds and shrubs. This will require you to rake, pull up weeds and trim shrubs. Make sure you have a wheelbarrow to gather up the waste as you go along. Add it to your composite pile when you are done.
2. Mow your lawn and trim down the edges of the grass around the sidewalk. This may require you to get your weed whacker out of storage.
3. Make sure that tools, gardening equipment, sports gear and your kids’ toys are picked up and put away in the garage or the shed. Also use this opportunity to get rid of eyesores in the backyard. If you have old appliances or a broken down car in the backyard, get rid of them pronto.
Whether you choose to try out all five or just one of these steps, your backyard is bound to start looking better in no time!