Renovations aren’t just about the indoors! Renovating your Backyard is an exciting way to give your place a facelift. Thanks to James Mawson from the Outdoor Living Direct blog for his compelling list, 17 Bright Ideas for Remodelling A Backyard:
Know thyself – In his classic treatise The Art of War, the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote that the wise general must know his own forces. This is as crucial to victory in home renovating as it is in warfare. So, before you buy anything. Before you make any phone calls.. before you start making any plans, have a think about who you are and what you are going to use your backyard for. How many people will you be having over? Do you have pets? How child friendly does the space need to be? There is no single ideal backyard to fit every purpose – different people have different needs, and so their backyards will look different too. The ideal backyard for a retired couple with grandchildren will look very different to the perfect courtyard for a young couple who host raucous backyard parties all summer. Proper consideration of who you are and what you want from your backyard will help you with every subsequent decision you face in remodelling the backyard.
Balance living area with garden area – The right balance of stuff vs. space is key to a great backyard.
Solar LED lights are pretty sweet – Outdoor lighting has never been so easy as it is with these – no need to worry about connecting to a power source, no globes to replace, and they’re not even particularly expensive.
Gimme shelter – Whether you’re looking for shade, or gotta get outta the rain, there’s probably going to come a time when you’re going to want some protection from the elements. Garden umbrellas are excellent for temporary or semi-permanent shelter, and can be a great way of avoiding the planning hassles that might come with more permanent roofing options.
Don’t forget storage – Well thought out storage space is the antidote to clutter.
Patch it up, patchy – Growing your own vegetables can be a great way to save a bit of money on the weekly grocery bill, while enjoying the health and flavour benefits of enjoying food at its very freshest. The trick here is to make sure you’re growing stuff you’ll actually enjoy, in quantities you’ll actually use. If you absolutely can’t stand broccoli, nothing will remind you of this fact quite so well as a bumper harvest of the stuff!
Fix a fast favour for your fine feathered friends – You might not be able to make anything with those scraps of leftover yarn too short to knit with, but someone else might. Put these into a suet feeder and hang it up in the garden for local birds to use in their nests. You’ll be able to spot these brightly coloured inclusions from ages away, and smile to yourself for lending a helping hand with a neighbour’s home renovation.
Setting stuff on fire is exciting! – If you live in a part of the country that gets cold in winter, digging a small firepit can help extend the outdoor entertaining season by creating a heat source, and a focal point for your social gatherings. Firepits can be as expensive or elaborate as you want them to be, but need only be as difficult as digging a small hole and encircling it with rocks.
Cook outside – Barbecues are an obvious way forward here. Flat grill barbecues are the go if you’re going to be cooking for lots of people, while round kettle barbecues win out for money and space if you’re cooking for just the family. If you’re on a budget, or just want something that can be packed away easily, a portable camping grill can be placed over your firepit when you want to cook, then folded away when it’s not in use.
Repurpose tree stumps – Tree stumps can easily be repurposed as a bench or a table by fixing a benchtop or tabletop. It’s also a perfect pedestal for a pot plant, or it can be turned into a planter by hollowing it out with a hammer and chisel and filling with soil.
Recline in style – Sunlounges and outdoor sofa sets are popular for a reason, but they’re hardly the only way to get horizontal in the great outdoors. Hammocks and outdoor bean bags are slightly more off-beat way to get comfortable while lying down.
Nobody likes mozzies – Citronella oil is a naturally occurring essential oil found in lemongrass that insects hate the smell of. Citronella scented candles and fuel cans for firepots are readily available – it can be convenient to keep a couple of these in reserve, ready to deploy on those nights where everyone’s being eaten alive.
Beware prying eyes – Not everybody uses their backyard to tan in the nude via moonlight – but is it really anybody else’s business whether that’s your thing? Growing bamboo is one great way to create some privacy – it grows fast.
Provide pals for your plants – Protect your vegies and ornamental plants from being eaten by pests or competition from weeds with companion planting. Trap crops can lure pests away from the plants you want to protect, while pest-repelling plants can get rid of them altogether.
Embrace cubism – Cube settings are a great way to add a dining setting to your outdoor living area when space is at a premium. With a cube setting, the chairs and footrests can be packed away neatly underneath the table, minimising the setting’s footprint when not in use.
Cover up – Protect your outdoor furniture from the elements with furniture covers. This will extend the life of the items by protecting them from being faded by UV light or worn by the rain.
Make the space truly yours – When all is said and done, the only opinions that really matter are those of the people that will be living with this space, day in and day out – don’t be afraid to make it your own!
- My name is James Mawson and I write about outdoor entertaining and lifestyle on the Outdoor Living Direct blog
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