Ways To Make Your Yard a Place to Enjoy

The word “staycation” crept into our vocabulary over the past couple of years when people opted to stay home rather than travel for vacation. Now the word is associated with making your home a destination of comfort, a place you’ll want to spend your free time with luxuries that make you feel like you’re at your home away from home. An easy way to expand your living space and create an outdoor oasis is to renew and regenerate or expand your landscaping. We have assembled a number of possibilities that can make your yard a place for relaxing and vacationing at a variety of budgets. Whether these thoughts are incorporated as a single project or combined to create a totally new look, our ideas will make your yard feel more inviting.

An easy way to create a new look for your yard is with a new patio that’s designed to fit your lifestyle. Patios can make a dramatic change to the appearance and usefulness of your yard. They can range from simple concrete to many types and styles of brick pavers, and finally natural stone. There are many choices of material that will match your home, needs and budget. Adding a new set of outdoor patio furniture will allow you to enjoy a vacation without ever leaving home. Patio furniture has progressed in recent years from the simple lawn furniture to more elegant and comfortable pieces that make your own back yard a paradise. Choosing the right patio furniture will give your patio a homey feeling and can allow for plenty of seating for family and friends.

A complement to any patio is enhancing the landscaping around your property.  Adding the beauty of new trees, shrubs and perennials will make your yard a place to enjoy in every season. Selecting and placing the perfect plants may take some work, but it is the most budget-pleasing way to make a large impact to your yard while creating an inviting feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. A well-landscaped yard can produce privacy, aesthetic beauty and year-round color and interest.

Enhancing that outdoor living space with a fire pit, fireplace or even an outdoor kitchen would further add to the usefulness, enjoyment and attraction to your outdoor living space. A fire pit can make your setting a warm, cozy location to enjoy the evening without the chill of the night. It can be built into a new or existing brick patio or be freestanding. The varied selections of fire pits make them the perfect addition to any backyard.  

 More formal than a fire pit, fireplaces create a beautiful focal point. Like fire pits, fireplaces create an immediate gathering place for family and friends. Fireplaces and pits can make any outdoor living space more inviting by adding light, sound, smell and heat, and will extend the use of your backyard well into the spring and fall seasons. 

An outdoor kitchen is another possibility for expanding your outdoor living area.  Like fireplaces and fire pits, outdoor kitchens come in many styles and designs.  A simple grill surround distinguishes the kitchen area and allows for additional shelf space while barbequing, or perhaps the master of the house may want to create a cooking environment with all the amenities of the companion indoor kitchen, including a built-in grill, refrigerator, sink and other storage areas. The possibilities are truly endless and should be planned for with your lifestyle in mind. 

Low-voltage landscape lighting is another way to add four seasons of beauty to your yard. Low-voltage lighting is safe, inexpensive to operate and will accent your night time hours of entertaining and relaxation. Well-placed lighting will bring out the beauty and textures of your landscaping and draw attention to focal points of interest, and create an individual mood that fits your style for evening entertaining. Outdoor lighting also makes spaces like a patio or outdoor kitchen more usable at night by adding enough light in which to dine and socialize. Safety and security issues can also be addressed with lighting. A function of nighttime lighting is to illuminate potentially hazardous areas such as steps and abrupt changes in path directions or elevation. Even though you know your property well, your guest may not. Lighting also provides an element of security; it is a proven fact that a well-lit home will deter home intrusion. 

Other ways to enhance your yard are with water features. Popular water features include ponds, waterfalls, fountains, and bubbling rocks. Water features can be made to be a focal point or just an accent to any yard. Hobbyists can enjoy a year-round fish pond with waterfalls, accented with rock gardens and lighting. Water features add beauty and soothing sounds that are sure to create a relaxing calm to your yard. Simpler features such as a pondless waterfall or bubbling rock are a low maintenance way to add water, sound and points of interest to your yard.

Finally, pergolas and arbors are a wonderful way to enhance an area of your yard and can provide beauty, shade and a centerpiece to a backyard design. Many arbors are used as an entry to an outdoor room, a transition from one area to another or if you have a large yard with lots of trees and paths, an arbor would make a great entrance. An arbor can also be used as a destination point, built with a sitting area or a swing.  A pergola is a larger version of an arbor, defining a larger area of the yard.  It is a beautiful way to define an outdoor space and adds shade to a patio or sitting area. A pergola can be added to a large deck or patio, next to a swimming pool or even over a hot tub.

There are many ways to enjoy your home’s outdoor living space. Remember to consider your needs, desires and lifestyle when planning any changes. Take into account how the areas will be used both now and in the future, and develop a vision that you can implement and enjoy for many years to come.