The sun is back and the weather is getting warm again! Let’s turn off Netflix, close the laptop, and enjoy the nature right in your own backyard. Now that Illinois’ Spring season is in full bloom, it’s the perfect time of year to explore new possibilities for your home – especially for seasonal enjoyment. We’ve recently spent a significant amount of time indoors. Reduce the cabin fever in your home by renovating your backyard for Summer and Fall fun.
Redesigning your backyard doesn’t have to be time consuming or break the bank! There are so many fun, smart ways to create a backyard you’ll enjoy all day long for many years to come. If you’re just looking for some new ideas, planning on adding to your outdoor spaces, or are in need of a major overhaul due to a harsh winter, we have several fantastic ideas to share with you.
“The leading reason for homeowners to begin a landscaping project is to improve elements of the outdoor space that have deteriorated or broken down. Following a year of unexpected weather patterns, one in ten homeowners report that their outdoor projects address damage from harsh weather.” Houzz
Bloom with a Garden Area
There’s something to be said about the joy of growing your own plants and watching colorful flowers bloom. By creating a garden, you’ll be amazed at the beauty and serenity added to your home. Gardening is also a natural way to reduce stress!. Working in a garden will be a fantastic way to take a break from all the heavy news and work stress you may be experiencing.
“Some previous studies have shown that gardening can increase people’s life satisfaction, vigor, psychological wellbeing, sense of community, and cognitive function. Reductions in stress, anger, fatigue, and depression and anxiety symptoms have also been documented. So indeed, gardening appears to boost well-being.” Psychology Today
Once you’ve decided on the perfect area for your future garden, you’ll want to clear the area to make enough room for everything to grow. Garden design can be as simple as lifting concrete, leveling an area by adding dirt, or removing unwanted trees. Some trees can be harmful to your home as roots can cause plumbing issues. Even the foundation to your home can be affected by the growth of tree roots.
- Flower or Ornamental: Flower beds can add colorful life to any backyard.Some plants can even repel bugs! Plants such as citronella and rosemary repel mosquitoes and ticks. There are aromatic plants like lavender that reduce the feelings of stress and promote relaxation. Just sitting outside among your plants can bring you a sense of peace. Get inspiration from our Pinterest gardening board.
- Vegetables, Fruits & Herbs: Everyone loves the farmers market because they have fresh (often organic) produce, natural products and lots of locally grown plants. What if you could grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs? Even a basic, small garden is easy to grow once you have an idea of what grows in your area: Find out what plants can grow in your area!
Turn up the Heat with a Fire Pit
Imagine spending your nights roasting marshmallows or enjoying a small cup of chocolate while the open fire crackles – making you feel nice and cozy…Installing a fire pit in your backyard allows your family to enjoy outdoor nights in every season! Invite friends and family over for gatherings around a self-contained fire that offers heat, beauty and ambiance. Create a staycation type of vibe with this small renovation….
- Functionality: You can keep the party going long after the sun sets. A bonfire will keep your company warm. Plus, a nice fire also adds a very welcoming atmosphere.
- Fun with the Family: Camping at home can be a great experience for the whole family. Camp around your fire pit in the security of your own backyard. Pitch a tent and cook some s’mores and sing your favorite songs, while feeling safe at home. Light up your night with fire pit ideas from our Pinterest page!
Relax on the Back Deck/Patio
Which one is right for your family – a deck or a patio? If you have a pool, you might prefer a patio to lounge around the pool. If you have multiple gardens or a large backyard, you may want to enjoy the scenery from higher up, so a deck would be a great solution. Whichever is right for your outdoor living space depends on your home’s aesthetic, size, and price range. Either one can be made extra special with colorful outdoor furniture, strung lights and portable fire pits.
“It’s easy to overlook the patio. Sure, a patio is convenient when you need a place to wipe your feet or leave your shoes before heading inside from the backyard, but it’s also an opportunity to enhance your indoor outdoor living experience by tying them together. A well-designed patio smooths the transition from home to landscape adding valuable living space in the process.” Houzz
- Patios: Often built adjacent to an in-ground pool to offer a place for entertaining and relaxing. Some patios are also ground level to sunrooms or gazebos.They can be made of poured concrete, precast concrete pavers or natural stone such as bluestone or limestone. The materials that you use for a patio should coordinate with the other hardscape materials you use around your house so that there is a cohesive style or look.
- Decks: Majority of decks are made with pressure-treated wood, exotic woods like ipe or made of wood-like composite materials. There is a maintenance issue that comes with wood decking. A deck is usually the most affordable option when it comes to building a above ground sitting area and concrete is often the most durable and lowest maintenance. With all the different material and design options out there now, it shouldn’t be hard to settle on something the entire family will love. See special ways to add flare to your deck on our Pinterest board!
Seating Area for Outdoor Snacks, Naps & Reading
The size (and level of privacy) provided by an outdoor seating area signals how a space will ultimately be used. For example, keep it small and intimate for a secluded retreat, or go large and open for social affairs. Boundaries are what establish this framework for your seating area. Are you interested in formal seating for dinner, a glider for reading, or a bench for meditation?
- Functional: Functional doesn’t have to mean boring! Seating that’s meant for convenience can also add character and color to the backyard. When creating seating areas for family meetings or lounging out, the key is comfortability and weather-baring furniture (very important in Illinois). Purchasing furniture that can handle the local weather is vital for long term enjoyment.
- Surrounded by Nature: You can include seating areas in tucked away sections of the garden. After the initial plantings fill in and integrate themselves in the setting, it will become your favorite spot! Using plants as covers for your seating areas like grape vine canopies can give you a comforting private area. Often seating is used to draw visitors into the garden or entice them down a path. Get more seating area inspiration from our Pinterest page!
“A built-in seating nook is inherently cozy no matter where it is – add an outdoor fireplace, and you’ve struck gold.” House Beautiful
Outdoor Kitchen and Grill
One benefit of having an outdoor kitchen is that they’re festive, convenient spaces for entertaining outdoors. When food is grilled out on the patio, guests can gather around the BBQ grill and socialize as the food is being prepared. It might get crowded in an indoor kitchen if everyone is trying to socialize with the cook, but outside there’s much more space. You can increase the comfort for your guests by adding patio heaters, outdoor furnishings, strings of lights, and a sound system to set the mood.
- Functional: A multiple functioning grilling area will save you a lot of money. When you’re grilling outside during the summer, your air conditioner won’t have to work overtime to keep your house cool. When you bake, fry, roast, and broil foods in your inside-kitchen, the temperature in your house elevates several degrees, which kicks the AC into overdrive. When you cook outdoors, you will save on energy consumption.
- Maximize Space: No need to add on a room with walls and a roof; simply incorporate the space you already have on your back porch. If you have a covered patio, you’re all set to bring in appliances and have the outdoor kitchen of your dreams. In your outdoor cooking area, you and your family members can celebrate birthdays, holidays, or just enjoy the great outdoors!
“Outdoor kitchens are much more than a place to put the BBQ grill. You can build up your whole outdoor area around the kitchen, adding patio furniture, patio heaters, and much more to create a comfortable outdoor paradise. It’s all up to you and your entertaining and cooking preferences.” BBQ Guys
Fun for the Family!
Being outside with the whole family is a good way to keep the morale high in your household. Including creative events while outside will be a nice way to make special, lifelong memories without leaving your home. After all your hard work in planning the redesign of your backyard, it’s time for everyone to enjoy it!
- Let’s Climb: You’re never too old for a treehouse! Do you have a big tree you can’t part with? Bring more fun and life to your favorite tree by building a treehouse accommodating for all ages! Trendy tree houses come in all shapes and sizes. Treehouses are the perfect way to get the kids playing outside more, even the big kids (adults) will love them! For a multipurpose space, try leveled decks around your trees. You can even paint and design them to match the aesthetics of your home.
- Movie Time: Create an outdoor theater for movie nights. It’s actually fairly easy to turn your backyard into a movie theater. Projectors for this very purpose are inexpensive online and you can make the movie screen yourself out of PVC pipe and a drop cloth – or even against a brick wall of your house. Just add comfy seating, blankets and popcorn to make it a movie night! Movie night can be fun for the grandkids and even a special date night for parents.
- Let’s Celebrate: With an outdoor fire pit, kitchen, and garden, your backyard is now the go-to spot for all family events. These include graduations, birthdays, baby showers, anniversaries, retirement, and more – all of life’s most precious moments treasured right at your home.
“You will want to make sure guest have a cozy place to settle in for the movie. Throw lots of blankets and pillows on the lawn and make sure you have extra blankets they can use to cover up. You can also provide lawn chairs in the back for guest who don’t want to sit on the ground.” Giggles Galore