Your backyard space can be a haven. It can be the place where you and your loved ones gather, surrounded by stunning natural elements like flowers and trees as you breathe in fresh, vibrant air. Your backyard can be the space where everyone gathers, and memories are formed. If your yard isn’t the preferred hangout space, there’s probably a bit of work you can do to help cultivate a space that feels inviting and welcoming, a space that once everyone settles in, they don’t want to leave. With that in mind, the following will explore several things you can do to help create an ideal backyard space. Special attention will be given to furniture and larger elements, but there will be some yard-care tips as well.
Address Drainage First
Before you do anything in your backyard, you need to figure out what your drainage situation is. If you often get patches that are yellow and dead or if you tend to find puddles in your yard, this means your drainage might need some adjustments. No one is going to want to gather in a damp, muddy yard nor in a parched wasteland. The good news is that drainage fixes are relatively simple. The reason you do this step before any others are you sometimes need to dig things up to fix the drainage. Sometimes you will also limit what layout options you have based on drainage and drainage features. This step can also help ensure that your home wears more slowly as poor drainage can negatively influence your foundation, causing a whole bunch of problems later on.
Somewhere To Sit
When it comes to selecting furniture for your backyard, seating is key. Yes, occasionally, people will happily sit on the grass, but if you want your yard to be a space where people come together, you need to sort out seating. There are endless options in this regard, depending on your local climate and design preferences; you might want to consider an FSC certified wooden garden bench for smaller spaces or a giant wrap-around outdoor sofa-style seating arrangement with room for all your favorite people. Make sure to take a look at the manufacturer’s instructions, so you know what sort of winter-proofing and maintenance tips are for different weather conditions. This will help keep your seating in good condition over the years.
Somewhere For The Birds To Sit
While this maybe wasn’t be what you thought of when you read the title of this article, providing birds with perches, houses or feed can be an excellent component of your backyard decor. As a bonus, these features are small and so easy to fit into most spaces. There’s nothing quite like birdsong to take your outdoor experience to the next level.
Somewhere For Your Pets To Sit
If you’ve got a furry friend, of course, you’re going to want them to be part of the outdoor hangout sessions. A dog house can become a quintessential element of charm in your backyard and can help keep your canine buddy cool on hot days; make sure you understand what pets need in terms of spaces and keep their environment clean. Whenever in doubt, look at the wild versions of the pets you have (wolves for dogs, lynx for cats, etc.) and study what those animals prefer. Yes, domesticated animals are a lot different in many ways, but just like you’re calmer when your back is to the wall even though you’ve never had a bear sneak up on you in your life, there are elements of their primitive existences that are ingrained int their DNA.
A Fire Pit
While a fire pit might not be considered a piece of furniture by some, everyone can agree that it adds a ton of magic to outdoor gatherings. There’s something about sitting next to a flickering fire that soothes the soul. When it comes to fire pits, you can easily dig your own (and if your yard is rock-filled, you can use the rocks you dig up to encircle it) or purchase a pre-made fire pit. Just be sure that you’re following the local regulations in regards to burning bans; in some places, during the hottest weeks or during a drought, personal fires aren’t allowed as if they get out of hand, larger fires are hard to maintain. You might also need to purchase a burn permit from your local municipal government. These permits are often inexpensive (ten dollars is a common fee) and give you permission to have personal fires for a year. Finally, you want to ensure that you’re following appropriate safety protocols; keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case you need to quickly put out the flame, and always make sure that the fire is completely out before heading inside for the night.
Of course, you’re not going to be surrounded by people every time you wander out into the backyard, and this means you also want to ensure that you have a good lounging space for solo nature time. Lounging in a hammock with a good book is one of the most relaxing ways to spend an afternoon. There are hammocks that attach to trees and free-standing ones. Typically, freestanding hammocks take a little bit more space than those that hang in trees. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for selecting the right trees; you want to have adequate support.
The above information should have given you a few furniture-related ideas for your backyard. It’s a good idea to take into consideration the seasons in your particular climate as this will influence what can be in your yard all year round and what needs to be put away for winter. Things that aren’t winter-proofed and are left out in the colder months, tend to degrade faster than you want them to.
Likewise, if you live in a very damp climate, make sure you take the proper steps to ensure that wooden objects don’t swell and warp and that things that can grow mold, like cushions are brought inside before the rain. When it comes to things that animals will use, always research any treatments you’re considering as you want to completely avoid toxic ingredients. Animals tend to lick things, and small creatures like birds can easily become poisoned by toxins that wouldn’t cause noticeable harm to larger bodies like our own.