In today’s tech-centric world it is more important than ever to encourage not just our children, but our entire family, to spend more time outdoors. Studies have shown that time spent in the backyard surrounded by nature is good for our mind, body, and soul.
There are a multitude of ways to enjoy outdoor recreation in your landscape. Some prefer to entertain guests with outdoor dinner parties, while others are happy to have a little private oasis – a getaway to read or relax. Here are some of our favorite family friendly elements to consider when planning your backyard.
Outdoor Living Spaces
Installing a Gazebo
Installing a gazebo in your backyard can be a year-round feature to host and entertain guests. From dinner parties to a place to enjoy a cup of coffee and a good book, adding a gazebo to your property can increase your property value while providing an escape from a hard day.
Outdoor Dining Area
The entire family can appreciate the fun that comes from eating a tasty meal outside that was grown in your own backyard.
Stay warm year-round and install a fire pit, a fireplace or a fire table to provide a warm and comforting ambiance to your landscape. Much like gathering around the campfire, you and your family and friends can sit comfortably around the fire and enjoy a night under the stars. For a very low maintenance but still visually pleasing option, consider a gas fire feature.
Whether you’re a pro that wants just a little more practice time at home or an enthusiast that just can’t get enough golf, consider adding a putting green to your backyard area. Synthetic turf can help you save on water costs while mimicking fun challenges on the green.
Outdoor Recreation & Games
Classic outdoor yard games are perfect for entertaining family and friends at those outdoor summer BBQs. Investing in backyard games will allow you to utilize your backyard more often.
Bocce Ball Courts
Get rolling: growing by popularity, bocce ball is making a comeback and would be a fun, unique addition to your backyard. Consider a flat, level area and a playing surface that absorbs bounce while allowing for drainage, such as decomposed granite. Invest in glow in the dark balls so when dusk falls you don’t have to end the game.
Croquet is a great backyard game that even the kids can play. It can be played on a variety of surfaces such as artificial turf, dirt or sand.
Volleyball is always a fun game to play with friends but why go to the beach to play when you can play in your own yard? Once you determine where you want to make the court, make sure space is free of low hanging tree branches. After removing the soil, spread some sand and game on!
Badminton is a classic game that gets you up and moving around while still having a good time. The court is fairly easy to set up and take down but try to choose a flat area of the yard that stays fairly dry and let the backyard games begin.
Trampolines can be a great addition for backyard recreation. More accessible than a traditional trampoline, in-ground trampolines can be added to your landscape without cluttering the aesthetics of your backyard.
If you are considering adding an in-ground bouncy space to your backyard, don’t forget that drainage needs to be taken into account. Without the proper drainage, the pit will become an inaccessible, stagnant pool that no one wants to swim in. This could rust your trampoline and make for an unsafe environment.
Swing sets & Play spaces
Backyard swing sets or play spaces are great additions to a backyard for the whole family to enjoy! Kids are full of intuitive ideas and having a play area in the backyard is another possibility for adventure without having to leave home.
Ensure that any play structures have adequate room around them free of any hazards. Use playground mulch, sand, pea gravel, shredded rubber mulch or a surface pad for a safe place to land. If you do not have the room required for a swing set, consider a small playhouse so your child has a place of their own. Adding a sandbox can be a fun place for your kids to build and play in, but make sure it is in a place that is protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Create an Edible Garden or Greenhouse
Plant a Veggie Garden
Depending on what veggies or fruits you enjoy, starting an edible garden is the perfect way to stock your fridge right from your backyard. It is important to have your garden in a place that will get quite a bit of sun. Use nutrient–rich, well-draining soil to help your veggies grow.
Have your kids start a little section of their own to tend and help in the garden. This instills a love for outdoors and nature and children who grow their own fruits and veggies may also be more likely to want to eat them.
Creating teepee garden trellises is a great eco-friendly way to support vine crops and is simple to make and move. These garden teepees are ideal for beans, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, sweet peas or chayote, as well as any number of ornamental flowering vines. They make a great hide and seek spot and are visually appealing in the garden.
Add a Greenhouse
Having a greenhouse is a great addition to your backyard space. You can use it year-round and it can serve multiple purposes. Whether you make gardening a full-time passion or use the space to protect your garden tools in the winter, adding a greenhouse can increase the value of your home.
It is important to keep in mind some of the potential hazards when planning your family’s dream backyard.
- Fire pits and water features are beautiful and great to gather around but can also be very dangerous. Never leave your child unsupervised near a burning fire pit or water feature.
- Window wells should have grates or plexiglass coverings to protect your kids or pups while playing. Be mindful of any other fall hazards.
- Be sure to check the safety of play structures on a regular basis. Tighten screws on swing sets and keep an eye on your child’s playhouse as some potentially harmful bugs like wasps or spiders.
Your backyard can become your own oasis and a place to relax and unwind. Whether you add some games for outdoor recreation and entertainment or install a swing set for your kids to play, there are many ways to enjoy your outdoor space year-round.
At Timberline Landscaping we are proud partners with Come Alive Outside, a non-profit dedicated to the pursuit of living healthier lives outside. They have a wonderful set of resources to encourage your family to spend more time in the great outdoors. As always, our talented design team is a great resource if you are interested in creating a beautiful family-friendly landscape. Contact your Timberline experts today.