Updated on November 6th, 2021
Summer has officially arrived. That means warmer weather, backyard BBQs, time for gardening, and longer days spent relaxing outside. That’s why now is also the perfect time to remodel your backyard into a place you’ll never want to leave. There are many ways you can transform your space into your own personal paradise. All it takes is a little bit of imagination and some careful planning.
If your backyard is smaller, creating a simple fire pit area to lounge around with your friends may be the way to go. However, if you have ample space, an outdoor movie theater could be the focal point that ties your backyard together. So what are you waiting for? Check out the following ideas to inspire your next backyard addition.
1) Build an outdoor pergola for some much needed shade
If you are looking for the perfect place to escape the sun, a pergola can serve as an eye-catching yet useful backyard addition for some much needed shade. These wood-beamed sitting areas are versatile structures that can come equipped with retractable canopies that let cool air in while keeping the sun out of your eyes. For some added fun, install a swinging bench, dining table, or day bed. And to really spruce up your space, design with string lights, curtains, an area rug, and patio furniture to make your pergola feel like an oasis retreat.
2) Utilize outdoor lighting to liven up your home at night
Outdoor lighting not only highlights certain features of your home but also extends the use-time of your backyard. Start by illuminating your landscaping. Adding lights that shine on landscaping like shrubs, trees and architectural features such as wood archways can make your home exterior pop. Across stone walkways, install path lights leading to specific gathering areas of your garden. Tie your backyard together by installing string lights across the yard. This will liven up your backyard and make it feel open and inviting.
3) Add a stunning water feature to attract wildlife
For added tranquility, install a water feature. Depending on the size of your yard, there are many unique ways to utilize water such as a koi pond, water fountain, or even a water wall. If you have enough room a stream is a wildlife-friendly water feature that can attract small bees, inserts, and birds.
4) Update your landscaping for each season
If you want to improve your backyard by increasing its curb appeal, update your landscaping to provide something of interest during each of the four seasons. You’ll want to have flowering shrubs, trees, and flowers throughout the summer and springtime, beautiful fall foliage during the fall, and structure during the winter. You can also add hardscaping into your yard, layer your flower beds, and use form in your foliage to bring texture into your garden.
5) Build a fire pit to cook some yummy smores
Home fire pits are a summer must have after a long day. The different types of fire pits include stone and brick, underground, raised, grated, or premade. When selecting your fire pit area, choose a space that has flat ground where you can lay down stone pavers or gravel.
Pro Tip: A stone fire pit can be a family gathering spot for making s’mores. Everyone can also look forward to warming up around the fire pit once the cooler nights of fall arrive. – Lee, The Rock Place
6) Spruce up your garden space
A garden is the perfect backyard addition no matter the size of your backyard. There are many ways to improve the look and function of your garden from hanging wall planters to bamboo trellises. Start by touching up your garden by adding planter boxes. If you lack the space, try vertical gardening. If you already have an established garden, incorporate the latest smart home tech to make maintenance easier. Setting up self-timed irrigation and self-watering pots can ensure your plants stay healthy and not overwatered. For an added touch, sow seeds between marble or rock slab walkways for a modern look.
Pro Tip: Spruce up an area where grass won’t grow or in a muddy area with a pathway or stepping stones. First, find lots of flat rocks. Clear and level the area, then build a box for the path or stepping stone with plywood to create a mold for the concrete. Mix up your concrete using a general-purpose concrete like Quikrete into a wheelbarrow. Pour it into the mold and push the stones into the concrete mix in a nice pattern, trying to fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle. Leave it to dry for a few hours, then give it a gentle wash with a hose to clean up the tops of the stones. After the concrete hardens for a few days, remove the plywood mold. You now have a beautiful, DIY path that’ll last forever. – Elle Meager, Outdoor Happens
7) Design a movie space for outdoor movie nights
To truly create a backyard oasis, design a movie space to enjoy during cool summer nights. All you need is an outdoor movie screen and a projector. If you are looking to create a more temporary space, place blankets down in a flat area of your yard and design the space with temporary lights, pillows, and concessions. Or if you are looking for something that will last the whole summer, hang string lights, purchase patio furniture, and install an outdoor movie screen, which will cost around $100-$300 dollars depending on the size.
Pro Tip: You can build a collapsible DIY outdoor movie screen in less than an hour with just a couple PVC pipes and a plain white sheet. You can use a free-standing frame, hang it up against a flat wall, or on some well-placed trees. Connect your laptop or DVD player to a projector and some speakers, using a heavy-duty extension cord to plug the items into a surge-protected power strip. Now create a cozy and inviting seating area – think blankets, floor cushions and string fairy lights for some ambiance. Plant pots and buckets make great drinks coolers and snack stashers to be passed round during the film. – Sarah, Spruce Up!
8) Build a treehouse for the kids
A treehouse is the perfect backyard addition for families with children. You’ll want to make sure that the tree you choose has a strong foundation. And if possible, multiple trees are better for support. When you have a design and assemble all the materials, (lumber, decking, screws, washers, etc.) hire a contractor to install the supports, braces, flooring, foundation, and roofing. Then decorate your tree house with the whole family. This will be a childhood memory that will stick with them as they grow up.
Pro Tip: One of the best summer DIY projects to do with the kids involves transforming your backyard into a bird paradise. Build three to five bird feeders and carefully hang them on nearby trees in your yard or next to a treehouse. Next, build what I call a “tree bench.” It’s a very small deck that you build around a tall tree in your yard for the little ones to sit on and watch all the birds that come. – Bob, Home Repair Ninja
9) Set up a hammock area to snuggle up with a good book
Nothing beats snuggling up to a good book in a hammock. Hammocks are relatively easy to install. All you need is two trees that are within 5-6ft from each other and sturdy straps. If you don’t have any trees, purchase a portable hammock stand that can be left out in the yard.
10) Cook your favorite meal in an outdoor kitchen
Turn your outside space into an entertainer’s paradise. Outdoor kitchens are the perfect backyard addition for cookouts and dinner parties. Most outdoor kitchens consist of stainless steel appliances graded for outdoor use, outdoor cabinets that are both weather and termite-proof, and weather-resistant countertops depending on where you live. For example, if you live in Phoenix, AZ, you may want heat-resistant countertops while if you live in Abbotsford, BC, rain-resistant countertops are the way to go.