Transform Your Lawn into an Outdoor Recreation Center!
It’s never too early (or late) to start planning more family-friendly outdoor activities. No matter what part of the country that you live in, here are five tried and true ways to squeeze more fun per square foot out of your outdoor space. Whether you have lovely weather year around, or only a small window of time when you can enjoy the outdoors, these DIY projects can help you to create a healthier, interactive outdoor environment.
A Home Made Swing Set
One of the staples of any yard where children play is a swing set. Swing set kits are an option, but it can be difficult to find a kit that includes all of the elements that you want. Instead, make the swing set a DIY project. You can find plans online or you can purchase a book that contains dozens of different plans.
Choosing a DIY swing set as opposed to buying a prefabricated kit will provide more options and most likely save you money. HGTV offers this guide to building a custom A-frame children’s swing set. Make the building process a family event as well. Take this opportunity to teach your children the proper use and care of each tool. The best part is that you’ll be the hero who built the coolest swing set on the block!
A Backyard Water Park
Warm summer days call for water related fun, so why not create your own backyard water park? Choose an area of the lawn that will be dedicated to this purpose. The exact elements that you include will be determined by several factors such as the age of the kids, the amount of room that you have to work with and your budget. Even if you’re working with a small budget there are still plenty of ways to create a fabulous spot for cooling off. Here are a few ideas:
- Pool or wading pool
- Sprinkler obstacle course
- Squirt gun shooting range
Your backyard water park doesn’t need to be fancy. If your creation can wet their appetite for more active play, then you’ve accomplished your mission.
A Miniature Baseball Field
For a family of sports lovers a baseball field in the backyard would be a dream come true. Of course, most people don’t have the space for a regulation size field, but you can easily create a mini version that will be a great spot for family games – or set up temporary bases for a game of kickball. After you create your baseball diamond you can add finishing touches such as a row of bleachers and even a scoreboard!
Realtor.com offers information on several types of backyard batting cages, ranging in price from portable $600 units to more elaborate $9,000 ones. (With today’s major league salaries, this is one investment that might pay future dividends.) So with enough imagination, you and your family can build your own “field of dreams.”
So far the ideas have all been about the kids, but adults need a special place to
relax outdoors as well. A gazebo is a DIY project that will not only enhance the look of your outdoor landscaping but will also provide a comfortable, shady seating area where you will be able to enjoy a cool drink on a balmy summer afternoon.
Gazebos not only accommodate extra shade and seating, they help improve home values by creating more functional outdoor living space. DIY Network offers these step-by-step gazebo building plans, but they do rank the project as “difficult,” so evaluate your expertise and consider hiring a pro if you want to go all out.
A Gathering Space
Interior designers know that each room needs a focal point. Your outdoor space can benefit from a focal point as well. Create a gathering space in your yard that will serve not only as a focal point for the yard, but will provide a seating area and other extras such as a fire pit, gas grill and maybe even a full outdoor kitchen. The gathering space will be where the family eats a meal together or where the adults can watch as the kids enjoy all of the other DIY projects you’ve created. A good place to start is with a basic patio made of paver stones. Lowe’s provides an easy set of patio building instructions with only intermediate handyman skills required.
The foundation for all of these DIY projects is a well-manicured lawn. By always ensuring that your lawn is in tip-top shape, you’ll be sure to have the proper palate for all of your outdoor DIY inspirations.
These are just five of hundreds of possible DIY projects that can transform your yard into extra living space. Be the envy of the neighborhood and have the yard that all the kids want to play in and that all the adults want to emulate. Creating a fun, outdoor living space is a “Do-It-FOR-Yourself” project – and those are the best kind of all!