Picture this: you have all your friends and family in one space, you’re enjoying a tasty BBQ, and you’re soaking up those long and glorious summer days. Now picture what your backyard looks like right now. Probably doesn’t quite live up to what you imagined.
When your planning get-togethers this upcoming spring, the last thing you want to do is try and get your backyard ready in a matter of hours before your guests arrive. Instead, plan ahead and consider some things you can add to your backyard and garden to have the best summer get-togethers yet!
1. Add a Covered Entertainment Space
Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash
One of the best ways to encourage the family to spend some time outdoors is to establish a place for them to sit and relax, especially with a bit of protection from the sun. Adding a pergola or gazebo offers your guests a welcoming place to hang out and take a break from that hot, mid-day sun.
2. Keep The Party Going With a Fire Pit
There’s something about a warm fire pit on a cold summer night that’s really special. Staying up and chatting with family and friends long after the sun goes down is when some of the best memories are made.
3. Set The Mood With String Lights
And while we’re on the subject of spending long summer nights outdoors, of course, you’ll want a bit of light for ambiance and safety. String lights are a great way to set the mood outdoors while adding some functional lighting. There are a variety of solar string lights available that’ll charge during the day and shine brightly at night, all without using any electricity!
4. Add Colorful (And Manageable) Garden Foliage
Photo by Leigha Staffenhagen
You don’t have to have a green thumb to add some beautiful, colorful foliage to your backyard. There are a variety of low maintenance plants that are as gorgeous as they are easy to maintain.
Some plants to consider include peonies, ornamental grasses, hostas, lavender, and yarrow. Not only will you add some much-needed color to your yard, but your guests will be impressed with your unexpected landscaping skills!
5. Add An Extra Large Outdoor Dining Table
Nothing is more inviting than a giant dining table set for 10! Take summer get-togethers to the next level with a table that everyone can sit at and enjoy each others company.
6. Consider Adding an Outdoor Kitchen
You know how the party always seems to end up in the kitchen? Take that concept to the next level with an outdoor kitchen! If you love grilling and cooking for the whole neighborhood, an outdoor kitchen might be a wonderful investment!
7. Offer Plenty of Comfy Seating Options
Photo by Tanny Do on Unsplash
The truth is, no one is going to want to hang out in your backyard when there are no comfy places to sit. Sorry to break it to you, but it’s time to give up those half-broken plastic lawn chairs from the ‘90s. There’s a reason they’re covered in grime… no ones sat in them since Seinfeld was on the air!
Alternatively, consider investing in a few different seating options to provide your guests with some choice. Adirondack chairs, cushiony upright chairs, and outdoor couches are all viable options that can be customized to fit your space. There are even some outdoor seating options that you can make out of upcycled pallets!
8. Build Some Lawn Games
Oversized lawn games are the best! They get the whole family playing together and spending some time out in the sun. Pinterest is full of a ton of fun, DIY lawn games, but some of my favorites are giant Jenga and giant Yahtzee!
9. Evaluate Your Lawn
Photo by Gabby Orcutt on Unsplash
Take a good long look at your lawn. Is the grass dead and patchy, or is it thick and green? Do you have a pathway for your guests or are they stuck walking through wet grass? Depending on the layout of your space, you may or may not want to make some changes before the summer gets going. Consider adding pea gravel and stone pavers for a walkway that even your barefoot guests won’t mind walking on.
10. Add Living Walls For Some Privacy
Sure you could install a picket fence all the way around your yard, or you could utilize some pallets and create a vertical garden that’s much more affordable and much more beautiful! Though it’ll take some patience as your plants grow, once they’re established you’ll have a totally natural privacy screen!
Bio: Leigha Staffenhagen is the managing editor of Insteading.com, a homesteading and sustainability site focused on everything from gardening and raising chickens to off-grid living and tiny homes.