Back yards are each homeowner’s personal slice of nature. When well maintained, thoughtfully arranged, and studded with pops of your personality, your outdoor living space can become a place where you can entertain long into the night.
The following must-have backyard items are a blueprint meant for personalization. Only you can picture your perfect paradise, but we hope this list gets your creative mind whirling with possibilities.
1.) Lush Landscaping
If you have the means to have lavish landscaping installed all at once, congratulations! If not, visit one of the best locally-owned plant nurseries for assistance in choosing the best botanicals for your yard, planting them properly, and maintaining them throughout each season.
As your budget allows, return to the nursery to add to your landscaping project. Before long, your yard will be an inviting getaway for you, your family, and your friends.
2.) Guiding Paths
After putting all that hard work and/or cash into creating your yard’s landscaping, the last thing you want is for someone to trample your plants. To help visitors steer clear, install guiding footpaths. People naturally follow inviting pathways, so you’ll likely have no issues once this project is complete.
3.) Lightweight Planters
In addition to your permanent landscaping, consider adding a smattering of lightweight planters. These little gems are perfect for annuals and summer veggies, though they are also ideal for planting tall, narrow selections. Once they’ve gained height, you’ll have an easy-to-move “soft wall” that will help create delineation in your entertainment zones.
If you’re looking for ways to add bright pops of color to your yard, these are ideal. Paint them any color you like and change them every few years if your decorating whims shift.
4.) Plentiful Seating
If it’s your desire that guests will want to linger in your back yard, plentiful seating is key. A central seating block arrangement is a favorite; whether you choose to have this be around an outdoor dining table or lower coffee-style table(s) depends on your entertainment goals. Either way, this setup will feel most comfortable when you add a few smaller conversation areas.
Bonus points for installing a hammock, hammock chair, hanging nest, or porch swing! These additions will make your yard a luxurious retreat for you and your family, of course, but they will also signal to visitors that you’re focused on relaxation and comfort. Your guests will notice and feel welcome to kick up their feet and stay awhile.
If your yard is surrounded by large trees, you’re all set for shade. If not, install a canopy, shade umbrellas, gazebo, or pergola. As lovely as a bit of sun feels on a spring afternoon, the merciless summer heat will drive everyone to seek retreat under your shady structures.
6.) Food and Drink Prep Area
If you’re going to grill in your yard, you’ll love having a prep area that will allow you to serve guests outdoors without making multiple trips back into your kitchen.
Your outdoor prep area can be as ornate or as simple as you like. Your options run the gamut, from a full outdoor kitchen costing thousands to a portable grill, rolling kitchen cart, and an ice chest stocked with drinks.
The most important thing is convenience, and the ability to stay present outdoors as you entertain.
Your yard lighting needs will depend on the shape and structure of your yard. You may choose to go all-in with wired, in-ground lighting, or string strands of solar-powered warm LEDs.
The most important thing is to spend time in your back yard at night. Analyze which areas need more light, then decide how you can best address them. For maximum coziness, keep all lighting sources soft, and avoid lighting arrangements that will shine directly in guests’ eyes.
8.) Heat Sources
On all but the hottest summer nights, you will likely want outdoor heating options. Fire pits are a beloved classic and vary widely in price; the most affordable options are around $100, while the luxury end of the spectrum cost thousands.
Remember when free-standing propane heaters were so expensive that only high-volume restaurants bought them? Thankfully, this style of heater becomes more affordable every few years, so homeowners are commonly adding them to their back yards now.
Flaming pyramid heaters are becoming more popular. They are stylish, and definitely add visual interest, but they can be risky for small children and pets.
9.) Pest Deterrents
Wasps, ants, flies, and mosquitos can all make it difficult to relax and enjoy your yard. Unfortunately, classic citronella candles—while aromatic and atmospheric–just don’t work to keep pests at bay.
Consider insect bait, insecticide sprays, and having skin-safe insect repellants available for your guests. For crawling insects, diatomaceous earth is an affordable, effective approach that is 100% safe for people and pets.
Storage sheds are where most of our minds go when we consider backyard storage, but your needs may be met by a storage chest or lidded bench. The most important thing is for you to be able to banish clutter from your personal paradise.
Your hose, sprinklers, lawnmower, gardening tools, outdoor shoes, and recreational equipment should all be out of sight as often as possible. If you’re entertaining, you will absolutely want your yard to be free from these less-than-desirable items, so having a large enough space to stash them is crucial.
We hope you enjoy creating the outdoor space of your dreams. Take your time, be creative, and remember to kick back and soak in even incremental changes. By striking a balance between improvement and relaxation, you’ll have an easier time maintaining the momentum you’ll need to reach your goals.
Are there any improvements you’ve made to your yard that have been key to your enjoyment of your space? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.