Top 5 DIY Back Yard Projects for Summer Enjoyment

Natural stone landscaping in home garden with stairs and retaini

Summertime is a great time to make home improvements in your back yard that you can enjoy with your family immediately. Whether you want to increase outdoor living space, or simply improve the way your yard looks, home improvements don’t have to break the bank and can be affordable for almost any do it yourself  (DIY) budget.

Here are a few ideas back yard projects that can make your yard the center of summer fun.

    1. Upgrade your outdoor kitchen – Cooking outdoors can be a great way to gather up the family to enjoy a shared meal. Cooking doesn’t have to be hard, and if you make a few upgrades it can become a much easier, more enjoyable experience. If you are looking for convenience, nothing beats a traditional gas barbecue grill with modern conveniences like push button start and electric rotisserie. For the ultimate convenience, try using wood pellet grills (like Traeger Grills) that allow you to make gourmet quality meals with almost no supervision. For people who want the ultimate steak, try high temperature searing with specialty grills like the Big Green Egg.  No matter what type of grill you use, be sure to use rust-free metal cooking surfaces, not just for flavor but also for health safety. And remember that a good meat thermometer can help avoid headaches of overcooking (and undercooking) too. You can upgrade to a digital thermometer for less than $10, and for a few dollars more even make it wireless.
    2. Add comfortable seating – The right seating can transform an outdoor space into a magical area that provides hours of conversation and enjoyment. If you are in need of new seat cushions, you can find replacement cushions for an easy fix. Improvements in materials have led to seat cushions being more mildew and water damage resistant than older cushions. Sometimes the right cleaning solutions can restore older seating areas and materials for a more comfortable experience. If you need to make a bigger home improvement, consider seating that is made of wood for a more natural look, vinyl for less expensive casual, mobile get together, or metal furniture for long lasting seating areas that add style to your back yard.
    3. Adjust your green space – If you are in need of more seating or standing area, reducing grassy areas by add stone or tiles can do the trick. Select materials that complement your back yard’s natural beauty while also creating more areas to place furniture or stand during gatherings. Another benefit is that by reducing the amount of grassy area, you also cut down on your watering needs too.
    4. Add a fire pit – Adding a fire pit can make any back yard into the ultimate area that gathers people year around. For the motivated do it yourself home improvement consumer, this job doesn’t have to be out of reach. Start by selecting the right area in your yard that can accommodate a square or circle that fits the size of fire pit you want, and then measure at least an eight foot radius around it for placement safety. Local codes and regulations must be checked to make sure you do not create a safety hazard, or have to tear it down if it doesn’t pass inspection. You can build a permanent solution using man made or natural materials found in many home improvement and hardware stores. Be sure to select either level ground, or be prepared to make it level by digging the pit into the ground or by adding topsoil to grade it level. Consider that some people will want to sit close to the pit, while others may want to sit further away depending on their comfort level. If you plan to have built in seating installed around the fire pit, carefully consider placement as these decisions are permanent and seats can’t be moved. Seating that is too close means back yard guests will get overheated, while sitting too far away means that your guests will not get the benefit of the warmth that the fire pit generates.
    5. Make it private – A good fence can make your back yard a great place to have a party, enjoy a quiet moment with a good book or have a private family gathering. Investing in a good privacy fence can transform the way your back yard looks and how you feel about sitting in your back yard too. Building a fence can be a good DIY home improvement project for the more skilled consumer, or this could be the right job for a good contractor. Before you make a decision to build, consider a few things. First, fence height must comply with local regulations, but also should create the space you desire. Most privacy fences are 6 feet high once installed, but if your neighbors can still see you, you may want to choose a different height. Or perhaps your back yard is on a slope. You may only need a 4 foot high fence if the yard slopes away, saving material costs. Secondly, consider the type of fence pattern you want. Patterns like stockade, board on board, shadow box, picket and lattice are just a few of the style choices you can make. All look slightly different, but can offer very different privacy and price point considerations. Lastly, be sure to buy the right materials from the right lumber store. Many home improvement stores carry treated lumber, cedar lumber and more, but be careful to buy high quality wood as the right investment into making your yard private will be around for years to come with the right materials.