Did you know that more than eight in 10 home buyers today want their new house to have a patio? In fact, most home shoppers look for an outdoor area, especially a large backyard.
So, consider yourself lucky if your current abode has all that outdoor space! Make the most out of it by extending your living space to the outside. Not only will this boost your home’s curb value; spending time outside will also do wonders to your health.
Besides, there are plenty of ways to upgrade your backyard without costing you a fortune. Many of these home improvement projects are also a great way to get your DIY portfolio started.
Ready to maximize that outdoor area and further beautify your home? Then consider doing as many of these home improvement projects as you can!
1. Declutter to Reclaim Your Outdoor Space
Did you know that the average American home houses about 300,000 items? It’s possible that you’re sitting on a gold mine — or a mini-landfill.
As such, the first step to reclaiming your backyard is to separate trash from valuables. You may have a few too many gardening tools, bikes, plant pots, or building materials. Keep only what you need and then sell the rest (online or through a garage sale) to declutter your backyard.
2. Repair the Hardware
Perhaps you have a bird feeder, a playhouse, or a BBQ grill that has seen better days. If there’s only normal wear and tear, it easy to patch them up and give them a fresh coat of paint. For your grill, consider replacing old and worn grill grids or grates.
Be sure to check the backyard play sets and toys for any damage too. Unstable or rickety swings or slides can be a safety hazard, not to mention unpleasant to look at. Make sure rusty nails aren’t sticking out and that swing chains are still strong and solid enough.
If they’re too old or weathered, it may be time to get them replaced or upgraded.
3. Get Your Fence Upright
Old wooden fences can become breeding grounds of microorganisms (think molds!) and pests. Fungi from wood rot not only makes a fence look ugly – their spores can also trigger asthma and allergies. Molds can also eat away at the wood itself, compromising its stability and safety.
There’s also termite infestation and damage, which in fact, costs the U.S. $5 billion every year. Carpenter bees are also a threat to wooden fences, drilling holes, and nesting in them. Both types of pests can render your fence unstable and unsafe.
If your fence is showing any sign of crookedness or warping, replace all affected panels. Make sure you get rid of all spots with rot, as they’re quick to spread. Replace rusty hinges too, as worn connectors may collapse under the weight of the new panels.
If you have a bug issue, consider calling a pest removal service first before fixing the fence. You need to get rid of the pests firsts, otherwise, they’ll just attack your new wood panels.
4. Replace Weeds with Edible and Flowering Plants
Grow your own herbs that you can use for cooking and fruit-bearing plants you can feast on! Start with chives, mint, parsley, basil, oregano, and coriander. These are super easy to grow, and you can even transfer them into smaller pots that you can grow right in the kitchen.
Once you get the hang of gardening, upgrade your skills to grow tomatoes, beans, beets, and carrots. Mustard and collard greens are also quite easy to grow in fertile soil.
To transform your backyard into a colorful oasis, get some pansies and sunflowers. These are incredibly easy and hardy plants that even beginners won’t be able to kill. Other top choices for nice backyard flowers are marigolds, zinnia, impatiens, and snapdragons.
5. Make Way for a Pebbled or Stone Path
One of the best DIY landscaping ideas you can take on is laying out your own winding backyard path. This takes time, effort, and sweat, but they can be a great project with your kids.
Best of all, there are dozens of stone and edging materials you can choose from! There’s the gravel or pebbled path, two of the easiest (and cheapest) as you don’t need to dig deep. A stone (or flagstone) path can also lend some Japanese garden vibe into your own backyard.
Make sure you plan your path to go around the best spots on your backyard. They should make their way to the areas where your herbs, flowering, and fruit plants are. There should also be a path that goes toward the other “high-traffic” areas, like the playhouse or BBQ area.
6. Invest in Quality Outdoor Furniture
A backyard won’t be complete without space for some relaxing me time or quality family time. You wouldn’t want to sit on your landscaping rocks or grass though, so be sure to get some outdoor furniture.
Before buying furnishings for your outdoor space, consider your weather first. Environmental factors can affect your furniture and cut their life short.
For instance, hot and dry conditions can crack and splinter wood. Wicker furniture will degrade and rot away in environments with constant moisture. Whereas aluminum, with it being lightweight, will not fare well in areas with strong winds.
Wrought iron and resin furniture are some of your top sturdiest material choices. They last really long and can withstand hot or damp conditions.
7. Look Out from the Inside through New Windows
Get amazing views of the backyard improvements you’ve made so far by getting new windows. Replace old, drafty, and cracked windows with more energy-efficient ones. Consider upgrading to picture windows for even greater views of your outdoors.
Don’t worry, as the best window companies in the U.S. offer Energy Star-rated windows. These energy-efficient windows can help you trim your energy costs by up to 12%. You can even get them in custom sizes, which are great for odd-shaped window frames.
8. Upgrade Your Outdoor Lighting
Another trick to enjoy your backyard upgrades is to upgrade your outdoor lighting. Consider LED lights, some of which can stay lit up to 50 times longer than incandescent lights.
Set them up strategically, such as along the paths, for safety and visibility. Adjustable lights are also great for illuminating the highlights of your landscaping. Consider installing light sensors too, which can help improve your home security.
9. …And Build a Fire Pit
Building your own fire pit involves more work than the rest of what’s on this list, but it’s worth it if you finish it!
First, because if you’ve ever wanted to learn masonry, laying your own brick pit is a good way to start. Second, even if you don’t perfect the brickwork, the pit will still look awesome. It won’t also cost you an arm and leg, but it will last you for many years.
A fire pit could be one of the highlights of your backyard, especially for your kids and their friends. It’s also great for family gatherings, barbecue nights, and of course, backyard camping. So, if you’re ready to take the next step on how to upgrade your backyard, a fire pit is a good way to go.
10. Get Swinging, Bouncing, or Both
If you don’t have one yet, get yourself and your kids a couple of swings! Swinging is more than a great way to unwind for both kids and adults – it can even burn up to 200 calories in an hour! Plus, it’s a good conditioner for your tired joints, muscles, and ligaments.
If you still have space and a couple of sturdy trees, get a hammock for your outdoor lounging area too. According to science, the swaying motion of a hammock allows you to catch faster, better ZZZs. It also lets you enjoy a deeper sleep than your couch or bed.
Of course, your backyard (and your kid’s playground) won’t be complete without a trampoline. And great news for the adults, as there are now trampolines made for young-at-heart folks. Kids can still have fun on them, but these trampolines are sturdier that even adults can enjoy them.
Upgrade Your Backyard with these Home Improvement Tips ASAP
In case you haven’t heard, indoor air can be anywhere from two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. That should be enough reason for you to spend less time indoors and more time outside. So, follow all the tips we’ve rounded up so you can upgrade your backyard! This way, you won’t have to travel far just to breathe in the fresh air and get your daily dose of Vitamin D.