It’s one of those evenings. You don’t sit on the back deck, you flop. It’s all about you and the great outdoors right outside your back door. You have embarked on a stay-cation for the weekend, all thanks to the improvements and refinements made to your little slice of backyard heaven. Eclectic, bright and personalized describe the way homeowners are building up their landscaping and play areas this year.

It’s Home

Sure, a multi-million dollar mansion has meditation gardens, pathways and living art pieces. You have three kids, two dogs, a new house and you and the spouse would like to spend time enjoying your yard rather than always tending and building it. 

Prioritizing what you want to do with your yard is the first step to making a welcome reprieve from the rat race. Deciding on an open yard or one with privacy fencing is an important first step. Not only does it define your space, but it also defines what you can do with your space.

Master Gardener and Chef

Why not let the yard pull its own weight in making the summer months fun? Section off a plot in the back corner and you and the kids can plant tomatoes, beans, zucchini, peppers and a few other choice vegetables. Just remember that vine plants need some extra space to spread out.

Once the veggies are ripe, convert those growing skills into cooking skills and enhance the grill goodies with some homegrown sides. Zucchini spears coated in olive oil with some Italian seasoning and grilled alongside some tender steak makes for a delicious summer meal.

Set Me Up

Sitting around the fire is the new sitting around the kitchen table. Coffee, wine, snacks and a nice fire in a pit you built make for lasting memories. Paving stones and edging bricks come together to make a decorative centrepiece to a yard entertainment area. Instructions for building your own fire pit are readily available online and it can usually be completed in a weekend. The choice is up to you to go traditional and burn wood or install an H-burner fed by a propane tank to make fire pit glass rocks dance and glow.

While the tools are still out, pallet furniture is a fun, economical way to invite guests to the backyard. Chairs and couches, tables, even drink bars can be fashioned from pallets available for free at most lumber yards. Top with brightly coloured, bold patterned cushions and you have instant custom deck and yard furniture.

Games Please!

A dual-use net can be set up for volleyball or badminton to wear out the kids. Croquet hoops are quick and easy to place when the net comes down. Keep an assortment of baseball gloves and balls on hand, along with hula hoops, Frisbees and other entertainment items for kids and adults alike.

Some Adult Time 

Summer parties for the parents are a great fill in when the kids go off to camp. Keep with the eclectic theme and grab a section of privacy fence and an old sheet of corrugated tin and make a tiki bar for the guests’ refreshment. It doesn’t have to be huge, and attach some small casters to make it moveable and keep your deck or patio area multi-purpose. Add to the tropical party atmosphere with inexpensive party lights and some tiki torches and transform any backyard weekend into a getaway to the islands.

Whatever your style, the focus on the outdoors is always fun and relaxing. So light a fire, grab a brew, pull up a chair and enjoy your backyard during the beautiful summer months.

Photo credit: meat, kids, veggies
Posted by Chris Penny on


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