Outdoor Adventures: Designing a Backyard Oasis for Family Fun

A backyard oasis is more than landscaping and furniture. It’s about creating a family space for relaxation, recreation, and making lasting memories. Follow these tips to transform your backyard into a cherished space for family fun.

Plan Your Space

First, assess your backyard and develop a clear vision of how you want to use it. Do you want to use your backyard primarily for recreation, dining, or lounging? Do you want space to garden? Or do you want space for your kids to play games and your pets to run free?

Consider the available square footage and the state of existing features, such as a deck, patio, landscaping, or established trees. At this stage, it may be wise to enlist the help of a professional to help bring your vision to life.

Create Zones

Designate distinct areas for different activities that are part of your vision. Your zones might include:

  • – A children’s play area, which could incorporate a swing set, climbing structure, sandbox or trampoline, along with age-appropriate toys, a children’s garden or a tree or clubhouse.
  • – A dining area with a table and chairs for outdoor meals if dining al fresco is a priority. Along with a grill, consider adding elements of an outdoor kitchen, such as a food prep and storage area.
  • – A fire pit, which creates a natural meeting point around which groups can gather, play games, roast marshmallows, and tell stories.
  • – A greenhouse or gardening space for growing flowers, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Designate space for a shed to keep supplies, such as tools, pots, or soil.
  • – A quiet, shaded corner with comfortable chairs or a hammock for reading, meditating, or napping.

Dividing your outdoor space into zones or “rooms” with different functions lets you design to scale, whether you have a small backyard or acres of land to work with.

Add Touches of Comfort

Choose durable, weather-resistant outdoor furniture made from materials such as wicker, powder-coated aluminum, or teak for longevity against the elements. Sectional seating is versatile and can be moved around as needed. Adding plump cushions, throw pillows, and cozy blankets ensures that seating is comfortable, as well as functional.

Think of your outdoor space like another room in your home and decorate accordingly with outdoor rugs, curtains, side tables, artwork, garden sculptures, candles, or small potted plants.

Incorporate Natural Elements

Beautiful landscaping that includes colorful native flowers, shrubs, and trees doesn’t have to be elaborate or a budget buster. For year-round visual interest, choose perennials suitable for your climate to give your garden the best chance to thrive.

Define intimate spaces by creating a privacy hedge using shrubs, tall ornamental grasses, or trellises with vines or other climbing plants. Another option for adding color and interest to a smaller setting is to use potted plants, which can be moved around as needed. 

Consider adding water features to your backyard oasis as your space and budget allow. Pools and hot tubs are long-standing family favorites, but carefully consider cost and maintenance requirements before making the investment. Other water features, such as decorative fountains or small ponds, can add a sense of tranquility and serenity to your oasis.

Finally, think about adding features that attract wildlife to your backyard. This can include bird feeders, nesting houses, birdbaths, pollinator-friendly perennials, and rocks and logs for lizards and other small reptiles.

Throw shade

You’ll get more enjoyment out of your oasis in the dog days of summer if it has plenty of shady spots for relief from the sun. Create shade with a patio umbrella, sail share, or retractable awning. Other options include a vine-covered pergola or screened gazebo which has the added benefit of keeping bugs away in the evening. You can also utilize existing mature trees or tall shrubbery.

Install Outdoor Lighting

Illuminate your after-dark oasis with strategically placed outdoor lighting. Steps, walkways, and entrances into the house should be illuminated for safety. Highlight landscaping features, fountains, or architectural elements with LED lights or solar-powered spotlights. Create ambient mood lighting for dining and conversation areas with string lights, wall-mounted sconces, down lights, dimmable fixtures, or candles.

Maintain for Maximum Enjoyment

Once you have the main elements of your backyard oasis in place, regular maintenance is key to preserving its functionality and resale value while getting maximum enjoyment from your space.

Schedule routine tasks, such as lawn care, pruning and weeding, to keep your yard looking its best. Enlist help from a service if necessary. Consider keeping outdoor furniture covered when not in use to protect it from the elements and keep cushions free of dirt and mildew.

Plan an inaugural outdoor movie night, barbecue, or campfire with family and friends to break in your new backyard oasis and enjoy your time together

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