You’ve just moved into a new home. It’s in a brand-new neighborhood with all the right facilities. There’s a great school, convenient groceries, and everything about the house is perfect – except the backyard. When you move into a new home, a lot of the time the backyard turns out to be neglected and kind of empty. It’s amazing how many people leave their backyards as they came. With a few of the right touches, you can enjoy extra living space in the outdoors. Even in northern areas, you can still get half the year of outdoor living with the right set up. Some outdoor heaters, a fire pit, and a barbecue are all you need to extend backyard season into the spring and fall.
But with summer on the way, for now let’s focus on backyards that need some summer love. Often the one thing a backyard needs more than anything is shade. Sunshine feels like a precious commodity in the depths of winter, but come July, even the biggest sun lovers crave nothing but air conditioning compared to the sun beating down on them.
What can you do about a backyard without any shade? The solution depends a lot on the climate where you live and the kind of backyard you want to have.
1) Shade hardscaping with a pergola
Stone or wood decks where you eat, barbecue, or enjoy a glass of wine in the evening are best shaded with a pergola. If the sun’s not bearing down on you all the time, an open pergola can be enough. If you need relief, you can add shade with a pergola and vines. For a quick fix, star jasmine, chocolate vine, wisteria, clematis, morning glory, and Virginia creeper are all fast-growing vines that can fill in a pergola in a hurry.
2) Indoor-Outdoor transitions
In warmer climates, integrating the inside with the outside will extend your living space for sunny afternoons by the pool and evening dinner parties. Wide sliding doors that you can leave open coupled with hardscaping will make you feel like your living room extends forever. Cover the space with a pergola or an extended roof to provide shelter from the sun. With indoor-outdoor transitions it feels like you’re adding square footage to the structure of your home.
3) Shade dining areas with umbrellas
For families who love to eat in the backyard, shade umbrellas might be just the thing. They give flexibility so that you can keep the sun out of your eyes on weekend lunches and take them down when you sit down for dinner in the evening when everything is cooler and the sun is lower in the sky. Umbrellas are a flexible way to provide shade and you can use them to keep off a sudden rain shower.
Making your backyard livable doesn’t just add value to your home, it adds quality to your home life. Everyone needs to spend time outside. You can be away from the TV and soak up the sun. If the only thing standing between you and an afternoon in your backyard is a bit of shade, it’s time to get moving.
Not only do you need to spend time outside, but making your backyard a place for enjoyment can do wonders for your personal life! Having an oasis in your backyard will provide you with the opportunity to make the most of those nice summer and spring days, especially with young kids playing in the yard.
The opportunity to discover new hobbies is also present with gardening! Many people don’t have a lot of experience before they have the need to spruce up their yard. Adding flowers, plants and shrubs can really accentuate particular sections of your yard.
Perhaps mom gets her own ‘Zen space’ to read books and enjoy some peace and quiet. Dad on the other hand may want to liven up the BBQ section with some new cup holders for refreshments when he’s working hard cooking for the family.
When you choose to invest in your home, the payouts are more than just financial. Whether you need to add shade, or some plants to your yard, you’ll find the investment is well worth it!