Awesome things to do in your backyard this summer

summer backyard ideas

Stepping out into your backyard should give you the same cozy feeling as climbing into your own bed after being away from home. Whether you’ve custom designed your outer space, or are working with already established features, make it a dream oasis for relaxation and entertainment. Consider the following summer backyard ideas for creating an awesome at-home venue for everyone to enjoy.

Comfy Camping

Camping is a great outdoor activity, but you can easily turn your yard into a spectacular spot for appreciating the elements. Gather up snacks and blankets, set up your tent, and take in the wonders of the night sky. If you’re short on space, make a tabletop fire bowl for roasting marshmallows and sitting back to star gaze and identify constellations. If possible, create a lounge area with air mattresses and cardboard “cars” for kids, so you can watch movies on an inflatable or a makeshift screen. Strategically place landscape lights and lanterns along the walkways, for safe, well illuminated movements between the yard and house.

A Perfect Corner Hideaway

A little backyard nook is similar in theory to personal camping, as it’s part of making a warm, inviting outdoor space. Fashioned from string lights, colorful fabrics and expressions of your interests and tastes, picture a super snugly cocoon where the world is yours.   String a hammock between shady trees, make a teepee out of branches and curtains, or drape a canopy over your favorite chaise lounge or chairs. Add plants, tea lights, and pillows and make it the perfect retreat for reading, artwork, yoga, meditation, staycation picnics and whatever else serves as down time.

Outdoor Fun and Games

Sometimes the best ways to unwind are the simplest and the silliest. Use pavement chalk to leave cute messages for loved ones, or adapt the game of Twister to the lawn. Arrange directional lighting so that you can play croquet, horseshoes, miniature golf or swing on repurposed tires or chairs even when the sun sets. Kid-friendly summer backyard ideas include:

  • puppet stages
  • faery gardens
  • hopscotch
  • water gun and bubble making stations
  • scavenger hunts
  • in-ground trampolines
  • water balloon and papier-mâché candy-filled pinatas
  • ball pits, homemade slime pits and sensory stations made out of kiddie pools

Pool Parties for Everyone

Bold, bright dishware, tiki torches, palm trees, inflatable chairs, and low-voltage pond lighting enhance pool areas, but what if you don’t have the space for swimming? Lay a tarp out under a sprinkler for a slip-n-slide, or simply set up a water obstacle course with kiddie pools. Collect stones from your yard and surround neighbourhood parks as well as make your own pebble mats for everyone to clean or dry their feet off on. Toddler wading pools are also terrific for dogs. Make sure to place them under shade so your pup can stay cool.

Creature Comforts

Part of choosing decorating and lighting ideas to make your yard more inviting for yourself is also keeping it a peaceful place for all inhabitants. Since you’re most likely sharing yard space with a few creatures, make it appealing and comfortable for them too. Designate a spot away from where you entertain, for bird-houses, bird-baths, and bat-houses. Avoid food waste by stocking a butterfly feeder with old fruit that the insects love and craft obstacle courses for squirrels to navigate as they forage for nuts and treats.

Multi-Purpose Fencing

Fencing does more than establish privacy and borders, it’s also a wonderful canvas for the imagination. Use slats to mount sculptures, flower pots, or musical instruments. Transform a flat surface into a climbing wall, or use it as a background for to paint glow-in-the-dark murals. With LED garden lights to complement the perimeters, you can create quite a visual statement!

What’s your favorite thing to do in your backyard when the sun is shining? Tell us in the comments section below?



Tips to Create a Warm, Inviting Outdoor Space

outdoor lighting

Staycations save on money and traveling, and best yet, amplify the enjoyment of your home. The yard offers plenty of opportunities to extend that warm and welcoming oasis that the inside of your house presents. With a little time and creativity, you can enhance a yard that fits your budget, reflects your dream destinations, and is the perfect place to unwind at, any and every time. Follow these tips to have your ideal outdoor space.

Create a Distinctive Ambiance

Just as you plan your indoor furniture around each room’s size and design, do the same with your yard. Consider how to work with existing features such as an outdoor fireplace, pool, deck, sitting wall, or stepping stones, as well as the proportions of concrete and grass.

Decide on color themes and what kind of atmosphere you want to evoke – Country villa? Tropical paradise? Beach casual? Vintage? Whatever your style, incorporate LED garden lighting and other accents that please the senses and become part of your distinctive sense of décor.

Implement Privacy

Privacy is just as important for your neighbors, as it is for you. If you don’t already have an enclosed porch, see if there is room for a pergola or other way to create a cozy, more intimate sitting area. It’s a beneficial feature even if the entire yard is closed off from distractions. Instead of replacing a short fence, try these additional ways to implement privacy:

  • training flowers and vines along a trellis
  • filling open link fencing with plants and outdoor art pieces
  • hanging curtains, canopy style between trees
  • soft illumination, with candles, string lights, and step deck lights

Emphasize Comfort and Relaxation

Another key factor in creating a warm and appealing outdoor space is being in harmony with any resident wildlife and making sure that flora and tree growth isn’t affected. Find a balance, so that you’re not disturbing nests, yet also safely re-directing rabbits and other small creatures that you may not want directly sharing your patio lounge set.

Use directional lighting along walkways and by plants and statues to emit soft, relaxing illumination. Take advantage of natural shade under large trees, or set up cover for when the sunlight is too strong.

Simplify maintenance by choosing weather-resistant materials, and remembering to cover or remove outdoor furniture that doesn’t fare well in the elements. With fragrant plants and flowers, understanding how to use pond lighting, and keeping lawns barefoot friendly as much as possible, your yard is always an invitation for unwinding.

Be Kid and Pet-Friendly

Designate spots for children and pets to also enjoy the yard, and give them a sense of their own space. There are plenty of outdoor lighting choices that reduce electricity bills and can be staked well into the ground to prevent tripping hazards. Of course, you should still always review path area lighting fixture angles and wires, especially if winds, storms, animals, or yard upkeep may have inadvertently altered the positions.

Transform your yard into the amazing outdoor space it has the potential to be, and establish it as the place that you, family, and friends love!

Outdoor Lighting Choices to Reduce Your Electricity Bills

 low energy outdoor lights

It’s sometimes easy to forget that unless strictly solar-powered, outdoor lighting contributes to electricity bills. So while you’re reducing indoor electricity charges, such as unplugging appliances and turning off lights in unused rooms, consider the choices outside of your home. Learn how to use low energy outdoor lights that lower utility expenses, while also creating beautiful and inviting illumination in your yard.

More Efficient and Environmentally Friendly

Despite nostalgic sentiments and inexpensive pricing for incandescent light bulbs, they’re not energy-efficient. Approximately 90% of the energy they emit is heat, which obviously isn’t the objective when lighting walkways and sections of the yard. Compare that to LED lighting, which expends about 75% less energy, and as its name (light-emitting diode) implies, absorbs heat rather than emits it.

LEDs and low-voltage halogen lighting cost more than incandescents; however, their longevity makes them worth the investment: between 2,000 – 50,000 hours, depending upon bulb type.

Since they’re cooler to the touch, they’re also safer to handle if someone accidentally touches it while lit. Of additional value is that with LED string lights, the remaining bulbs should still work even if a few are damaged and no longer work. Since these low-voltage options do not contain any toxic materials, they can safely be included in recycling.

Selecting the Proper Low-Voltage Lighting

As you familiarize yourself with different outdoor lighting fixtures, make an outline of where in the yard you want to enhance lighting and whether it’s for aesthetic, safety, or both reasons. Measure particular areas of the landscape, and take photos, so you can easily reference the space while shopping for fixtures. Check for EPA ENERGY-STAR ratings, to give you an estimate of expected savings for using those particular lights. Other tips for decreasing outdoor electricity bills include:

  • Checking for secure placement to ensure that fixtures are properly angled for illumination.
  • Trimming hedges and gardens to prevent plants from blocking illumination.
  • Using motion-sensors or timers so lighting only turns on when needed.
  • Choosing low energy outdoor lights that complement their placement. It’s wasteful if lighting is too low, too harsh, impedes upon neighboring properties, or not weather-resistant.

Enhances Landscape and Curb Appeal

If you’re concerned about energy efficiency affecting design options, don’t be! There are several garden lighting styles that you can incorporate throughout the yard that meet personal décor preferences. Mushroom and pagoda styles add a resort-type ambiance while flood and directional bullet lighting create clean, defined illumination. If you need step deck lights for porches or to enhance string lights, lanterns, or candle lighting, the 12V JC Bi Pin equates to 20W under frosted glass and provides delicate yet effective spots where placed.

Low-voltage and LED outdoor lighting also increases curb appeal at night, whether you use it while entertaining or to show how a house for sale looks in the evening. With either 12V LED or up to 35V halogen bulbs, fiberglass underwater pond lighting keeps important areas highlighted while not adding much to the electrical expenses.

If you’re still not sure about how valuable these lighting options are, consider this: California residents must now use bulbs that emit at least 65% less energy than the watts they’re set out, which effectively puts an end to any remaining incandescents. It’s an additional step towards helping everyone reduce their electricity bills, and use safer, more eco-friendly lighting.

How do you ensure that you are being energy efficient while lighting your landscape? Tell us in the comments section below.