Whether there's a pandemic happening and you need to find a place to gather with people outside, or you're just excited to spend time in the fresh air, the backyard is a great resource for extending the overall living space in your home. Here are five ways you can get more from the land behind your home.
1. Build a deck
In the Northwest, a covered deck is a must for enjoying all seasons out of doors. For our home, I built a deck that runs the full length of our house, with a roof covering half of it. With the addition of a built-in barbecue (a Big Green Egg) and a granite countertop, we've created an al fresco kitchen space. We barbecue about once a week, including a turkey every Thanksgiving. There’s room for soaking up sun on the other half of the deck (this is a favorite with the cat.) It’s like an addition to the house.
2. Add some raised beds
I built two beds from cinderblocks then covered them with cedar. There’s seating on the top, and you get the warmth and beauty of wood, plus the longevity of concrete. Last year we had a lot of luck with tomatoes. (The broccoli, not so much.) You can add coverings to make cold frames to get an early start on planting.
3. Put in a greenhouse
If you really want to get an early start on your gardening, a greenhouse is a great way to go. Ours has electricity and water to make it easier to tend to the seedlings.
4. Add some lighting
Solar-powered lights make it easy to illuminate pathways, stairs, and even trees and shrubs. They can add a lot of depth to dark corners (and hopefully keep away the raccoons.) Built-in lights on the deck and patio also make entertaining easier.
5. Install a trellis
Climbing plants need a place to live, too! I built a nice trellis to support our tomatoes last season, and we also used some pre-made options to provide structure for the grapes in the raised beds.
Having a landscape plan can make it easier, and getting some expert advice on bigger projects like the deck and raised beds, which is where we can help.
Bonus tip: Adding a birdhouse can make sitting outside even more fun. Next time, I'll share an example of a recent project I helped a friend build... it's more of a mid-century modern avian condo.