By Home master

Making a House a Home: Five Additions Your Backyard Needs

Create the perfect sanctuary in your backyard with outdoor living areas, plants and flowers, gardens, water features, decks and patios.


1. Entertaining Space

Create a deck or patio for space for entertaining. Make the area a destination by adding an outdoor kitchen. Include workspace and a grill for serving up delectable BBQ. Accessorize your outdoor room with weatherproof art and brightly colored outdoor furniture. Add colored string lanterns for stylish and affordable outdoor lighting. These touches turn the area into a welcoming space to enjoy cool breezes and fresh air.


2. Shade Your Room

Add shade to your outdoor room. Pergolas and retractable patio awnings are great options. Pergolas are permanent structures and may require a building permit. Train vines to climb the sides and across the top for natural shade in the summer. Retractable awnings provide on-demand heat and sun protection. Awnings also help keep the inside of the house cooler by shading windows and sliding glass doors.

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backyard relaxation place
By Chun Kit To under CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Relaxation

Luxuriate at the end of the day with a relaxing soak in a hot tub with a glass of your favorite wine. Include privacy and sun protection for the tub to prevent algae growth. Retractable patio awnings are a budget-friendly way to cover the hot tub area. Pour a foundation separate from your deck to support the weight of the hot tub or spa.


4. Define Spaces with Water and Fire

Use fire and water to define spaces in your yard and enhance the beauty of your outdoor room. Fountains add the soothing sound of water to the environment. Fireplaces act as focal points and can provide privacy to a patio. Fire pits extend the usefulness of your outdoor room through cooler fall evenings.


5. Gardens and Plants

Greenery is welcome and almost required in the backyard. The experts at the Chicago Botanic Garden say, “Minimize water bills by growing low maintenance, drought-resistant plants native to your area. Drip irrigation also conserves precious resources.”

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Build a few raised beds that are perfect for vegetables and flowers. Draw birds to the yard with a birdbath and feeders surrounded by colorful flowers. Wildflowers will attract butterflies throughout the growing season, too.

Plant a big shade tree on the sunny side of the house to provide significant cooling inside the home. Plant a tree or shrubs around the air conditioning unit to help its efficiency and to camouflage the unit.

Sitting in your outdoor room, gazing onto your backyard oasis, will be the ultimate summer enjoyment.