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Even if you don’t plan on taking any grand vacations this year, you still want to enjoy every last day of summer. If you have a backyard, this is easy to do as there are so many interesting projects you can consider in order to spruce up your outdoor space and make a relaxing area for yourself and your family. From adding a patio and upgrading your existing one to starting a garden and attracting small critters, there is a lot you can do. Here is some inspiration to keep in mind.

Build a patio

For starters, if you don’t already have one, you should consider building a patio to make the most of your outdoor space. No matter the space at your disposal, you can surely carve out a little corner in your yard where you can go to have coffee in the morning and a chat with your friends and family members in the evening. From a bistro table and two chairs to a daybed and a few armchairs, the ways how you can equip this space abound. Connect the patio to your indoor space with a bi-fold glass door for ease of use.

Add a freestanding pergola

On the other hand, if you’d rather have a space that is separate from your house, you can add a freestanding pergola to your backyard, especially if you have plenty of room. Fortunately, pergolas come in all sorts and shapes, so you’ll have no trouble finding a model that will suit your home. Whether you opt for a metal or wooden construction, you can get a pre-made pergola, while you can also look for instructions online that will show you how to make one on your own. With just a little bit of skill and the right tools, erecting a pergola in your yard shouldn’t be too much work.

Introduce plenty of shade

In case you already have a patio but with no roof, think about adding one that will keep you safe from the elements. Depending on the space you’re working with and its purpose, you can opt for a permanent roof or a retractable one that will let you control how much sunlight you get. While a permanent structure will protect you from rain and snow as well, meaning that you can use this space even during colder seasons, shade sails and bigger parasols are also an option you can consider.

Find comfy furniture

No matter if you opt for a pergola, open deck, or covered patio, to properly enjoy the space, you need to find comfy furniture. When choosing pieces, you want to keep the purpose of the area in mind. If you want a cozy zone where you can chill out and escape the everyday hustle and bustle, you can add a daybed and relax whenever you want. Then, if you plan on inviting guests and hosting outdoor parties, you need enough furniture to accommodate everyone, whether it’s comfortable dining chairs that people can sit on for hours or armchairs and floor cushions. Furthermore, if you have a pool, a few chaise lounges are a must.

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Cozy it up with throws and pillows

Besides the comfy furniture, you can also use throw pillows and blankets to cozy it up. Add pillows to your chairs, armchairs, and sofas, and you can even spread them out on the floor to create more seating options. You shouldn’t forget throws as they will make any chilly morning or evening much more pleasant. Place one on each sofa, armchair, or dining chair to make sure no one is cold.

Illuminate the space appropriately

Another big part of creating a cozy outdoor space is illumination. To have a pleasant atmosphere, finding the right lighting fixtures is of the essence. Unless you’re reading during the evening or doing something that requires precision, you don’t want harsh lights in your outdoor space. Instead, look into string lights that you can wrap around trees, sconces that you can put on a wall, and lanterns that can be suspended from the ceiling. However, if your yard is spacious, you can consider installing some motion-activated lights in the back that will ensure no one wanders off and has an accident. Moreover, they will also deter any possible intruders.

Consider a fire pit

Something else that will make the space warm and cozy as well as give it a nice glow is a fire element. For example, adding a fire pit is an inexpensive project that will provide your outdoor space with a gorgeous centerpiece. The pre-made fire pits available come in all sorts, so you will easily be able to find one that matches your aesthetic. Even if you can’t find anything that you like, you can take on a DIY fire pit project and make one from scratch. From rectangular to round ones, from in-ground to above-ground ones, from metal to stone ones, the ideas are countless and you can surely adjust them to your needs.

Create a pond

In addition to a fire element, you can also introduce a water feature. As these are various, you can choose from a wide array of options. For example, you can add a fountain or small waterfall that will provide your outdoor space with the calming sound of running water. On the other hand, you can also create a small pond in your yard if you have the room. This is something that can be done in a single day and it will not set you back a lot, while you will have a stunning focal point that will also encourage environmentalism.

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Start your own vegetable garden

Another way you can support the preservation of the planet is by starting your own garden. If you have a large yard, you can dedicate one part to lounging outside and another to veggies, fruits, herbs, and flowers. No matter your skill level and the conditions you can provide the plants with, you will surely be able to find a few varieties that will thrive in your yard. That way, you will have a reliable source of healthy food, you’ll get some exercise while taking care of your crops, and even boost your mental health. When starting your garden, you want to look into some useful practices like companion planting and crop rotation that will help you make the most of the space at your disposal. Moreover, having quality garden tools will make weeding, pruning, and fertilizing easier so don’t overlook the importance of properly equipping yourself for this hobby.

Encourage local wildlife

If you’re looking to encourage the wildlife in your area, you can do so much more in addition to starting your own garden and creating a pond. For example, planting trees doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as taking care of veggies but it will still help attract birds and insects. The choices abound and you can opt for anything from ash, elm, and beech to yew, alder, and conifers. Then, you can put up nesting boxes to encourage birds to breed. Keep in mind that these should be put up before spring and sheltered from the elements. Hanging a bird feeder, bird table, and bird bath is also a great way to attract them to your yard. You can also attract mammals like hedgehogs and badgers by looking into what type of food will steer them towards your yard. Finally, you can cultivate a wilderness area by mimicking a meadow or creating a pile of dead wood. This can attract voles and shrews as well as grubs and beetles.

Use flowers to make the space colorful

Something else that you can use to attract wildlife, especially useful insects like pollinators, is colorful flowers. Wildflowers such as buddleia are a great way to draw the attention of bees and butterflies. Other flowers to consider include goldenrod, coneflower, yarrow, and marigold. However, even if you have some specific flowers in mind, you can still attract beneficial insects. For example, roses that are colorful and fragrant can also draw in pollinators. Plus, getting more pollinators to your garden is not the only benefit of flowers. You will bring a pop of color into the space as well, and be able to enjoy pretty views and scents.

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Implement hedges for privacy

When spending time in your yard, you surely don’t want any busybodies constantly peeking in and looking at what you are doing. A great way to prevent this is by adding a fence or hedge that will ensure you can relax in your own home. Fences come in various styles and designs so finding one that matches your aesthetic shouldn’t be difficult. On the other hand, when it comes to hedges, you can opt for all sorts of plants including elder, hawthorn, blackthorn, cherry plum, and privet. These can also provide shelter and nesting areas for small animals. Moreover, you can also add creepers and climbers such as honeysuckle and clematis to your fence to boost the population of birds and insects.

Spicy it up with a cooking station

If you have plenty of space and you plan on throwing BBQ parties on a regular basis, you want to consider adding an outdoor cooking station to your yard. While just a grill and a clean surface can do the trick, you can also go all out and build an outdoor kitchen. That way, you will have everything you need within arm’s reach. There will be no need to go inside to get a new glass, wash a plate, or get the necessary ingredients.

Incorporate games into the design

Regardless of whether you’re creating a space for entertaining and inviting many people to your famous backyard parties or just something for your family, you can think about adding some games to the yard. For example, you can simply stretch a net and play volleyball or badminton. Then, you can also opt for giant kick croquet or giant inflatable bowling. You can make your own wooden blocks to play giant Jenga or make dice that will let you play all kinds of games.

Don’t forget about entertainment

Lastly, while outdoor games are fun, you might want some relaxing entertainment as well. With that in mind, install speakers that will let you play music during your parties and calming sounds when you’re just chilling. Moreover, you can also get a projector and a screen that will allow you to watch movies or TV shows while enjoying the fresh air.

If you plan on spending your summer at home, there are various ways you can spruce up your backyard to have an amazing time. Keep these ideas in mind.

Shabbir Ahmad

Shabbir Ahmad is a freelance enthusiastic blogger & SEO expert. He is the founder of Shifted Magazine & Shifted News. He contributes to many authority blogs including porch, hackernoon & techcrunch.