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5 Ways to Renovate Your Backyard

Last Updated Mar 5, 2013 · Written by Rob Schneider

In spite of the fact that we dream of having a big backyard and often make it one of the things we look for when buying a home, square metre for square metre, backyards are often the least utilised parts of the home. Aside from a quick lawn mowing now and then, many homeowners rarely if ever even walk out on to their backyards. If this sounds like you, maybe it's time to think about some ways to renovate your backyard and make the most of it.

Before you start brainstorming, take a seat in your backyard. Are you comfortable? If not, it's probably because you never got around to buying the right outdoor furniture, so keep that in the back of your mind while you're thinking. Now, take a look around and ask yourself what you would like to do in your backyard.  Would you like to:
  • Relax?
  • Entertain?
  • Exercise?
  • Read?
  • Meditate?
  • Play with the kids?
If more than one thing comes to mind, list them in order of importance. Now that you have a purpose in mind, you can start thinking of ways to renovate your backyard. Here are 5 to get you started:
  1. If relaxation, reading or meditating were at the top of your list, if you had a quiet, sheltered place to retreat to in your backyard, you would probably use it more. Imagine installing a winding garden path made from natural stone and that leads to a lovely, inviting gazebo. If that alone is not enough to get you started on your backyard renovation, fill in the picture with some garden landscaping or even a garden pond filled with koi.

  2. If exercise was high on your list of garden activities, you probably want a pool. You probably already know that, though, but may have decided against it because you think your yard is too small. Well, think again, because plunge pools can fit into remarkably small spaces. Add some resistance jets and you can swim as long and hard as you like.

  3. If playing with the kids was up there along with exercise, check out some pool accessory suppliers in your area and look at their ranges of inflatable pool slides. Some of these look like the kinds of slides they'd ride on in a theme park, cost little more than the price of admission to the park and can be used again and again right in your own backyard. If you don't have a covered patio, you might want to think about having a shade sail or umbrella installed, so you have a shady place to relax and keep an eye on things when you're not in there "slipping and sliding" with them.

  4. If you like to entertain, have a backyard and still don't use it, it's probably because you don't have a patio or maybe it's because your patio is not set up for entertaining. You can take it to any extreme you like, but be sure to include a patio cover, some comfortable outdoor furniture, outdoor lighting and, of course, a BBQ in your patio. If all of this sounds too expensive, take it a step at a time. Start with the pavers and move up. Later, when you realise how much you love to entertain outdoors, you can add patio screens to make your patio a year 'round entertainment area.

  5. Maybe the reason you don't use your backyard is because it is on an awkward slope, is very small or is difficult to manage. In this case, maybe you should call a landscape architect and get them to help you. A retaining wall or two, some indigenous plants and perhaps a vertical garden may be all you need to transform even the smallest backyard into something wonderful. Add some tasteful garden features like statuary or a pond and create real backyard magic.

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