By Bryn Huntpalmer
It’s finally summer: the kids are home from school, the days are long and everyone is eager to get outside.
Skip the hassle of traveling and pricey amusement parks and make your own backyard the spot to be this summer. Here are tips to enjoy your backyard this summer:
Build an Outdoor Kitchen
All you need for an outdoor kitchen is a grill, mini-fridge, sink and a flat surface that provides space for food preparation and a convenient spot for outdoor dining. You can enjoy almost all of your meals outside, meaning you won’t have to heat your house up by using the oven or have wet, muddy tracks from kids coming in for lunch from outdoor play. Consider putting up an awning or tenting that will provide shade without trapping heat – you don’t want to cook your chef!
Create the Perfect Soundtrack for Summer Parties
Put together a few playlists that feature music that your family and guests will love. Wireless speakers are great for backyard parties as they allow you to distribute the sound evenly throughout the backyard.
Keep the Bugs at Bay
Pests can be a real problem during the summer and not everyone wants to be doused in insect repellent. Consider incorporating plants that repel mosquitoes into your landscaping for a natural way to avoid the bug bites. Try making your own mason jar lanterns filled with citronella oil, making them a pretty light source as well as a way to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Summer heat can get pretty unbearable, and while you should take precautions to avoid sunburns and heat stroke, staying hydrated and having access to shade can go a long way to helping you enjoy the day. Watermelons are 92 percent water and packed full of nutrients. Make watermelon popsicles to keep cool and avoid the temptations of sugary treats like ice cream that won’t do much to cool you off.
I love the idea of using a repurposed wheelbarrow filled with ice to keep your drinks cold. It will look like it belongs in your yard and is so much more fun than a standard cooler. Plus, since it is open, you can easily see when you need to restock refreshments.
Finally, If You Don’t Have a Yard, Get Creative
Just because you don’t have a backyard doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the summer fun, too. Make the most of a small patio or balcony with comfortable seating, a surface to eat or play games and festive lighting.
Bryn Huntpalmer is an editor for Modernize, a website for home enthusiasts. In addition to working for Modernize, her work can be found on Lifehacker, Scary Mommy, About.com and on her personal blog Her Own Wings.