The average American spends about 90 percent of their time indoors and only 10 percent outdoors. This lack of exposure to natural light can lead to various health problems, including depression, weight gain, insomnia, and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. But there are several things you can do with your yard—or even just a tiny corner of it—to help get more sun in your life. Here are five easy-to-follow projects you can do to make the most out of the space outside your door:
1. Basketball Court
If you have a hoop, then you already have the perfect space for an outdoor basketball court. All you need is some white spray paint and stencils to make it official. Make sure to leave enough room around the court for players to move freely without crashing into each other or anything else in your yard. If you don’t have a paved driveway, you can even make a DIY version out of plywood.
2. Horseshoe Pit
It’s easy to make your horseshoe pit with a bit of elbow grease and some ready-mix cement and red bricks. (You can also use the leftover painting supplies from your basketball court.) To save a bit on costs, you can use spare planks from a project you completed.
First, lay your bricks in a horseshoe shape. Then, paint the top and sides of the bricks with the leftover white paint. You can then paint stripes onto the ground to divide up lanes for players. Finally, share your horseshoes with friends and family and throw some competitive games. Tip: Have each guest bring their special horseshoes to keep playtime interesting.
3. Flowering Plants
If you want to bring some color into your yard, nothing beats planting flowers. The best part is that you don’t need a green thumb or a lot of room to do it. All you need is a small container or plant pot that you can easily transplant from one place to another—even into your living room windowsill.
Additionally, you can dedicate a space in your yard to a raised flowerbed. Once you’ve scoped out the perfect spot, use pea gravel and wood planks to build a mini garden. Then all you have to do is plant some flowers, and it will look like the pros did it. But make sure you clear your flowerbed of weeds; otherwise, the weeds will take the nutrients your flowers need. A weedkiller is a straightforward solution to his problem. But for more severe infestations or if your yard needs more TLC, you’ll need a lawn care service to help you clear up your yard.
If you have a sandbox and sand toys, then you don’t need to worry about finding additional ways to entertain your child or canine pal while they play outside. But if you’ve yet to fulfill the sandbox fantasy, it’s easy enough to do so with some cinder blocks and plywood. Just make sure to put the sandbox somewhere that you and your children can easily access and is out of the way.
5. Outdoor Kitchen
If your lawn or spot for a flowerbed isn’t precisely conducive to cooking food, consider building an outdoor kitchen area. With this fixture, you can store all your grilling supplies and create fabulous feasts in the summertime.
First, you’ll need a grill and some sort of surface to place it on. (For the ultimate in convenience and portability, opt for a small portable grill that you can fold up and put away when not in use.) Then add any other appliances you might want to make cooking outdoors easy such as an outdoor sink or mini convection
Afterward, you can add a picnic table so that you and your guests have a place to enjoy great food. A sturdy, tabletop picnic table might not seem like a big project. However, it’s pretty pricey to buy one ready-made. To save yourself some money and add a little rustic charm to your outdoor space, build the table yourself with cedar or redwood or even reclaimed wood.
6. Fire Pit
Though having a raging bonfire every night might not be practical for everyone, making one or two nights a week work is possible if you want to do it. In the wintertime, nothing is more relaxing than gathering with your friends and family around a fireplace to drink hot chocolate and make s’mores.
If you live in an area where it’s okay to have a bonfire, then all you need is a place for a pit and a place for your woodpile. For the most part, the location of the fire is up to personal preference. As long as it’s a safe distance from your house or your neighbors’ homes, that should be fine.
You don’t need a lot of space to make your yard feel like home. All it takes is some creativity and little effort. Give one or more of these ideas for landscaping projects a try, and you’ll be well on your way to having the perfect outdoor living area that suits your needs.