If your backyard looks like most of ours, then it’s probably full of toys and play equipment. While we love seeing evidence of our happy children, us moms need some space, too. Moms often have a unique challenge when it comes to backyard ideas: balancing the need for both play space for their kids, and space for themselves. Thankfully, there are a variety of ideas available to make everyone happy. From colorful garden ideas to cozy outdoor seating areas, these creative ideas can help turn your backyard into an oasis that meets everyone’s needs.
Backyard Ideas & Prep: Think About These Things
First, Decide If You Need More Space.
The first thing you have to decide if you’re going to make changes to your backyard is whether or not you actually have enough space to do everything you want. While we certainly do not recommend buying a home just for the yard, it might be worth looking into moving if your children need more outdoor space already and you would like to have a little piece of lawn carved out just for yourself. Spend some time looking at the local housing market to see if it’s something you can swing at the moment. Fortunately, as of September ’22, prices in the Fredericksburg, VA, area have started to decline.
Next, Decide What You Like.
As a mom, you are likely accustomed to wanting to do everything for your family. You know your daughter’s favorite color ball, your son’s preferred cleats, and your husband’s favorite brand of charcoal for the grill. But when was the last time you paid attention to what you really liked? It has probably been a while.
Spend some time in self-reflection and try to remember what you, as a woman, not a mom, really want out of your space. If you’re not quite sure, consider these backyard ideas:
- An outdoor kitchen. If you love to cook but get tired of cleaning up, an outdoor kitchen may be the perfect solution. You typically don’t have to clean the grill after every meal, and you can usually take the water hose to clean off the outdoor kitchen counters. An outdoor kitchen does not have to be fancy or over the top, and there are plenty of budget-friendly options, including pouring your own concrete countertops.
- A flower garden. We all love the perfume of beautiful flowers flowing through the air. If you don’t already have a flower garden, now is the perfect time to plan your planting schedule for next year. Depending on where you live, you’ll have access to dozens of different varieties that can thrive in your climate. One thing to keep in mind, however, as Den Garden explains, is that gardening takes quite a bit of work, so make sure that you can handle the commitment before you buy gloves and a trowel.
- A relaxing hammock. You know what does not take a lot of work: laying in a hammock. You can find an inexpensive hammock online to hang between trees. If you don’t have trees, you should have no problem finding a hammock stand at your local lawn and garden store.
- A fire pit. Few things are more relaxing than sitting by the fire pit with a drink in your hand after the kids go to bed. Building your own fire pit is highly cost-effective and can pull double duty as a way to make s’mores on those days when you simply need a sweet treat but don’t want to bake.
- A hummingbird feeder. Hummingbirds are beautiful, majestic, and somewhat mysterious. And although there are no resident species in the state, Bird Advisers explains that there are many different seasonal and accidental hummingbird species throughout Virginia. These include the ruby-throated and the rufous hummingbird. All you have to do to attract them is to hang a hummingbird feeder, which should include a sugar and water solution that you change out once each week. As an added bonus, if you have a great camera and a bit of patience, you can get some really amazing photographs.
- Hardscape features. Hardscape includes things you don’t have to water, prune, or really take care of at all. A brick patio and statues are great examples of hardscape backyard ideas and features that you might enjoy for years to come.
- A social gathering area. Chances are, you don’t spend as much time with your friends as you should. Make a point to change that, starting this fall. Our friendships keep us sane, especially when our children are little (and when they are teenagers!). A great social gathering area should include plenty of seating, shade, and access to a bathroom.
How Long Does It Take To Transform A Backyard?
There’s no real way to answer this question, and it will depend on your budget and the amount of time that you have available to commit to your backyard ideas and renovations. Many of the above projects can be completed in a single weekend, and most won’t cost more than just a few hundred dollars to get started.
You’ve probably heard it 1000 times: we all only have 24 hours each day. How you use yours determines how much time you’ll have to remake and then enjoy your backyard spaces. According to Piedmont, there are many different ways to reclaim your time so that you can prioritize doing something nice for yourself. These include:
- Paying Attention To Where You’re Using Your Time. While the vast majority of your day is probably wrapped up in a combination of work and kids, try to log how much time you’re spending on social media or walking up and down the stairs trying to decide what to do next. Most of us spend around two hours or more each day on our social media accounts. A quick note about this: social media is not all bad, and there’s nothing wrong with gleaning backyard ideas from your favorite influencer.
- Prioritize. Stop doing the things that are not important first thing in the morning. Instead, prioritize the things that need to be done, and then move on to the “should be” category all the way down to the things that are not important, such as checking your social media. When you get the urgent things out of the way each day, you don’t feel as pressured to go into overdrive come the afternoon.
- Schedule It. If you live by your day planner, pencil in some time to work outdoors and bring your backyard ideas to fruition. Even if you only have 30 minutes each day, by the end of the week, you’ll have put 3 ½ hours into your final product. This is enough time to dig a fire pit, shop for and assemble patio furniture, or hang a hammock and have a nap.
- Get A Helping Hand. We all struggle with asking for help. After all, we’ve been conditioned to believe that women, and especially mothers, should be able to do it all and without a struggle. This isn’t true. Women today have so much on their plates that we just about have to ask for help if we want to find time to care for ourselves. If nothing else, ask your spouse or partner to take over kid duty a couple of days each week after work or get together with the other moms in your neighborhood to swap out childcare so that you can each have some time to do the things you love.
Where To Save
Although the backyard ideas we presented above are typically affordable, your budget might be running a bit bare. If this is the case, there’s nothing wrong with looking for ways to save. One smart idea is to go for a charcoal grill instead of a gas or pellet grill. These are typically much less expensive, and charcoal is not hard on the pocketbook either.
Another smart idea is to look for secondhand or discarded items that you can turn into your own personal treasure. Freecycle.org is a great place to start, but you might also consider strolling the neighborhood to see what’s been left on the curb. Make sure that you will not be violating any trespassing laws or city ordinances by collecting trash from the curb. In most places, items left for trash pickup are considered abandoned, and you’ll have no problem. However, if you see something behind the fence, steer clear, or ask the homeowner for permission to remove it from their property.
Even if you’re not headfirst in the recycling craze, you can’t deny the uniqueness of handmade furniture created from scavenged materials. Thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets are also treasure troves of previously-loved items that may just help you transform your bare-bones backyard ideas into a relaxing retreat.
It’s not always easy to find the time or money to create a space that you love, Mamas. And, when you don’t have the space, it is not always easy to find a house to suit your needs. However, with the tips above, you should have no problem coming up with a few ideas of your own to help you turn your backyard into something loved by more than just the kids.
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