When kids come along, the backyard becomes less of an area for relaxation and more of a place for adventure. But, with a bit of creativity and DIY enthusiasm, you can create a backyard paradise both the parents and the little ones can enjoy. Whether your backyard is big or small, sunny or shaded, grassy or paved, there’s an affordable backyard idea for every home.
Ideas for the Sunny Area
Soak Up in a Splash Pad
A big pool can provide much-needed heat relief in the summer, but setting one up can be too costly, and maintenance can be a pain in the neck. A splash pad is a much cheaper, but equally fun backyard idea.
Lay out a tarp, install a sprinkler, bring out your kids’ favorite water or pool toys and save yourself megabucks. Another option is to get a pre-packed DIY splash pad kit.
Your splash pad can be as big or as small as you want, so it’s a great option for any backyard. It’s a good idea to get a UV light sanitizer and a chlorinator as well.
Plant a Garden
You can recruit your kids to help you create their very own little garden. It’s a great way to teach your kids patience and responsibility.
Instead of starter plants, you can use seeds. It’s cheaper and will get them involved from day one. You can find pieces of leftover wood, old colorful boots, hollow tree logs, or other unusual containers for the garden, and let them help you with the design. Pallets and old bookshelves are also a great option.
By planting pots of juicy strawberries, bright flowers such as sunflowers or nasturtiums, and including fun smells like chocolate cosmos or curry plants, you will incentivize them to take better care of their garden.
Set up Camp
Kids love hideouts such as forts and treehouses. If you have a sunny and shadeless backyard, a tepee can protect your kids from the heat. It can be a really fun play area and a potential hidey-hole.
To create a tent or tepee, you can use patio screen material and bamboo canes or two-by-fours. You can set up a couple of bigger tepees for the adults as well. Place a bean bag under each one, and you’ll have a cozy outdoor area for chilling with your friends while the kids are having fun.
If you are up for something greener, instead of using patio screen material, you can literally grow a teepee in your backyard garden.
You can use garden twine and bamboo or willow canes to construct a few circles. Then, plant peas or beans at the base and watch your teepee grow. This backyard idea will give you pretty greenery in your garden and a fun hideout spot for your kids.
Ideas for the Shaded Area
Build a Backyard Patio
There’s no better solution for the shaded area of your backyard than an inviting patio. It doesn’t have to be a huge and expensive endeavor. With a bit of elbow grease and DIY enthusiasm, anyone can learn how to lay slabs.
Instead of choosing a material that requires cutting, you can employ a bit of creativity and create a stone mosaic. The key to this backyard idea is to choose stones that don’t have sharp edges, and use waterproof grout. This way, your patio will still have a luxurious feel but with an organic touch.
Instead of spending tons on furniture, you can rely on DIY tables and chairs. For instance, you can stack low-cost concrete blocks, cover them with a foam pad, and voilà, you have a bench!
In other high-traffic areas of your yard, you can lay a mosaic stone path to make the way to the other parts of your backyard more inviting. For the kids, numbered stepping stones can provide a basis for a whole bunch of fun games.
Create a Sandbox
If you don’t want your kids to play under the scorching sun for too long, you can offer them a fun alternative by building a sandbox in the shaded area of your backyard.
Hand them a couple of scoops and buckets, and they will be filling, pushing, pouring, and digging sand for hours on end. Sand offers a wonderful sensory experience to kids as young as one year old. Playing in sand is a great way to develop muscle and motor skills.
Building a sandbox requires hardly any DIY skills, and building a sandpit is even easier. To create an outline, all you need is a couple of larger rocks. You just need to make sure to change the sand every year.
Put up a Musical Fence
If you have a big fence or wall that shields you from the sun, you can give it a new dimension by turning it into a musical oasis. Even if there isn’t one, all it takes is a couple of planks to mount one.
This backyard idea will provide you with ample shade while providing your kids with a chance to show off their artistic side.
Nail a few old xylophones, wind chimes, pans, and wooden spoons to the fence panel, and let your kids enjoy their new wacky instrument.
You can also encourage them to discover other unusual objects that make a cool sound when hit and offer to put them up as well.
If you don’t feel like giving your kids a platform to nurture their musical talents, a chalk wall is a nice alternative. All you need is a bucket of chalkboard paint and a handful of colorful chalk sticks.
Your backyard is your canvas. And often, the best ideas are the easiest to execute. With a bit of imagination and resourcefulness, you’ll turn your backyard into a wonderland of endless fun for both your kids and yourself.
About the Author
Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded, every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on PlainHelp.