03 May 2019

9 Tips for Preparing Your Backyard for Summer Break

The sun is out, the days are longer, and the kids will be out of school for the summer before you know it. As the days get warmer, you’re going to be spending more time outside taking advantage of the weather before fall rolls in.

As you start to plan all those family gatherings and BBQ’s, there are some chores and changes you can make to your space now that will make your life a heck of a lot easier when the summer is in full swing. Read on to check out some of our tips for preparing your backyard for summer break.

1. Give Your Lawn Some Love

Now is the time to give your lawn some TLC before the kids are home for the summer. Dethatching your lawn and laying down some new seed will help it grow thicker and healthier, and more prepared to deal with all the foot traffic you’re going to throw at it in the months to come.

Photo by Daniel Watson on Unsplash

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly alternative to grass, consider whether or not you want to tear up your lawn and start from scratch. Some grass alternatives include various groundcovers, Corsican mint, creeping thyme, clover, and ornamental grasses. Not only are these alternatives low maintenance and don’t require mowing, but you can stop obsessing over your grass being that perfect shade of green. And you’ll save a bunch of money on your water bill, too!

2. Clean Up the Garden Beds

While the kids are still in school, make some time to give your garden beds attention. Pull some weeds, spray the area with a homemade weed killer, and lay down some new mulch to get the garden beds looking their best. Getting some of that summer weeding done ahead of time will make maintaining it a lot less of a chore when the days are hotter.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Another fun weekend project to get your kids ready for summer is having them help you plant some seeds or flowers in the garden beds. They’ll love watching their plants grow and it will give them something to be responsible for throughout the long days of no school.

3. Build Some Large Outdoor Games

Even when you have a bunch of summer adventures planned, inevitably your kids will still say those 2 annoying words… “we’re bored”. Instead of letting them sit in the house staring at the TV screen, try building some fun large outdoor games! Some fun oversized games include Jenga, Yahtzee, Connect Four, and chess.

Not only will your kids have plenty to do outside, but the games will come in handy during all of those summer family gatherings. Next thing you know, your house is going to be everyone’s favorite place to hang out when the summer comes around.

4. Add Lots of Shady Areas

The backyard is always more approachable on a hot day when your guests have a shady area to hang out in. Whether you add some functional patio umbrellas or choose to invest in a more decorative option like a gazebo kit, the kids will have a dedicated place to hang out when the sun is just a little too hot to handle.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Not to mention, establishing a gathering space in your backyard with help those outdoor summer parties last all night long!

5. Add a Space For Your Kids to Cool Off

As a kid, one of the best parts of summer is spending all afternoon running through a sprinkler, swimming in the pool, or just playing with the hose in the backyard!

Step up your game by building your kids a cool-down zone that will keep them occupied for hours on end. As you can imagine, Pinterest is full of all sorts of DIY ideas like slip ‘n slides, obstacle courses, kiddy “car” washes, and PVC pipe sprinklers. And if you’re really wanting to wow your family, consider building a natural swimming pool or a splash pad for your kid’s to run around in.

6. Organize Your Garden Tools

Along with tidying up your garden beds and giving your lawn some TLC, organizing your garden and yard tools now will make you that much more prepared for summer parties and bbq’s. Preparing your garden and home to have guests over is already full of a long list of chores, why make those chores more difficult by not knowing where your gardening tools are when you need them?

Along with making your space more organized, finding dedicated spaces for all of your tools will keep them in good condition and out of the reach of tiny hands.

7. Invest in a Fire Pit & a Patio Set

Along with adding a shaded area, there’s something about a fire pit and a set of comfy chairs that invites your guests to hang out a little longer, even after the sun has gone down.

The best conversations and memories always seem to happen during those long summer nights, and having a fire pit to roast some smores at is just the cherry on top.

8. Spruce Up Your Side Yard

Generally, side yards end up being a place to store stuff like garbage cans and lawn mowers, rather than being a functional area to spend time. And while you likely won’t be having family and friends hang out on the side of your house, that doesn’t mean you can’t give that space a little attention to make it look more presentable.

Just pulling weeds and laying down some new mulch or gravel will make a big difference. Or, if you feel like giving your green thumb a workout, plant some flowers or shade-tolerant plants to give your side yard a pop of color!

9. Clean Out the BBQ

Nothing says summer quite like tossing a few burgers and hotdogs on the grill. What doesn’t say summer is a dusty, dirty grill that clearly hasn’t been touched since last Labor Day.

Photo by Zac Cain on Unsplash

Give your BBQ a deep clean to make sure that it’s ready for all those weekend potlucks. Getting all that grime off now and cleaning your BBQ after every use will make tidying up your space after parties a lot easier.

What backyard chores are you doing now to get ready for summer? Let us know in the comments below!

Bio: Leigha Staffenhagen is the managing editor of Insteading.com, a homesteading and sustainability site focused on everything from gardening and raising chickens to tiny homes and off-grid living.

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