Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Also, all the images are from Houzz.com, which is officially my new favorite resource for home ideas. The images contain links; if you like one, click on it and pin it from that source. Please and thank you.
Once our kitchen remodel started winding down (Don’t worry! We’ll post photos and share all the details when it’s done! I promise!) we got to talking about the back yard in earnest. The weather is beautiful right now; it’s hard not to want to be out there enjoying it. But you’ve seen what it looks like out there. Not exactly relaxing and inviting.
We decided pretty quickly that while we want to maximize the available space, we don’t want to crowd out the existing lawn with patio furniture and play structures. We want the yard to feel peaceful and happy, not overwhelming and overfull! In order to make the best use of our square footage, we needed to answer one big question:
What do we even want to do in our back yard?
Answering that narrowed things down fast. We identified five “zones” to meet the wants and needs of our little family:
1) A zone for playing. This seems obvious, but we want to have a place for our kids to have fun. We live just around the corner from a huge park with swings, slides, and ample space for playing sports. However, we still want to provide our girls with a space of their own to explore and imagine. For us, this means some grass for running, a sandbox for digging, and some kind of play house. That’s mostly David’s domain, though, so I’ll let him flesh out his ideas for you later.
2) A zone for cooking. At its most basic, this means getting a freestanding gas grill
. But an evening eating gourmet pizza with the Proof people got David’s wheels turning. Who am I to argue with him when good food is involved? Maybe we’ll build our own brick oven…or maybe we could just get something like a Blackstone outdoor oven and call it good. We’ll see.
3) A zone for eating and socializing. I don’t want to just cook outside when the weather is nice, I want to be able to eat outside too. And we both really want to be able to have friends over to join in the back yard barbecue fun. Fakesgiving is coming, after all! Right now we’re thinking about a mix of built-in seating and moveable furniture.
4) A zone for relaxing. I would like nothing more than to spend my afternoons kicked back with a good book and some iced mint lemonade while the girls entertain themselves. I need a hammock. Or a swing. Or a chaise. Or something along those lines. I’m not super picky. I’d love something like this hanging patio lounge chair
but it’s a leeeetle out of my price range. But doesn’t it look like a cozy little nest? Sigh.
5) A zone for growing. We keep chasing this dream of growing our own food. Thus far we’ve been terrible at it, but we intend to keep trying till we figure it out. Plus I need more landscaping out there in general. This one is my territory, so I’m researching low-maintenance, high-impact plants that will thrive in particular areas of the yard. Adios, oleander. Hello, bougainvillea.
Now that we know what we want from our back yard, we just need to figure out where to put everything and what we want it to look like when it’s done. You know. No big deal.
We spent a lot of time on Pinterest and Houzz, but there’s only so many inspiring pictures you can look at before you have to start making some decisions. The next step for us was to take some measurements and start the real planning. David drew up a “floor plan” so we could map things out…but that’s a post for another day! Stay tuned!
What do you think? Did we miss a “zone”? What would you include in–or leave out of–your dream back yard?