How do you make your backyard into the haven where everyone wants to spend time in summer? Here’s some ideas to get you started.

So how do you make your backyard a relaxing and fun place where there’s something for every member of the family?

Good lighting and good seating and/or dining spaces are essential and, of course, don’t forget the barbecue. And a fire-pit is a nice touch.

Making your backyard into a wonderful haven will cost you some initial dollars, but it will be there for you and your family to enjoy year after year, so think of it as an investment.

Here we go …

  • Make the deck inviting.  A crumbling, messy deck isn’t pretty. If your deck is made of wood and still in very good condition, go ahead and sand it and re-stain it. If it needs more repair than that, consider replacing it with a wood-alternative deck that won’t require sanding and re-staining every year or so.
  • Select a deck colour that fits with your decor, but be aware that a neutral shade usually works best because an intense colour might become annoying over time.  Bright colours might look great in a magazine spread but think long term here.
  • Is there space in the yard (and money in your budget) for a mini-kitchen? A complete outdoor barbecue station can cook a full meal that you can prepare while you and your family and friends are enjoying that wonderful backyard. It won’t even seem like work.
  • How about seating? For a comfortable outdoor haven, you’ll need to get rid of those folding patio chairs. For your backyard to be a haven, you’ll want something much more comfortable – something that you can sink into and relax, put your feet up and admire the view and all your hard work. Select seating that’s to your liking, not simply something that’s on sale. Remember, you are creating your own personal holiday spot, so price shouldn’t be your main focus. Instead, opt for furniture that is waterproof and that won’t need sanding and staining or painting on a regular basis.
  •  Even summer evenings can get cool, so it’s worth investing in heat features such as a fire pit. Yes, even in Queensland there’s a place for a fire pit to enjoy toasting marshmallow around the fire on a cold winter night or even a cool autumn evening. Nothing is more fun or welcoming that a controlled bonfire that you can enjoy in your own backyard on a regular basis (fire bans permitting). It will extend your summer into the cooler nights .
Well, what are you waiting for? Summer is here, so go out and enjoy it.

* Rosemary Sadez Friedmann is an interior designer in Naples, Florida.