It’s no good boasting a garden if it’s not going to be used. Then you may as well live in an apartment. Your outdoor area has to work for you so that you can make the most of it.
Some people use their gardens as a place of tranquillity and beauty, while others would love a space that keeps the kids busy, and yet others would like a place they can do stuff in, or to help the environment.
These 14 ideas are not for every personality type, but will come in handy when you’re looking to make your yard a functional place, whether it’s for better entertaining, relaxation time, or simply to enhance your life. Or to help the world:
1. Extend the indoors
If you’re battling for more indoor space, or would simply like to extend the indoors, a patio installed right off a room, with or without enclosure, maybe what you need. With all the different types of patio designs, a patio creates a natural flow from one area to another, which makes it perfect to integrate the indoors and outdoors.
A patio can become an extension of the kitchen, lounge, dining room, or bedroom. Or use it for a jacuzzi, or simply a place to soak up some sun and light.
2. Build a smokehouse
Fancy yourself a sausage or ham smoker chef? Why not build your own smokehouse? It does not need to cost a lot either. Making your own is less expensive than buying one, and it may also hold more meat. A smokehouse takes a very small amount of space. If you’re a meat lover, you’re going to want this!
3. Plant a veggie garden
Since eating is what keeps you and your family alive, you can’t make a more functional outdoor area than growing your own food.
No matter the size of your outdoor space, you can plant veggies and herbs, either in containers or in soil. They can be planted vertically in small spaces, hanging on balconies, or neatly arranged in soil.
4. Collect water
Depending on your budget and space, and how far you’d like to take it, you can either collect water to use in the garden by routing rainwater from gutters into a barrel, or it can be collected and stored in water tanks, for use around the house. This water can be used for cooking, cleaning, dishes, washing, and so on.
5. Make a treehouse
As long as the kids are kept busy and happy, the parents can also be content and joyful, right? Giving them a treehouse will keep them busy for hours, in the best possible way. Include an entire play area with swings and a jungle gym, and you are likely to stay joyful for longer!
6. Double-up furniture
Space is often a problem in outdoor living areas, so it’s wise to use furniture and accessories that have the ability to fulfill multiple roles. For example, benches could have storage space underneath; tables may double up as containers.
7. Create an outdoor gym
Let out the child in you with an outdoor gym, right in your backyard. What could be more fun than working out outside? The photo below shows athletes Gavin Peacock and Sean Chilton in an outdoor gym area which includes SPY Optics, Rogue equipment, kettlebells, TRX, Pendlay, battle ropes, Olympic rings, Olympic platform and plates, Fight monkey MMA & Boxing gear, and DJI Phantom.
8. Add lighting
Use your outdoor area day and night, by adding good lighting in all the right spots. Not only does lighting help keep you safe so you can see where you’re walking, but it also allows for reading outside in the evening.
9. Grow some privacy
You don’t need to build a wall to add some privacy to an area; instead, you can grow a fence in the form of plants – either in strategically placed containers of a variety of shapes and sizes or with neatened bushes. Alternatively, use a shade sail or divider to easily create a private area.
10. Install a shade sail
Some gardens are all sun. Which is all very good and well, except if you plan to take a seat outside. Then you’re in for cooking. If you want to make a very sunny area a place where you can sit without the discomfort of being too hot or getting burned, you will need to make a way to have shade. A shade sail is affordable and provides shade in a very classy way.
11. Start a beehive
Do the world a favor, as well as your body, by building a beehouse and collecting the honey from it.
To do it yourself, all you need is:
- A waterproof container like a plastic bottle
- Warm fabric from an old jersey
- 15cm hollow tubes to fill the container – try paper straws or bamboo canes
- Air-drying clay or stiff mud (it must not be too wet)
- String or wire
To make it, follow these instructions.
12. Include a workspace
It may be an eyesore, but adding a tucked-away outdoor workspace is a great functional idea. Use the workspace for an outdoors carving/drilling/cutting place, and hide it behind a makeshift fence, made from anything that looks attractive, but blocks the sight.
13. Add a moveable “room”
Install a wendy’s house to instantly add on an additional room outdoors that can be used as a shed, kids play area, storage facility, or a comfortable private space.
14. Garage and gazebos
You don’t need to get permission for this garage that can also be used as a gazebo when it’s not holding a vehicle – the Gazebo is made from transparent materials and can easily be uplifted to be placed somewhere else.
It only needs a small amount of space, and completely covers the car, giving it protection from the elements, as well as thieving hands.