Tag

backyard

With more and more children immersing themselves in the virtual world instead of discovering the beauties of the outside, physical inactivity has become a serious problem even among the youngest ones. Since physical activity contributes not only to children’s health and fitness, but also to their cognitive development, parents need to motivate their little ones to spend more time outside playing and discovering the wonders of their own backyards.

But first, safety

Before transforming your backyard into a child’s haven, you need to create a safe environment where your children can play. Make sure that your entire backyard is fenced in order to prevent your children from wandering off. If you have a pool, you should place a safety fence around it. Afterwards, you should clean your backyard from all debris and any hidden dangers. Checking whether you have any toxic plants, such as barberry, calla lily, oleander and others, is another important step. Finally, you should put all of your cleaning supplies, chemicals and tools under lock and key so that your children can’t reach them.

Make it appealing

After childproofing your backyard, you can move on to styling it up. Introducing plenty of colours and interesting decorations will help you create a playful atmosphere that will appeal to your children. Using colourful decorations will spark your children’s imagination and creativity, and contribute to their general development. In addition, this will draw their attention away from their video games. Yarn bombing is a great way to add colour to your backyard in a fun, playful way.
You should also consider what kind of activities you want to plan for your children. If you want to motivate your children to be more artistic, you’ll need to design an arts and crafts corner where your children can paint and create.

For the mind and body

boys on the lawn

Physical activity is not only for the body, but also for the mind, so you should plan activities and games that will contribute to your children’s both physical and cognitive development. A backyard obstacle course is a great activity that can promote your children’s general development, including their motor skills, coordination, balance, agility and spatial awareness. For an obstacle course in your own backyard, you can include balancing obstacles like books or eggs on spoons, bunny hopping through ladders, jumping rope, doing push-ups and even some teamwork activities, such as a “mummy” obstacle where one child wraps their partner in toilet paper. Of course, the difficulty of your backyard obstacle course will vary depending on your children’s age, but make sure to design a course that is neither too easy nor too difficult.

Giving your children their own private area for relaxation and play is another great idea for your backyard. You can use an old tent, lovely tepee or design a playhouse. For younger children, you can design a sand box with all the necessary items, such as shovels, scoops, buckets, etc. However, make sure to add a large umbrella to provide them with enough shade.

Backyard isn’t a battlefield

mother and child

Joining your children in their play will contribute to their development and awaken your inner child. By being active with your children, you’ll be a great role model, sending a message that regular activity is important and valued in your home. However, you also need to distance yourself and let your children learn and play on their own, as well as discover their own inner world. As long as you keep your eye on your children from a distance, they will remain safe and protected.

Enjoy the perfect chaos

You, as a parent, can relax and appreciate your children’s night of sweet dreams after a day of fun and activity that you ensured. You can spend a quiet, relaxing evening indulging yourself, not worrying about the perfect chaos in your backyard.

 

When the time comes for you to choose a finished surface for a walkway, you will almost certainly opt for one that is cost-effective, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. Many homeowners in Toronto, Ontario, for instance, are seeking stamped concrete walkways because it can easily mimic high-end materials such as limestone, flagstone, and other types of stone patterns at a fraction of the cost.

Synergy of Walkways and Plants

Garden walkways beautiful additions to a luscious front lawn or backyard, but they also enable you to freely walk in the garden at any time of the year, without having to worry about tripping on uneven greenery or dirtying your shoes. A beautiful pathway can also boost the aesthetic value of your home, encouraging in a higher resale amount when or if you eventually choose to sell. In addition, they keep garden plants and grass safe, since movement in the yard is guided, protecting the vegetation from extensive foot damage.

Walkway

Ensuring the safety of you and your plants is a lot less complicated than you might assume. While installing stamped concrete driveways, patios, and walkways can seem quite challenging, with the proper preparation and guidance, what was once daunting can become an enlivening project bound to bring new life to your home. To be sure, this is a permanent and costly undertaking, which means that there can be no room for error.

Driveway

When proceeding with the project, the patterns must be properly laid down and installed; in this sense, it’s best to hire professionals who know what they are doing. Additionally, the process is relatively stress-free if you can find a single company with which to work for the entirety of the construction. If you’re living in or near a large metropolitan area, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of companies who will guarantee your satisfaction, but only a few will effectively and efficiently follow through every step of the way, such as Elite Concrete in Toronto  – notorious for their dedicated work ethic, they’ve become one of the city’s top architectural concrete specialists, and, no not only that, they can aid you every step of the way.

Walkway

Choosing The Right Material

Installing a walkway starts with subgrade preparation, something that needs to be properly compacted to prevent drainage and soil erosion. Reliable companies will likely use wood, metal, or plastic forms of preparation to contain the concrete within the desired area. Reinforcements should be made using welded wire mesh or steel bars to boost the capacity of the structure and its impact resistance, which helps prevent cracking. After stamping the walkway, give it time to dry up before having it sealed.

Walkway

If your home experiences extremely cold temperatures, as Toronto frequently does during the winter, you should also consider sealing the concrete to reduce freeze thaw damage. This condition is the main cause of surface flaking and cracks in walkways and driveways found in cold areas. It is brought about by the penetration, expansion, and freezing of water in the pavement, but sealers prevent the penetration of water and should be used on paths that have heavy human traffic. Normally patios, pavements, and walkways are subjected to conditions that may cause stains to form on the surface, but the use of sealers prevents these elements from penetrating the surface. Sealing new walkways – be it in the musky urban center or the sprawling surrounding suburbs – prevents the build-up of white powdery materials on the surface from the concrete.

Walkway

From aesthetics and wear-and-tear, all the way to the unpredictability of climate, there are a lot of factors to consider. One thing that is certain is the right company can and will provide the guidance and care required for such extensive work; all it takes, then, is a little bit of research and you’ll find yourself on the sturdy ground in no time at all.

Australians love the great outdoors, but it’s all too easy to neglect our outdoor spaces when we think about rejuvenating the design of our home. We tell ourselves, it’s too big a job, no one sees the backyard anyway, and besides, it’s too expensive.

But an outdoor renovation can breathe new life into your home like nothing else, so we talked to Steve Jovcevski, property expert at financial comparison site Mozo.com.au, to get some top tips on refreshing your outdoor spaces – without sending you broke. Here’s what he had to say:

Assign the space a purpose

If you’re working to a budget, the first thing to do is sit down and think through what you want to achieve with your outdoor space. Will you be hosting big groups of people? Relaxing on your own? There’s no point spending a bundle on beautiful lawn furniture that you have to pack away every time family comes over because the kids want to play backyard cricket.

Choosing a centre piece for your outdoor area – say a classic BBQ – and then working out from that is a good way to create a cohesive, useful space. Decide what you want to use the space for, then make sure all your effort – and money – is going toward that purpose.

barbecue grill

Keep up with maintenance

Another easy thing that will give your outdoor areas an immediate boost is making sure you keep everything – from lawn, to garden beds, through to outdoor furniture or decks – well maintained. A nice neat lawn that’s mowed and watered regularly looks a thousand times better than one that’s been neglected, and old patio furniture can often be rejuvenated with a good scrub down and a bit of elbow grease.

Make an escape from the weather

One key way to make your outdoor space more useful and versatile is by putting up some kind of cover to keep it safe from the weather. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown pergola – a fabric sail can work just as well to keep the hot Aussie sun off and transform your backyard into an oasis.

It’s important to make sure your design elements all compliment each other and unify the space, and getting this major element right can help you with the design and tone of the rest of your outdoor entertaining area.

man mowing grass

Light up your life

When it comes to fairy lights, I find people either love them or hate them, but there’s a reason they’ve been a hot trend lately – if you often entertain at night, stringing fairy lights above an outdoor seating area is a quick, relatively cheap way to add a touch of magic to your backyard.

It’s a good idea to plan out where you’ll place the lights before you start, and as you do, keep in mind that the more lights you have, the more expensive it will be to buy and then run them. And remember – if you’re leaving them up permanently, make sure they’re not too exposed to the elements. Stringing them up under a pergola is a good way to keep lights dry.

Get creative with outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture is one aspect of home design that I think you can really afford to get creative with. So instead of heading out to IKEA with a shopping list, think about DIY options, like repurposing old cinder blocks, tree stumps, or barrels as seating and tables.

The beauty of using these objects – aside from giving new life to what might have otherwise ended up as rubbish – is that you really get the chance to put your own style into it. It can be as rustic or luxurious, colourful or elegant, eclectic or streamlined as you want to make it.

old garden chairs

Opt for remnant stone

Hardscaping – putting in features like retaining walls, walkways and edging – can be one of the most expensive parts of sprucing up your outdoor areas. If you like the quaint, cottage-y look, one way to refresh your hardscaping while keeping a handle on your budget is to use stone leftovers that you can get cheap at building supply auctions.

This look isn’t for everyone though – so before you go ahead, make sure remnant stone will suit the overall look of the space. If the rest of your exterior design is ultra-sleek and modern, it’s going to look pretty out of place. A nice, modern alternative that might suit your look better is a green wall.

Look underfoot

The design of a great outdoor space often starts at the bottom. Choosing the right paving material can make a big difference to both the look of your space and your budget. Generally, crushed rock or gravel is a less expensive option than traditional pavers, and with the right styling, can look just as good – just don’t forget to lay weed mat first. Polished concrete is another good, low-cost and low-maintenance option that I personally favour.

If you prefer traditional pavers, think about interspersing them with grassy areas to cut back on the amount of expensive material you’ll need.

Steve is Mozo’s property investment and lending expert. With an extensive knowledge of home loan products and property trends, Steve is full of practical tips to help first homebuyers, refinancers or investors build and get the most out of their property portfolio.

Many of us buy a home with the hope of hosting friends and family for BBQs, family events and big holidays like Christmas. Unfortunately, this may not be possible for every home, especially if your backyard isn’t very large, or you don’t have a patio. A clever way to get around this is to repurpose the space you already have. A carport makes for the perfect multipurpose space: you can use the entirety of a carport or part of it to create an incredible entertaining area for your friends and family. Whether you no longer need your carport, or have space in your home for a carport but not an entire patio, there are a range of ways of repurposing your carport to turn it into an outdoor entertainment area.

Repurposing your carport is an affordable outdoor entertaining solution, as you will not have to build a deck or put up any new structures. Additionally, guests will absolutely love being able to enjoy the outdoors while still having a roof over their heads. If your carport is situated close to the kitchen or dining areas, with quality flooring, you can easily leave the doors open and create a seamless entertaining experience between the spaces.

So what are you waiting for? Keep on reading to get inspiration for all the ways you could use your carport to entertain!

Barbeque Area

One of the simplest and most popular ways to repurpose your carport is to turn it into a BBQ area. Of course, the BBQ itself is the centre piece of this arrangement. Next, you have to arrange seating and tables. If you’re working with a smaller space, simply add some deck chairs and a small table.

If you’re lucky enough to have a much larger space available to you, invest in an entire dining table with chairs, and maybe even some fun outdoor swing chairs to really personalise the space, as well as a statement BBQ.

Dining Area

If your carport is accessible from the kitchen, you have a great opportunity to turn your carport into an outdoor dining area. By simply providing a dining table and chairs, you will be able to seamlessly integrate your indoor and outdoor spaces.

Guests will be able to mingle indoors or outdoors at their own leisure, and you will be able to easily bring out meals from the kitchen or top up drinks. This provides with the perfect summer entertaining area that is large enough to host all your extended family for Christmas.

Bar

Whether you’re working with a smaller carport or want to add an extra touch to your outdoor dining area, consider transforming your carport into a bar. For this, all you need to do is attach some shelving to display your liquor bottles.

Integrating an outdoor cooler will make it easier to enjoy your drinks outside. Also consider adding bar stools or bench space around the perimeter of your carport, so that guests can mingle and relax over drinks.

Games Room

Carports can also be surprisingly good for turning into a games room or recreational space. Adding a ping pong table, foosball table or basketball hoop instantly gives you a space within your home to play games, dispel some stress and give your guests something fun to do when visiting.

Porch

Some homes may not have the benefit of a porch, or any kind of outdoor area that allows you to simply sit back and enjoy the fresh air. Carports prove to be a highly flexible solution, as you can use part of it or the whole carport to turn into a porch.

Decorate with some warm and homely finishes, add some comfortable rocking chairs, bean bags and a side table, and you instantly have a cosy way to enjoy the outdoors.

Integrated Lounge and Dining Area

If you have a lot of backyard space, a large carport or an existing patio area, you will be able to create an incredible outdoor entertainment space. Add a dining table, BBQ, lounges and smaller tables to create an integrated outdoor lounge and dining area where guests can mingle, grab a drink, talk to each other and sit down for a meal. This is particularly great for large parties, where you can set up different zones so that all guests can enjoy something different at any given time.

For all of the above suggestions, make sure to use plenty of plants to create a retreat-like feel for your outdoor entertaining area. The right lighting will also make a huge difference to the ambience of your outdoor entertaining area. Fairy lights, festoon lights or standing lampposts are all great options, depending on the feel you are going for.

If you have a carport that is not being used to its full potential, try turning it into an outdoor entertaining area! With the addition of a few pieces of furniture, you can transform your space.

Author Bio:

Harry Caesar is an avid, Melbourne-based blog writer who is fond of writing on various industry niches and has composed write-ups on a variety of topics in his journey so far. The content he delivers is rich with his insightful opinions, thorough research and useful information.