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Summer Backyard Improvements

Summer is almost here Alaskans!  The sun is staying up a lot longer and the days are getting warmer.  As we’re spending more time outside, you might start looking around and thinking that your yard could use some improvements.  Or maybe you looked over your fence and noticed how lush and green your neighbors grass is, scratching your head and wondering how to get yours to look just as good.  Well, the grass is always greener where you water and take care of it!  When it comes to outdoor living space, everyone wants a great space to enjoy the summer with family and friends.  What can you do to maximize your summer outdoor space?  Let’s find out!

Here are 8 easy ways to create or improve outdoor entertaining areas in your backyard…

1. Clean Up Your Existing Landscape and Outdoor Spaces

The first step in creating inviting outdoor living spaces is to clean up what you already have in your backyard.  This will allow you to better assess your current situation, to determine the backyard assets you already have and figure out the best backyard improvement projects for your home.  Trim your trees, pull out dead bushes, look for features in need of repair and give your yard a good, overall cleanup.

You may find that by completing these simple tasks, you can improve your views, find overlooked maintenance issues that will immediately enhance your yard’s visual appeal or get some inspiration for how you can better use the spaces you have.

2. Assess Your Patio Situation

A good patio is the foundation for any outdoor living area, so the next step in creating your backyard retreat is assessing your current patio situation.  First of all, do you have a patio?  If you don’t, that needs to be changed right away.  Handy homeowners may be able to design and install a wood deck or a patio made from bricks, paving stones or concrete, but this is one backyard improvement project that you may want to leave to the pros.  To ensure proper grading, a satisfactory end product and a design that will function how you need it to, it is usually best to hire patio installation professionals who are familiar with the patio materials you want to use.

If you have an existing patio, you need to consider whether or not it is large enough to accommodate the outdoor rooms you want to create and if it is in good condition.  If your existing patio is too small to meet your needs or is in need of repair, you will need to decide if it is worth fixing or if it might be easier or cheaper to just start over by removing it and installing a new one.

3. Create an Outdoor Living Room

Outdoor living rooms are among the easiest outdoor entertaining spaces to create, particularly if you already have a covered patio.  These exterior rooms are a great way to expand the usable square footage of your home on a budget. By simply adding comfortable seating, a table and an outdoor rug, you can create the perfect place to entertain guests outside.  Of course, if you want to expand on this idea, you can also add more expensive features, such as an outdoor fireplace or a water feature.

4. Create a Theme Garden with Seating

Theme gardens are a great addition to any landscape design and provide the opportunity to show your personality in your landscaping.  Whether you design a garden inspired by your favorite novel or choose a shade garden as a solution for a section of your yard where nothing seems to grow, a themed garden can be completed in a weekend and provide years of enjoyment for you and your guests.  By adding seating to your garden design, you can create an outdoor space that you will enjoy daily and can also use as a space for entertaining.

5. Install a Built-in BBQ

A full backyard kitchen might be a nice touch, but taking on that sort of project can be expensive and time consuming.  If you are looking for a weekend project that won’t break the bank and can set you down the path to a future outdoor kitchen when your budget and time allows, a simple built in BBQ is the perfect way to enhance your exterior entertaining space.  Hiring a professional to design and install this project is usually the best way to go, but skilled homeowners can make this a weekend do-it-yourself backyard improvement project.  Everything you need is available at your local home improvement store, and you might even be able to find a free class available to help you sharpen your skills before beginning your project.

6. Add a Fire Pit

If you have a home in Alaska, there is really no reason for you to not have a fire pit but we must always be aware of our burn bans set in place and check often to make sure you follow all burn ban policies.  Fire pits take up little room, are affordable improvement projects and provide the perfect place for an at-home date night or gathering around the fire with friends.  Whether or not this will be a DIY home improvement project depends on the design you choose, your budget and your handiness working with materials like paving stones or bricks.  Kits are available at some home improvement centers and online, which makes this project more accessible for some homeowners.  You can also pick up the materials for a simple fire pit at your local home improvement store, and you should be able to build your pit in just one weekend, if you are the handy sort.

7. Build a Pergola

This is another project that will be a simple do-it-yourself build for some homeowners, while others might want to hire a carpenter or contractor.  Pergolas provide an attractive option for adding a shade structure to your yard, particularly if your patio is currently uncovered.  Creating outdoor rooms on covered patios is the ideal situation, if at all possible, and adding a pergola is often an easier, more affordable choice as compared to other options.  Small, pre-constructed pergolas are available at home and garden centers; however, these structures are usually too small to serve the purpose of covering an outdoor room.  To install a pergola of any size, you will likely need to build it yourself or hire someone to build it for you.  If you would like to add additional sun protection or privacy to your pergola, consider adding patio curtains to create a more intimate outdoor entertaining space.

8. Add Landscape Lighting and Patio Lighting

Unless you need to run electricity to areas far from your house, this is an improvement project that you should be able to do on your own.  This is particularly true if you use solar landscape lighting, which is simple to install and a great way to light your landscape without increasing your electricity bill.  Make great use of that Alaska sunshine for your solar outdoor lighting needs.  There are lots of solar landscape lighting options available, including walkway lighting, accent lighting and string lights for your patio or trees.  String lights or lanterns are great ways to enhance patio lighting while creating a relaxing, intimate atmosphere for dinner parties or social gatherings.

Because outdoor living is such an important part of fully taking advantage of enjoying our Alaska summers, it’s important to make our outdoor spaces functional, attractive and enjoyable for entertaining with our family and friends. Expanding your home’s usable space into your backyard not only allows you to more fully enjoy your property, it can also increase your home’s value and set your home apart from the competition, if you choose to sell at some point in the future.  Creating or improving your outdoor entertaining areas may be as simple as refreshing your patio furniture with new fabric or throw pillows, or it can be a more involved project, such as installing a deck, patio or entertaining space with a gazebo or outdoor play area.  Pick your project and get outside to enjoy your backyard space this summer.  Alaska summers are the best time of year to kick back with a cool beverage, bbq some burgers on the grill and roast some s’mores on the fire with family and friends.  Make sure your backyard is ready to go!

Have questions or want more information on homes in Alaska that would fit

your entertaining and summer backyard needs?

Call or email us. 907.406.9403
751 E. 36th Ave Suite 104, Anchorage
(close to Moose’s Tooth)


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