backyard hangout

Enough of the cabin fever and cold-weather blues. If you’re as sick of winter as many are, there’s one way to cure your angst that doesn’t involve hunting down a pesky rodent for seeing his shadow. Why not start planning your ultimate backyard hangout as you prepare for spring

Doing so has many advantages, not the least of which is reminding yourself that this cold season will eventually pass. It also lets you lay out your budget and determine which improvements are worth your hard-earned cash. 

Are you ready to start dreaming and doing? Here’s how to prepare the ultimate backyard hangout for spring. 

Add a Beverage Bar 

Are adult beverages the centerpiece of your outdoor entertaining? As long as you drink responsibly, there’s nothing wrong with kicking back with a few brewskis in the sun. This year, consider elevating your experience with a full beverage bar to make you the host or hostess with the mostest. 

Doing so has advantages beyond getting tipsy. For example, while it’s typically better when your dessert wines are sweeter than the menu, you can also use a splash of Moscato to combat too much acidity in that fruit salad where you went overboard with the lemon. 

Your beverage bar should include the following elements:

  • A wine chiller: This will keep whites and reds at the perfect temperature.
  • A miniature fridge: It will hold your bottled beers and mixers.
  • A rolling liquor tray: You’ll want to keep your best whiskies out of the sun when the party ends. 
  • Shatterproof stemware: Stay safe by avoiding glass outdoors. 
  • An espresso machine: This is ideal for coffee drinks.
  • A sun-tea urn: Not everyone imbibes the hard stuff. 

Install a Full Outdoor Kitchen

If you’re a pit master, you need to go one better with a full outdoor kitchen where you can show off your grilling skills. Most people get along just fine with a typical propane model and a few side burners. However, if you have deeper pockets, a separate smoker or brick pizza oven can elevate your concoctions to rival the Four Seasons. 

Otherwise, your outdoor kitchen will probably contain many of the elements of a beverage bar with these additions: 

  • Cabinet storage space: It’s convenient to keep your various tools and briquettes at arm’s length. 
  • Counter room: You’ll need prep space for chopping lettuce, onions, and tomatoes for burgers. 
  • Various barbecue tools: The right tongs and steel wool keep your grill surface clean and sanitary, while thermometers ensure your chicken stays safe. 

Fire It Up

You can roast marshmallows over the grill — but it lacks romantic appeal. Instead, make your back porch into a cozy and warm retreat, even on cool nights. Fire pits come in styles from simple rings to pricier models requiring electric or gas that can suit nearly any budget. 

If you don’t have much to spend, a simple ring on concrete does the trick. Those with bigger budgets can look for elaborate numbers with multicolored flames for a magical effect. 

Bring on the Games 

The best part about springtime is that you can finally get back outside and play. There’s no need to pack up the toy chest — graduate it to delight young and old alike. 

What must-have outdoor games should every family have in their storage shed? Stock up on these classics: 

  • Lawn darts: Look for soft, safe versions. 
  • A hybrid foursquare soccer net: These are ideal for large yards.
  • Cornhole: This classic game is fun for all ages. 
  • Jenga: You can find giant versions or keep the classic one as a laid-back table game. 
  • Mini-golf: You can buy sets or put in a putting green if you’re dedicated to improving your performance on the links. 

Have a Little Fun in the Water 

Should you put in a pool? If your only objective is increasing your property value, you could make other improvements to get more bang for your buck. Some homebuyers love this feature, while others find them far too much of a headache to maintain. However, if you love to swim, feel free. 

Remember that hot tubs often increase property value if coupled with other improvements, like a deck. Adding such a feature to your patio could help you get more when it’s time to sell and reduce aches and pains in the meantime. 

Let There Be Light

Why stop using your ultimate backyard hangout when the sun goes down? Instead, keep it well-lit.

LED string lights last forever and keep your energy footprint low. Look for big bulbs to string around eating areas and smaller fairy lights to highlight garden spots. 

Keep Bugs at Bay 

Do insects eat you alive in your outdoor haven? Keep them at bay with one of these natural solutions: 

  • Beat bugs with basil: They hate the smell, so put a potted version on your table and plant it around your periphery. 
  • White vinegar and eucalyptus: Dip your chair and table legs in a solution of white vinegar with a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to keep ants from climbing. 
  • Citronella: Those tiki torches really work. 
  • Onions: Send spiders scampering with a solution of strong onion soaked in a bowl of water.

Create a Secret, Serene Space

Your backyard isn’t only the ultimate hangout with friends. It’s also where you go to be alone. 

Consider adding a gazebo or a small bench in a secluded garden spot for meditation. You’ll amaze yourself at how much more deeply you engage in your practice when you invite Mother Nature as your guide.

The Ultimate Backyard Hangout 

Do the winter blues have you jonesing for the outdoors? Beat your cabin fever by designing your ultimate backyard hangout and get ready to bring on spring.

Your ultimate backyard hangout might contain some or all of the above elements. While away the remaining cold days of the year by putting your ideas on the drawing board. 

Smart Furniture

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