Start Planning Now For a Gorgeous Backyard This Summer


Getting ready for summer may be the last thing on your mind when you are trying to dig your way out from under three feet of snow, but it’s never too soon to start making backyard plans – especially if you are envisioning big changes.

Here we give you a few tips for some of the most popular backyard additions and changes, with planning you can start right now.


Adding a pool

If you’re a fan of having a pool in your backyard, you undoubtedly know that building one can be an expensive and time-intensive proposition. Experts say a pool can be built within six to eight weeks, but keep in mind that’s for a very simple pool with no weather delays or other issues popping up. More complex pools can take three to six months. And that’s just for the build itself.

Pool planning can drive anyone nuts – how big should it be? What style? What shape? Should it get full sun or should it go partway under a tree, which will create shade but also a leaves-in-the-pool situation? Do you want a spa? What materials should you use? And which company?

This is all part of the fun of building a pool. Heed a few tips from Pool Spa Outdoor.

“Think you might be ready to take the plunge? If you’re planning to buy your first backyard swimming pool, you probably need a few tips to get started,” said Pool Spa Outdoor. “Learn how to establish a budget, find a pool builder, and always remember to put fun on the list.


Outdoor Kitchens

No one addition to your backyard is hotter right now than adding an outdoor kitchen. But, the planning is critical to making sure you get a kitchen that functions well, looks great, and makes the best use of your space.

“Before you do anything else, spend some time thinking about what you really want and need in an outdoor kitchen,” said HGTV. “Ask yourself how you’ll actually use the new space and what makes the most sense in terms of your home’s architecture and its existing landscaping.”

See HGTV or Houzz for some design ideas or learn a few key tips from Better Homes and Gardens, and make sure before you get started, you ask yourself a few key questions from Red Beacon:

  1. Will you be using the kitchen year-round? If so, there is weather-proofing to consider.
  2. Where will you locate the kitchen? The closer to the house, “the lower expense for electrical and plumbing work.”
  3. What do you plan to cook in the outdoor kitchen? Is a barbecue enough or do you need a range, a refrigerator, maybe even a pizza oven?
  4. Do you need a sink? The plumbing costs will increase (but so will the convenience).
  5. Where do you envision seating? “Decide on the seating area keeping in mind that the seating has to be comfortable and appropriate for outdoor use.”

For more planning tips, see Red Beacon. And if you need a new barbecue grill, Lifehacker says the best time to buy is January through March, before the weather starts to heat up, so keep your eyes open for sales.


Your Lawn

Everyone knows spring is the best time to plant flowers. But do you know when the best time to perk up your lawn is?

Many experts say that laying sod is best in “spring and early autumn… because cool temperatures combined with occasional rain help sod quickly root,” said Better Homes and Gardens. But, “you can lay sod anytime during the growing season,” if you care for it properly. “If you lay sod in summer, water at least once a day for several weeks.”

For DIY sod tips, see Better Homes and Gardens.

If you don’t want the expense of sod – it costs “about $400 to cover a 1,000-square-foot backyard (double that installed) – said This Old House, you can seed.

Best results for seeding are often achieved in the fall in cold-weather climates, because “fall’s cooler temperatures prevent the seeds from drying out, but there’s still enough sun and rain to help them germinate before going into hibernation for the winter, without the competition of crabgrass and other weeds that die off this time of year,” said This Old House.

But grass seed can be planted in the spring with good results, said Greenview, if you heed a few tips, mainly: “Do not apply weed control products to the grass. Delay the weed control application until the grass seed has germinated and you have mowed the grass at least three times.”

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