Can you feel it? The sun is getting hotter, the days getting longer, the smell of earth…spring is quite literally in the air. COVID hasn’t gone away, and we are all looking forward to making the most of our yards, balconies and front steps this summer. Here’s how to get your yard ready for summer, even on a budget!
Have you been putting a little money aside in hopes of a vacation? Now’s the time to use it wisely. While it is best to stay grounded, leaving our travel plans ‘till 2022, all is not lost. Investing in your backyard so that you can squeeze every ounce of Vitamin D out of summer is a choice that you will not regret. Not only will you find yourself enjoying your home more, but you will also be creating memories for years to come. That isn’t to say you should spend your entire personal savings on your yard. Set a reasonable budget and stick to it. Use the tips below to get as far as possible on that amount.
PLANTS & FLOWERS
There’s nothing quite like styling your yard with plants and flowers. It’s tempting to run to the closest home hardware or flower nursery and load up on plants. They’ve got loads, sometimes they’re on sale, and it’s nearby. Unfortunately, most of the time, you will walk out with way less than you wanted, having paid way more than you can afford. Rather than make retail your first choice, try one of the following ideas.
- Plant Swap. Host a plant swap among your friends or neighbours. Often, we have one or two sorts of plants or flowers that seem to dominate our gardens. Why not trade them for a different variety. It won’t cost a thing, and you will be surprised with how lovely your yard looks once you’re done. Not to mention you will have a little piece of greenery to remember your friends and neighbours by.
- Second Hand. Did you know that you can find plants and flowers on community sale websites? It’s worth asking them if they would want to swap for another plant you have an abundance of too. Even if they don’t, you’ll likely get a much fairer price than retail.
- Grow Seedlings. This is not as labour-intensive as it might sound. It’s not even April yet, and you could easily prepare a few dozen plants and flowers from dry seeds that would be ready for planting after the last frost. If you do plan on growing seedlings, make sure you splurge on the soil. Suitable soil is the key to success when it comes to planting.
A vegetable garden is a fantastic investment that won’t just provide you with actual edible food so you can save on groceries, it is also a fantastic and rewarding hobby that is known to reduce stress. It literally lowers your cortisol levels! Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Sun. Make sure you have enough sun for your garden. You will want at least 4-6 hours of sun a day on the vegetable plot. Raising your vegetable bed can help keep it from catching the shade of surrounding items.
- Advice. If you learn to do it well, you will profit from a produce garden year after year. Growing produce is a little like baking. Each vegetable or fruit has its own set of rules. You will save yourself a lot of frustration by asking the advice of a knowledgeable nursery in your area. Seed packets vary in price, but on average, they cost around $2-4 per pack. Feel confident buying them from your local nursery and ask them exactly which soil you should purchase.
- Groceries. When deciding on which veggies and fruits to grow, why not consider what you actually eat on a regular basis. Fine herbs can cost anywhere from $4-12 dollars at the grocery store. If you use them in your everyday life, grow them instead. You’ll have a steady stream for a fraction…and we’re talking like 50ths…of the price. Tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, zucchini and squash are among some of the easiest veggies to grow. You’ll be impressed with what you save over the summer.
DECK AND SEATING AREAS
In order to build the perfect yard and to enjoy the good weather to the fullest, you’ll want an array of seating areas that are both comfortable and practical. You can even share the actual seating across multiple regions. Think about what you enjoy doing outside, eating, swimming, tanning, sports, lounging, etc. Depending on your yard, brainstorm layouts that will get you the most out of your square footage.
- Swimming/Tanning. Do you love to swim? What about tanning or warming up in the sun? Make sure that your pool deck is large enough to dry off on and if possible, lie two towels down for basking. Sunning chairs are fun but expensive, and a simple towel on a warm deck can do just the trick. If you have children, make sure you have a comfortable place to sit that allows a full view of the water. In terms of privacy, a simple screening around the pool deck will allow you to fully enjoy your pool without an audience.
- Dining/Lounging. Do you love eating outside? You may want to consider splurging on an enclosure that doesn’t obscure nature but keeps the bugs out. It will even allow you to enjoy your yard in the rain. Do you hate eating outside? Then a lounge set might be more practical. An L-shaped couch to have a drink on before heading inside to eat. A bistro set for two is also an excellent purchase, as you can eat or just chat, and it’s practical for any size yard. Consider shopping second-hand, especially on community sale websites, to get a better deal. You can also try sales right before spring and after summer when shops are looking to clear their old inventory.
- Memory Makers. This is an important one. Do you want to look back at the games of soccer you played with your kids in the yard, evenings around a fire pit roasting marshmallows and talking or memories of building a treehouse for your kids? Consider what matters most to you and your family, then make the space for it in your yard. Whether it’s a quaint area of Adirondacks around a fire pit or a strip of grass with two sets of homemade rock goalposts, you will love coming home to your yard and having it become your happy place.
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