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DIY Backyard Projects for Family Summer Fun

Spring means that summer is just around the corner. Plan now to complete some cool DIY projects for your backyard to make family time this summer extra fun.

Before you begin any project, it’s a good idea to contact your local zoning office to find out which projects are allowable on your property. Many homeowners know the basic zoning for their property, such as residential or mixed use, but each zoning ordinance and plan is different. Planned developments also have CCRs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) that govern specific activities allowed in the development. CCRs usually supersede any local zoning ordinance.

Build a Backyard Theater

How cool would it be to watch movies on the big screen in your own backyard? Backyard theaters aren’t just for the rich; many can be built using basic supplies found at a local home improvement center. You’ll need a screen, an LCD projector, a sound system and some sort of media player, such as a Blu Ray player or laptop.

If you have a flat wall on the back of your house, use that for a screen or tie white bedsheets taut between trees. A screen can also be made connecting PVC pipe together and using zip ties to connect a white tarp or other material. Search thrift stores for old freestanding tower speakers that you won’t mind exposing to the elements.

Folding chairs or blankets provide guest seating. For a more permanent installation, consider old railroad ties, which can often be sourced for free on Craigslist, and then set them up in rows like a mini-amphitheater.

Keep Warm with a Firepit

Who doesn’t love to congregate around a fire in the evening or roast marshmallows while telling jokes or singing songs? Even the smallest of yards can accommodate a firepit, and one can be
easily constructed for a few hundred dollars on a Saturday afternoon.

Make sure the fire pit location is far enough away from structures and plants. Start with a clear, flat base of sand and stack landscape bricks on top in a circular fashion. The smaller the bricks, the smaller the firepit. It’s a good idea to lay the bricks out in a single row to make sure the size is optimal for your needs.

One idea for the seating in fire pit area is to use several large boulders delivered from a local rock retailer. Or get creative with a collection of mismatched antique chairs spray painted in fun colors that guests can arrange around the fire.

Create Gaming Zones

Depending on the size of your yard, you can add a lot of fun to your backyard space by creating semi-permanent gaming zones for kids of all ages.

For older kids and adults, airsoft guns and slingshots are great for shooting competitions. Attach printable targets to sturdy cardboard boxes, fences and trees. Designate a safety “zone” and shooting lines whenever airsoft guns are in use, and collect the guns in between shootouts.

Create a backyard gaming area for families to play horseshoe, bocce ball or volleyball. Any of these areas can be built in an afternoon.

Don’t forget toddlers and younger children, who love simple carnival-style games. Buy a large piece of panel wood from your home improvement center and cut out various-sized holes, large enough for bean bags or balls to pass through. Paint the board in colorful motifs, labeling each hole with a point value. Even easier is a large tarp tied between trees. Cut out squares and use colored duct tape to line the holes and label the point values. Use Nerf-type footballs of varying sizes for kids to throw through the holes.

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