Creating a Backyard Oasis for Adults and KidsJune 20, 2017
While the heat and humidity of summer in Texas is no joke, the lingering daylight and big blue sky call many of us outside. We dream of the perfect backyard oasis—stylish design, soft lighting and maybe a hot tub spa feature. But many of us also have kids, and their idea of backyard fun is not exactly congruous with ours. Between garish play sets and the safety concerns of pools and open flames, coming up with backyard ideas that merge kid-friendly and adult-centric designs seems impossible. Luckily, adhering to four pretty simple design techniques can ensure your space works for every member of your family. Check out these yard ideas that merge adult backyard oasis with backyard fun for kids.
To each their own
Any adult who has spent time with a child knows it is almost impossible to designate a space “adults only.” Especially when it is outdoors! But it is easy to create a space that kids naturally want to spend time in. A sandbox, play set or teepee is a great focal point for this space and gives kids the illusion of multiple spaces of their own. Then simply fill the surrounding space with backyard games and toys your kids will love. Make sure they have room to run, though. While it is tempting to fill all available space with activities and amenities, your kids need space to work out some energy.
Meanwhile, claim the deck or patio for yourself, if you have it. Integrate a built-in fire pit or hot tub into your deck’s design—this goes a long way toward creating a cohesive space, no matter the size. Sure, you could plop these features in the middle of your yard and they’d be perfectly functional, but creating a backyard oasis requires a little more subtlety. If building in a structure is not an option, spend a little more on a pit with style and conceal as many sides of your bulky stand-alone hot tub with a natural wall, decorative bench or planters. Check out Forbes’ piece on integrating a hot tub into your backyard for more tips.
Bonus effect: dividing your space into sections will make your backyard feel and look larger.
Sharing is caring
Even though you and your kids might have your separate backyard retreats, that does not mean you cannot ever come together as a family outdoors! Include features in your backyard that everyone can enjoy, whether alone or as a group. If your deck space includes a flat screen for game day, host family movie night outside on your deck. Integrate a chalkboard wall into your patio design—or use it as a partition in a smaller space. The kids will love drawing on it, and those of you with calligraphy skills can create a cute menu or score chart for your next adult game night. And since the hammock is the trendy summer accessory this season, why not create a family lounge area using hammocks? And adult amenities like fire pits can easily become family-friendly with supervision. Host a kid-friendly cook-out with summer staples like hot dogs and s’mores. Bonus parental points are guaranteed if you elevate the event to a backyard camping sleepover!
Remember when we mentioned the unsightly monstrosity that is the backyard play set? Those things are hideous, rusting eyesores that pretty much every child would die to have in their backyard. But they do not have to be. Rather than choosing a plastic and aluminum home store set, splurge on play sets made of natural materials like Gorilla—they are more costly, but the material is safe, less likely to deteriorate and blends naturally with an outdoor environment. The same credo should apply to other backyard features as well. If you can enclose your fire pit in brick or your hot tub in stone or natural wood, it will go a long way toward integrating these features into the natural landscape of your yard.
Get organized and be flexible
One of the biggest benefits of kids games and toys—aside from play and swing sets—is their portability. They are made to move. You can use this to your advantage in your design with a little organizational skills. Optimize your space by creating easy storage for your kids’ toys and games, and your grill, bar and spa accessories. You could purchase or build shelving or storage, or make organizing the garage a priority this summer. And, of course, encourage your kids to put away their toys after they use them. Make it easy with labels. Kids Activities Blog has some great ideas for keeping everyone’s stuff in order in this blog.
Share with your friends who are aching to optimize their backyard space this summer!