5 Tips For Getting New Use From Your Backyard

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Backyard gatherings and swimming pools were a few of the highly touted advantages of the new suburban lifestyle of the '50s. Yet, many homeowners today virtually neglect their outside areas, considering them as incidental to their interior living space.

However, with today's new materials, concepts and technology, that attitude is changing, even in areas with extreme seasonal weather changes.

Here are five ways you can revitalize your backyard and add a lot of enjoyment for an unappreciated area of your home.

1. Overcome the elements.

Manufacturers of everything from electronics to lawn furniture recognize the growing trend to spend more time outdoors. To accommodate this, they are making their items out of new materials that are much more impervious to the effects of weather, including sun and rain. Even waterproof, large-screen TVs are now available to use in outdoor man caves. Likewise, new devices help cool in the summer and heat in the winter inexpensively and effectively.

2. Go beyond the concrete slab.

Instead of the traditional slab of cracked and unsightly concrete, many homeowners are using pavers, decorative stones and other landscaping devices in imaginative ways to create space for chairs, tables and barbecue pits. Find inspiration from the Internet or with a paver professional, such as Central Arizona Block

3. Control the pests.

One reason many people stay indoors during the warmer months is the pests they have in their area. Florida homeowners took the lead in solving this problem with lightweight nets and pest barriers made from modern materials. You'll also find a number of new and highly effective devices that electronically control pests, allowing you to reclaim your outdoor space without continually slapping at and waving away those flying creatures.

4. Add a kitchen.

The latest in grills, induction cooking devices, and related kitchen appliances allow a whole new approach to cooking outside, and far more than burgers on a small bed of hot coals. Why limit yourself to the kitchen when you can easily prepare a traditional meal while relaxing in a comfortable lawn chair and watching the ball game on remote satellite?

5. Add some privacy.

Again, new materials and concepts allow you to easily add walls, screens and enclosures to your outside areas without losing the sense of being outside. Simple pavers stacked up as retaining walls and use of heavy-duty cabana drapes made of the new materials are just two affordable examples of ways to partition your patio.

Interestingly, many studies show the outdoor air in even populous metropolitan areas is fresher and less polluted than the interior of many heavily insulated modern homes. Make the effort to enjoy some fresh air and relax in your new outdoor oasis.