Life & Family

Backyard Updates/Fun Space

Summer is quickly approaching. Well, actually we’ve already reached full on summer as it’s 106 right now and it’s early afternoon. Many of us are spending more time outside. Swimming, playing games, cooking out, gardening, reading, or just simply relaxing. Creating a space to be an escape from everything else can be challenging if you don’t know where to start.

We have different projects going on right now. Last weekend, we moved around some patio furniture, cleaned the porch up and de-cluttered items not needed, conditioned the wood in our “Garden/BBQ” cabinet, planted a few flowers, moved the container garden items out close to the raised garden bed we’re working on… and a few more items that belong in another post 😊

Side Note… Keep an eye out for the backyard updates and DIYs coming up ~ Follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Recently, TurfMutt Foundation reached out via email with some great information and thoughts about the current condition or situation many people are in at the moment. Most are spending more time at home, whether by choice or not. Making the space you spend your time in enjoyable, relaxing, soothing, or comforting can really help our mental health, which in turn benefits our overall health.

Their thoughts and information is helpful and I wanted to pass it along to you all in hopes you may find it useful in some way.

Here is TurfMutt’s thoughts and information for a little guidance:

“A growing body of scientific research indicates that spending time in green spaces is good for health and well-being at any time. But backyards, parks and other green spaces have proven to be critical to help people relax and de-stress during stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“As spring progresses into summer, the importance of the family yard will only grow,” says Kris Kiser, President of the TurfMutt Foundation, an environment education and stewardship program. “Observing social and physical distancing might be with us for a few more months yet, so getting your yard optimized is a smart investment in you and your family’s overall well-being.”

Tips to Get Your Outdoor Living Space Ready for Summer Fun

Assess your yard. Sketch out the yard’s existing features. Mark down natural and man-made features, such as trees and shrubs, as well as seating and play equipment. Consider the activity zones and outdoor activities your family enjoys like sports, gardening, dining or relaxation or which areas have a multi-purpose.

Spruce up existing landscaping. Do basic clean up. Fix bare patches in the grass. Use a leaf blower to clean out the flower beds. Prune bushes and trees. Keep the grass cut to a healthy height between 2-3 inches. Add a fresh layer of mulch around trees and in flower beds. Fill pots with colorful flowers and verdant plants.

Identify improvements. Consider adding both natural and man-made features. Now may be the time to add that patio, fire pit, dining area, grill, or playset you’ve always wanted.

Use plants and shrubs to add visual interest and camouflage. Planters with flowers strategically placed between seating and eating areas on a patio add visual interest but also provide privacy. Trees, shrubs and bushes offer cover from neighboring properties, create borders, camouflage unsightly pool equipment and air handlers, and tamp down noise.

Put the right plant in the right place. Choose the right plants for your climate to create an outdoor living area that is attractive, easier to maintain, and supports local pollinators and backyard wildlife. Consider water, sunlight or shade needs for any plants you add. Flowering plants help pollinators like birds, bees and butterflies and add a beautiful touch. An herb or vegetable garden is also a good way to teach children about science and nutrition.

Factor in family needs. If you have a child or family pet, you’ll want to plant with their needs in mind. A hardy grass variety is more likely to hold up to child or pet traffic. Plant soft, but sturdy, plants and foliage that can withstand a little roughhousing. Save delicate flowering plants for patio containers, and be sure to check out the ASPCA list of toxic plants for pets before making a final selection.

Invite the outdoors in. Blending interior and outdoor living spaces helps the exterior area feel like an extension of your home rather than an afterthought. Ensure blinds and curtains are open to the yard some hours of the day. Use complementary indoor and outdoor décor in similar colors, materials and styles to create a cohesive space.

For more information and tips about living landscapes, you can visit them at

I hope you find this information useful and you start your own plans to create your backyard oasis of sorts. Please feel free to comment below with any other helpful ideas on what you do to create the perfect space for you and your loved ones.

Remember, you can do a lot with a little budget. Just get it started and enjoy life where you are at this moment! You’ll never get the time back… xoxo


  • Denise

    I love your photos! Great read on how to enjoy your yard-especially for a retreat in these crazy times!

  • Erin

    We have been trying to work on our outdoor spaces as well! Our backyard is way more neglected though. We have younger kids so finding and creating a fun space for them while keeping it “classy” has been a challenge for me. With our dog we do have to be careful what we plant. It also gets so hot here and rain doesn’t happen often so we need plants that stand up to heat/drought! I really want to add some small shade trees to our backyard and front yard! That’s where my focus has been! Finding the right trees for the space and our climate can be challenging!

    • Lisa

      Erin, I totally understand. We have 2 kids and a dog and live in Arizona where it’s hot more days than cool 🙂 Our yard has been a work in progress for quite some time. Hope you find some time and ideas that make it what you want when you can 🙂

  • Denise

    Great post! I was furloughed in March due to COVID and I have had all this time that I’ve never had before. While I’ve always love working on my property I never had time and it became a burden more than fun. But now, I have gone completely crazy planting flowers and bushes and sprucing up the property and I seriously could just do this full time. It is truly good for your health and well being. I find myself sitting out on the deck for long periods of time feeling so peaceful. The flowers make me so happy. 🙂 On to the front yard next! 😉

    • Lisa

      Denise This warms my heart to hear that you have the time to do what you love and have the time to enjoy it! Although it is a rough way to “have the time”, I am so happy for you!! 😊

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