You’ve baked sourdough bread from scratch. You’ve watched a thousand livestreams, practiced yoga, and deep-cleaned your tub. What now?
If you’re wondering what to do when you’re bored in quarantine and you have a backyard, now’s a great time to fall back into love with your little slice of the outdoors. Not only are the majority of us stuck at home, but a little outdoor time is recommended to boost your mental health. If you’ve got the quarantine blues, seeking some solace in your backyard may be just the thing.
We’ve got some backyard activities that are great for everybody, good for kids, and also a few that are just for the adults among us. If your backyard is in need of a refresh, contact us to learn more about how we can transform your outdoor space into the beautiful escape from the world you need. Got your own backyard activities you want to shout out? Let us know in the comments!
Backyard Activities For Everyone
Whether you have kids or not, these stay-at-home backyard activities are just the thing to ease your boredom. Though some may require a little extra investment, others can be enjoyed with only a little elbow grease and minimal purchases.
Missing movie theaters? While you probably can’t recreate everything you love about theaters at home, you can create an entirely new experience reminiscent of the moviegoing experience in your backyard with a little extra summer flare.
If you want to go all-out with an outdoor theater, you can hire a company like Transblue to design you a space suitable for screenings—seating, a cozy fire pit, a hidden outdoor TV and all. With a fully designed backyard unique to your needs, you can host movie screenings whenever you want, turning your backyard into a gorgeous outdoor screening site.
Not ready to invest in a backyard makeover? No problem. There are many outdoor projector options that can be paired with everything from a huge automated screen to a simple bedsheet tacked up against the side of your house.
Don’t want to invest in a projector? No problem. With a little elbow grease, you can fix up your own DIY projector with some common household objects. Pop some popcorn, lay out a blanket or two, and watch an old favorite or hot new release in your backyard! Even better, connect with friends through apps like Netflix Party and you can watch movies together at a safe distance.
It seems like everybody’s getting into gardening right now, and for good reason—the weather’s warming up, we all have a lot more time on our hands, and staying home has resulted in an unusual appreciation for slow, productive tasks that include not only gardening, but also crafts like candle making and butter churning. Getting your hands dirty in the garden is great exercise and can result in beautiful flowers or tasty fruits and veggies. What’s not to like?
There are a few things to consider when starting a garden, whether you’re working with a container garden on a small balcony or opting for a fully designed, optimized outdoor space with drip irrigation and landscaping. Gardening does take work, both physical and planning, and it requires some financial investment. You can start on the cheap with a few small terracotta pots, some potting soil, and a few seed packets. If you’re looking for bigger hauls from your gardening investment, a raised bed or two may be just the thing.
What holds many people back from gardening is the time investment and the potential for failure. Unlike many crafts, gardening requires a waiting period between investment and payoff, and failure doesn’t come with an explanation. But since many of us have more time than ever, there’s no better opportunity to see what gardening success feels like. It’s incredibly rewarding, and once you pick your first home-grown strawberry or propagate your pilea peperomioides—especially after a few failures—you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.
Bringing your favorite games outside is a great way to enjoy your backyard. That doesn’t just mean busting out Settlers of Catan on a picnic table—in the outdoors, you’re less limited by tablespace. That means your favorite games can be bigger and better!
Giant Jenga, giant dominoes, and Giant Scrabble are just a few options. You could opt for getting deep into Bocce ball or lawn bowling, croquet or even minigolf. If you want to get real fancy, installing a putting green or even a checkerboard lawn can add both beauty and a new game opportunity to your backyard.
Get creative with this. Make use of your outdoor space to have more fun with the things you already enjoy!
Have a Picnic
Sometimes playing it low-key is best. Lay down a blanket, hang some string lights, and break out your favorite finger foods and snacks for a delightful dining experience al-fresco. While eating at the table might be less messy, there’s something uniquely wonderful about sharing a meal with your favorite people on a blanket, too!
If you’ve got the space to get fancy, an outdoor kitchen can make your picnic even better—no more preparing your meal inside while everybody else has fun outside! You can house drinks, condiments, and whatever else you may need in an outdoor refrigerator, letting you enjoy family time even longer.
Stargazing is both a romantic and educational activity. Lay out a blanket in the backyard and take a look at the sky above you. Using apps like SkyView, you can learn about what constellations are visible in your area. Consult a calendar to learn about potential meteor showers or other planetary events that you may be able to see from your backyard, too!
Karaoke can be a blast with your family—provided you keep it quiet enough to not annoy the neighbors. Home karaoke systems can run from a simple YouTube video to a nice voice-editing setup depending on how much you want to spend.
Don’t be afraid to get fancy with it! Add some twinkle lights, lanterns, and a nice curtain and you can make your backyard really feel like a stage.
Camping doesn’t have to mean a trip away from home. Bust out your tent—or make a cute outdoor fort if you’re in a warm, dry area!—and spend some time in the great outdoors right in your backyard. Stargaze, cook some s’mores over an open fire (or a small homemade fire pit!), and sleep outside in comfort and security—just don’t forget the bug spray.
Backyard Activities with Kids
Keeping the kids entertained can be a real struggle, especially when school and hanging out with friends aren’t an option. As the weather gets warmer, how can you keep them active and learning in the outdoors?
Install a Below-Ground Trampoline
Kids love trampolines. Unfortunately, not only can trampolines be a backyard eyesore, but they can also be dangerous—without supervision, it’s easy for kids to get a little too rambunctious and fall off. That’s what makes below-ground trampolines so wonderful! The kids can jump to their heart’s content, there’s not a large object taking up visible space in your yard, and there’s less chance of a serious fall occurring.
To do this, measure the height of your trampoline and dig to that depth—calling 811 ahead of time to be sure that you’re clear to dig, of course! Some manufacturers recommend making your hole just slightly shallower than your trampoline’s height to allow for adequate venting, which is what produces the high jumps you expect from a trampoline. Adding a retaining wall of some kind is recommended, as this prevents the soil from collapsing into the pit and ruining your hard work. You may also want to invest in a drain of some kind to carry any water that accumulates in the pit away.
This can be a big undertaking, so you may want to work with a professional. Falls can still happen, so many trampoline manufacturers recommend using nets or other safety measures to prevent injury. Always check with the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safety!
Build Some Outdoor Musical Instruments
Getting your kids into music is great. Listening to endless renditions of “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder… not so much. But that’s what makes the outdoors so amazing—your kids can make music to their heart’s content and you can preserve your sanity.
Putting big, fun instruments together (such as this giant xylophone) can also be a great bonding activity. Spend some time daydreaming up how else you can transform your backyard into the world’s best music venue—bucket drums, straw pan flutes, or shoebox guitars—and you can put together a truly stellar band destined for the festival circuit, especially because they’re already attuned to playing outdoors.
Put on a Stage Show
If your kids are into drama and theater, a play’s the thing to capture their attention! Dress up your deck with some curtains, string lights, and lamps for spotlights. There are lots of short plays available online, or you and your kids can make up your own. Stages are also great for singing and the debut performance of the new family band established in the outdoor musical instruments section. Have fun with it—and in the privacy of your backyard, you don’t have to worry about getting embarrassed.
Build a Less Messy Mud Pit
Kids love playing in mud, but flooding the flower beds and digging up the lawn isn’t so great for parents. Thankfully, there’s a solution: mobile mud patches. Got a wheelbarrow, empty plastic container, or similar? Add some dirt and water and you have a mud patch that won’t destroy your flower beds or lawn. Don’t be afraid to get your hands in there, too—according to some research, exposure to a common, harmless bacteria found in dirt can have antidepressant effects!
Bury a Time Capsule
The spring and summer of 2020 might not go down as the best times in history, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth remembering. Creating a time capsule with your family can be a great way to remember the uniqueness of this experience and share some wisdom with your future selves. Time capsules can contain anything you like—CDs of today’s top hits, letters to one another or your future self, arts and crafts you’re working on—that you think would be interesting to unpack in the future. Fill up a container of any kind that will withstand moisture and dirt with whatever you like and bury it somewhere where it won’t be disturbed for a while. Dig it up when some time has passed—a year, several years, whatever you want!—and reflect on this year and what you were like way back when. It’s a great exercise in creativity, patience, and learning about the past.
Backyard Activities for Adults
Adults need to have fun in the backyard, too! Think beyond just roasting marshmallows at the fire pit or taking a dip in the pool—your favorite indoor activities can come outside, as well.
Have a Spa Day
Treat yourself! Sun exposure can have some positive health benefits (though you should still wear sunscreen, as sun damage can result in skin cancer, premature aging, and other unpleasant effects over time), and also be incredibly relaxing. Follow up a warm bath with epsom salts and essential oils with a little sunbathing, nail painting, and a homemade face mask. Do a little meditating with some soothing music, slip a couple of cool cucumber slices on your eyes, and you’ll be pampered to the point of relaxation right in your own home.
Virtual Murder Mysteries
If you’re a fan of escape rooms or other group mind games, virtual murder mysteries may be just the thing. Companies like Red Herring Games have released games meant to be played with friends online, which are just as good outdoors as indoors. Taking your game outside can add a little spooky atmosphere, making these games even more fun than they would be indoors.
Indulge in Slow-Paced Cooking
Everyone likes a good slow-cooked meal, right? But smoking, real barbecuing, and similar cooking methods take more time than many people are interested in investing on an average day. What better time to perfect your talent for barbecue rubs than now? Start early, sit outside with your favorite beverage, and rejoice in the delicious smells that waft through your yard, tempting you to slip yourself an early taste. Even better, do this all with an outdoor kitchen. No more running back and forth for ingredients; start outside, cook outside, and finish it all off with a wonderful al fresco dining experience.
Your backyard isn’t just a place you retreat to when the weather’s hot. It’s a feature of your home, too—an outdoor living room that can play host to as many fun activities as the inside of your home, too.