Five DIY Kid-Friendly Summer Landscaping Ideas

Our top five kid-friendly landscaping ideas might be just the ticket for enhancing your outdoor living space – and keeping your family busy over the summer.

As Alice Cooper famously sang, “School’s out for summer.” Or at least it’s almost out for summer, depending on your school district. Which means millions of young people everywhere will be looking for something to do, and “Go outdoors!” is a common solution – at least from a parent’s point of view.

We’ve got some solutions too, in the form of do-it-yourself landscaping projects that are easy, fun, and are perfect for the whole family. Are you ready? Check out some of our favorite ideas especially for you. Good luck – and happy summer!

Bring on the birds. If you want to create an outdoor learning environment for bird-lovers, think food and fresh water, beginning with a bird bath or fountain. But don’t assume you have to go out and buy one. There are plenty of options for making your own bath, but keep in mind that it needs to be shallow with a slightly rough bottom for traction. Add some bird feeders strategically placed in your yard, and you have a bird sanctuary right out the window.

Add butterflies to the mix. Butterflies aren’t just for looks – they help pollinate flowers. Get your kids involved in planning a garden that will serve to attract these beauties while sprucing up your yard. Best bets? Flowers in purples, oranges, pinks or reds – but make sure they’re suitable for our region. We can help you with choosing the right types of blooms. Since butterflies prefer their meals in the sun, make sure your garden is designed accordingly.

Build a fire pit. There’s nothing quite like roasting marshmallows and hotdogs during cool summer evenings, and a fire pit can bring wonderful memories right to your back yard. There are several DIY designs that are family friendly, but make sure you choose one that is safe, and a site that’s not too close to your house. If you want the perfect fire pit or fireplace to enhance your outdoor living space, but this type of project seems a bit daunting, give us a call. We can design and install one that incorporates and compliments the homemade plans you already have in the works.

Think vegetables. Sure, choosing seeds, preparing the bed and watching edible plants grow can be a prime educational opportunity. But the bottom line is that it’s just plain fun! Get the whole family involved in each process, or let your kids do all the research and planning. There’s nothing quite like preparing a meal using ingredients that came from your own yard. Make sure you pick out the best vegetable types for your region, soil and sun exposure. For more information, here’s a list of gardening resources from Purdue Extension. And check out this recipe  for fresh salsa made from homegrown tomatoes.

Take a load off. If you don’t have a nice, shady place outdoors for your family to just relax in and enjoy, challenge your kids to come up with solutions. Perhaps you have a spot that’s perfect for a hammock, covered swing or Adirondacks. Have them figure out a design and a plan for action. Garage sales are aplenty this time of year, where you might score gently used lawn furniture or hammocks. Have your kids research outdoor seating ideas, and encourage them to consider rock sculptures, stepping stones and any other decorative elements to enhance the space.

Ready to get started?

While these outdoor landscaping ideas are good starters, we know there are plenty more. Do you have some kid-friendly outdoor projects to share? We’d love to hear about your favorites – include pictures if you have any! In the meantime, for your larger outdoor landscaping needs, give us a call. We’d love to help you create your dream outdoor living space.


Ready for a backyard fire pit? We’ve got you covered

Some of the most often-asked questions we get from homeowners as cooler weather approaches tend to revolve around outdoor fire pits:fire pit what type or style is best, which kind would work with our back yard, and are they safe?

Backyard fire pits have become increasingly popular over the years, as property owners realize how the element of fire can enhance outdoor living spaces, provide added ambiance, and serve as a natural gathering place for friends and family. In fact, fire pits serve to extend the use of your outdoor area beyond spring and summer, and well into fall and winter.

The bonus? Because outdoor fire pits vary so much in styles, sizes and structure, you can find one to fit almost any budget. Here are some factors to consider when deciding what type of fire pit you want:

Play by the rules

Check to make sure you understand your local ordinances regarding open fires on personal property. Some municipalities ban open burning of any kind.

Consider your budget

Fire pits can cost anywhere from under $100 to upwards of $10,000 (or more), and everywhere in between. Basically, the sky is the limit, depending on your vision and budget. You can dig and build your own or have one built as part of your landscaping design.

Think ahead

As you envision your fire pit, think about if you want it to be permanent or portable. Do you want a built-in structure that can also serve as a focal point for your yard? Or would you rather have a portable, lightweight option that you can move according to where you are gathering? Or do you want both?

If you decide on a permanent fire pit, there are lots of options, including DIY kits or basic designs that can be made with supplies from your local big box store. Professional, custom-built fire pits come in limitless designs, and can include built-in seating for as many or few as you want. Custom designs can also incorporate materials that compliment your home and existing design elements.

No matter which type of fire pit you choose, make sure you use appropriate stones and materials, while also choosing a style that is proportional to the size and shape of your yard. And while custom-built fire pits are more expensive, when installed by a professional, they will last longer and require less maintenance or repair.

Choose your fuel

Do you want the smells and sounds of wood as your fire pit fuel of choice, or do you prefer the ease of gas? Obviously, wood requires some effort to keep those flames burning – and to make sure they don’t escape. You’ll also need a healthy stock of firewood.

You might prefer the use of gas or propane for an instant fire, (sometimes even including a remote control starter), even if it’s not as hot as a wood fire. Some designs can actually incorporate both, if the added cost isn’t a concern.

Choose your location

Remember when we mentioned the importance of knowing your local fire ordinances? Most communities require fire pits to be a minimum distance from your house and neighbors’ yards. Some don’t require a permit if the fire pit fit is smaller than a specific size, while others might require a site inspection from local fire officials to make sure your proposed location is safe (away from structures, fences, overhanging branches, etc.). And, some communities have outright bans on open fires. Remember to check with local officials before you do anything.

Give us a call

Outdoor fire pits can be just the thing to compliment your outdoor living area and bring together your friends and family for endless hours of fun. We would love to help bring your landscaping vision to life. For a free quote or more information, give us a call at (317) 259-9222.