When it comes to home renovations, backyards often fall to the wayside amid kitchen overhauls and bathroom spruce-ups. By the time grilling season and summer parties roll around, however, backyards are the place to be.
To help with the outdoor upgrade, Hudson Valley resident Blythe Yost, the co-founder and head designer of online landscape design firm Tilly, shared her top eye-catching updates to make the most of your yard this season.
Imagine it: Just as the sun sets and the lightning bugs twinkle across the sky, family and friends huddle onto blankets for a movie night outside.
“There are many ways to create a backyard movie theater, but I love the concept of using a classic projector,” says Yost. “You can get as inventive and technical as you like with the screen, but a simple white sheet firmly attached to the side of your house can do the trick. Pull out the lawn chairs, comfy pillows, some citronella candles, speakers — [then] top it off with some popcorn and you’re all set.”
“Fire pits aren’t a new idea, but they are a great way to bring a group together,” observes Yost. Indeed, the outdoor hearths are ideal for toasting s’mores with the kids or kicking back with friends over a shared bottle of wine. “You can buy a portable fire pit at your local hardware store or work with a designer to create a permanent fire pit that is a focal point of your yard.”
If you’re looking for recommendations, Tilly likes Fancy Fire Pit, which offers customizable options to create the perfect solution for each home.
You love your living room. So why not take those cozy indoor vibes to the next level by creating a similar setting outdoors?
“For many people, this [renovation] includes creating an outdoor kitchen and bringing furniture such as couches and chaises to the outdoors,” she says. While integrating a kitchen into the design process can be costly, it also creates an ideal space for entertaining and relaxing outside of the house.
If you’re going for the fun angle, it’s hard to beat a trampoline. Skip the standalone variety and opt for a sunken version, which is safer and less likely to detract from your garden and landscaping. It’s also a relatively inexpensive project that the whole family can work together to DIY. To get started, Yost recommends purchasing a prefabricated trampoline kit, then following the instructions to set it up in your yard.
“It’s a little more difficult to sink an existing trampoline,” she explains, adding that retaining walls and drainage can create unforeseen challenges during the installation process.
A signature Tilly design feature, the deconstructed playground spreads the signature elements of a play space throughout the yard so as not to detract from the overall design.
“Get creative and hang a tire swing from a tree, put a sandbox in the shade, a playhouse, zipline from tree to tree, Jacob’s ladder, and anything else you or your kids would enjoy.”