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6 great ways to make the most of your yard this summer

When it comes to excuses about why people won’t do anything with their yard, we’ve heard the lot. “It’s too small to do anything with.” “Too steep.” “Too exposed.” So we’ve come up with 6 reasons to stop making excuses and get the yard you’ve always wanted.

Excuse #1: “My yard’s too small to do anything with.”

Fix It Renovations ezine Nov2013
Solution:  As any male will tell you, it’s not the size of a thing that’s important, it’s what you do with it. The yard in the photo above is a case in point. It’s not only small but it’s an odd shape. Yet the owners have managed to fit in a deck, outdoor dining area, garden shed, several nice planters, a private sunbathing area and even their own mini-vineyard. And they’ve found a use for all that purple paint that no one wanted. The space is a clever composite of several different zones, textures and levels that delineate the different uses, create interest, provide a sense of privacy, yet manage not to look too cluttered.  Just think what you could do with your little yard.

Excuse #2: “My yard’s too steep.”

  Fix It Renovations ezine Nov2013
Solution: Put in a retaining wall, terrace or deck. This space has a precipitous drop beneath it, and there’s a tree bang smack in the middle, but that hasn’t stopped these enterprising homeowners from making it into a gorgeous private retreat, complete with hammock.

Excuse #3: “My yard doesn’t give me any privacy.”

Fix It Renovations ezine Nov2013 
Solution: Create your own private oasis. This inner-city garden is overlooked by about a million people in multi-storey buildings, but the owner has used a sun umbrella, overhanging tree and screening plants to create some just-me space. We like the clever way the garden has been stepped too, both vertically and horizontally.

Excuse #4: “My yard is too dark.”

Fix It Renovations ezine Nov2013 
Solution: If your yard is south-facing and permanently shaded by buildings, trees or fences, try using smart lighting, even during the day, like this one. Use pale-coloured paving and surfaces to lighten the effect even more and reflect back any light there is. Or you might want to try what one Norwegian town – located in valley so deep it never saw the sun at all throughout winter – resorted to: huge mirrors mounted on surrounding ridges to reflect sunlight down into the streets below.  

Excuse #5: “My yard is too cold.”

Fix It Renovations ezine Nov2013 
Solution: If it’s exposure to the wind that’s causing the problem, anything that provides a windbreak will fix it – a fence, wall, hedge or trees. Or dig out a sunken area out of the wind. If all else fails, build a conservatory or sun-room. Then add all-year-round warmth and functionality to your outdoor area with patio heaters or a fireplace. A fire pit like the one above can be a decorative as well as a practical feature.  


Excuse #6: “My yard is too big.”

Fix It Renovations ezine Nov2013 
Solution: If your yard is the size of Texas and you get agoraphobia whenever you go out in it, you have two options: Fill it up, or divide it up. The latter option is easiest – simply screen off part of your yard to create a cosier, more intimate space for entertaining or relaxing, and leave the dog, horses and buffalo to roam the rest of the yard. An increasingly popular alternative is to place or build a sleep-out, cabin or pod out there. That way, you can get pesky teenagers or grannies out of your house, create your own private office, studio or workshop, or rent it out for extra income. 
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