Backyard activities for round-the-clock fun

Here are some ideas to keep you busy during the summer months

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During the warmer months, your outdoor spaces can be used as extended living spaces, which is especially welcome if you live in a small house. Fresh air, sunlight and greenery are healthy for mind, body and soul. Having the luxury of a lush garden or a cooling pool are great ways to use a backyard, but they each require a lot of time, maintenance, and real space. I’ve put together a handful of outdoor living ideas that will help you and your family get out of the house during the summer months. Here are my ideas for fun and inexpensive ways to bring your outdoor space to life from dusk till dawn.

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Stand with the birds

Getting out early every morning is a great way to start the day. Here are some activities for early risers to consider.

When the weather is too good to hit the gym, why not turn your backyard into a fitness center for you and your workout buddies? A few exercise mats, free weights, and upbeat music, and you’ll be set – you can even join in and hire a personal trainer for the group.

Gardening is not only therapeutic, but also a productive hobby when you enjoy the fruits (and vegetables and herbs!) of your labor. If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, create a small tabletop greenhouse that you can tend to every morning. It’s also a great shared activity to do with the kids. Want to propagate existing plants from neighbors and friends? This small greenhouse can help protect them from harsh winds and backyard intruders.

Have a whole group of early bird friends? Host a smoothie breakfast once a week. Get out your blender, ice bucket, fresh fruit and other favorite smoothies (such as yogurt, seeds and nuts) and allow your guest to create their own healthy breakfast drink. It’s a fun and healthy way to start the day with social time and nutritious food.

Gardened Green Outdoor Waterproof Portable Greenhouse, $70.
Gardened Green Outdoor Waterproof Portable Greenhouse, $70.

Afternoon delights

Midday is when the sun is highest, so get out there and get some vitamin D, don’t forget to apply sunscreen first – or plan your activities in the shade.

The afternoon is a good time to exercise, as long as it’s not too hot and humid. A simple aerobic exercise in the garden with a trampoline or jump rope will get your heart pumping. Or, on those sweltering days, find your inner cool with yoga or low-impact strength training, which take up little space and require equipment that can be easily stowed away when you’re done.

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An afternoon car wash is a great way to stay cool and be productive. Who knows, your neighbors might see you and line up their car for a good wash – now there’s a new summer afternoon job!

Take the time to pamper yourself in the afternoon by transforming your garden into an outdoor spa. Soak in a jet spa, deep condition your hair and add a manicure/pedi with a few friends. Don’t forget to hydrate yourself with Prosecco! You’ll feel like you’ve spent a lot of money on a fancy hotel spa.

Under the stars

For those with day jobs, the evening (or once the kids are in bed) is probably your prime time to enjoy your outdoor space.

Do you have a pop-up tent and sleeping bags? Why not invite some friends over and spend the night camping outdoors? Think of it like a slumber party under the stars. Fill the cooler and use your grill as a warming device to make S’mores and other tasty treats.

Dinner and a movie are always great indoors, so why not take them outside? Watching movies or projecting happy birthday messages is easy with the new portable projectors hooked up to your computer.

Host a game night outside. Old-fashioned card games and board games are a fun way to spend a summer evening with family and friends. Add clamp lights to illuminate the table surface and you’re done. Don’t forget the citronella candles to keep insects away. My tip is to position them securely around the ground and under the picnic table (in glass lanterns for added safety) which protects the ankles and legs from biting.

-Karl Lohnes

Do you have a decorating dilemma or want more decorating inspiration? Follow Karl on Instagram @karl_lohnes.

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Richard V. Johnson