When we moved into our new house, we were really excited about the back porch and the thought of relaxing there enjoying some nice weather. But for awhile it wasn’t very comfortable. Last weekend, I finally took the time to fix it up and create an oasis for the entire family in our backyard. Here’s how it went down.
1. Use What You’ve Got to Create Your Backyard Oasis.
I started with pulling out and washing up some of the things we already owned, like Jaye’s water table, slide, and sand box. They were all dusty and gross from the “winter” (Texas winters are really just “winters” #minnesotan) and the move, but nothing a little spray from the hose couldn’t handle.
Think outside the box. I have a friend whose kids never used their little table until she brought it outside and suddenly it was a picnic and mud pie making station in constant use! If you don’t own a water table, a big plastic tub and some cups makes a fun water station for a toddler. Collect all the miscellaneous balls rolling around your house in a basket on the back porch, and I bet now the kids will have some fun with them!
Jaye loves playing in the backyard now. She often requests to go ” ‘side ” as she says it. And I agree, because it’s nice for me to sit in the backyard in a lawn chair with my feet in her pool while she splashes. Win-win.
2. Consider the weather.
The backyard can be a huge addition of space to your home if it’s set up right so that you can enjoy it for as much of the year as possible. Here in Texas, that definitely requires a baby wading pool. I purchased this one at Toys R Us, but have even seen an identical version at the local grocery store! When we first bought it, Jaye’s first trip down the slide was a little fast and slippery and ended in more water than she expected. But, last week, she got brave and tried that slide again; She LOVED it this time! Now every time she swims, she slides and says “Whoa! Woosh!”
The weather in Texas also means that tiki torches and citronella is a priority. I grabbed a few tiki torches and some fuel at the store, but I’m also dying to try this DIY Citronella candle recipe.
3. Have Something for Everyone in your Backyard.
Backyards aren’t just for the little ones! I used a Groupon I had purchased ages and ages ago to snatch up this geometric indoor/outdoor rug. Paired with a cheap Ikea end table and some plastic adirondack chairs that the previous owners left behind, our dreary back porch is suddenly a lovely seating area. After Jaye goes to bed, Phil and I like to come out here, light the citronella tiki torches, and just chat and relax. Last weekend, we enjoyed my awesome restaurant mojitos on the porch and felt like we were living at a resort (in our own backyard!).
4. Don’t forget the refreshments! Like Snapple Half and Half!
Along with some burgers hot of the grill, Phil and I enjoyed Snapple Half and Half. It’s half lemonade and half ice tea, and it’s the perfect combination for a warm summer evening.
I shopped for my Snapple Half and Half at Walmart, where I found it in big bottles and individual bottles. It also comes in diet, if that’s the way you roll. The bottles are great for a quick and easy drink to take along on summer adventures like my quest to visit every park in Richardson. (Disclaimer: the quest is going slowly; it’s kind of hot out right now. But I promise I will get back to it soon!)
Before I sign off, there’s one other thing I wanted to share with you: Live SoFab is a fun new online magazine you should check out. The current issue has yummy recipes for summer drinks, picnic ideas, road trip checklists, and beauty tips! It also looks super classy, just like a real in-print magazine, but without the hassle of all those paper pages to turn.