Summer is in full swing, and that means we are spending more time keeping up and enjoying our backyards than at any other time of the year. Backyarding—the trend to use the backyard for everything from tele-working to working out to relaxing—has a different purpose for each person. Identifying your backyard’s role in your family’s health and happiness is key to cultivating a purposeful outdoor space customized to your needs.
Creating a more purposeful outdoor space means identifying what type of “backyarder” you are. Then, you can get to work in your yard with that idea in mind.
Here are just a few of the backyarding personality types. Which one(s) are you?
Expert Landscaper. Your yard makes neighbors green with envy. You know how to maintain a healthy living landscape and you have the latest outdoor power equipment to make even big jobs easier. Your idea of a good time? Spending the weekend doing yardwork. You love the sense of accomplishment that comes from working in your yard, and friends can count on you for advice.
Environmentalist. You know that nature starts in your own backyard and that taking small steps in your yard can make a big impact on climate change. As the proverbial Robin to your yard’s Batman, you embrace your role in supporting the superhero powers of your living landscape (capturing and filtering rainwater, producing oxygen and absorbing carbon, just to name a few).
Nature Lover. No binge-watching TV for you. You spend your free time watching the birds, bats, butterflies and other wildlife that count on your yard for food and shelter. You cultivate a landscape that supports a rich biodiversity with butterfly bushes, flowering plants, water sources, and trees and shrubs with nooks for nesting and food.
Horticulturist. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is bookmarked on your browser because putting the right plant in the right place is the Golden Rule you live by. You consider location, maintenance, sunlight and watering requirements, as well as the climate zone, before you even think about sticking your shovel in the dirt.
Kid Zone Creator. You know the safest place for your kids is in your own backyard and work hard to create an outdoor fun zone. A flat area of sturdy turfgrass to play sports and pitch a tent? Check. Treehouse? Check. Zipline strung safely between backyard trees? Check. An elevated garden for veggies? Check. Natural playscapes, such as a patch of sand bordered by rocks and log stump seating? Check.
Pet Pamperer. Your focus is on Fido. You’ve planted sturdy turfgrass that can stand pet play and used soft foliage to create a natural barricade between “off limits” areas and the rest of the lawn. Trees and shrubs are strategically planted for shade and you’ve even set up a water feature to help your pup cool off.
Entertainer Extraordinaire. Your backyard was the neighborhood hotspot long before the pandemic made that trend posh. Birthdays, graduations, reunions, socially distanced BBQs—your yard is the place to gather. It’s got patio furniture, a fire pit, yard games, string lights and an outdoor kitchen.
Zen Master. You enjoy your morning coffee on the balcony as songbirds serenade. Meditating in the shade and de-stressing in a hammock are your jam. Your backyard is your sacred space for relaxation and rejuvenation. You know spending time outside is good for your health and well-being.