The backyard at work

People are discovering that there is a lot more that can be done with an ordinary back yard than simply filling it up with grass. Not only can your backyard be something great to look at, but it can be something productive to live in. You probably pay property taxes on the land that comes with your home, so why not make it an extension of your living space?

There are many ways to use outdoor space. Here are some ideas. See if any can be incorporated into your property to make put your backyard to work.

The most obvious and inexpensive way to put your backyard to work is to grow interesting and useful things in it. For example you can grow edibles. Not only is it fun to grow your own food, but the whole family can participate from children to seniors. It's exciting to watch sprouted seeds turn into mature plants, flower and produce food that is much more flavorful than anything you'll buy at the store. Plus you won't have to pay all those inflated prices at the market, you won't have to worry about product recalls, and your fruits and vegetables will be much fresher and healthier than anything you can buy.

Other things you can grow are flowers for cutting and bringing into the house. You can grow herbs for cooking, healing, potpourris, crafts, dyes and many other uses. Or you can simply plant gardens that will beckon you outdoors to relax and unwind from the stress of the day; make your home into a garden retreat.

Play areas can be built for little children or sports areas for the energetic. Consider building yourself a putting green to practice your golf or setting up a trampoline area for the kids. Actual outdoor rooms can be constructed under shade covers or on patios that can house a simple portable barbecue or fire pit or can built into elaborate kitchens or outdoor living rooms complete with chimneys and comfortable outdoor furniture.

Patios for entertaining, picnic benches for lunches and hidden areas furnished with a cozy swing or hammock ideal for meditation, snoozing or reading are all good ideas to put the backyard to work. Design in a play area for pets, grow an orchard, plant a rose garden, build an arbor or pergola. Or add in a water feature like a fountain, a pondless waterfall or a pond complete with fish.

As you can see, there are many ways to put that space around your house to productive use. Why not put your backyard to work making your life more fun? Think of what ways your space can serve you best and build those ideas into your next project. Gardening and outdoor building will give you great exercise and just think of how many ways it can pay off when you put your backyard to work for you and your whole family!