There are plenty of exterior maintenance tasks that could occupy your time. You can pressure-wash your siding and walkways, aerate your lawn or call for tree care. But what about those big-picture projects that go beyond the status quo and take your outdoor space to a whole new level? Here are five backyard bonus projects that will make your summer.
1. Dress up your grill.
If you’re most looking forward to getting perfect grill marks on burgers, and preparing beautiful shish kebabs, your dream bonus project might be a grilling island. Your island can be as minimal or extreme as your budget and imagination will allow. For a quick and low-cost option, add two outdoor bar cabinets with countertops to either side of your grill. For a total upgrade, go for a prefab outdoor bar set with a built-in grill. And for a personalized installation, hire a mason to construct a custom stone island with a granite countertop.
2. Add a pergola.
A pergola can maximize the usability of an outdoor space by reducing harsh sunlight. Plus, it really completes the look of a patio or deck. You can get a standard pergola with a fabric canopy and expert assembly for less than $1,000. Or, you can get a custom-built pergola to suit your specific needs for around $2,000 to $5,000, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. For maximum convenience, consider a pergola with smart features you can control with your phone.
3. Build a play place.
If you have young kids, you might struggle to make time for playground visits. You may be surprised by how affordable it is to install a play place in your own backyard. Playhouses, jungle gyms, swing sets and kids’ six-seater picnic tables cost as little as $150 each. More extensive swing sets with large slides, built-in monkey bars and forts can cost as little as $400. And according to the HomeAdvisor True Cost Guide, you can have your play set professionally assembled for an average of $350 to $700.
4. Plant a pollinator garden.
Your backyard project can do more than add enjoyment — it can provide food and shelter for pollinators like butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds. Imagine your yard with a swath of colorful, diverse plants and buzzing with life. Your garden might comprise a few pots and small beds on your balcony, a large flower bed with six to eight plant species, or an array that runs the length of your yard. The most important thing is that you choose the best plants for the pollinators and your climate. The U.S. Forest Service recommends the BeeSmart Pollinator Gardener app as a go-to resource.
5. Make a place to gather.
Did you make a resolution to have more people over or to spend more time outside? With an outdoor lounge area, you’ll realize those resolutions sooner than you expect. All you need is a fire pit, a set of chairs and a few side tables. A basic fire pit can cost as little as $75, and a style with more modern flair can be as affordable as $150. For a more customized project, a professional will charge from $300 to $1,400 or more, depending on size and materials. And stylish Adirondack chairs cost anywhere from $20 to over $200 each.