The American suburban landscape is awash with one big open fenced-in backyard after another. They look nice, especially well-manicured and recently mowed, but hardly get utilized as a space besides as something to see. Meanwhile the owners of these untapped tracts of land sit and lounge inside their climate controlled homes, always wanting to “get out” and “do something” but never actually getting around to either. They’ll glance out the window, staring into a quarter to half-acre of land – their land – and go back to watching TV. Enough is enough.
If you’re like me and find yourself in this sort of situation, give consideration to the following ways in which your boring backyard space can be turned into a genesis of better health without wiping out the savings or college funds.
- Garden: This one may seem obvious but there are health benefits you may be forgetting. Of course there’s the value of organic homegrown vegetables fresh from the source to your table. The work that goes into maintaining a healthy garden is another bonus to your well-being. Besides, nothing tastes quite as good as the fruits (vegetables in this case) of your labors.
- Fruit Trees: For those who want direct access to healthy food options without crawling around in the dirt a fruit tree or two is the way to go. They’re relatively cheap and checking out the fruit trees at willisorchards.com will give you an idea of how pretty, and delicious, the many options can be. And there’s still a little bit of a mild workout involved – spend time picking apples someday to see what I’m talking about.
- Non-Fruiting Trees: Properly-placed trees in a backyard can easily encourage a pickup game of tag football, soccer, or Wiffle ball without compromising the open space of the lawn. The shade allows for more time spent outdoors without worrying about the effects of too much sun, and the guarantee of fallen leaves means there’ll be some niche muscles getting worked out at some point or another.
- Landscaping: Huge projects drain the budget and hiring out contractors defeats the purpose, so stick to small projects with easy-to-find DIY guides online. Terraforming your lawn into a little slice of Eden not only gets your blood flowing it provides a hobby and, if done carefully and correctly, can greatly improve efficiency and the value of your property.
- Athletic Installations: Pools and tennis courts are probably a little beyond the scope of the average reader’s backyard improvement ambitions, but what about gymnastic bars? It may appear a little gaudy in your head at first, but forget about the pommel horse and think about a simple three-set series of horizontal bars at varying heights. Workout options for you, a fun place to swing around for the kids.
Whether it be a source of healthy food choices, a source of exercise, or both, there’s plenty of potential to better yourself by making better use of your backyard. Meticulously maintained flat lawns are nice to look at, but add a tree here, a garden there, and watch your life improve as much as your property value.