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Although winter is creeping in, it’s never too early to start planning for ways to make a better backyard to enjoy when the spring weather arrives. If you plan your projects carefully, you can even get started on a few of them right away and start enjoying them now (with the help of a nice coat, of course)! Whether you have a tiny plot of land or several acres that you don’t even know what to do with, these ideas can help you make the most of your space.

Gardening: You probably already know that landscaping in general is important for bringing order to your space and giving it a planned, cohesive look. Adding a few gardening beds, or even large pots to garden in, adds charm and elegance to your outdoor living space. You can pick up all sorts of gorgeous annual flowers in the spring and bring color and life to your yard again. If you prefer growing edibles, start growing vegetable plants indoors so they’re ready to go outside when the weather warms up.

Deck: This is the perfect way to turn a bland outdoor space into a breathtaking backyard. Consider multi-level decks with space for several different activities, including grilling, relaxing, and entertaining. Decks also add a lot of value to your home, so your investment will not only help you enjoy your yard more, but it will also pay off if you need to sell your home in the future. If your back door opens at ground level, don’t worry, because a stone or brick patio can be just as appealing!

Patio Furniture: A table and chairs for outdoor meals is essential for making your backyard space more functional, whether you’re envisioning weekend brunches or evening cookouts. In addition to these eating areas, consider patio furniture for lounging as well. Add a trellis for privacy and a reclining lounge chair for sunbathing, or a romantic little gazebo with a swing in it. It’s all about how you envision yourself using the space and what furniture can make that happen.

Fire Pit: This is one improvement you can actually enjoy now when the weather is chilly, perhaps even more than you’ll enjoy it in the heat of the summer. Even a simple little fire pit will make your backyard a more appealing gathering space for cool nights (not to mention all the possibilities for roasting delicious treats). If you want a bigger project, you can even build a custom fire pit into your patio.

Swings: A great backyard shouldn’t be all about keeping the parents happy. If you have kids, help them enjoy the yard as well by installing a play space for them. Both custom and standard swing sets make fun adventures for little ones and add a touch of fun to to your yard. If you choose a location that’s easy to see from several windows, you can also keep an eye on the kids when you’re trying to get dinner on the table!

Even if you can’t give your backyard a complete overhaul right now, you can at least pick out the highest priority project and get started on it first. As you make your backyard more functional and start using it more, you’ll get additional ideas about what you’d like to add or change to get more out of the space. Don’t forget to include the whole family in the discussions so you have a better backyard for all of you!

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