How can I make my backyard more comfortable?
July 26, 2005 10:46 AM   Subscribe

How can I make my backyard more comfortable?

I used to have a screened-in porch that was great for hanging out and entertaining guests, it was set up more like a (really trashy) living room, with comfortable throw-away couches, a grill, a coffee table. Now I'm moving to a place with a backyard and no porch and i'd like some good cost-sensitive ideas on how to make it comfortable and a good place for BBQs and guests.

my reputation for always having cool comfortable hang out spots is at risk!
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get a cheap kiddie pool at Wal-mart and invite people to take turns sitting in it. Maybe add some rubber ducks.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:19 AM on July 26, 2005

A hammock? Either a cute portable one or a nice Pawley's Island one--I have both, and they both are quite comfy.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:38 AM on July 26, 2005

Shade's nice. Maybe you could plant something.
posted by box at 11:57 AM on July 26, 2005

My backyard features an arbor covered by a Silver Lace Vine and a couple of my husband's hops vines (he likes making his own beer).

The silver lace vine grows extremely fast - about 20 feet in a season. It provides wonderful, dense shade.

I think that if you could set up some type of simple structure and then plant a couple of thse vines around it, you could have your own green outdoor room. Furnish with some outdoor furniture and tiki torches, and you're set.
posted by Ostara at 12:09 PM on July 26, 2005

Knowing nothing of your situation limits me, however:

climate control is a good place to start. That translates as wind and sun management. After that you have bug, noise, and view management. Trees, vines, and bushes may help with these. Then you have comfy furniture, paths, and garden type stuff.

ZenMasterThis, I'll see you the rubber ducks and raise you by one pink lawn flamingo. (G)
posted by Ken McE at 12:14 PM on July 26, 2005

Response by poster: The yard has some decent shade, but i'm renting so i dont want to invest in much stuff that i can't take with me a year or two down the road.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 12:22 PM on July 26, 2005

Get an outdoor canopy -- you can find a 10'x10' one, easy to raise with just two people, for under $100. It creates shade and defines space. And it'll fold up easily for your next move.

Any chance of adding water somehow? You can find fairly inexpensive portable fountains (run by electric pump) -- running water adds interest, attracts wildlife and cools down things.
posted by sixpack at 12:28 PM on July 26, 2005

At our last house we had a screen tent like this one that did the trick. It will keep the bugs out and provide shade. Bonus: You can pack it up and take it to buggy picnic places.
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:12 PM on July 26, 2005

Check your local paper for yard sales and such and go nuts.

Canvass umbrellas, tiki lanterns, a slider, park benches, used hot tub/ jacuzzi, a chimnea (outdoor fireplace thingy), wind chimes.

Cheap stuff and make for cool atmosphere.
posted by snsranch at 3:37 PM on July 26, 2005

Best answer: Yes I am about to link to Martha Stewart...what about it? Just wanted to show you that you can make your own canopy, maybe for even cheaper than the $100 one sixpack suggested. Just put something under the canopy to sit on, serve up some lemonade, and voila, a perfect afternoon.
posted by leapingsheep at 6:20 PM on July 26, 2005

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