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10 Cool Things We All Need To Have In Our Backyards

10 Cool Things We All Need To Have In Our Backyards

Your backyard is your own little piece of the outdoors. How you decorate your slice of paradise can have a big effect on how much you enjoy your time spent outside.

These 10 cool things you need to have in your backyard will make the exterior of your home a place that you, and your family and friends, will never want to leave.

1. A Summer Kitchen

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    A summer kitchen does more than help you spend more time outside in the warmest months of the year — it helps keep the interior of your home spick and span when you throw outdoor parties. Include a refrigerator, grill, cabinetry, and plenty of counter space to ensure that you don’t have to perform tasks inside while your friends and family are enjoying the outdoors.

    2. An Extra-Large Hammock

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      Forget about fighting over the hammock on every beautiful day. An extra-large hammock makes it possible for your family to relax in the shade together. There are a wide selection of jumbo hammocks available, ranging from those that fit two people to those that can hold more than 1,000 pounds of weight.

      3. An Outdoor Projector Screen

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        Cramming onto the couch to watch a movie is now a thing of the past. You can now invite all of your family and friends over to watch a movie together on your jumbo outdoor projector screen. Don’t forget to supply plenty of lawn chairs for everyone to enjoy the show.

        4. A Special Reading Nook

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          Turn your backyard into a tropical paradise with a sheltered reading nook that you can enjoy in all types of weather. Pack the nook with plenty of pillows or comfortable reading chairs to inspire everyone to spend more time with their books.

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          5. Fire Pit Swings

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            It’s hard not to want to spend more time together when you have comfortable wooden swings dangling the perfect length from the warmth of the fire. Fire pit swings ensure no one is forced to sit on dirty logs or in uncomfortable lawn chairs during gatherings around the pit. Even better, you can use this awesome backyard feature in all seasons.

            6. An In-Ground Trampoline

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              What’s better than growing up with a trampoline in your backyard? Growing up with an in-ground trampoline in your backyard. The in-ground trampoline makes it easy to hop onto and off of the trampoline and eliminates injuries associated with falling several feet off the side.

              7. An Outdoor Shower

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                You don’t have to live near the ocean to enjoy an outdoor shower; although, you’ll love being able to rinse the salt away if you do. An outdoor shower is ideal for rinsing off after long summer days playing outside in the grass or the pool. Opt for a waterfall shower head and surrounding tropical plants to make your outdoor shower feel like a special oasis.

                8. The Ultimate Swing Set

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                  Swing sets have gotten far more elaborate in recent years, and many don’t require you to be a kid to have some fun. Choose a play set with a full climbing wall, zip line, rope ladder, or other features to turn your backyard into an action-packed obstacle course.

                  9. A Backyard Stream

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                    You don’t have to live in the mountains to enjoy the luxury of a stream flowing through your backyard. There are a number of websites available to help you build a do-it-yourself backyard stream with your own water supply and items you can find at most hardware stores. When the stream is finished, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a more scenic backyard atmosphere and the soothing sound of flowing water.

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                    10. A Cocoon Hanging Chair

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                      Cocoon hanging chairs are some of the coolest places you can hang out. These hanging swings are designed for children and adults, providing shade and a comfortable place to relax outdoors. Their nest-like appearance is fun for kids playing or adults lounging, and the compact design of some models means you can take your chair out of your backyard and use it for other outdoor adventures like beach vacations and camping excursions.

                      Featured photo credit: Nan Palmero via c2.staticflickr.com

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                      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                      Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                      1. Exercise Daily

                      It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                      If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                      Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                      If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                      2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                      Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                      One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                      This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                      3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                      Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                      Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                      Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                      4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                      Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                      The basic nutritional advice includes:

                      • Eat unprocessed foods
                      • Eat more veggies
                      • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                      • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                      Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                        5. Watch Out for Travel

                        Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                        This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                        If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                        6. Start Slow

                        Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                        If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                        7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                        Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                        My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                        If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                        I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                        Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                        More Tips on Getting in Shape

                        Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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