Summer has officially arrived! That means time for gathering friends and family around the backyard for some games, good times, and grilling as the sun goes down on these ever longer days. Now is the perfect time to give your backyard space a little quick reno to get you ready for hosting a whole summer’s worth of parties and dinners. But where do you start? Well, here are a few ideas to jumpstart your creativity so you can design the backyard of your dreams.

Purpose and Function

The best place to start when considering a makeover for your backyard is with its ultimate function. Do you have young kids who love being active outdoors? Older kids who want nothing but fun pool parties with their friends? Or is it just you and your forever person ready to fire up the grill when the mood strikes? What you want to do in your new space will guide you in the best direction as far as ground cover, features, and layout.

Drought Resistant

The overall climate of the world is in need of a little help (okay, a lot of help) from all of us. If you’re going to redesign your backyard, you may as well take the opportunity to reduce the amount of water you use outdoors and design a drought-proof yard while you’re at it. Don’t be hesitant, either. Drought-proof yards can be made into a true thing of beauty, not just a bunch of rocks and cacti (although don’t get us wrong, they do make a stunning visual). For the lover of green and grass, fescue is an amazing substitute for a grass-like ground cover. It grows in mounds and has very thin, hair-like blades that are unbelievably soft. There are also a multitude of colorful blooms and herbs for cooking that can fill your backyard with visual fancy.

Installing a thick area of patio or courtyard for a section of your yard will also cut down on water needs and provide you with a sleek surface for furniture, cooking and eating. Whether you choose brick, pavers, flagstone or any other of the many options you’re sure to find a material that suits you.

Features

If you’re installing a pool, a spa is a common addition. Don’t just let the fun stop there. A fire pit for when the sun goes down bodes well for guests of any age. S’mores for the kids after splashing around the pool for an afternoon wraps up another perfect day. Enjoy a glass of wine or craft cocktail at the fire pit with friends after dinner without being driven inside by the cool summer nights.

A sink, prep area, and bar next to the grill with some bar stools for friends to sit and chat while you work just makes sense, especially if you aim to entertain. For some added shade and decor, a pergola over the patio adds just the right amount of sophistication. You can train Trumpet Vine or Bougainvillea to creep over the roof for some extra beauty, flair, and a little shade. Bonus, both plants are drought-tolerant and won’t need much water to thrive.

Investing in your backyard (or any landscape for that matter) can bring a return between 80 and 100% at resale. Just more reasons to develop your land into something functional, eco-friendly, and gorgeous to behold.