The exterior of your house and your yard are also important parts of your home, but unfortunately, many homeowners underuse their available outdoor space. With a few added features, you can improve your home and expand your activity and recreation outdoors.

Solar Panels

Wherever you live, solar panels can assist with your energy needs, especially when mounted on your roof. Today’s solar panels have a slimmer profile than in the past, and they are also more efficient in capturing the sun’s rays and converting them to energy.  

While solar panels don’t replace your dependence on the electrical grid, they can reduce it. Your household can use the energy generated by the panels when the sun shines during the day, and if more is generated than needed, it feeds back into the grid. At night, your house can utilize conventional power.

A Patio With a Fire Pit

The glowing warmth and flames of a fire pit draw people together for conversation and sharing memories. Several sizes and styles of fire pits are available for purchase, some fueled by wood and others by propane gas. Before choosing, consider how much room you have on your patio, how close the pit will be to the house, and what your priorities are. 

Propane burners tend to be cleaner and produce less smoke and less odor, but they may also generate less warmth. Some wood-burners are specially designed to reduce the smoke. Many people prefer to create a patio in a corner of their yard and build their own wood-burning fire pit from stones.

An Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen may start with a barbecue grill, but it doesn’t end there. For a dedicated outdoor chef, you’ll also need a smoker, side burners, flat top grill, sink and counter space, and refrigerator. A beer keg cooler or wine cooler are also nice additions if you plan on entertaining.

Pre-made kitchen components are available for purchase at large hardware and outdoor stores, or you can design your own, select the features you want, and build a brick enclosure. You can keep it small or make it elaborate, but before installing an outdoor kitchen, take a look at your electrical and plumbing needs. Many appliances will run on propane.

A Pool

A backyard pool provides entertainment for the entire family. Swimming is not only refreshing on a hot day, but it’s also a good workout. For kids, a pool delivers hours of fun and exercise. You can also teach your kids to swim and instruct them about water safety. If you love to entertain, there’s nothing like a summer evening pool party.

You can choose an above-ground or in-ground pool, depending on the size of your yard and your preferences. If you have trees or other obstacles to deal with, don’t worry. Concrete pump trucks can easily reach over obstacles on your property to start pool construction. Once your pool is constructed, finish it with a deck, some lounge furniture, and lights.

A Sports Court

Another outdoor feature that’s fun for the whole family is a sports court. The simplest way to make room for sports is by adding a basketball hoop to a paved driveway. But, if you have room, consider installing a paved court in your backyard.

 A dedicated sports court frees up your driveway and takes the action away from the house, reducing the risk of damaging windows or other structures. It’s also more versatile than a driveway. You can install a basketball hoop, but you can also add a net for pickleball or put a board for practicing tennis.

A Rain Barrel

It sounds old-fashioned, but rain barrels are making a comeback, especially with those who are concerned about conserving water and lowering their utility bills. Rain barrels sit along the side of the house and collect rainwater that runs off the roof. The typical rain barrel holds 50 or 80 gallons and allows easy access to the collected water. This water can be used for watering plants outdoors or indoors.

There are many advantages to having a rain barrel. Rainwater is much healthier for plants than tap water, which may contain fluoride and other chemicals. Catching runoff in a rain barrel can also prevent soil erosion and wet spots in the lawn or garden around the base of your home.

A Water Feature

A water feature looks great in either the front or back yard. In the front, a bubbling pot or small fountain can add a decorative touch alongside the porch or in the front landscaping. A beautiful waterfall over stones can be built right into a front yard with a natural slope to it.

In the backyard, you may have more room for an expanded water feature. Think big, and install a multilevel waterfall flowing into a pond stocked with koi fish and landscaped with rocks and water plants. The water will attract birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and other colorful wildlife.

A Sunroom

A patio is fine, but if you live in a harsh climate, you may want an outdoor room that’s screened in or enclosed. Sunrooms, three-season rooms, conservatories, lanais—they’re known by various names. You can create whatever room suits your needs, whether it’s more similar to a screen-in porch or has windows, heat, and air conditioning like the rest of your house.

Sunrooms allow you to enjoy the light and air of the outdoors but also protect you from rain, wind, and insects. Since there is some protection, you can use a sunroom for more months throughout the year, which adds the benefit of soaking in the Vitamin-D from the sun. They’re also a great place for your indoor plants or for your pets to have a snooze. 

Your outdoor space can become an integral part of your lifestyle. With an added feature or two, you can make the most of your home exterior. Your yard can become a place to relax amid nature, play with kids or pets, or entertain friends.

To save money on electricity, you can have solar panels soak up the sun with you! Check out this page for more solar panel information.

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