If you cannot afford that dream deck or grand cedar gazebo or in-ground pool, there are still ways to create a backyard to keep you and your guests entertained.
Hang solar lamps from tree branches
Remove the light bulbs from your old chandelier with cheap solar lights and hang them from a tree branch in the backyard. You will have spectacular outdoor lighting without the need for having to run power to the lights.
Stuff suet feeder with yarn
You can place scraps of yarn in a suet feeder and birds will use them to make their nests. For this you will need a cheap bird suet feeder and scrap yarn cut into lengths of 4-8 inches. Stuff the scraps in the suet feeder and you have created an ideal nesting place for all the birds in your area. People have been doing this for years while you can imagine the joy of seeing a strand of yarn meticulously woven into a nest.
Wind chime from old keys and acrylic paint
For this you would need old keys, drift wood or stick, string or fishing line and acrylic paint.
Paint the keys and string. Tie a string at either ends of the stick to hang it with. Tie a string to the painted keys and the other end of this string should help the key to remain suspended from the stick. Do it for all the sticks. All keys should be closely suspended from the stick so that they chime when the wind blows. Each time the wind blows you are guaranteed to hear different soothing sounds.
Splash pad made out of tarp
While the sun continues to beat down with intensity during the summer, it is wise to find ways to stay outdoors rather than be confined to indoors. It is usual to turn on the sprinkler and let the boys cool down and have some fun, but you would also want your girls to enjoy it. Try using a clean, unused tarp from the garage for your slip and slide. Spread it out in the backyard, put a hop-scotch sprinkler mat and you have a large area for the kids to hop, skip and splash around in. The water remains on the tarp and becomes a sort of slip n slide for the children while you get to sit on the tarp with and stay cool with all that water under your feet.
Pool noodles for kickball croquet
Kids are so fidgety, you better find something to keep them entertained when they are at home to avoid them getting into trouble. Pool noodles could be just what you need. Cut pool noodles into half down the middle so that each pool noodle is sufficient to make two arches. These can be held in place on the lawn using garden stakes. Just collect a few kick balls and kick it through the course in croquet fashion. The first one to knock or transition their ball to the finish wins.
Backyard movie theatre
For this you will need a DVD player, a projector, speakers, a large surface to project on, and of course, popcorn. You can have the theatre in the backyard if you have access to power and sufficient physical space. Usually, you will want enough room to place the screen and provide enough space to stage a seating area. Also bear in mind that you need space for things other than people.
With a projector, speakers, and DVD player, it is certain that you will need to find room for tables and other such knick-knacks. A worthwhile tip would be to free up a surge projector since the audio/video gear will require lot of power. You can always run the surge projector using an extension cord. You can bury this cord or cover it with white plastic chord piping.
You may want to have a fly swatter out there too, perhaps more than one of them. Also, a mosquito killer or some poison could help you enjoy the times watching sports and so on outside as well.
How does a five foot square scrabble board in your very own backyard sound? This can be made with a wooden frame and concrete poured into 3¾-inch squares separated by ¼-inch joints. After the concrete has been cured for a month, you can start painting the squares. Then make 100 3¼-inch square letter tiles from baseboard trim.
Buy pre-cut, adhesive-backed vinyl letters and numbers at a sign shop, paste them to the tiles and seal each one with spray lacquer. Preserved in a canvas bag, the lightweight letters fit on metal trays which can be purchased from a metal artist. On summer evenings, games go on late into the night and you will be surprised to find better and newer words strike you in the outdoors rather than the indoors. Human perception based on a person’s surroundings is fascinating.