DIY is the way to make better use of your outdoor space without spending a lot of money. Try these three simple tricks that can make all the difference between enjoying your backyard and just looking at it.
Romantic lighting can really add drama and whimsy to an otherwise dull outdoor space. Try stringing lights over a patio for a look that recalls street cafes and romantic restaurant patios. If you don’t have natural hanging spots for your lights to hook onto, install a simple, wood pole with a loop or hook screw on top. You can install the poles directly into the ground, or attach them onto your pre-existing railings or a heavy base. If you live in an area with a homeowners’ association, be sure to check your covenants first.
Potted trees and bushes can divide designated areas, provide shade in the summer heat and create privacy. Consider ‘skyrocket’ juniper trees, bamboo or arborvitae to start. Your local plant center can point you toward ones that grow well here in Colorado and can survive winter.
Add a chimenea. These are essentially firepits with a round, open belly and a thick pipe on top. The fires start quickly, and don’t get too hot or too big, and are more easily controlled than a traditional open fire pit. Be aware, though, that your city or town may prohibit the use of a chimenea. They are illegal to use in the City and County of Denver. Based on a quick Google search, it looks like they are allowed – provided no fire bans are in place — in Arvada, Aurora, Castle Pines, Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, Foxfield, Golden, Greenwood Village, Lakewood, Littleton, Lone Tree, Morrison, Parker, Thornton, Westminster, and Wheat Ridge, as well as unincorporated Arapahoe County and unincorporated Douglas County. Most of these fire departments require the chimenea to be at least 15 feet (West Metro Fire says 25 feet) from a structure or from any combustible material. Fines for illegal use of a chimenea can range into the hundreds of dollars, and your homeowner’s insurance specifically excludes coverage for damages caused by your illegal acts. To be absolutely certain (especially before purchasing one), check with your local fire department.