Growing Inspiration and Whimsy in Your Backyard

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4044 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4044 Articles

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Your yard (if you’re lucky enough to have one) is part of your sanctuary, or it should be. It’s a place where you can play, entertain, grow things, and just get some much needed fresh air. But too often, we take that little chunk of real estate for granted. Besides the every day functional uses of a yard, with a little bit of work, a yard can also become a fanciful little wonderland, a place filled with inspiration and discovery, a place where you can really chill, contemplate your next big idea. Or just a fun place to goof off in style. Here is a collection of some fun backyard projects we thought our readers might get some springtime inspiration from.

Make a Bamboo Water Fountain to Frighten Critters from Your Garden

japanese_water_fountain-openerNothing says contemplative garden like a Japanese bamboo fountain. And this one serves a secondary purpose of frighting deer away by making a steady, gentle knocking sound as the water sluices through it.

How to Build a Backyard Pergola

build-a-pergolaA pergola was a common feature of Italian Renaissance gardens. It is an open outdoor structure that frequently carries grapevines or other greenery. A pergola can make a lovely focal point to a yard. It’s a significant project, but one you’d certainly be proud of if you did it all yourself.

Making a Backyard Fountain

img_1262Water features in a yard can add a fourth wall of sound, creating another fascinating dimension to your outdoor living space. Here’s a basic tutorial on setting up a basic backyard fountain.

How to Build a Backyard Zip Line

3yxLtVuMUobsHdifThe backyard zip line was one of the first projects we published in Make: and it has remained one of our favorites. When I was a kid, one of my best friends had a zip line going from his second story bedroom window into the woods next to his house. Leaving that way was always the coolest experience, a special childhood joy I have never forgotten.

Build a Backyard Bee Hotel

beeeHotel_1Bee Hotels are homes for species of solitary bees. They’re a great way to help out the bee population (critical to our food supply) while making a cool, whimsical feature in your yard. They are easy and fun to make.

Construct an Outdoor Love Seat

rogueengineer_wood_plank_loveseat_01Build this very sturdy outdoor wooden plank love seat. There’s just something special about having a couch in the yard.

Add Light Up Effects to Backyard Games

In this episode of DIY Hacks & How Tos, Jason Poel Smith shows you how to add a motion detecting, light and sound circuit to a backyard game board. In the video, he adds these effects to a cornhole board that he made.

A Backyard Roller Coaster the Whole Family Can Build

If you want to go all out with the backyard wonderland, how about building a roller coaster in your yard? And you thought your neighbors were pissed about the pergola.

Build a Pizza Oven

oven3-620x465If your idea of a backyard Shangri-La is a bit more practical, how about trying your hand at building an outdoor pizza oven? Here are six different designs you can choose from.

Are you planning any backyard improvement projects this spring? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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