Summer vacation means family fun. You may want to avoid the expense and hassles of travel, but your family still deserves to enjoy some relaxation and recreation. With the right improvements, you may not need to look beyond your own backyard.

Install a Deck

The small cement patio that came with the house is not enough anymore. This year design your dream deck with modular decking components. Elevated decks can be installed over the existing hardscape, uneven surfaces and sloping ground. The versatility of modular pieces allows you to create any configuration you desire. Include seating areas and planters, plus drainage grates to properly direct rainwater.

Build a Kitchen

No summer is complete without a few backyard barbecues. Make yours spectacular with an outdoor kitchen. Basics include a grill, sink and small refrigerator. Depending on your needs and budget, you may want to include extra storage space, a smoker and a pizza oven. Add a separate bar area for entertaining, with its own wine refrigerator and outdoor stemware.

Construct a Treehouse

Perhaps you had one as a child, or wish you had. Now is the time to make wishes come true. All you need is a sturdy tree, some scrap wood and a little imagination. You can find designs, inspiration and instructions on the internet. Follow a few safety guidelines to ensure that your structure is sound, then let the excitement begin.

Create a Sanctuary

It is fun to entertain in your backyard, but be sure to set aside some space for yourself, too. Designate a corner of the yard as a sanctuary, ideal for meditation, yoga, reading or napping. Keep the design simple; you need some protection from the sun and wind, comfortable seating, and privacy. Extras like a water feature, sculpture or hammock can make it feel personalized and plush.

Add a Play Space

Does your family like to pitch horseshoes, throw darts or compete in croquet matches? Dedicate a section of the yard to your favorite games. A small storage shed can house equipment to keep it in good shape and protect it from the elements. Be sure that sharp objects such as darts are always put away after use.

Put in a Pool

Who doesn’t dream of having their own private pool right outside the back door? It may be a considerable initial expense, but a swimming pool can provide your family and friends with hours of wholesome fun for years to come. With proper care and maintenance, your pool may use less water than a lawn. The sparkling clean water will be perfect for lounging, exercising or just cooling off on a hot day.

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