When it comes to fun things to do in summer, people’s minds usually turn to cottages and vacations. For many retirees, however, a cottage is out of their reach and vacations can be quite expensive.
What if you could turn your backyard into your own summer paradise? There are a number of ways you can easily transform your backyard, so you’ll never have to wonder about what to do this summer – or leave the comfort of your own home!
Spruce up your garden
Think about turning your garden into an oasis. While that may sound like a big undertaking, there are simple ways you can achieve this so you can really enjoy your home’s outdoor spaces.
Get rid of any overgrown weeds, bushes or clutter. You could also think about buying some new flowers and plants to give your backyard a pop of colour. Giving a new coat of paint to outdoor surfaces like walls, sheds and garages can really brighten up your backyard. And don’t forget to clean your fence, fix any damage on it and apply stain or a sealant.
After you’re done, you’ll likely be ready to show-off your refreshed garden by hosting a backyard BBQ or family gathering.
If you do have the budget, a good landscaper can turn your outdoor space into a haven. They can also maintain the natural feel of your garden while increasing privacy and maximizing your outdoor living space. In no time you could have a garden that has a vacation feel about it and that will give you lots of ideas of what to do at home in summer.
HomeStars is a good place to look for a quality local landscaper. Before hiring them, be sure to ask for references, photos of their work and details of any certifications, such as Landscape Industry Certified. Also, be sure to receive a contract detailing all of the work to be done and the supplies that are included.
Install a new deck – or brighten up your old one
There are so many fun things to do in summer in your garden, especially when you increase your outdoor living space with a deck. The cost can vary greatly, depending on the size and scope of the project, but it typically works out to be around $35 per square foot, including materials and installation. This can rise significantly, though, if you use high-end materials and builders.
A well-built deck can turn your outdoors into a comfortable and inviting place to relax or entertain friends. If you’re handy person, this could be a great retirement project that would save you a lot of money. Most DIY stores provide all the materials you need and will usually give you advice on how to do it. There are also online instructional videos, such as this six-part series on how to build a beautiful deck from Lowe’s.
If you’re worried that this could become your own personal DIY nightmare, many DIY stores have professionals who will install the deck for you, which usually brings the project costs up to that $35 per square foot price tag.
Brightening up an old deck can be a lot cheaper than replacing it. After replacing any broken boards, clean it with a deck wash and a stiff brush, working the liquid into the wood. Rinse it off thoroughly and then apply the stain (you may need up to three coats). Ask your DIY store to recommend one that is suited to older decks – they give a semi-transparent finish that makes the new wood blend in with the old.
Adding the comfort
Once you’ve improved the size and look of your outdoor living space, you may want to make it a cozy place that gives you more things to do at home. Comfortable and attractive outdoor furniture can go a long way towards turning your backyard into a summer paradise.
Chairs, sofas, daybeds and dining sets will all help you enjoy all the fun things to do in summer, like entertaining, having barbecue parties, relaxing and enjoying the great weather. Big box stores often offer the cheapest deals, while specialty stores and websites provide top quality furniture. You may also be able to find nice second-hand pieces that are more budget friendly and will add the same great look.
Outdoor dining sets start off as low as a couple of hundred dollars and can cost well over $2,000, depending on the size, style and quality. Sofa sectionals are perfect for entertaining guests and can cost around $1,500 and up. Daybeds are ideal for taking an outdoor nap or enjoying a good book in the sun and start at around $500.
Firepits and heaters can help extend the enjoyment of your garden paradise into the evenings as well as long into the fall. Firepits range from around $100 for a simple model to well over $1,000 for fire tables. Propane heaters start at around $200, infrared heaters start at $300.
A shaded, bug-free summer
For many people, having somewhere outside that is shaded and away from the bugs is essential for truly enjoying the fun things to do in summer. Gazebos provide both and can be used to house chairs, sofas, dining sets or even a hot tub. They make outdoor living more comfortable during the hottest times of the day and the most mosquito-infested evenings.
The simplest gazebos start at around $400, while more permanent, hard top gazebos with netting can cost up to $2,500 and beyond. You could even consider installing an all-season solarium to the side or back of your house, which will let you enjoy your garden all year round. They start at around $4,000 plus installation.
Splash around in a pool or hot tub
If you want to get that real summer vacation feeling at home, a pool or hot tub are the way to go. Of all the fun things to do in summer, there is nothing quite like a pool party and you can’t beat a cool dip at the end of a long, hot day. With a pool, you’ll always have things to do when you’re bored. Not to mention, it’s a great way you can get exercise during the summer months.
The cost of outdoor pools varies greatly. Kits for above-ground pools start at just $1,200 and ones that are installed for you, with decking, start at around $6,000.
In-ground pools cost between $25,000 to over $60,000, depending on the type (vinyl, fibreglass, or concrete) and the extras that you want. Extras can include automatic pool cleaners, hot tubs, water features, LED lights and full decking.
Hot tubs offer a cheaper option (typically) as well as some added health benefits. While you can’t do laps in most hot tubs, they can lower blood pressure as well as blood sugar and insulin levels, which can be helpful for people with diabetes. They can also relieve stress, reduce the pain of arthritis and help you have a more restful sleep. And with a hot tub you can enjoy the outdoors all year round.
Looking for more fun ways to spend your summer?
- Lead a Healthy, Happy Life: Tips for Active Canadians
- How to Live Your Best Life: Travel Adventures in Retirement
- How Volunteering Can Be Just as Good for You as for the Community
Bringing the outdoors in
Having screens on your doors and windows can help you enjoy the summer air while you’re indoors. You can also screen off outdoor areas like porches and patios.
Retractable screens are invisible by day and can then be lowered so you can enjoy those warm, summer nights without being eaten alive.
Financing your summer paradise
There is no doubt that turning your home into a summer staycation spot can save you a lot of money in the long run. It’s cheaper and more convenient (no traffic) than buying a cottage or going on expensive holidays.
But creating your ideal outdoor paradise can still set you back thousands of dollars. The good news, there is one way you can add value to your home without it having any effect on your regular retirement income: the CHIP Reverse Mortgage®.
CHIP allows you to cash in some of the equity in your home without having to make any regular mortgage payments. You get to stay in your home and you only pay what you owe when you decide to sell.
Call us at 1-866-522-2447 to find out how much you could borrow so you can start enjoying your own summer paradise at home.