The great Aussie backyard is a quintessential part of our way of life.
On any given day throughout the warmer months, you’re likely to see people in their backyards gardening, reading books, enjoying a BBQ with friends, hitting for six in a friendly game of cricket; and hear the squeal of kids running under the sprinkler or jumping on the trampoline.
However, in winter, this can all come to a grinding halt, and it can be easy to lock the door to your dreary looking backyard and not want to step foot outside again until the temperature rises.
But why should you give up on this integral piece of your home?
Sure it’s cold, but with your winter woolies on, and a bit of preparation, your backyard can still be a source of joy and entertainment all year round.
The lack of green, combined with the dark, cold days, and increased amount of time spent indoors at this time of year can make fighting the winter blues difficult, so it’s even more important we get outside for a dose of much needed fresh air and Vitamin D.
A few weeks ago we delved a little deeper into how spending time outdoors is scientifically proven to improve our physical and mental health and wellbeing.
If you missed it, you can read all about it here:
It’s no secret that at Coolabah Turf we love lawn!
But underpinning our core business to supply sustainable, watersmart, drought tolerant turf, is a passion to provide you with simple solutions to make the most of your patch all year round - because we believe the humble backyard is the cornerstone for a happy, healthy and active lifestyle.
So today we’d like to offer you some practical ways you can still get outside in your backyard and enjoy it - even in the depths of winter!
Collecting around a fire for warmth, light, cooking food, social gatherings and tribal ceremonies has been a human pastime since the dawn of time.
At this time of year, as the icy air closes in around you, there’s nothing quite like cosying up by an open fire as you ignite your senses with the alluring sight of a flickering flame, listen to the crackle and pop of wood, and breath in the smell of smoke.
Just as the saying goes ‘like a moth to a flame’, all you need to do is light a fire and people will gravitate towards it, holding out their hands, and rotating like a well orchestrated dance to ensure all body parts are equally heated and to avoid any smoke in their eyes.
Nowadays, more out of want than need, fire pits have become a popular outdoor feature and are the perfect accessory to increase the use of your backyard in the cooler months.
Invite your mates over for a drink, let the kids toast some marshmallows on a stick or simply reconnect with your family as your sit around the warmth of the fire, sharing stories from your day and gazing up at a starry night sky.
There are many different types of outdoor fire pits available to suit a wide variety of spaces and budgets so it’s worth shopping around to find one that’s perfect for you and your lawn area.
Creating an outdoor space where you can enjoy your fire safely is key. Make sure your fire is placed where it is away from the house, fence and other objects.
Unless you have a purpose-built fireplace away from your grass, the ideal placement for your fire may be on the lawn. If this is the case, you will need to consider making it portable to ensure your fire doesn’t cause those horrible dead scorch marks where it has killed your grass.
Here’s some simple tips to ensure your lawn is safe from your fire:
- Make sure you have a hose or extinguisher nearby and keep your fire to a manageable size where you don’t lose control. Rake out any debris and dead grass that might light if an ember manages to escape.
- Raise your fire pit on a platform – using bricks or concrete pavers will create a heat shield for the grass below. Just be sure to remove them once you are done, so that the grass underneath doesn’t die.
- The grass underneath and surrounding your fire pit can still get quite warm from the heat of the fire, so giving it a water a few times throughout the night will help to cool it down if required.
- Try not to use lighter fluid or other fuels that create extremely hot flames. You want the wood to catch fire naturally and slowly, building nice hot coals at its base.
Woodfired pizza ovens
What’s better than a cosy fire to warm yourself by? Something that provides delicious food as well!
Everyone loves pizza and the process of making and cooking your own from scratch can be a wonderful social and bonding experience.
Let the kids pick their favorite toppings, enjoy a glass of red as you take in the delicious aroma of melting cheese - but be careful not to burn the bottom!
Having your own backyard pizza oven might seem like a bit of a luxury, but there are lots of different options out there these days and many can be much cheaper and easier to use than the traditional concrete ones.
Picture soft grass under foot, stars in the sky, no crowds of people to fight over the best spot or wait behind in-line for the toilet like at a camping ground - and best of all its completely free!
Camping doesn’t have to be just a summer activity and it definitely doesn’t have to be in exotic locations.
Camping is about reconnecting with nature, switching off from daily routines and technology, and with a few extra blankets you create just as many magical memories with your friends or family in the backyard as you can in any fancy caravan park.
Imagine the delight on the kids faces if you tell them you are going to set up the tent or swags in the backyard and spend the evening laughing, exploring the garden by torchlight, having sing-a-longs, telling ghost stories or eating a midnight feast - if you can stay up that late!
Plus, if you combine your camping adventure with the first two options and have pizza for dinner followed by toasted marshmallows in your fire pit - you have yourself the perfect weekend!
Outdoor Patio Heaters
If a fire pit isn’t to your liking, why not consider an outdoor, restaurant-style patio heater?
There are a variety of shapes and sizes in various pricing ranges that can either be wall or roof mounted or on a portable stand. These can be fuelled with gas and can kick out an impressive amount of heat!
External roller blinds, such as cafe style blinds and shade blinds are a great way to winter-proof your outdoor area during the cooler months.
These outdoor blinds allow you to create a warm and cosy outdoor space, while still being protected from the cold air, wind and rain.
Roll down your external roller blinds, turn on your outdoor heater and enjoy some of your typical indoor activities at this time of year, such as sharing a meal with friends or watching the footy, in the fresh air and natural light outside.
Create an inviting space
If you have a welcoming and functional outdoor space - you are much more likely to go outside and use it!
Get yourself a cosy outdoor setting, cover it with cushions and warm blankets or even just a rug and some bean bags.
Find a spot that gets the warm afternoon sun or create some seating near your fire pit or heater and next time try having your morning cuppa or afternoon snack in that space, breath the crisp fresh air into your lungs and see how much better it makes you feel.
By night create a warm and cosy atmosphere with some mood lighting. Use fairy lights and paper lanterns to decorate tabletops, hide in potted plants or hang from trees and outdoor structures.
Spoil your special someone with a romantic picnic, create a magical fairy dance for the kids, or a winter cocktail party for your friends and we can guarantee they’ll never want to go inside again!
So don’t be a grizzly bear - get out and enjoy your backyard this winter!
With a little bit of preparation, and maybe a few extra layers of clothing, you can create a cosy environment worth spending time in all year round.
We challenge you to spend some time extra time out in your backyard this weekend and make sure you share your positive results with our Coolabah Community on our Facebook page.