Over the last couple of years, we’ve had a lot of practice backyarding.
This is the act of doing indoor things—think dining, working, entertaining, exercising and even vacationing—outdoors, like in our own backyards. According to the TurfMutt Foundation, which advocates for the care and use of all green space, many Americans have taken their backyard practices up a notch.
“We really appreciate their time outdoors—not only in the great expanses of nature, but also in their own backyards,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the TurfMutt Foundation and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “If you’re doing things like planting for pollinators, getting outside no matter the weather, and putting the right plant in the right place, pat yourself on the back. You’re a master backyarder.”
He adds that the more time we spend in our yards, the better it is for our health and well-being, as well as the health of the planet.
Here are 10 things master backyarders do that all of us should emulate:
1. Combat climate change on a micro-level. Having a living landscape—over artificial grass, pavement and rocks—supports the environment. Green, growing plants, shrubs, trees and grass capture and filter rainwater, produce oxygen and absorb carbon, just to name a few benefits. Master backyarders take small steps in their yard that make a big impact on environmental concerns.
2. Don’t let lack of space deter backyarding. Master backyarders maximize every inch of their outdoor space, whether that means planting a container garden on a balcony, outfitting a small urban yard with shrubs and flower pots, or creating a backyard oasis in a large neighborhood lawn.
3. Creatively utilize outdoor space. Master backyarders set up their yards for purpose with patio furniture, a fire pit, yard games, plenty of outdoor seating, string lights and maybe even an outdoor kitchen or office space. And they use their backyards for everything—from working and exercising to vacationing and entertaining.
4. Put the right plants in the right place. Master backyarders know their climate zone and consider location, maintenance, sunlight and watering requirements before they plant. They have the Plant Hardiness Zone Maps bookmarked so they are always prepared for proper planting.
5. Plant for pollinators and wildlife. Master backyarders cultivate a living landscape that supports a rich biodiversity with butterfly bushes, flowering plants, water sources and trees and shrubs with nooks for nesting and food.
6. Get outside year-round. No fair-weather backyarding here. Master backyarders are outside during all four seasons. They understand advance planning and work in and use their green space year round. They plant in the fall for a glorious spring, remove snow to create usable areas, prune trees before bad weather hits and more.
7. Utilize community parks and public green spaces. Master backyarders recognize the importance of managed landscapes throughout the community to create eco-corridors that are part of the worldwide ecosystem. They also appreciate and use these community gathering spots.
8. Teach kids the importance of green space. Master backyarders are mentors to the next generation, teaching kids to explore, play in and enjoy the nature right outside their backdoor.
9. Keep the family dog in mind. Master backyarders understand that they are not the only ones who rely on their outdoor space, so they purpose their backyard with pets in mind. Sturdy turfgrass that stands up to pet play, soft foliage to create a natural barricade between off limits areas and the rest of the lawn, and trees and shrubs strategically planted for shade are all part of their master plan.
10. Embrace the hidden benefits of the backyard. Master backyarders know they are getting a health boost when they spend time working in their yards since soil is the new Prozac and more physicians are prescribing time outdoors. Other hidden benefits of the yard master backyarders appreciate? Increased energy, lower stress and improved mood, just to name a few.
To learn more about the many benefits of backyard gardening, go to TurfMutt.com.