Friday, April 4, 2014

Totally Awesome Cheap Kid Backyard

Slowly we have been working on our backyard. It is small. We are lucky enough to have a pool but it's actually positioned in the middle of our house. This was a really highlight for me, because I always thought that the girls would be able to play in our backyard without worry of the pool. The swampland of our backyard and drainage issues, have been a significant hurdle. Over the last year, we have been working on that. After two years, we can hang out in our backyard. I have diligently been looking at Pinterest for various ideas on what to do in small spaces that is inexpensive and kid oriented.
First of all, I wanted them to have a play set of some kind. We were looking at many different types, but with a small space it's hard to really  know what to do. I kept my eye on Craigslist. I knew we didn't want to spend a lot of money and the wooden play-sets are expensive. On the low end, they are close to $600. I found a relatively small one for $100. We went and measure it, then Eliot and his dad went took it apart in chunks and put it back together in our yard. We purchased a couple new swings, new screws and bolts and added a coat of wood finish to protect it.
The playhouses were a similar story. These things are crazy expensive brand new, some of them range close to $400, even the second hand stores were selling them for $200 which technically is half price. I just looked on Craigslist for almost 8 weeks. I found one that was terribly beat down, everything faded for $20, I spray painted  it bright solid colors and it looks lovely. We found the other one for $30 in really great condition.
The sand boxes were also second hand and so was the kid picnic table my in-laws got the girls which is great to outdoor mess activities and fun lunches. I placed the old play kitchen outside as a mud pie station for the future, when I am ready to commit to a mud day.
On Pinterest I saw a couple of really easy things that I knew I needed to do. One was spray painting stepping stones. We had a stack that happen to come with the house, so I just used the extra spray paint I had to rainbow it up. The girls love those things, more than I would have guessed. They jump from one to the next over and over. I also saw a chalkboard screwed to the fence which seemed adorable to me. Most of the links lead to really complex and expensive directions for this project. My original plan was to go to Home Depot and purchase chalkboard paint and a piece of wood which roughly would have been about $50, then we found a pre-made chalkboard. It is about 4 feet by 2 feet and it was being sold as an outdoor sign option, it was $9.97. We pre-drilled the holes and attached it to the fence. I added a dollar store bucket with rope next to it, we drilled a couple of holes in that too and poof $11 for the same effect. We figured for this price point, we could replace it in the future if we wanted with very little effort or even add another one.
The piece that I was most excited about was the fairy garden. I was going to wait until the summer, but decided why not now. I planted a couple of herbs which I have been wanting to do for a long while and bought a couple of dollar flowers. I let Lydia pick them out. The bucket was a Walmart find for $5 (meant for a drink container at parties I drilled holes in the bottom) which was a fourth of the price of some of the flower pots that I was looking at. At Walmart I found a Fairy Garden kit which I could pass up for $12. We planted the flowers together, she added all the kit elements, and daddy moved it to the back yard so we could take care of it. I hope for her to make a fairy house this summer to add to it too.

That is basically it. I found $1 buckets and bowls at the dollar store to stick in the cubies of some old shelves that were laying around outside anyway so I put them on their sides. The buckets have shovels, some have rocks, some have other sand toys but they are to be played with as they see fit. The grown up part of the yard at this point is just a couple of chairs and umbrella for the sun and a fire pit for the evenings. Eventually we would like to add a couple more chairs and the hammock we bought on our honeymoon that we have never hung up. Right now this is a great play space and I am so excited to be able to open the backdoor and not worry about them. They can play while I get dinner ready. They can play while I work on the computer right inside. It's ideal. A great fun space for less than $300 including paints and additional accessories.

1 comment:

  1. Christy, I love this!!! How cute. And my favorite part is that it is affordable.