July 1, 2014

Love keeping busy with DIY? Here are three great project ideas that will get your family outdoors and make the most of your backyard in the winter months.

Build your own outdoor fire pit

There’s nothing better than sitting around a campfire under a starry sky, toasting marshmallows and watching the sparks fly. Doing this taps into ancient human rituals and the need to gather – and it’s easily achieved without even going camping if you have a large outdoor space near your home – or a backyard big enough to accommodate it (if you live at Vermont you have plenty of space!).

What you do need, for safety’s sake, is a fire pit. As they become more popular these handy creations become increasingly affordable, but to create the right space around your fire pit you will also need to think about landscaping. Try placing a circle of sandstone boulders on gravel or sandstone pavers. If you really want to camp it up, set up a small tent, boil the billy and pop some damper into the coals.

“If you have an awkward-sized area in your garden, putting in a fire pit can be a good way to turn it into useable space – another ‘outdoor room’ that can be enjoyed year-round. Make sure you have plenty of room around the fire pit for safe ventilation. you don’t want to smoke out your neighbours, And check it’s safe for kids to be around, too.” – Matt O’Brien, Exterior Landscape and Pool Creators

Build your own pizza oven

If you’ve ever tasted a pizza from a traditional wood-fired oven, you’ll know that a conventional kitchen oven doesn’t come close to creating the same texture and flavour. So, it could be time to create your own outdoor wood-fired oven in the backyard.

These ovens are designed for more than just making great pizza – think freshly baked bread, or even a roast dinner. Easy-to-construct kits are readily available. All you need is a flat surface and a way to protect the oven from the rain, such as a cover. You’ll need to do a bit of rendering to make it look good, and then you can get cooking.

Build your own cubby house

It’s the perfect weekend activity for dad and the kids, and you’ll end up with a magical space they can call their own. A self-made cubby house is a great way to entice kids away from their screens to do some creative play.

But you need to put a bit of planning in first. Choose a shaded area, so it doesn’t get too hot in summer, with enough space around it for those make-believe games to extend into. Measure twice and cut once is the rule of thumb, and you’ll need an extra pair of hands for the tricky bits like fixing on the roof rafters.

If you’re measuring stump holes, work centre to centre to keep them equally spaced – and always protect your eyes when using any power tool.

“Safety is the most important consideration for your cubby house – especially if it’s elevated. Look at the surface below and make sure the ‘drop zone’ is safe for landing. Kids grow up quickly, so don’t expect this to be a permanent feature in your garden!” – Matt O’Brien, Exterior Landscape and Pool Creators

Want some more ideas this winter? There are plenty of activities to do at Vermont in Winter, and if your family likes to celebrate Christmas in July, read this post that’s full of ideas to make your celebration a hit.

Expect more at Vermont

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