People are traveling less this year and many cities are canceling public fireworks festivities because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun Fourth of July weekend. You’ll just be doing it at home with members of your own household.
On the plus side, this lower-key celebration may give you extra money to put into your outdoor living spaces. Here are 10 wellness design-inspired backyard improvement ideas you can add this weekend with a trip to your local home center, appliance dealer or patio store.
1. Pizza Oven
Pizza parties are fun and can be healthy with the right crust and toppings. There are two types you can choose from. The quick option is the freestanding model. That one requires no installation and can be used almost as soon as you bring it home. It can also be moved to a new address if you relocate in the future. The alternative for a future holiday weekend is an installed model. This option can add to the value of your home and upgrade your outdoor entertaining space.
2. Grill Accessories
Your grill is the heart of your outdoor cooking center, and you probably already have the cleaning tools and cover you need to keep it in mint condition between uses and seasons. There are so many more options to consider for upping your grill game. Some can help you cook healthier too. A rotisserie kit reduces the amount of grease in your meats. Grill baskets are ideal for smaller and delicate items, like asparagus or fish. Grill presses can create panini treats.
3. Fire Pit
Even in July, some regions of the country get chilly at night. You can extend your celebration after dark with a fire feature. The easiest option to add and start using this weekend is a freestanding fire pit that doesn’t require a gas hookup. Some are fueled by propane, others by wood, charcoal or pellets. Each has its own pros and cons, as the outdoor experts at Baton Rouge-based BBQ Guys point out in a helpful comparison guide.
4. Misting Fan
On the other hand, overheating is a risk associated with summer afternoon outdoor celebrations, especially in Southwestern desert cities. An outdoor-rated misting fan is a comfort feature you might want to add to your Independence Day celebration. While an installed model can add long-term value to your property, a free-standing version can be quickly added to your party this weekend.
Another comfort element to reduce the chance of overheating is shade, which can be quickly provided with an outdoor umbrella. A cantilever model gives you the most versatility, since you can tilt it as the sun travels overhead during a long afternoon gathering. Some models include solar-powered LEDs on their underside, so you can illuminate your table or seating area as day turns to evening. Given the many options in size, fabric, openers, frames and poles, this umbrella buying guide from Murrieta, California-based Patio Shoppers can be useful.
6. Bug Zapper
Bugs can ruin any backyard gathering, so consider treating yourself to a bug zapper if you’re going to be celebrating the holiday al fresco. A decorative model will look good on any side or dining table.
7. Deck Box
Your backyard is doubling as day camp central this summer, so having sturdy, weather-proofed storage for your kids’ toys when they’re not in use is going to be a style and safety addition to your space. These outdoor-rated containers come in numerous sizes, materials and finishes to fit your needs and décor. Some offer reinforced lids so they can be used for extra seating when needed, and/or locking potential both to secure your items against theft and, more important, keep children from getting accidentally trapped inside.
8. Privacy Screen
Privacy can be an issue for some homes. While installing a permanent fence, wall or other barrier can give you a permanent benefit (and potentially added value to your property), a freestanding privacy screen can work on an immediate, as-needed basis. If, in the future, you do install something permanently, the privacy screen can hide an unsightly air conditioning unit or trash cans from view.
9. Cushions and Pillows
Maybe this isn’t the year you’re going to buy new patio furniture, but you can still enhance the pieces you already own with new, outdoor-rated cushions and pillows. These can also make your furniture more comfortable to sit on – especially if it’s metal — by providing a cooler surface for your back and legs.
10. Outdoor Shower
An outdoor shower can be both a comfort and convenience feature. Its comfort comes from cooling you down on a hot day and its convenience means not having to run inside to a full bathroom to shower before getting in the pool. Adding an outdoor shower can definitely be a full-scale project that enhances your home’s value – especially if you’re in a coastal community, where not tracking sand into your home is an added benefit –but it can also be as simple as an attractive hook-up to an outdoor spigot if you want to start using it this weekend.