A Better Backyard
Summer is here, and for many St. Louisans, the season means barbecues, lots of outdoor play and just relaxing on the porch or patio. Now is the perfect time to transform your backyard into a personal oasis so you can make the most of your time in the sun.
According to Richard Knight, owner of Garden Oasis, early summer is a great time to tackle gardening and landscaping. You avoid the season’s worst heat, and nurseries have more plant options in stock. He says the best way to start is to look around your yard and find areas you aren’t satisfied with. “If there’s a spot that’s been bugging you, measure it to see what you can plant there,” he explains. “Focus on one project, do your research and get it started. Consider planting trees to add shade for your patio. Add flower beds for more color and interest. If you already have a beautiful garden, you might want to add a water feature to create a sense of tranquility.”
Don’t have a green thumb? Knight says container gardening is an easy way to add flowers and other plants to your yard and patio. “A lot of people don’t want the hassle of weeding and maintaining flower beds,” he notes. “Pots are a great way to add a splash of color, and they’re easy to maintain. All you have to do is water, feed and pinch back the blooms. It’s a great way for inexperienced gardeners to get an instant wow factor.”
For many kids (and adults), an at-home court for basketball, tennis and other sports is a dream. Austin Helfers, co-owner of Sport Court St. Louis, says it’s more achievable than people think. “From a small shooting area to a full tennis court, we can create something that fits your backyard,” he explains. “We take care of everything from start to finish, including helping with the permit process.” The multi-sport courts are highly personalizable. While Helfers says blue and green are the most popular surface colors, there are more than 20 options, and all lines are custom painted. “The possibilities are endless.” he notes.
A home court offers other advantages, including increased family time and greater security. “It’s important that we think about safety when kids are involved in athletics,” Helfers says. “The PowerGame+ surface was tested for concussions, and the drop height was found to be 36 inches. For comparison, it only takes a 1-inch drop on concrete to cause a concussion.” PowerGame+ will be used at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics for 3-on-3 basketball. Along with reduced risk of impact injury, it provides shock absorption, abrasion protection and dry traction.
While sunshine and beautiful weather certainly are appealing, they also can mean painful glare, annoying insects and other issues. Porch screens can help you enjoy your backyard without worrying about summer’s peskier aspects. “They increase your living space and allow you to enjoy the feeling of being outside,” says Dayton Holloway, operations manager of Broadview Screen Co. A big trend he’s seeing this year is motorized screens. The retractable shades allow homeowners to keep their porches and patios open to their backyards and pools during the day while enjoying a bug-free environment in the evening.
The value of a screened-in porch can extend beyond the summer months. Holloway says EZE Breeze panels can make a porch comfortable in all seasons. They open to allow in breezes while keeping out insects and debris, and when closed, they provide protection from rain, snow, sun and even pollen. “The high-density vinyl looks like glass,” he notes. “The panels allow you to extend use of your outdoor spaces into winter. They do not keep out the cold, so you may need to use a heater.”