Last week, we gave our readers some advice on setting up safe play spaces in the backyard, but some of you are reaching the other end of the swing set days. Your kids have outgrown the equipment, and the swing set is just sitting there collecting dust and pollen. Now that it’s time to remove it, what will you do about that big, empty spot in the yard?

First of all, take apart that old swing set safely! You can actually hire an experienced “junk hauling” business to do this for you. If you want to do it yourself, remove large parts (such as slides, ladders, and swings) first. Then, work from one end to the other as you dismantle the frame. Pay attention to overheard parts, and how they are attached, so that you don’t cause anything to fall on you while you work.

Now that the swing set is disassembled and hauled away, you will be left with a big, bare spot in your yard. It might even evoke some sad feelings, as you reflect on how quickly the kids grew up… So, turn that spot into something fun for yourself!

Covered patio or gazebo. The spot is already level, so it might be the perfect place to install a cozy sitting area. It can even become the new family fun spot; your kids have outgrown the old swing set, but now they’re capable of hanging out and discussing current events with you.

Koi pond or natural pool. A water feature makes a beautiful, soothing addition to any backyard landscape. Whether you fill it with fish or swim in it yourself, is up to you. As with any body of water, only do this if you have a fenced yard; your kids might be practically grown, but a neighborhood toddler could be enticed by the water.

A vegetable garden. Working on top of any gravel or sand you had installed, you can add raised planter boxes or barrels. This is another activity that the whole family might enjoy, as organic backyard gardening is growing rapidly in popularity.

Outdoor recreation. The kids outgrew the swing set, but you still want to spend time together. Outdoor, over-sized chess boards have become popular in recent years. Other options include croquet and horseshoes. You could even install a sand pit for a volleyball court! The point is to choose something the entire family will enjoy, so open up the discussion at your next family meeting.

Adult Sandbox. For those who had playground sand, pick up four to six Adirondack chairs and build a fire pit. You can evoke a ‘relaxing at the beach’ feel right at home. As an alternative, if the area is a sunny one, you can buy some lounge chairs and soak up some rays.

As always, give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer any questions about your new backyard project.

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