How to Build a Backyard Swing

Swing sets are a great addition to your yard, they can be used to relax and unwind at the end of the day.  They are also pretty entertaining for small kids.  When it comes to getting a swing set you have two options, either get someone to come install one or you can put one up yourself.  If you’re fairly handy you won’t have any problems putting in your own you are going to need a few tools and some supplies.

There are really just five basic steps to putting up your swing set.  Once you have the plans, which you can find anywhere online, the tools and materials you are ready to get started. Remember you can use these tools for assembly of swing sets for small yards as well.  Let’s see what you have to do next.

  1. The location. You need to select a good location for the swing set that is safe and stable. Adults and children need to be able to use it safely and the soil that it stands on needs to be solid.
  2. The foundation. You are going to have to dig holes in the ground that will be the foundation for your swing set. Each hole needs to be at least an inch diameter and no less than four inches deep.  If you live in the northern part of the country then you want to make sure that the foundation goes below the frost line.  In the holes you are going to put in concrete to solidify the foundation. While the cement is drying you’re going to put an anchor which will get you started on the next step.
  3. Securing the swing. You are now going to need four pieces of 2 X 4, and you will need to round out the ends.  Next you will have to miter one end of the stocks to the 2 X 10 beam with the opposite end mitered to the anchors of the foundation.  You will need to make a mid point attachment to the leg boards, cut the boards on the horizontal and connect them together.
  4. Assembling the swing set.  Take a pair of leg boards and clamp them together and drill holes in the middle of the leg boards.  You will need to widen the outer end of the drilled hole.  Next you want to create eyebolt holes at the top of the beam and put the top board together, horizontal boards and leg boards.  Once you have all of the parts put together then you attach them to the foundation.
  5. Finish everything off. Once you have the swing set assembled then double check everything and make sure that it is perfect.  Now you want to grab some sandpaper and get rid of rough patches or splinters.  You can also paint the swing set at this point in time.  Bear in mind you will need to prime the wood first.

Now you have your finished swing set…enjoy!

Backyard Pond Fish

There are plenty of homeowners who enjoy having a pond or some sort of water feature in their backyard.  The sound of water is soothing and it can drown out the sounds of passing traffic.  It is relaxing to watch the fish swim lazily by, so water gardens with some fish are ideal.  Putting together a backyard pond and getting some fish doesn’t have to be complicated. You can even brainstorm for some backyard duck pond ideas. Let us show you how easy it is.

Constructing the Pond

Before you go shopping for some fish you need a place for them to live.  Your water garden should have plants covering half to two thirds of the surface.  You can add hyacinths, water lettuce or a different type of floating plants.  You’re going to need to install some sort of filtration system to keep the water clean for your fish.  Don’t put too many fish in the pond, it is still a small space and they need room to live and move around.  Here are some different design techniques.

Types of Pond Fish

The two most common pond fish are goldfish and koi.  Koi come from carp and Japanese breeders used selective breeding techniques to get the koi you see in backyard ponds today.  In the early 20th century koi made their way from the far east to backyard gardens throughout Europe and North America.  You can get koi in a wide variety of colors and these bad boys can grow to be huge.  Koi can reach up to three feet in length and weigh more than 30 pounds.  If you have a proper setup with good filtration and ventilation your koi can last for years.

Goldfish

Goldfish are another popular choice to put in your backyard pond, they are cheaper and easier to maintain than koi.  You can put goldfish into almost any sized pond and you can get them in different colors.  Like koi, there are a couple of different goldfish types you can buy but the most popular are the comet or the fantail.

Predators

While backyard pond fish are wonderful they also make a great snack for predators.  Birds, raccoons and don’t forget the neighbor’s cat are all going to want to catch your fish so you might want to think about putting some type of covering over your pond.  The protection will not only keep out the predators  it can be used to help keep your pond warm in the winter months.

Keeping backyard fish will require some work and maintenance, you need to make sure your fish have enough to eat and the water stays clean and healthy but they are well worth the trouble.

Creating a Wildlife Garden

It doesn’t take much to take your garden and make it a sanctuary for wildlife.  You will need to choose the right plants and add things like bird feeders and baths, you need to provide shelter along with food and water.  Creating a wildlife garden starts with the plants you are going to put in, let’s have a look at the right plants you’re going to need.

Creating a Wildlife Garden

Plants, trees and shrubs

The plants and trees you put in your garden provide nesting sites and food for birds.  Birch, oak and willow bring in bees and insects and they in turn are a natural food source for birds and amphibians.  Throw in some wildflowers like cornflower, foxglove and honeysuckle also lure bees and butterflies into your garden.  You can also let a patch of the lawn just grow wildly, longer grass also gives shelter and attracts insects.  Here are some more plants you can put into your garden.

Bird baths and food

Bringing birds into the backyard is as simple as throwing up a birdfeeder.  If you have a well-stocked bird feeder in the yard, birds like easy to access food, always put the bird feeder away from the long grass so that predators can’t sneak up on them.  It is also best if the bird feeder has a quiet spot so they can eat uninterrupted.  Birds are not fussy either and they will eat almost anything.  You can put table scraps out like fruit, cheese, nuts and rice.  You can also grab already made birdseed some will attract a specific type of bird, like hummingbirds.  Whatever you do clean up the area regularly or you will end up with wildlife you don’t want…rats!

Creepy crawlies

Set aside a corner of your garden for and put in things like dead leaves, twigs and logs.  This will provide a home for moss, lichen and the creepy crawlies that breakdown dead wood.   Leave this space be in the winter because there may be critters hibernating in there.  If you can manage to put a pond into your backyard that will bring in insects, frogs, toads and newts.  While you may be tempted to stock the pond with fish or koi they will eat the insects and tadpoles that are trying to live there.

Not only will your backyard become a mini nature reserve you can do your part to help local wildlife survive and you never know which animals and birds that you will get to see up close.

Building a Backyard Pond

Having your own pond in your backyard is a great way to attract butterflies and birds to come in, you can make your pond any size you like and your yard can accommodate.  Your pond will be the focal point to your backyard space.  You can choose to have just a water feature or a pond with fish living in it.  You can have a prefab pond that you get at a home improvement store.  Building a backyard pond doesn’t have to be complicate, you can use barrels or containers and lots of accessories to make it unique.

Building a backyard pond

Location

Before you pick up a shovel and start digging up your backyard you need to take the time to consider where you are going to put it.  You want to find a space that lets you see it from your patio or deck, while it still blends into the natural beauty of your garden.  The pond shouldn’t go in an area that is too sunny nor should it be left completely in the shade under the trees.  If you have a pond with koi and it is in the direct sunlight the water can get too warm and harm your fish.  So a little bit of shade is just what you want.

Landscaping and Setting Up

Once you have figured out just where the pond is going to go it’s time to dig the hole.  The size of your pond should be proportional to your yard, not too  big to overwhelm nor too small that it’s barely noticeable.   You can create a free form pond with some rubber roofing material to line the inside or you can buy a pre-formed piece of fiberglass at a home improvement store.

You want your pond to look like it belongs in your backyard and to blend with the surroundings and that will mean some landscaping.  You can also add lights so that it also stands out at night.  Remember this pond is going to need a water filter and something to recycle the water especially if you have fish.

Fish

If you want to put koi or some other fish in your pond you need to get the depth right, especially if you live in a colder climate.  You need a pond that goes deeper than the frost line if you want your fish to make it through the winter months.  Fish also leave waste and bacteria in the water so a filtration system is a must so that they have clean water to live in.

There are a wide variety of plants that you can add to the pond that work with the surrounding landscaping and it gives a home for your fish.