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10 Backyards Built for Fun

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Laura Gaskill, Houzz Contributor

Who says your backyard has to be boring? Who says your backyard has to be boring? With creative playhouses, hammocks, skateboard ramps and more, these 10 outdoor spaces prove that the backyard can be the place to hang out all season.

1. Sculptural hammock. A hammock this unusual is sure to become the focal point of the backyard. Plus, you won't have to fight over the best seat in the yard when you have a hammock built for three!

2. Oversize chess set. A giant chessboard is equal parts Alice in Wonderland and resort chic. Think of it as built-in entertainment for outdoor fetes.

3. All-ages treehouse. Who says treehouses are just for kids? Make it big enough for grownups too, and you can enjoy your evening glass of wine from a lawn chair with a view.

4. Skateboard ramp. Make the skaters in your family happy (and give them a reason to stay home) with a skate ramp in the backyard. Have the space do double duty by installing a basketball hoop in the center -- just don't try to use both at once, or there could be some unfortunate accidents!

5. Sunken fire pit. Like a modern version of the 1970s sunken "conversation pit" living room, this fire pit zone is sure to be the place for friends to gather. Bonus: Hang lanterns from a nearby tree to boost evening ambience.

6. Outdoor claw-foot tub. A claw-foot tub hooked up to hot water in the backyard is like having a personal retreat steps from your back door. To protect your tub, you'll need to cover it between uses -- even though you drain it after using it (unlike a hot tub), a cover will keep debris from falling in and clogging the pipes. If your yard isn't private, you also may need to install additional fencing or a privacy screen.

7. Fountain for splashing. On a hot summer day, what could be better than splashing in cool water? Sure, you can turn on the sprinklers, but a fountain for getting your feet wet may be even more refreshing -- and it can be made to recycle the water, so you waste less.

8. Fairyland. Whimsical touches can turn an ordinary backyard into a magical place for children to explore. A "fairy door" on a tree trunk, fake toadstools in the lawn and flags adorning the playhouse are sure to spark imaginations.

9. Movie screen. A digital projector and a blank wall are all you need to transform your backyard into an outdoor movie theater. Invite your friends and neighbors to come over at sunset for movie night alfresco.

10. Garden folly. Is it a garden observation platform? An alien ship? Part of an old movie set? Whatever it is exactly, having something so unusual in your backyard is sure to spark conversations and lighten the mood!