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35 Family-Friendly Backyard Designs

By: Mina Hochberg and Kayla Kitts

Put down the video games and soak up the fresh air. Give kids an outdoor play space they can enjoy with these fun backyard design ideas, from a treehouse getaway to a life-sized chess board.

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Photo: Michael Hunter, courtesy of Frankel Building Group

Lay Down Some Turf

Turf can double as a kid’s play area as well as a court for games that people of all ages can enjoy — like bocce ball. “Having that turfed space is a really nice way for the family to let the kids be able to play and run around and then still have a clean space for entertaining and adult time,” says Scott Frankel, co-president and principal of Frankel Building Group + Avea Pools.

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Photo: Photo & Design © Barbara Butler Artist-Builder Inc.

Treehouse Getaway

A treehouse is a place for kids to call their own and become immersed in their own little worlds. “To encourage imaginative play, I like to create a cozy clubhouse up high that gives kids a real sense of getting away from it all,” says treehouse and play structure designer Barbara Butler. “I think it’s important for the clubhouse to be different than the family home — more of an outdoorsy cabin, more fun colors and features.”

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Photo: Mom’s Design Build

Classic Tree Swing

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned plank-and-rope swing for adding simple charm to your yard. They’re also ideal for smaller yards that might get overcrowded by a large play structure. Design by Mom’s Design Build.

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Photo: Jenna Sue Design Co. and Lowe’s Home Improvement

Gather ‘Round a Fire Pit

Fire pits are perfect spots for quality family time, whether it’s cooking s’mores or just warming up cold hands. For DIYers, making a festive fire pit is as easy as purchasing a fire pit kit and encircling it with colorful Adirondack chairs. Design by Jenna Sue Design Co. and Lowe’s Home Improvement.

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