When you have unused, extra yard space, transforming it into a landscape garden seems to make the most sense. But plants and perennials can be as high-maintenance as they are pretty. They'd require your regular attention, or you'd face an overgrown garden within a short period.
So if you don't have enough time for gardening, or the green thumb in the first place, skipping the landscape is more practical. Though landscapes can be versatile, it mostly depends on their size. If the land is just as big as a typical one-car garage, there may not be enough square footage left for a patio anymore, for example, since the sides of the space are already filled with shrubs or potted plants.
Simply put, you could've created a more functional space. What you exactly need though, depends on your lifestyle or hobbies. And of course, you need to consider the size, privacy, security, and other factors that may affect the purpose of that extra space. If you're struggling to think of the best way to maximize your bare yard, steal some brilliant ideas from below:
Next to a landscape, building a carport on a bare yard also makes the most sense. Even if you have a garage, a carport won't be useless. It will serve as a parking space for your guests, or for your other car if you get another one. You can also use it as an open tool shed to free up some storage in your garage.
If you're wondering why not build a second garage instead, it's because a carport is way cheaper and DIY-friendly. Just order a commercial carport canopy, erect that structure by yourself or with some help, and that's it. It will take you only a few hours to a couple of days, as opposed to a garage that may take you a week or two to build.
But the best thing about a carport is that unlike a garage, it isn't considered a living space. Rather, it's an outbuilding, so your local planning authority or government won't require a permit from you before you build it.
2. Concrete Hardscaping
A hardscape is the man-made features you'd typically see in a landscape, such as concrete pavers, stone fences, or stone benches. They'd spare you the trouble of tending to vegetation, and the most gardening you'd do are watering and trimming the grass on the sides regularly. You can also skip that by covering all the grass with concrete slabs, instead of just laying down pavers.
In a hardscaped yard, you can create an outdoor living area or a patio, or an outdoor dining area or barbecue. Either way, it'll serve as an extension of your indoor space, allowing you to make your guests more comfortable. You can also lounge in it on a hot summer day, or on a cool, cloudless night.
3. Murphy Bar
Who says a bar is for the indoors only? Though having your liquor bottles safe inside your home may make you sleep better at night, a Murphy bar isn't a bad idea at all. Simply make the bar counter foldable, so that it'd safe keep your glasses and liquor bottles when you're not using the space.
4. Stone Garden
If meditating is part of your daily routine, but the indoors can't put you in a Zen mood anymore, consider moving your spot outside. Cover the dirt with palm-sized landscaping stones, ground stones, or stone chips, then lay down a nice and thick yoga mat or cushion to make yourself comfortable. If there's an electrical outlet nearby, you can also install an electric water feature there, completing your Zen space.
5. Man Cave
Every guy dreams of having their own man cave, and your bare yard can be the perfect spot for it. The space may be limited, but as long as you're clever and resourceful, you can maximize its versatility.
If you're installing a TV in your man cave, enclose the space in a gazebo canopy, with covers draped over every opening to defend it from the elements. Use pavers or any of the stones mentioned above as your flooring, then invest in high-quality patio furniture for cozy seating. And of course, don't forget the light fixtures. Set the mood by choosing warm lights.
Other than a TV room, you can also create a game room, a bar, a music room, or a spa in your little man cave. The possibilities are nearly endless, so assess the space meticulously and determine what will really make you happy. Don't be pressured by social media! If you want to build a library in there to satisfy your secret nerdy-side, go for it by all means.
These alternatives for a landscape are way more interesting, fun, and may even have the potential to increase your home's value. So start your year right by transforming your bare yard as soon as possible.