Ryan Seward - RE/MAX Select Realty



Posted by Ryan Seward on 5/17/2018

Are you on the fence about whether to buy a house with a big back yard? Although it's not always a bed of roses -- especially when it comes to upkeep -- the benefits can easily outweigh the drawbacks. Spacious yards are extremely versatile and can play a key role in creating fond family memories. Here's some food for thought on how you can use that extra outdoor space on your property to accommodate your interests, your goals, and your family's needs.

  1. Cultivate a vegetable garden. If you have a green thumb and a passion for growing your own food, a big yard can afford you that opportunity. Backyard agriculture is something the whole family can enjoy and get involved in. It's also a fun way to educate your kids about nature, farming, and where their food comes from. As a side note: If you're serious about pursuing this hobby, you may want to have an adjacent shed set up to protect your gardening tools, fertilizer, and other supplies. Building a greenhouse for growing flowers is another option to consider. Once you get backyard farming down to a science, you can save money on groceries and enjoy an abundant supply of organically grown fruits and vegetables. There are many sources of helpful information, both online and off, including Cornell Cooperative Extension.
  2. Special occasions: When you have room for a couple of picnic tables, a swing set, and a volleyball court (60 feet by 30 feet), then you have the basic ingredients for fun birthday parties, family gatherings, and backyard barbecues. Plenty of space also lends itself to frisbee games, badminton, Bocce ball, croquet, kickball, and anything else your group is up for. Whether you're planning a family reunion, a graduation party, a child's birthday, or a backyard wedding, a good-size residential property can provide the perfect setting.
  3. Expansion is an option. When your new house comes with some extra outdoor space to work with, all kinds of options are available to you. The possibilities can range from the construction of a sun room or additional bedroom to an in-law apartment or even a guest house with rental income potential. If a new swimming pool is on your "wish list," a spacious lot can help make that a reality.
  4. Room to run and play: You may have an energetic Labrador Retriever that loves to play fetch or a growing family that thrives on sports activities. Regardless, there's nothing like a big back yard to make all that possible. During the winter months, you can even use a multi-acre property for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Creating your own skating ring is yet another option.
If you're looking for a "park-like setting" for your next home, then a large suburban or rural property might be exactly what you have in mind. Depending on the layout of the property and its proximity to other houses, an acre or more of land can provide just the right amount of privacy, flexibility, and freedom from traffic sounds, sirens, and other noise pollution.





Posted by Ryan Seward on 6/23/2016

Every child should experience the joys of building and hanging out in a blanket fort. The lights shining through the blankets giving a blast of color to everything inside... the art of balancing a broomstick just right to stop the whole thing from falling over... the laughter from when it finally does collapse on you. Blanket forts are a blast. It's a way to go camping right inside your house, it's a way to have fun on a rainy day, and it's a way to escape from the reality of your home for a bit. If you weren't fortunate enough to experience a blanket fort as a kid you can start now. Gather your children, your supplies, and start building. Here's everything you need to know about building the world's greatest blanket fort.

Supplies

The best part about blanket forts is that you can build them with whatever you have at hand. There are a few items, however, that will make your fort structurally sound. The bare necessities are:
  • Blankets (as many as possible)
  • Sofa cushions (you'll want to stack these to make a crawl-through doorway)
  • Chairs (to toss the blankets over; these are the bones of your fort)
  • Broom sticks or any other tall pole (to raise the roof)
  • Something to clip blankets with
Aside from those necessities, there are a number of other items you'll find useful. Here are some ways to improve your fort:
  • Lighting. Bring flashlights, christmas lights, black lights, or a lantern inside your fort to illuminate the fun activities you can do inside.
  • Games. Once inside your fort you're not just going to lay there (until bed time anyway). Bring in board games, Jenga, or whatever you have laying around.
  • Friends. Stuffed animals, dolls, action figures... make it a party.
  • Sleeping bags. If your fort makes it through the night you'll want something comfy to sleep in.
  • Food. You can't have the campfire but you can have the S'mores. Cook them in the microwave or toaster oven and eat them inside the fort.
  • Laptop. This is strictly for movies, not for Facebook.

Technique

It doesn't take a structural engineer to build a blanket fort (though I'm sure they'd build a really awesome one that we'd all be envious of). Use the biggest blankets for the largest part of the roof, smaller blankets for walls and objects that can't hold a lot of weight without tipping. Use your environment to your advantage. If the room you're in has anything you can toss blankets over--like a table--or if there are window-sills you can clip blankets to, use these features to optimize your experience. Using slightly translucent blankets underneath the lights in your room will add a nice glow to the inside. If you want it to be more like camping out, turn the lights off in the room and only use lights inside the fort.   The best part of making a blanket fort is that it's your own creation. Use our guidelines to get started, but once the blankets are out--anything goes.