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Your Backyard: A Benign Obession

Updated on April 21, 2011

Your backyard getaway

My childhood would have been very different if I did not live in what, seemed at the time, to be a house with a big backyard.

When I was very young my mother used to put me in my carriage and place it outside the backdoor. She would check on my now and then and the family dog was right there beside me.

I do not remember much about those days but do recall the years following, fondly.

The backyard is where I found out about compost and gardening; where I romped with my dog Scrappy and where the three large maple trees lived. The backyard is wher e I first met trees and became enchanted by their size and changing nature.

On hot summer days I spent hours under those trees either playing in the sandbox or swinging on the old tire my father had tied to an overhanging branch.

On occasion I’d attempt to climb the trees but only one was readily climbable. I sit on the same branch that held the swing and feel the breeze flow through the leaves and listen to the sound they made.

Over the years the backyard was the setting for numerous BBQs, picnics, outdoor suppers and just simply kicking back with friends and family.

In my preteen years my friends and I would sit down the back, farthest away from the house and talk.

It was a gathering place.

Your backyard is a setting that is unique unto yourself and your needs. We grew tomatoes and flowers as well as played badminton and croquet and the picnic table my father built was well used.

My father had also built a combination laundry stand and shed. The garbage cans went in the shed and you climbed the steps to put out the laundry on the line that ran the full length of the backyard.

I used to play pirates and pretend the stand was the deck of the ship as it offered a commanding view of the whole yard.

Our dogs and cats spent their time outside with us and were woven into all the activities that took place.

How you design your backyard depends upon your family’s needs and interests.

You can incorporate outdoor rooms for entertaining with play areas for both humans and pets along with gardens, if you have the space or you may have to make a choice about which is most important.

I believe children, at least in their early years, need a backyard; it is a safe place to play as long as someone responsible is watching them.

You can add lighting, solar powered, if you wish, that allows the family to spend evenings outdoors when the weather permits.

Your backyard can be an extension of your home, and you can enjoy the benefits of an outdoor fireplace, while sitting on comfortable furniture that is specifically designed for being outdoors. You can also cover over an outdoor room and enjoy outdoor living even in wet and windy weather.

Or you can convert the whole space into a food forest and grow much of the food that your family needs. There are many options between these two.

What is most important is that it is your space, you sanctuary away from the everyday world. Indulge yourself and allow the child you once were when you first stepped into that big backyard to come out and play again.

my backyard

Bob Ewing photo
Bob Ewing photo

backyard railway

I use my backyard for

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Submit a Comment
  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    The food forest in the backyard is the way to go if you want to feed yourself and encourage biodiversity.

    Patty, a train would have been cool.

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish MS 

    10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

    I would have loved to have had a train in the year as a youngster. Thumbs up!

  • marisuewrites profile image


    10 years ago from USA

    What great memories and I love the food forest idea!! Backyards were truly the place to be when we were young, and I think many families will be getting back to basics as they look for ways to economize and simplify their life. Thanks for encouraging us to do just that!! =))

    always a good read, you are.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    I like being outside, even have the garage set up so in winter, like now can at least spend some tiem there. Thanks for visting.

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 

    10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Great hub as always Bob. I was always lucky enough to be able to give my children a backyard to play in. Once the weather gets warm enough to be able stay outside most of us spend as much time out of doors as possible.

    regards Zsuzsy

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks, I like it. and thanks for visting.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    your backyard is so cool.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome Dottie, right to the penny candy store, now that is ideal. :)

  • Dottie1 profile image


    10 years ago from MA, USA

    I very much enjoyed reading your hub Bob.  Brought back lots of memories sitting in the shade, under my apple tree, while playing with dozens of my Beagle dogs that my father raised for hunting.  

    Flying high on the swing to grab hold of those great big juicy peaches was another fun treat in my backyard or just sitting in the grass counting the freight trains go by....58, 59...72, 73; they just don't make them that long anymore.  I miss that! 

    I can sleep through anything now because of the years growing up beside the railroad track that ran alongside my backyard.  And those tracks led straight to the penny candy store, oh yeah! 

    Thank you.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    My backyard,today, is a source of inspiration and a retreat. thanks for stopping by.

  • laringo profile image


    10 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

    Another great Hub Bob. I remember playing by myself in the backyard and making up imaginary games for hours on end. I suppose kids do that today to some extent. In your Hub reminding us that a backyard is part of your home gives me inspiration when the weather gets better to engage in some new projects; like planting those tomatoes.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Well Cate, thank you for your most kind words.

  • profile image

    Cate Ferguson 

    10 years ago

    Bob I really love this Hub! I have similar memories of growing up and now we live on 2 acres in the lower mountain country in Victoria Australia. Growing vegetables, raising chickens and ducks, recycling our fruit and vegetable scraps, creating big compost heapsthree gorgeous dogs and a cat sharing our lives, a hammock under the chestnut tree and building an eco-friendly sustainable home. Your hubs are an inspiration and an affirmation that we are living right. Thank You


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