Add some of these pledges to your backyard to-do list and have more fun outside this summer.
After waiting for summer all year, it’s finally time to fire up the grill, cold drink in hand, and savor a slower pace. Make the most of the season by adopting a few (or all eight) of these rules of summer that put the good stuff at the top of your to-do list.
1. I will consider an afternoon with a good book time well spent. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if we’re not doing something that produces a tangible result (cleaning the gutters, answering an email), we’re not doing something worthwhile. But that’s simply not true. Especially in summer, when the days are long and sticky-hot, an afternoon (or even just an hour) spent immersed in a good book with a tall glass of iced tea by your side is time to be treasured.
2. I will encourage outdoor showers. If you have an outdoor shower, summer is the time to put it to good use — for rinsing off chlorine and sand, of course, but also (provided there’s enough privacy) for taking the place of some everyday showers. Outdoor showers require less cleaning than their indoor counterparts, and who isn’t up for less cleaning?
3. I will put up hooks for hanging beach towels. When there’s a clear spot for storing towels, they’re a lot more likely to end up there. A row of sturdy hooks outside is ideal for handling damp, sandy towels — so they don’t end up piled on the carpet inside.
4. I will spend more time looking at my garden than staring at my phone. Between smartphones, laptops, e-readers and TVs, our eyes are focused on short-range targets much of the day (and night). Give your eyes a break this summer by intentionally putting down your devices and gazing out at the scenery instead. Simply observing your garden quiets the mind and feeds the soul — plus, the observant gardener is more likely to catch little problems (like pests or mildew) before they turn into big problems.
5. I will make myself fancy-looking drinks. They don’t need to actually be fancy (and they certainly don’t need to be alcoholic) — try Mocktails – it’s looking the part that’s key. Make yourself some freshly squeezed juice, a smoothie or a shrub and top it off with a spear of fresh fruit, a colorful straw or an umbrella. Then sit back and savor your treat.
6. I will prioritize play time. Whether you have kids or are a kid at heart, make some time to play this summer. From the really active (soccer) to the less-so (darts), there’s bound to be a game that captures your fancy. On a budget? Check your local Craigslist listings or community pages to find sports and games equipment at a good price.
7. I will grill all things. For many people, summer means one thing: dinner on the grill. Give your grill a tuneup, then start planning those meals. And don’t forget, grills aren’t made for meat alone — veggies and even fruit (grilled peaches with ice cream, I’m looking at you) are better when cooked over the fire.
8. I will say yes to more s’mores. It doesn’t get much better than gooey s’mores, eaten in the backyard at the end of a summer day. If you have a fire bowl, be sure to put s’mores on the menu more than once. No fire bowl? Maybe this should be the year to get one.