One thing we never hear in real estate is that flat grassy backyards are boring and hot.
Most of the time we hear buyer’s say they want a “flat backyard” or a “usable backyard”. And, yet, when we look at where kids actually play – they get bored with flat green grass. Unless it has white stripes on it somewhere 😉
Organized sports play a big role with many kids these days. Organized sports are FULL of life lessons. Some of them are indirect though. For parents, it can be a serious challenge to schedule all the practices and the games. Mastering that is a skill that can serve in all aspects of life. This post, though, is about thinking through the pros and cons of buying a house primarily because of the backyard. We have seen that by the time kids get home, they want to rest. They probably also have to do homework. When it comes to play, they usually seek shade and things that are creative (forts, creeks, playhouses, neighborhood pools, etc.). If they practice a sport, it is usually on a small scale for accuracy (pitching net, soccer goal, basketball goal). So, buying a house primarily because of the flat grassy backyard could be a mistake.
Studies are showing that playtime is seriously underestimated in today’s culture. In fact, entire playgrounds are being re-developed to pull adventure back in. Imaginations run wild and get bored easily. In days gone by kids rode bikes all over the place – usually seeking out a trail or a creek or something interesting to explore. There were no electronics. They made up games like “kick the can”. Unless there was a sprinkler or a slip-n-slide involved, the flat grassy backyard was boring and hot!
One thing we learned when we bought a playset for our kids was that playing in the shade is a LOT more fun than playing in the sun. Thankfully our yard had a mixture of both. Looking back, our poor backyard would have been judged harshly by the buying public though. Not flat enough. Not big enough. Not enough sun. We loved it. It was great – still is.
A Blend is the Best
I recently visited a client’s yard for a party and had to capture the photo below. First of all, most people would have NEVER envisioned this when we initially looked at the house. We were focused mainly on location and potential. The backyard was a mess of overgrown sloping nothing. These buyers saw the potential and over time created magical spaces both inside and out. The results are amazing! But, it is not flat. There are flat pockets. The grassed area is not big. And there is only partial sun. But there is PLENTY for kids to do and this is a backyard that gets used.
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