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10 things to do this summer in your own backyard

10 things to do in your own backyard
(Ross May / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

Sketch or paint (don’t say you can’t), get a new perspective on your corner of the world and yank some weeds. All better than pulling your hair out.

1. Explore new territory

When the sun is high in the sky, go to the least-visited corner of your yard, sit on the ground and sip something really cold. The world looks different from here, right? Now, wait until somebody notices you’re missing. (Just kidding. Fifteen minutes should do it.)

2. Pull weeds

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Those fast-growing, allergy-provoking, rival-strangling morning glories aren’t going to perish of natural causes. And the longer they live, the greater the threat they pose to everything that’s good and green on the planet. (If you’re growing morning glories on purpose, move along, please; there’s nothing for you here.)

3. Do something out back you’d normally do only in your bedroom

Sleeping, reading, playing the piccolo, practicing Zoom faces — that sort of thing.

4. Grill something new

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The newly variable availability in grocery stores already has you pondering products you never used to think about. It’s time to extend that thinking to your barbecuing, carnivorous or vegetarian. Then change your seasoning habits too — the ingredients, when you add them and how much you add.

5. Make a sketch or painting

Yes, you’ve tried art inside, especially if you have kids. But unfiltered natural light is different. And this forces you to hear and smell the outdoors too. Get out there and apply pen, pencil or brush to paper or wood. Or an interesting stone.

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6. Channel Ansel Adams

Forget about all those fancy photo color filters on your phone. Instead, slow down, frown like a serious photographer and look for black-and-white pictures. You might not find the world’s sexiest pepper (as Edward Weston did in 1927) or the most flattering angle for the granite face of Yosemite’s El Capitan (as Adams did that same year), but your yard will gain gravitas.

7. Move the furniture around

Yes, that’s correct. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and I’m recommending that you rearrange the deck chairs.

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8. Got a tree? Climb it

Stretch first. And climb back down before A) somebody calls the fire department or B) your homeowner’s insurance premiums go up.

9. Pull out your tent, set up camp and spend a night

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Consider it a rehearsal: Most of California’s campgrounds will be open again soon. Don’t forget mosquito repellent.

10. Pull weeds again

Morning glories never sleep.


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