When winter arrives, there’s nothing quite like that first snow to create a little winter magic right outside your back door. Just a glance at your gorgeous backyard covered in a light, fluffy layer, though, simply isn’t enough. You want to make the most of the season with some outdoor winter fun. Your landscape may be covered in snow, but that snow is a great family fun starter that will mean memories in the years to come.
Tips for Building the Perfect Snowman
A fun afternoon in the snow isn’t complete without the perfect snowman, and we have a few tips to get you started!
First, make sure you have the right kind of snow. If you have a powdery, loose coating on the ground, a snowman may not be your go-to project. The best snowmen come from dense, water-heavy snow. It packs well then holds together quite a bit longer.
Classic snowmen are built from three well packed spheres of decreasing size stacked on top of each other. To start the base, build a small snowball. Put it on the ground, and gently roll it through your yard, picking up snow as you go. Remember, you’re not going for a cylinder shape here, so be sure to tilt it as you roll. Keep going until you’ve reached the size you want, then roll it to its destination. Your best bet is to use part of your hardscaping as the base for your snowman. Wondering why? Snowmen get quite heavy, and piling that weight on one specific part of your grass may prove damaging come spring. Don’t worry, though. Just place it on your hardscaping space, and you’ll have a beautiful creation that won’t damage your grass.
Once you’ve rolled your largest sphere, you’ll repeat the process, but make this one a bit smaller in size. It may be tempting to push it up the side of your base when you’ve finished rolling, but if you can, pick it up and place it on top of the larger sphere. It helps keep your snowman in proportion. The last step is that final sphere, and you can either choose to roll this one or pack it with your hands before placing it on top of the other two.
Now all you have to do is add some fashion-based touches. Have fun with it and pick a theme. Going for the island look? Grab a straw hat and some sunglasses. Hoping for a classic snowman? Get a carrot for the nose, some charcoal for the eyes and mouth, and a few sticks you’ve been saving to start a fire for arms.
As you build your snowman, watch out while you roll the spheres through the backyard. You don’t want to pick up too much mulch or rock or any other hardscaping elements. That will scatter them across your lawn when Mr. Snowman melts, which could further damage your landscaping.
Adding a Snow Fort and Some Snowballs Elevates Your Outdoor Winter Fun
Once the snowman is made, it’s time to protect your territory with a snow fort. Begin by deciding exactly where you want your fort. Again, placing a heavy, snowy structure on the hardscaping spaces in your backyard is always going to be a better bet. Trace a line that can work as the perimeter of the fort. Make it big enough for you and your little buddies to hide behind when the snowballs start flying.
The next step is to start forming snow bricks. There are a few different choices here. You can simply roll snowballs and stack them together. You can also use a small outdoor toy or plastic tub to pack bricks the way you might build a sandcastle. Stack your bricks up to build your wall, then fill in any gaps with added snow. Flatten your wall out a bit, and you have some protection against the snow. The final step in the process is to start stockpiling snowballs for the inevitable battle to come.
As you and the family play outside, it’s important to note that there are a few cold weather hazards of which you should be aware. First, dress carefully for the cold. Use layers of clothing because if the first layer gets wet, they should be able to peel it off and move to a dryer layer. If possible, use waterproof pants, jackets, and gloves to prevent your outer layer from getting wet at all. Be sure to add a hat, too, as well as warm socks and boots. If the sun is shining as you play, add sunscreen to the equation. The snow can reflect up to 85% of the sun’s rays, so you could be looking at sunburned faces tomorrow without it.
Enjoy the Beauty of a Winter Evening
Once you’ve built some amazing snow memories, enjoy the outdoors a little longer by clearing off a bit of your hardscaping. Then have a seat, build a fire in your stunning fire pit, and break out the marshmallows and the graham crackers for some S’mores. Add hot cocoa and a cozy blanket, and you have a perfect winter evening with the family.
These are just a few ideas for enjoying some outdoor winter fun. When the weather warms up, you can also implement any changes to your outdoor space that can keep the fun going year round. And don’t forget to check out GreenImage’s Winter Enrollment program so you can take back your time when summer finally comes around.