I know, I know—there are countless clichés about enjoying the outdoors in your retirement. The oldest one is about sitting in your rocking chair on your front porch and watching the world go by. Then there’s that famous one about stopping to smell the roses. As it it turns out, I think there might be something to that.
First, you finally have the time to spend enjoying the outdoors without feeling rushed. There’s something relaxing and refreshing about enjoying nature at your own leisure.
The United States has countless national parks. Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, and Smoky Mountain, to name a few. At these parks, you’ll find that a good percentage of the visitors are retirees. In fact, there’s even a National Parks Golden Age Passport for park visitors aged 62 or older! The Golden Age Passport is a lifetime entrance pass to national parks, monuments, historic sites, and national wildlife refuges.
And while visiting national parks is a great way to enjoy nature, I would to talk about another place to unwind: your deck or patio. Almost everyone has one. They can be a great place to enjoy fresh air, experience sunrises and sunsets, or birdwatch.
We visited some friends who are renovating a home in Big Canoe, a resort community in the North Georgia mountain. We loved their deck and screened-in porch. Talk about wildlife! From turkeys to squirrels and even the odd bear, nature’s menagerie was right in their backyard!
Filled with inspiration from our visit to North Carolina, I decided to fix up our deck and spend more time enjoying the outdoors. After I ordered some privacy screens off eBay, I put them up on both sides of the deck. One way to enjoy the deck is to take on DIY projects to fix it up and customize it like you want it. While time-consuming, you get to enjoy the great outdoors the whole time.
Next, I picked up four patio chairs to replace the sun-damaged ones we’d had a long time.
After consulting the internet for information on deck plants, I picked up a couple, along with a plant caddy.
I didn’t stop there! I also acquired a bird feeder and installed it on a deck pole, affixing a blue bird on top. The one I purchased boasts an extended arm that hangs out away from the deck, so seeds will not litter the wood.
In addition to my large natural gas grill, I have one of the kettle charcoal types, too. It takes a little longer to heat up, but there’s nothing like the real thing.
Currently, I’m refinishing my old patio chairs and arranging them in a seating formation at the other end of the deck. Now, one area is always in sun, and the other in shade depending on time of day. The best of both worlds!
Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m done with my deck makeover project!
My wife and I agree that a gate at the top of the stairs would be nice. Not only would it be beautiful; it’d also be practical. A gate would serve numerous purposes, like child safety when the great-nephews and nieces visit. Plus, our cat enjoys the deck, but once in a while, she attempts to make a run for the stairs. Luckily, she doesn’t get too far, but a gate would safeguard her from the outside world.
While I’m sure other time-consuming fixes will come to mind, I’m learning to stop and smell the roses. There’s no greater place to put this phrase into action than your very own backyard deck.
Robert FowlerContributing Writer
Robert Fowler is a retired blogger who lives with his wife, Mary Ann at Village at Deaton Creek, a Del Webb Community in North Georgia. Robert was previously the President of Retirement Media Inc. He has visited numerous 55+ Active Adult Communities over the years, sharing his experiences along the way with readers. View more posts