Converting one of your rooms in the house into a gym is always the first option, but have you considered creating a backyard gym? The fresh air and sunshine might make your workout more enjoyable and improve your mood. But how do you build a backyard gym that you will consistently use?
Here's an easy step-by-step guide on how to build a backyard gym:
Decide if you need a permanent or portable backyard gym
Choose the right spot
Covered or uncovered?
Choose gym equipment
Don't skip any of the steps because answering the questions in each phase will force you to answer things you haven't considered. Follow these steps to build the backyard gym of your dreams.
1. Do You Want a Permanent or Portable Backyard Gym?
A permanent gym will require you to build a structure mainly because of the heavy equipment. Fortunately, there are many affordable and easy-to-set-up structures available. On the other hand, a portable gym can be set up and taken down when not in use. This is because a portable gym usually has light and moveable equipment.
A portable gym is perfect for a home with a multifunctional backyard. Maybe you already have play structures for the kids or use your backyard to host your guests. To make the right choice, you need to know your ideal workout.
For example, do you lift weights a lot, or are you a yoga person?
All you need for a yoga workout in an outdoor space is a proper ground cover, but it can also be done on synthetic grass in an open area. However, if you need a treadmill for your cardio or a weight bench, you will have a dedicated and more permanent space.
2. Choosing the Right Spot
You have already decided that your home gym will be outdoors, but what is the right spot? The main thing that will help you decide is your gym equipment.
Will you need electricity, and where are the electrical outlets in your backyard?
If you decide to go with a portable gym, you need convenience for set up and set down. You should also consider safety and privacy. You need to ensure that your workout spot doesn't have tripping hazards and that you are comfortable working out in your space.
Building a structure is not the only option for a permanent gym. You can use what you already have in your outdoor living space.
For example, if you have an oversized patio, you can add a shade to protect your equipment and offer privacy. This will also be convenient because the space already has electrical provisions and is designed to protect against the weather.
3. Flooring or Ground Cover?
Indoor gyms have cushiony, slip-resistant mats (on amazon). That said, a natural grass lawn might not be the option for a backyard gym. The ground can be wet and slippery when it rains and can also have tripping hazards such as grass clumps and tiny holes, which is unsafe for you and your equipment.
Some great flooring options for your backyard gym include:
Artificial grass because it provides a level and stable ground.
Rubber playground surfaces offer a cushion for you and your equipment, preventing wear and tear.
If you will use an existing structure, ensure you protect the space from the natural elements. A great way to do this is by installing pavers or paving stones and adding a shade. Such simple installations can also increase the value of your home, so it's worth considering.
4. Covered or Uncovered?
Your choice depends on the type of equipment and how often you plan to use your gym throughout the year.
A covered space will protect your equipment from the sun and the rain, which is important, especially if you use electrical equipment. A covered gym will also provide privacy during your workouts.
Note that a covered space doesn't necessarily mean you build a structure.
You can install a canopy or a shade sail to protect yourself and your equipment from the sun. However, these options will not be as effective in the rainy season, and you risk your equipment getting rust and dust.
If you decide to go with an uncovered space, you will have to invest in covers to protect your equipment. If you use yoga mats (on amazon) and other foldable machines, you don't have to worry about covering your space because you can bring your gear in after every workout.
5. Choosing Backyard Gym Equipment
Have you ever seen an open-air community gym at your local park?
Chances are, you have, and that should tell you that there is a wide range of outdoor gym equipment. You can decide to design your outdoor gym like an adult playground by having:
Stationary exercise bars
This is a great option, especially if you have kids because you can work out as a family.
Note that there is gym equipment designed for outdoor workouts, such as step climbers or exercise bikes which can also withstand the elements. However, these might not work if you have a small space. Use portable equipment like free weights, yoga mats, resistance bands, and folding exercise machines for a small backyard gym.
Lighting is usually forgotten when creating an outdoor gym. It's too bad because outdoor lighting can increase your backyard gym's operating hours.
I'm looking at you, late-night and early morning fitness freaks!
Additionally, if your backyard has a lot of shade during the day, you might need to add some artificial lighting.
Some lighting options to consider for your backyard gym include:
Path lights to light your way to and from the gym (on amazon).
Task lighting for when you need to use particular equipment and overhead lighting to light up the whole space.
Insulation is important, especially if you are building a permanent structure and are planning to use your gym throughout the year.
Insulation is for the roof and walls, and it will enable you to use your gym every season. Additionally, it will help reduce the noise.