Backyard Camping: How to Make it Work

Although summer is drawing to an end, there is still plenty of nice weather left to be enjoyed. Fall is a beautiful time of year when the leaves change color, the hint of crispy cool air ruffles through your hair and the smell of bonfires is the fragrance of the season. People still want to be camping during this time of year, but the issue is that the majority of the parks, public and private campgrounds and gathering areas have shut down for the season.

This doesn’t mean that you have to give up your camping expeditions; it simply means that you have to become more creative in your endeavors. Have you ever thought of camping in your backyard? It’s close to home, its free, it’s easy and if the chill in the air is too great; you can just get up and go inside your home. This is the perfect way to introduce children to camping as well and teach them the rules of a tent (such as no shoes inside, no fighting over space), fire safety, how to roast the perfect marshmallow and create memories that will last a lifetime.

A Closer Look

So how does one begin setting up their backyard for camping? It’s not as simple as pitching a tent in the backyard. You have to set the tone and mood of the evening, ensure that the bonfire is protected and take steps to care and maintain your lawn after the backyard tent has been removed. Interested yet? Then keep reading!

Set the Mood

The first thing to do when setting up a tent in the backyard for camping is to set the mood. If you do not own a tent, you can create one by stringing a clothesline in between two trees. Drape a heavy sheet or blanket over the clothesline and secured to the ground with rocks or some type of heavy objects.

Install a fire pit or create your own in the area where the tent will be placed but not close enough to become a fire hazard! Have a stock of firewood handy and Firestarter logs to create the perfect s’mores with your loved ones. Always have a method of extinguishing your fire pit before bedtime and check with your local municipality for any fire restrictions, hazards, etc.

String sparkling lights through the trees to recreate a starry night sky and have bug spray on hand to ward off curious pests. Use flashlights when needed as your source of light and set the ground rules for entering the house once the campout has started. Only allow people to return to the house in the case of bathroom emergencies, for example.

Keep all electronics in the house as this will add to the bonding experience and add a touch of realism to your backyard camping adventure.

Dim the lights of the main house or turn them off completely to add to the sense of isolation one feels while camping in the woods.

The Checklist

backyard camping CHECKLIST

Even though you are only in your backyard; it is important to have a checklist for backyard camping to add realism to the experience. You’ll want the following items or similar items:

  • A two or four-person tent
  • Camping chairs
  • Warm sleeping bag for those cooler fall temperatures
  • Pillows
  • Bug spray
  • S’more ingredients
  • Camping food – such as burgers, hotdogs, chips and drinks
  • Fire pit materials along with a way to extinguish the fire
  • Flashlight
  • A tarp to spread under the tent on the ground to add another layer of insulation
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cutlery and plates
  • A charcoal grill or a camping stove
  • Breakfast fare – eggs, bread, bacon, etc.


The biggest challenge will be what to do during your backyard camping excursion. You’ll want a list of activities for the whole family to complete such as: ghost stories, nature walks around the backyard, marshmallow eating contests, singalongs, etc.

You can even pick up sparklers and let your kids have a dance contest to some music while offering prizes for the most creative dance move, most energetic dancer and so forth.

Lawn Maintenance

After your backyard camping season has concluded, it is extremely important to give your lawn a little TLC. There will be dry, brown patches in the areas where your tent was placed; especially if it had been there for quite some time. You will want to pay special attention to the area around the fire pit as well as small flankers can burn the grass’s outer layers before extinguishing on their own.

One of the best ways to prepare your lawn for the winter season, once the fire pits and tents have been put away; is to give it a good treatment of lawn fertilizer. This will allow the lawn to repair and regenerate itself before the spring while providing nutrients for the winter season.

Another thing to maintain your backyard after a season of backyard camping is to trim the grass and wrap any shrubs or low trees in burlap to protect them from the elements. If you have gardens in your backyard; a burlap sheet can protect the soil from contaminants and offer insulation to the plants below the surface.


Seasons come and go but memories last forever and that is what you would be creating by introducing your family to the world of backyard camping. It’s a cheap and easy way to spend time with your loved ones and an excellent educational opportunity for children. Turn off the lights in the home to increase the darkness of your backyard and set the mood similar to that in the woods. Tell stories, play games and teach your children how nature is to be appreciated, not harmed.

It’s the perfect alternative to expensive campgrounds with strictly enforced rules and it’s the type of campground that you decide how long it is open for; not the other way around.

Camping at home is beneficial for you. Here’s why!

Whether you’re a once-a-year kind of camper or a seasoned enthusiast, the benefits of pitching up a tent for a night or two in your backyard are priceless. Add a bit of fun and adventure to your life and teach your kids about the beautiful experience that camping can be.

Camping at home isn’t only to give your kids a pause from their lives, but also for your amusement and relaxation. It’s an excellent resource of information and it gives everyone an idea about what camping will be like. If you’re still sitting on the fence about whether you should do it or not, we give you the main benefits of backyard camping.

Camping at home is beneficial for you. Here’s why!

It’s an excellent test for new campers

If you and your kids have never gone camping before, we strongly recommend trying backyard camping first. It’s an excellent way to test the water without spending hundreds of dollars on camping gear. Once you discover it will work for you, you can put together a shopping list for your first camping trip.

You should never go camping in a new tent without pitching it up at home first. See how much time and energy do you need to set out the tent so that you don’t get late in the night when camping. If you have small children, camping could be scary to them, so you want to make it feel safe. Once your kids see that camping can be a fun and safe experience, you can plan a genuine camping trip.

You don’t need all the camping gear

Trying camping in the comfort of your backyard is beneficial also because it eliminates the need to buy expensive gear you need with real camping. If you try it on a hot summer night, you might not even need a tent in your backyard! Get a sheet of plastic and lay it on the ground before you layer it with comfy blankets and duvets. You don’t need sleeping pads, sleeping bags, or camping cots for play-pretend camping in the backyard. If a light rain begins, you’re only a few feet away from getting inside the house. You will definitely have time to get all your bedding inside so that it doesn’t get wet.

You don’t need to pay for anything

If you’ve been camping before, you won’t find backyard camping as fun as your children will (we can only assume!). However, if you really want to give your kids a glimpse of what camping means and don’t have the budget, you can try backyard camping. If your children are old enough, you can help them pitch out the tent and get inside while enjoying a lovely time outdoors.

It’s great for adults as well

What if your children aren’t interested in backyard camping, but you still want to have a nice break from your daily routine? You may leave the kids inside the house and spend the night in the backyard with your partner. Create a romantic vibe with some fairy lights and lanterns, cook a favorite meal over the campfire and unwind while having a nice glass of wine.

Five tips for a lovely backyard camping

If you’ve been camping before, camping in your backyard will be accessible. You don’t have much planning, and you already know what to pack, how to pitch the tent, how to make a campfire, etc. However, if this is the first time camping interests you, any piece of advice will come in handy. Here are five tips to use for your first backyard camping:

Five tips for a lovely backyard camping

1.      Plan it like a real camping trip

Truth be told, the most challenging part of an activity is getting started. Lead by example and get excited about planning your camping adventure, even if it’s in your familiar backyard. If your kids feel you’re optimistic even about planning, they will get on board and ease out the whole planning process.

Ask your children to look for recipes to try for the campfire, gather your lanterns, and prepare fun activities for the whole family.

2.      Begin in the daytime

You want to make the most out of your camping adventure, so start early the whole thing. If this is the first time you camp, you should begin as early as possible. You want to have enough time to take care of the most minute detail. Additionally, the sooner you set up, the more hours you will have to enjoy the fantastic backyard camping.

3.      Set up the backyard as you would at an actual campsite

Just because you pitch out the tent in your backyard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it according to the elements and surroundings. Here are a few aspects to remember:

  • Where will the smoke go if you have a campfire? Close the doors and windows to your house set up the tent upwind of the fire. Make sure that you won’t disturb your neighbors with your campfire.
  • Do you have a lovely view from the tent? If possible, set up the tent as far as possible from your house so that you forget you didn’t leave home.
  • Is the wind blowing? If yes, which direction is it blowing? You have to set the tent with the door facing away from the wind.
  • Save space for playing games, especially if your children are still at that age. Whether it’s a piece of lawn for some active games and sports or space to have camping board games/play campfire games, make sure you have enough room for it.
  • Where is the sun? You want to get the best out of it, so place the tent in a sunbathed area for many hours.
  • Install an extension lead to have some power, especially if you don’t have camping lanterns. Fairy lights will give a whimsical feel to the whole experience!

4.      Start a campfire

Nothing screams “camping” better than a campfire when it comes to details. The glow of the fire is magical and one good reason to go camping. A smooth camping fire will make everyone relax and enjoy a lovely time together as a family.

If your backyard isn’t spacious enough to build a campfire, make your fire pit ahead of time. There are plenty of ideas that work.

5.      Cook a nice meal

One of the many things you have to plan for a camping experience is the food. You can turn cooking into an excellent activity where everyone gets involved. Even if your children are young, you can still give them tasks that they will enjoy. Being part of a group makes them feel great. Plus, helping out their parents builds confidence and helps them become more independent when they grow older.

If you don’t have a camping stove, use your grill or bbq for cooking dinner. You don’t have either? Have some S’Mores over the campfire!