You can add a lot more to your backyard garden than border stones, flower beds and creatively shaped patches of lawn. If you really want to transform your outdoor sanctuary into something special, why not turn it into a mancave paradise?

A few simple items will change your ho-hum garden into a cool hangout, or if you have a penchant for larger projects and don’t mind a little hard work, you can create a mini guy-themed Disneyland for yourself (and your family, of course).

Once you get your mancave garden set up, it might be hard to entice you back inside. Like the intrepid mailman or mailwoman of lore, you’ll be out there in the elements, come rain, sleet or snow. Here are several garden ideas to get you started along your glorious path:

Set Up a Backyard Zip Line

A zip line won't really work in a tiny backyard or on a rooftop garden (you don’t want your guests flying off the building), but if you’ve got the space for it, you might as well set one up. If you’re a climber, you probably already have all the gear you need. If not, don’t fret. There are plenty of how-to guides you can consult, as well as zip-line kits you can buy. Your kids (and drunk friends) will love you for your backyard zip line. Just make sure your equipment is properly installed and that everyone wears a helmet and has a soft place to land.

Get a Real, Hardcore Barbecue Smoker


Simply possessing a pile of charcoal and a puny grill doesn’t make you a barbecue master. If you really want to delve into the art of barbecue, you might want to shell out some cash for a real smoker. Depending on how many people you plan on feeding and the type of smoker you want to get (charcoal, electric, gas, pellets, trailer, wood), a BBQ smoker can cost you as much as several thousand dollars. That’s a lot of money to spend in a tight economy, but once you find the perfect spot for your grand smoker—and figure out how to use it properly—you just might become the barbecue hero of your entire neighborhood, adding to the manly aura of your outdoor mancave.

Install a Concrete Ping-Pong Table

Why would you want to buy or build a concrete tennis table when you can just purchase a standard one at a sporting-goods store? Numerous reasons, actually. No one can ruin your fun by telling you to bring it back inside. You can play ping-pong in all kinds of weather, without worrying about damaging your table. The bother of setting it up and replacing old or frayed nets is no longer a concern. It won’t take up room in your garage. And if you’re smart about how you design and where you place your concrete ping-pong table, it can even become a functional piece of garden art. Have we convinced you yet?

Build a Regulation Horseshoe Pit    

“Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades” is a saying you might have heard when you were a kid. This basically means—with a few exceptions, namely the game of horseshoes and powerful explosives—that if you’re not on target, whatever you’re doing doesn’t count. Well, now you can always make close count, by building a regulation horseshoe pit or court in your garden. It’s a great game to play while grilling up your grub or relaxing with a beer in your free hand. And just like with a concrete ping-pong table, a permanent court will always give you the perfect excuse to hang back and toss a few rounds before you head out and do whatever it is you do in your normal life.

Create a Wine-Box Garden


All right, so you want to mancave your garden, but then you remember that it’s still a garden. No problem. You can build a creative wine-box container garden and grow whatever you like, from basil and cilantro, to parsley and garlic (all great pasta-sauce ingredients), and add to the green credentials of your garden. And the best thing about your wine-box garden—besides the ability to move it around and arrange it however you like—is all of the great wine you’ll have to drink in order to stock up on your collection of empty, useable wine boxes.

Read Part 2 of this article here