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In cold-weather regions, it is economical in low land value regions to use open land surrounding a house for vegetable gardening during summers and allowing strongly demanded sunlight to enter house windows from a low horizon angle during winters. As land value increases, houses are built nearer to each other. In order to preserve some of the open land, house owners may choose to allow construction on the side land of their houses, but not build in front of or behind their house in order to preserve some remnants of open surrounding land. The back area is known as the back yard. The front area is known as the front yard.
Depending on the size of the back yard, it may have any number of items (or none), such as:
- Buildings such as: barn, chicken coop, garage, gazebo, guest house, outhouse, playhouse, sauna, shed, smokehouse, workshop, etc.
- Compost bin
- Garden furniture (bench, patio table and chairs, umbrella, etc.)
- Landscaping with or without a lawn or just dirt
- Renewable energy generator (solar panels, windmills, etc)
- Playground equipment (sandbox, slide, swingset, etc)
- Storage tank
- Swimming pool and/or hot tub
- Waste container
In Australia, until the mid-twentieth century, the back yard of a property would traditionally contain a fowl run, outhouse, vegetable patch, and woodheap. More recently, these have been replaced by outdoor entertainments such as a barbecue and swimming pool. But, since the 1990s, the trend in Australian suburban development has been for back yards to disappear as the dwellings now occupy almost all of the building plot.
- The Backyard, 1920 silent comedy film
- Your Own Back Yard, 1925 short silent comedy film
- 3 Backyards, 2010 film
- Backyard Blitz, Australian lifestyle and DIY show
- Backyard Habitat, American DIY-style show
- Backyard Science, Australian educational children's show
- Burke's Backyard, Australian gardening and lifestyle show
- "Back in Your Own Backyard", 1928 popular song covered by many musicians
- A Stranger In My Own Back Yard, 1974 album by Gilbert O'Sullivan
- The Backyard, 1984 album by Miracle Legion
- "Backyard Boogie", 1997 single by Mack 10
- Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, 2005 album by Paul McCartney
- Backyard Babies, Swedish rock band
- Back Yard Recordings, British record label
- Gaming, hobbies, and sports
- Backyard astronomy
- Backyard cricket
- Backyard fencing
- Backyard football
- Backyard golf
- Backyard railroad
- Backyard Sports, video game series includes:
- Backyard theater
- Backyard wrestling
- Lawn game
- Tony Hall (2010). The Life and Death of the Australian Backyard. CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 9780643098169.
- Paul Levine, Tom Begnal, Dan Thornton (1997). Building Backyard Structures: Sheds, Barns, Bins, Gazebos & Other Outdoor Construction. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Limited. ISBN 0806942169.
- Patrick Nicol Troy (2000). "The big backyard". A history of European housing in Australia. Cambridge University Press. pp. 127–128. ISBN 9780521777339.
- America's Backyard
- Back garden
- Backyard breeder
- Backyard chickens
- Backyard furnace
- Backyard pond
- Yard (land)
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