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Backyard Campsites For Fun And Profit

by Perry Chapman

You've probably heard of online travel services that allow you to rent your home, or even just a bedroom, to tourists. If the idea appeals to you but hosting strangers inside your home brings them too close for comfort, consider renting yard space to campers instead. These tips will get you started.

1. Check with your zoning office and homeowners association. Just to be safe, make sure backyard camping doesn't violate any rules. Also inquire as to whether you're permitted to have a structure such as a tent platform in your yard.

2. Decide what kind of campers to host. Campers generally come in two varieties: tent and trailer. Tent campers are easy to host because their equipment is relatively unobtrusive, and their activities are unlikely to damage your yard. RVs would drive through and park in your yard, possibly killing off grass and leaving indentations, but, because RVs are self-contained, you'd not need to make a bathroom available to guests.

3. Choose a camping spot. The more private a space is, the more attractive it is to campers. Even RV campers are likely to spend most of their time outdoors. It's also helpful for the area to be clearly defined so there's no question about where guests may go. A corner of your back yard is perfect, as is a clearing in trees or brush.

4. Create your campsite. A very basic campsite might consist of a level section of lawn large enough to hold a tent or camper. Wood chips also make a good surface for tents, but cover the ground beneath them with garden cloth to prevent grass and weeds from sprouting up through the chips.

Alternatively, construct a simple tent platform from wood, or pour a concrete pad suitable for use by either tents or RVs. Prepare the ground properly to avoid premature cracking under the weight of an RV.

Consider adding these extras to make your site more attractive to guests:

  • Picnic table, preferably shaded by a shade sail or canopy to block the sun
  • Grill (include gas or charcoal or invite guests to bring their own)
  • Fire pit (check with local ordinances to make sure open fire is allowed)

5. Let the public know you're open for business. Advertise in online classifieds, and promote your campsite in online camping forums. Targeted social media ads can also be very effective, and the cost is relatively low. You can also list your camping are on a website that allows guests to book private campsites.

In addition to bringing in extra income, your campsite gives you the chance to get to know people you'd probably never have occasion to meet otherwise. It also adds outdoor space you can enjoy with your own family and friends.