Would you like to have a peaceful outdoor sanctuary just steps from the comfort of your home? If so, consider creating a backyard oasis. Follow these tips to transform even the smallest outdoor space into a relaxing retreat.
1. Put up a fence or privacy hedge.
Your outdoor oasis should be a private place, shut off from the rest of the neighbourhood. Even if you live in a busy urban setting, you can still create a private outdoor space with a fence or a strategically placed hedge. Or, for a less permanent option, you could install plants in large pots around the edges of the space that you want to use as your oasis. For the maximum amount of privacy, choose small potted trees or other types of plants that are thick and bushy.
2. Find comfortable outdoor furniture.
Relax in comfort in your backyard oasis by setting up outdoor furniture such as a chaise lounge or weather-proof couches and chairs. Don’t forget to add soft cushions! If you’re on a limited budget, you can sometimes find really nice used furniture at a heavy discount, or pick up deals online at a number of “deal” websites, or even string up a hammock between two trees (if you have any).
3. Go green.
Having a bit of green plant life can transform even the bleakest setting into a pleasant sanctuary. Plant flowers, trees, ground cover, or even vegetables. Take some time to visualise what you’d like your oasis to look like, and then go for it. If you’re not an experienced gardener, you might want to begin with easy-to-grow potted plants. Your local garden store or landscaping professional will be able to recommend some appropriate choices. Here in Australia, if you want to make your life a bit easier you should consider dry-climate plants that won’t require much water.
4. Consider a screened-off pavilion tent.
Mosquitos are a huge problem in warmer months, especially when we’ve had a wet spring. If your area is home to mosquitoes or other pesky insects, your outdoor oasis could include a pavilion tent that is tall enough for you to comfortably stand in, with screened sides that can be zipped or unzipped. If you already have a built-in covered outdoor area, you could consider screening off the openings to achieve the same result. You’ll appreciate the protection from the sun, rain and insects while being able to enjoy fresh air and outdoor views.
5. Put in a fountain.
Soothe your senses with the sound of gently gurgling water (wow that sounds like a guided meditation). A fountain could also be the centerpiece of your outdoor oasis, providing something to organise the rest of the space around. Fountain options range from small, portable models that can fit on a table top or in a corner, to elaborate stone edifices that you can wade in.
6. Install a fire pit.
A fire can keep you warm on cold nights, and a fire pit can also serve as a year-round gathering place. Options for fire pits include masonry-lined structures built into the ground, outdoor chimneys, and even large metal bowls specifically designed for fires. Before putting in your fire pit, check local regulations about outdoor fires as fire pits can be a risky move if you live in a bushfire prone area.
7. Even out the temps with heating or cooling.
There’s no point having this amazing outdoor oasis if you can’t use it when it gets too hot or too cold. For those cold days, add an outdoor heater. Many outdoor heaters are portable and run on gas cylinders. For warmer weather, consider either a ceiling or wall mounted fan (if the space allows).
8. Put up a bird feeder.
If you enjoy bird watching, why not invite birds into your backyard oasis? Build your own bird feeder, or buy one from wherever you get your garden supplies. There are many models of bird feeders, from stand-alone posts to tiny “houses” that hang from tree branches. You’ll be sure to find one that fits with the rest of your outdoor space.
9. Have fun with outdoor art.
Find yard art at garden supply stores, estate sales or garage sales. Or, design your own outdoor décor: You can make a mosaic with pieces of old pottery, or use leftover supplies from building projects to construct a sculpture. The only limit is your imagination!
Creating a backyard oasis can be a fun and rewarding project. Use these ideas as a starting point for your own special space. Find more inspiration online, or from friends, landscaping professionals, or local gardening experts.