The best thing I did this summer was to cancel a trip I’d planned to Lake Placid – the planning, the hours of travel, the cost of the hotel – I’d rather spend time in my backyard! I’ll spend my travel budget for travel in the winter, and spend the money I saved making my backyard into an oasis.
Canadians spend every minute of summer escaping to the outdoors – from the first coffee on the porch, to cocktails under the willow tree, dinner on the patio – and perhaps a nightcap under the moon.
Even if you “cottage” on the weekends, your backyard is where you dwell during the week – and as Oprah says, it “should rise up to greet you” when you come home.
Now is the ideal time to perfect your backyard oasis: you’ve just spent the summer outdoors, and you know exactly what kinds of activities you want to keep doing through the fall – and into next summer. Taking time to perfect your backyard oasis is the perfect fall project!
As the owner of a landscaping business for 45 years – I have refined my “secret garden” over the years as I have noticed what works best for clients with all kinds of properties – and you might find these few tips helpful whether you have a “country estate” or small, Manhattan-style garden.
Make the Most Convenient Part of Your Backyard into your “Comfort Zone”
The Comfort Zone is a place that’s easy to get to from the house and where you’ll spend most of your time.
Think about sun exposure and light in the morning and evening. You’ll always want the most comfortable temperature for this space, so pick a spot that has a good combination of shade and warmth, appealing at many times of day and through the seasons.
Tip: If the sun is too strong in your Comfort Zone, a good umbrella over the area can do the trick, not to mention adding a certain elegance and chic to your Comfort Zone.
Also think about privacy – you’ll want your backyard oasis to be a refuge, not a stage! I love my neighbors (sort of), but I don’t want them staring at me in my PJs having my morning coffee. I’m sure the feeling is mutual!
Expand the Charm of Your Home Right into Your Backyard
Your backyard is an extension of your home during the spring, summer and even fall– and should reflect the charm of the main interior rooms that you’ve worked so hard to create. While investing in curb appeal will give you a few moments of pride when you drive in – and definitely enhance the resale value of your home, the backyard is where you spend 80% of your time during half of the year – so invest in YOU and design for both relaxation and easy entertaining. When friends come over, I love to light up some candles and have a few pots of herbs scattered around. Fresh herbs enhance all summer recipes, and a jug of sangria doesn’t hurt either.
Make Your Comfort Zone … Comfortable!
Find some comfortable furniture that will accommodate the people that will be enjoying this space on a daily basis. This might just be you. This is your haven, your private spa!
TIP: Buy the best furniture that you can afford. Quality pieces last years and years.
Create the Perfect Mood
Creating the right mood with complimentary lighting and sound increases the value of your comfort zone, whether it’s to pump up a party or to mellow after a long day. I’m not talking about those cheap lighting sets that you can get from the dollar store, or just a portable radio.
The right ambience is EVERYTHING – again, candles, hurricane lamps, citronella torches can add that extra island spice to your oasis.
Tip: Speak to an expert for suggestions and to even do the work. Effective lighting, and practical, yet high quality, sound systems are affordable and easy to set up.
Finally, ask for help. Even if it’s for straight forward lawn maintenance and staging. Don’t make your backyard oasis into extra work. Treat yourself to a neat and tidy space that doesn’t require hours of upkeep every week. That’s where we can help!
Life is short – summer is shorter! Make the most of it!