Owning a backyard, no matter how small it is can be considered as a huge privilege. Some people like to use their outdoor space to throw parties or to build a basketball court but most homeowners are happy with a peaceful green terete.
However, creating such an outdoor isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you are short on ideas, here are 10 suggestions on how you can turn your outdoor space into a true sanctuary.
A fire pit for cold nights
You want to be able to spend time outdoors as much as possible, as you’ll feel both healthier and happier. However, the period from October to April isn’t suitable for staying outside long, especially at night when the air temperature drops.
One trick is to build a fire pit in the middle of the yard. This form of an open hearth is easy to construct as it consists of firewood encircled with stones. The pit would act as a log fire, so you can grab a blanket and sit in front of it deep into the night. Horror stories and roasted marshmallows are optional.
Move the kitchen outdoors
You can never feel at ease outdoors if you have to go inside the house to grab something every half an hour. In most cases, this is going to be a drink or something to snack on which you have prepared in advance.
However, the kitchen doesn’t have to be inside of the house, as outdoor kitchens are a common sight nowadays. All you need for an outdoor kitchen is a power outlet and a water tap; the contractor you hire will take care of the rest.
After you move the kitchen outdoors, it would be perfect if you could supplement it with a dining area. The patio or the deck is the ideal location for a large dining table the whole family could fit at. From mosaic floor tiles to a pergola overhead, there are countless ways to decorate the outdoor dining area.
Use the pergola’s or trellis’ posts as support for climbing vines and other climbers. If you have a large family, then long benches are a more suitable seating option than individual chairs. You can get the whole garden set for a bargain at a farm sale.
A myriad of seating options
Apart from the rustic dining table, there should be other, more comfortable seating options all over the yard. For instance, the front porch should feature a rocking chair or porch swing. If you have a garden out in the back (and you definitely should), then a cozy little bench for two is the ideal addition.
If there are terraces or hillocks on your property then you have erected supporting walls. Such low walls are perfect for provisional benches, as you just have to nail a couple of boards to the top. This way, you don’t have to use chairs and stools that can be placed around the aforementioned fire pit.
Finally, hanging a tree swing will knock your kids off their feet. What good is an outdoor actuary if the whole family cannot enjoy it together! For adults, consider stretching a hammock between two tall trees for a Sunday siesta.
A blooming garden
As mentioned above, you cannot build an outdoor sanctuary without verdant plant life. Planting all sorts of trees, flowers, shrubs, etc. should ensure the garden is green throughout the year. In addition, the front of the house should feature a green lawn.
However, keep in mind that a verdant garden requires regular maintenance. You will need to get various garden equipment, from a garden hose to ratchet pruners. Garden accessories don’t come cheap but if you buy top-quality pieces, they will last you for years.
Reusing construction material
The definition of a sanctuary states that this is a place that you create and not buy. Therefore, the private retreat you are building outdoors should have a personal touch to it. The best way to achieve this and help protect the environment at the same time is to reuse construction material.
For example, if you have an antique chair with a broken leg, repair it and make it part of the garden set. Moreover, you can reuse old boards to erect a shed where you will store gardening equipment. Even the stones used to make the fire pit we spoke about earlier can be sourced from your property.
Unlike human online twitter, the twitter of birds isn’t a cacophony but rather a relaxing melody. Just like plant life is an integral part of an outdoor sanctuary, so is bird song essential for relaxation.
You can attract songbirds by tying (not nailing) feeders on trees and building a birdbath. The latter amenity will double as a mini fountain, filling the backyard with a melodious burble.
A water feature is simply necessary
Speaking of water features, you can go all in and build a proper fountain. It doesn’t have to be as large as Rome’s Trevi Fountain but it should serve as a decorative piece. A water piece is a necessary addition to your sanctuary, as the sound of running water has a calming effect on the human psyche.
Furthermore, a splash pad comes with hours of fun for kids in summer. If you like swimming and have a large enough home improvement budget, then you can even build a small pool or a Jacuzzi. Ultimately, it’s up to you which water feature to introduce but don’t skip this vital amenity.
Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney has a poem called “Gravel Walks.” When you come to think of it, there is something poetic about gravel as a paving material. In addition, gravel is a cheap paver that is easy to place on the ground. All you have to do is replenish the pebbles once a year.
A string of light
Apart from the fire pit, you’ll need powerful lighting to enjoy the comfort of the outdoor sanctuary after dark. There are countless lighting options but we recommend hanging string lights that would run from one side of the yard to the other.
LEDs are most suitable for this purpose, as they don’t emit heat energy, so the risk of a fire is minimal. An alternative lighting solution are solar-powered lamps that are placed in the ground, usually near the outer perimeter of the sanctuary and along pathways.
You have to realize that creating the perfect outdoor sanctuary isn’t easy and often takes years to complete. However, you should think of sprucing up your property as a journey, both a material and a spiritual one. The 10 ideas listed above are stepping stones on this path to blissfulness.