It's been a while since you've had a real vacation, hasn't it? But admit it, there was never anything wrong with spending more time at home anyway. Right, stay-cationers? Think about the ways you used your backyard (or wanted to use it) during this past year, and find inspiration to turn your backyard into more than storage for stuff that doesn’t fit in the garage. Turn it into a destination!
Give it Year-Round Appeal
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Snowbirds and desert dwellers deal with extremes in weather that make it difficult to get outside, but just because mother nature’s in charge doesn’t mean you’re stuck inside. Not completely anyway, ‘cause we get it. You’re not interested in firing up the grill on an unprotected deck when sideways snow or hellish heat are in the forecast.
A little prep work can keep you outside just a tad bit longer before the weather forces you back inside. Patio heaters and firepits can really cozy things up when temps begin to drop. Add a couple of weatherproof outdoor blankets to snuggle up under and some hot chocolate to get the evening started and you're set for an early fall get together or a quiet evening with your other half. Those living in warmer climes can find comfort with patio fans and spray misters underneath a shade sail or canopy stretched across the deck.
Make it a Feast for the Soul
We love outdoor kitchens, but you already know how expensive these installations can be. If you've got a grill and enjoy cooking outside, though, you might as well make it a comfortable space to prep, eat, and relax. Invest in long-lasting pieces of furniture that are functional, practical, and attractive. They should invite you outside and make you want to stay once the meal is over.
A low-profile fridge that can accommodate not only your beverages but also your apps and charcuterie will make traffic back and forth to the kitchen a little less traveled. Throw in some decorative lighting for ambiance, mount a screen for a projector and ta-da, you've got an outdoor media space!
Welcome the Locals
By all means, get to know your neighbors, but what we’re actually referring to here is the addition of native plantings in your landscape. Incorporating the local flora is a double dose of goodness since 1) Native plantings are just that: native to the area, hence easy to care for, and 2) Using native flora helps your home transition into the surrounding environment, allowing you to be one with your surroundings—less intrusive in a manner of speaking.
Consider the View from Inside
Since we’re talking about the backyard being a destination, shouldn’t it entice you—nay, beckon you to abandon whatever it is you’re doing inside? It could be something as simple as putting away the garden tools cluttering the deck or maybe adding a few patio plants to frame the setting outside your picture window. Whatever it is, it’s worth doing if it pleases the eye and gets you out enjoying the fresh air.
It Doesn’t Have to Be the Backyard
We don’t all live on sprawling ranches with undulating pastoral scenery. Urban spaces can be just as relaxing and inviting as their rural cousins. A dedicated destination space can be as simple as an upper balcony, a quiet courtyard, or a front stoop. When planned right, each one can function as a place for you to relax and gather your thoughts or your friends.
Close proximity to your neighbors makes privacy a priority. Create a secluded space by using plants or other natural materials to screen out prying eyes. Install comfortable seating that entices you to claim your space outside. And don’t forget the effect that soothing sounds can have on the soul whether it be from music, chimes, or the sound of water from a mini pond garden.
We’ve already mentioned the seamless transitional effect of native plantings, but that doesn’t mean you should exclude other plants. The lush greens that softly sway in a well-planned meditation garden guide the mind toward quiet reflection for a much-needed respite at the end of a stressful day. A properly xeriscaped yard means less weekly maintenance and added peace of mind due to lowered water bills.
Whatever your stylish inclination, creating a backyard destination is a sure way to get you out enjoying your space while waiting/planning your next true vacation destination.