If your home is your castle, then your backyard can truly be your sanctuary; an oasis to escape the world and enjoy some serenity at home.
Everybody’s different and different things appeal to different people, so what creates a sanctuary for you might be far removed from what an ideal backyard space is to another. In this post we’ll be taking a look at a few ways you can transform your yard into a place to get away from it all.
It’s really all about appealing to the senses and creating an atmosphere that reduces stress and detoxifies the mind. Elements could involve water, plant life, fauna, lighting and lots more.
Let’s see if we can find something here that inspires you.
#1 – Build a Deck
It could be an undercover deck or a deck that’s out in the open so you can soak up the warm sun or enjoy kicking back in the evening with a cold drink and gazing up at the stars from your reclined deck chair.
Timber decks are very organic and blend in seamlessly with most backyards. They get you up off the lawn or the dirt and provide an outdoor area where you can set up a table and chairs to enjoy a breakfast with the birds or indulge in some al fresco dining at night.
No deck would truly be complete without a BBQ to cook up a storm, and decks are the perfect place to entertain guests when you invite them over for dinner or a party.
Depending on the complexities or your yard, decks can be pretty simple to build if you’re handy with some tools, and won’t take long to construct if you call in the professionals.
#2 – Install a Swimming Pool
If you have the space for an in ground swimming pool and the budget, then having your very own backyard pool is one of the most fun ways to transform your private outdoor space into a sanctuary to get away from it all.
We mentioned decks are great for entertaining, well so are swimming pools. You could even combine the two.
What better way to cool off after work or playing sport than jumping into that crystal clear, cool water.
Contrary to what many non-pool owners believe, swimming pools are quite easy to look after, and that includes keeping the water balanced, healthy and clear. The upkeep is really minimal, and there are many professional services that can take care of your pool once a month if you prefer.
If you decide to do the pool maintenance yourself, then it’s actually very relaxing working around water.
Whether swimming or just lazing around by the side of the pool, it really is a fantastic way to chill out.
You could even take things up a notch and build a small pool bar so you, your family and your guests can enjoy a cold drink without having to even get out of the water.
Add in some cool lighting beneath and above the water, and you’ll have an absolutely stunning looking pool after dark.
#3 – How About a Fire Pit?
Using a fire pit is more fun during cool or cold weather, but it could also be used in summer if you wanted to burn off some leaves and dead branches from around the yard.
There’s something mesmerising about fire, and watching the flames flicker and undulate is very relaxing and hypnotic at night. You and your friends or family could huddle around your fire pit on a cold winter’s night and toast some marshmallows or tell a few ghost stories or urban legends.
It’s a fantastic way to keep warm while outdoors in cool weather, and even a great meeting place in the yard to down a few beers, wine or your favourite beverage.
Fire pits are very easy to build too. All you really need to do is make a circle (or even a square) out of some bricks or stones, and have something to sit on nearby. You could use garden chairs, or even build a concrete wall for people to perch themselves on near to the fire.
#4 – Lighting Really Sets the Mood
Lighting is everything when it comes to setting a mood for a scene. While artificial lights are not going to play a part in your yard during the daytime, they definitely will set the ambient tone after dark.
Even just some strategically placed plain white lights brighten up the yard and impart a cozy glow. These lights don’t even have to run on mains power. They could be solar powered lights, which will work well for a at least a few hours each night if they’re positioned to receive lots of sun in the daylight.
Coloured lights strung between the trees offer a party atmosphere, or could even be good at Christmas time.
What you don’t want is for your yard to be pitch dark at night. If you want to be able to venture outside after sunset, it’ll be a lot more pleasant with some lighting. You’ll also want some lights for security too, as intruders are far less likely to venture into a yard that’s illuminated, even if it’s soft, subtle light.
One bright light near the back door is a good idea for when you really need to be able to see, but it’s better if the rest of the lighting is toned down for that full relaxation effect.
#5 – Nothing Spells Serenity Like Water
We already talked about having a swimming pool in your yard, and pools do offer up quite a few advantages. However, if you don’t fancy owning a pool or going to the expense of installing one, there are benefits to having water somewhere in your yard.
Nothing is as pacifying as being near water, and if it’s running water, even better.
Something as basic as a bird bath offers the opportunity to be near water without any construction needed or emptying the wallet to buy one.
Another low cost and easy to set up idea is a water feature. There are so many varieties on the market today that you really are spoilt for choice, and there’s something available to suit everyone’s needs and budget.
If you wanted to take things a step further, you could plan and build your very own water feature, exactly how you want it to be. In fact, you could even create a tiny waterfall or cascade out of natural rocks (great for the rainforest idea), have the water run down a mini stream, where it recirculates back up to the top of the waterfall again.
It’s a lot of fun playing around with ideas that involve water, and if you really want to turn your backyard into a relaxing oasis, having some form of water feature is really a must.
#6 – Create a Mini Rainforest
It’ll be like a Discovery Channel documentary in your own backyard.
Now, when we say rainforest, that doesn’t mean the foliage has to be so thick that you’ll need to carry a machete every time you want to wander through your yard. It could simply be a case of planting some ferns, positioning a few rock formations, and planting a few small trees or other plants that you often find in a rainforest.
Through the plants and trees you could build a natural path out of the dirt or, if you’re worried about mud during periods of wet weather, line the path with pavers or stepping stones.
This tranquil setting might even attract some birds and a few lizards, giving it even more of an authentic feel.
The only major downside of this idea is that it’ll likely require quite a bit of upkeep, and possibly you’ll need to hire a gardener or landscaper on a weekly or monthly basis to keep it in shape.
#7 – Create Privacy From Your Neighbors
Your backyard hideaway is hardly going to be the tranquil place to escape the world around you if all your neighbors can see everything you do. Everyone’s situation will be a little different, but if you don’t have complete privacy in your yard, and you want it, then you’ll have to find a way to create that barrier to separate your world from that around you.
One obvious way is to erect high fences, and this definitely works well if your closest neighbors live in single story homes. But what if they live in a 2 storey house? You can’t really build a fence that high.
This is where the strategic placement of plants and trees will come into play, effectively forming a visual barrier against prying eyes. Having trees, or even tallish plants with lots of leaves will definitely offer you a fair degree of privacy.
You don’t have to wait for them to grow either. You could buy plants or small trees straight from the nursery or landscape supplier, have them planted and you have instant privacy and a stunning oasis for a backyard.
For the ultimate in privacy, make use of both fences and foliage to form a border around your yard. This way everything will look totally natural.
#8 – Create Walkways
Even the most basic of yards can benefit from having some pathways. These could be natural ground, strips of lush lawn, concrete or some stylish looking clay pavers.
Going back to the water feature idea earlier, if you build that little stream, you could even construct a small, simple bridge across that stream as part of the pathway. Make it out of timber and use some natural tree branches for the handrails. It’ll look really cool.
Avoid creating straight pathways as these look too linear and far from natural. Curve them and wind them around gardens and trees. Make them more interesting to stroll along. Even a pathway out to your clothes line doesn’t have to be straight and boring.
Also, if you do have a nice lawn in your yard, you don’t necessarily want everyone trampling all over it and killing the grass, so built in walkways are the perfect solution to avoid this.
#9 – Build Colourful Garden Beds
Nothing spells beauty in the backyard more than splashes of colour, and what better way to make your yard colourful than by growing beds of flowers.
Creating flower gardens is a breeze and fun to do. The gardens could simply be at ground level where you plant some seeds or plants that are already established. Another idea is to build flower gardens that are off the ground, like you see in many parks.
You could either make concrete gardens, build them out of bricks or blocks, or better yet, make them from natural stones that you can buy from your local landscape supplier, or find naturally somewhere out of town.
Choose flowers that bloom well in your climate and backyard conditions, and if you choose well, you’ll find you have at least some flowers blooming all year round.
Splashes of colour throughout your yard will really add a new dimension to your backyard space.
#10 – Create An Exercise Trail
You often see this sort of thing in local parks or along the seaside, where every so often there is some form of simple exercise equipment set up for fitness enthusiasts to work on their health and fitness levels.
You don’t necessarily have to go to any great expense or effort. If you have the room, and you’ve built some small trails through your yard, just erecting some simple equipment will do the job.
As an example, your could erect some steel bars in the form of an upside down “U”. Concrete them into the ground so they are secure and you instantly have a handy chin up bar.
Creating a couple of steps out of stones, concrete or timber and you have something to step up and down on to work out the legs and buttocks.
A horizontal slab of timber and somewhere to hook your feet under and you have the perfect sit up setup.
Keep it simple and you can easily come up with 5 or more ways to exercise out in your backyard.
What you can accomplish in your own backyard will obviously depend on how much space you have to work with and what budget you have to spend on transforming your outdoor space into a beautiful oasis.
Just remember to have fun with it and let your imagination run wild. Only then will you know what’s truly possible.