Does the sight of a beautiful view stir you to poetry? Does a wildflower garden get your fingers itching to pick up a paintbrush?
Whether you’re an artist or just want to indulge your inner creativity, your own back yard can be the source of inspiration for creative endeavors from writing to sculpting, painting, composing, and more.
If your current landscape only inspires you to think of chores, and you’re wondering how to change that, these ideas can help. Find out how your yard can become a place for introspection and imagination, where you can go to find your muse year round.
A Room With A View
When was the last time you thought of your yard as a room in your home? Too often, outdoor spaces are separate from the rest of your living space, a yard “out there” where you may rarely step foot at all. And when you do, it’s probably to weed, mow, water, or throw a few hot dogs on the grill for a quick summer meal.
It’s time to start thinking of your outdoor space as a room without walls, with the sky above for a ceiling and the beauty of nature your décor.
No need to confine yourself to a studio, shed, or a spot at the kitchen table when an entire world is literally right outside your door. An outdoor room can have all the comforts and conveniences of an indoor one, from tables and chairs, to lighting and electricity, fans for cooling, heaters for warming, storage areas for supplies, and so much more. The difference is that instead of staring at the same shade of wall day after day, you can enjoy, appreciate – and use to your advantage – the ever-changing scenery outside.
Consider the kind of space that would suit your art. For writers, a table and upright chair on a patio, surrounded by lovely blooms and water gardens, can replace an uninspired desk. For painters, a spot to set an easel and gaze out over a vista, or into the depths of a colorful flower bed, can suit your creative endeavors.
The key is to understand what you need, and to design around supporting your own brand of creativity. Too often, yards are designed to follow a standard pattern or tend – a patio, a lounge chair, some flowers to the side of a lawn – and not to suit your lifestyle. It may look nice, but is it truly functional? Is it truly yours?
Why not lose the lawn entirely, and plant wildflower gardens instead? How about an ultra-low-maintenance stone garden, or an ecosystem pond full of koi, frogs and lotus flowers?
From tall, ornamental grasses to garden art and more, your outdoor studio can be both beautiful and functional. And deigned right, it can also be so low maintenance that you’ll spend less time caring for it than you would dusting off that boring desk, anyway!
As an artist, you know how to engage all of your senses as part of a creative process. Being outdoors offers the perfect opportunity to feed your senses, but you need to design wisely.
Visual appeal is often most familiar, and can come in the form of color, shape, size and texture.
Choose the colors that inspire you most, and use them in gardens, furniture, and accessories. Depending on the type of environment that you prefer, you can choose soothing colors in whites and pastels, or bolder colors in hues of bright reds and yellows.
But you aren’t limited to just one option! Smart design can incorporate multiple spaces into your yard, perhaps a soothing Zen garden in one area, and a brightly whimsical space in another, so you can indulge your particular muse on any given day. Your yard’s personality can be as multi-faceted as your own.
Beyond color, think in terms of texture, like soft, swaying grasses or rustic tree bark. Contrast the light, airy appeal of Amsonia with the strong spires of Baptista, the gently furling bark of a Paperbark Maple with the robust berries of Winterberry Holly.
Smart design will incorporate a variety of seasonal colors and textures so that your landscape will evolve throughout each month of the year, bringing you something new to delight your eye and inspire your soul.
Design auditory beauty into your space in the form of a gently babbling garden bubbler or soothing waterfall. Not only are the sounds of water calming, but they can act as white noise, masking other unwanted sounds and creating a calming environment where you can hear finally yourself think.
And don’t overlook the power of scent. It’s been said that our most powerful memories are evoked by scent, memories that can trigger deep emotions. Think of lilac, lavender and summer-fresh basil, all of which can boost creativity. For an artist, this can mean the difference between a creative block and an opening of the mind into forgotten worlds and creative associations, where your best watercolor or lyric is just one deep breath away.
Relax, Dream, Create
Art isn’t always about the process of creating. It’s also about the time spent dreaming, imagining and exploring.
Your outdoor environment should get your creative juices flowing and give your mind the space it needs to relax and open up.
Consider seating not just for working, but for comfort, where you can drink in the sights, sounds and scents of the world around you.
Soft chaises, hammocks or porch swings, and pillow-laden benches are all excellent choices. Of course, with smart design your space can include seating areas that serve different purposes – places to sit and reflect, and others to pull out your supplies and get down to work.
For soaking up inspiration, meandering stone pathways for dreamy garden strolls can also be part of your space. Wandering through serene gardens – full of butterflies and bumblebees, myriad colors of blooms and hues of foliage, uniquely interesting shapes of branches and stone, tall grasses swaying in the slightest breeze – is more than just relaxing. It can be awe-inspiring and emotionally stirring, allowing you to tap into your own wellspring of beauty and potential.
If stargazing incites you to daydream, be sure to include open spaces with subtle lighting where you can enjoy the evenings outdoors. Lighting embedded in gardens or built into patio stones can provide an ambient glow that is as naturally soothing as it is useful for helping you navigate the nighttime landscape.
Choose lighting to cultivate the mood you want to achieve. Spotlights can be used to play with light and shadow, highlighting a favorite feature or creating dramatic effects. String lights can bring a sense of coziness or whimsy.
From lanterns to domes, in-ground lights to post lights, you can enjoy the outdoors after the sun has set and explore how this simple change in perspective – from light to dark – can influence your creative thoughts.
For artists and creatives who want a place to relax, unwind, think, play, wonder, enjoy and ultimately birth new ideas, your own back yard may be the best place you have yet to explore. Each day nature creates a new masterpiece, and it’s just waiting for you to notice. Why not take inspiration from the universe itself and the space you have right outside your own window?
If you want to get outdoors and live your best creative life, book a consultation with us so we can talk about designing the perfect space for your art and inspiration. We’re here to listen to your dreams and then help you make them come true.