A lot has been written about landscaping for parties, get-togethers and guests – right here on this blog, in fact! But what if you would rather escape than entertain? What if your hospitality is stretched a bit thin and you’d rather hide in a safe space where you can recharge your internal batteries?
What if the only thing you really want to entertain is your own thoughts?
Whether you’re a full-time introvert, or you just need a break from the social whirlwind, you can find sanctuary and serenity right in your own back yard. It may take some thoughtful landscape design to create a space that suits your style, but there are myriad ways to bring peace, relaxation and some alone time into every leaf and flower!
See if any of these ideas appeal to your need for some purposeful solitude, and consider how your outdoor space can become your own personal oasis.
Create Cozy Spaces
There are plenty of ideas for making a space appear larger. From interior design to landscape design, there are no lack of ways to make small spaces magically seem to expand.
But what if there’s nothing wrong with “small”, and what if making a space feel cozier is exactly what you need?
Turns out there are tricks for that, too!
Keep in mind that small is not the same as cramped or claustrophobic, but rather an inviting, private space where you can feel safe and relaxed.
Create coziness in simple ways, by adding some soft, oversized pillows to an outdoor sofa, for example, or collecting a few comfortable chairs around a central point like a fire pit or a natural wood coffee table. Even add some curtains to an opening or entryway to enhance the feeling of solitude.
Use height to your advantage. Tall grasses, an arbor entwined with blooms, flower boxes along natural wood fencing, or tiered container gardens are all good choices. Adding height through natural elements will bring depth to your space, which in turn will contribute to a sense of coziness without making your space feel confined or crowded.
Enclose your space with a trellis, pergola, or other natural screen to give you a real sense of being within a private outdoor room. Interestingly enough, an enclosed space can also have the effect of making your overall yard feel larger, which means you can enjoy both the harbor of a small space and the appeal of a larger one at the same time!
If you have a large yard, creating multiple smaller spaces throughout can help you achieve a greater sense of the solitude you desire. If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful view, use it! It may seem counterintuitive, but the contrast of gazing out at a wide vista from the safety of a cozy, personal sanctuary can make you feel that much more sheltered and blessedly alone.
Make Yourself The Focal Point
It’s easy to get caught up in what you “should” do, even when it comes to landscaping. You may have some ideas about what a yard should look like, or think you need to follow along with the latest design trends. But don’t get caught up in someone else’s vision. Focus instead on how you want to use your space.
Think beyond perfect flower beds and carefully staged furniture to your own personal style. It doesn’t matter what the neighbors think or whether the guests will approve – this is about creating a space just for you.
Skip the reclaimed wood benches, as beautiful as they are, if all you want to do is curl up on a cushion and read a book. Not the gardening type? Don’t burden yourself with high-maintenance flowers even if they’re your favorite blooms. Remember, you’re spending time outdoors to recharge, not to exhaust yourself!
If, on the other hand, you love to cook and are just as happy grilling up a single hot dog for your solo lunch, then why not indulge yourself with an outdoor kitchen? It can be as simple as a lovely natural stone enclosure for a gas grill, or a wine refrigerator for your sipping pleasure. Or it can be as elaborate as a full kitchen with running water, plumbing and electricity.
Few things are as effective at making you feel happy and relaxed as surrounding yourself with the things that bring you joy.
Start by choosing colors that inspire you – whether bright hues make you feel at home, or you want the more serene effect of whites and pastels – and use them in both the plantings and the décor.
Bring the inside out and add elements to your space that make it feel like a room in your home, with the sky for a ceiling and walls of natural features like plants, tall grasses and flowers.
Add a throw rug beneath an outdoor armchair, choose a favorite piece of artwork or sculpture, keep your favorite herbs where you can pinch off a bit of fresh mint for your lemonade. Consider including outdoor speakers within your space and gardens so you can queue up your most relaxing tunes.
Whether your style is playful and whimsical, elegant or Zen, choose the colors, textures, sounds, and scents that feed your senses.
Design For One
For true introverts, there’s slim chance of hosting a big neighborhood bash, but it’s still easy to get caught up in feelings of what might happen – after all, you have friends, and maybe one day you will host that party, right?
Instead of designing around contingencies, design around how you’ll enjoy your space right now, every day. Scale those parties down to something better suited to your personality – a party of one, or perhaps two. Keep it intimate and honor your need for alone time.
Leave the picnic-style tables to the entertainers. Choose a bistro table, a small cluster of Adirondacks in a conversation area, or a pair of arm chairs instead. Or skip group seating altogether and go for a single swing, hammock, or comfy rocker where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the solitude.
For those times when you want to seclude yourself from the world, a sense of privacy is a must, even if the neighbors are just a glance across a fence.
Physical barriers are one way to create privacy, whether in the form of natural screening like bamboo, or a structural enclosure like a gazebo.
Auditory barriers are another. A fountain, bubbler or waterfall can create a soothing cocoon of sound around you, also helping to keep other, unwanted sounds from intruding on your personal time.
It’s not always easy being an introvert in a hyper-connected world. But if you’ve got an outdoor space, then you have an opportunity to create a sanctuary away from it all, a place where you can unwind, recharge, reconnect with yourself, and enjoy every second of your own company.
If you’d like to explore ideas for your own personal oasis, contact us for a consultation. Our landscape design professionals will talk with you about your lifestyle, your needs, your preferences, and plan a space that will bring you peace and enjoyment throughout all four seasons.