If your vacation has become a staycation, or if you’re just looking to add a little retreat atmosphere to your life without all the luggage and airfare that usually involves, you’ll love how some creative landscaping can turn an everyday backyard into your favorite place to be.
With summer weather here to stay for a while, it’s the perfect time of year to get outside and play – or relax, dine, garden, or whatever brings a smile to your day. These are some landscaping ideas that are sure to bring happiness and enjoyment to the summer season, even if you never leave your back yard.
Bring The Heat
You may think the last thing you want during a sweltering summer season is to add more heat. But don’t underestimate those chilly evenings! And don’t underestimate the fun that can happen around an open fire pit.
Harken back to your summer camp days and melt some s’mores or roast some hot dogs. Or just gather together after the sun sets and enjoy a cocktail or frosty glass of lemonade by the soothing light and crackle of a fire.
Depending on your space and preferences, you can build a natural stone fire pit in a permanent location, or choose a patio fire pit that can move to wherever you are. Arrange comfortable seating around the fire, include plenty of pillows and even a soft blanket or two, and you’ve got the perfect centerpiece for summer relaxation and enjoyment.
As an added bonus, a fire pit it a great wintertime gathering place, too! Bring on the blankets, and those cold evenings just got a whole lot more fun.
Make It Livable
Your childhood memories of summer may involve a lot of lawn, usually with dad (or mom… or you!) sweating behind a mower, but all that empty green space comes at a cost, namely your time and energy. And unless you really love lawn, it doesn’t provide much enjoyment value, either.
Say goodbye to antiquated notions of sprawling green and use that space for something usable, practical and even incredible. There is so much you can do with your space that we couldn’t cover it all here, but for now we encourage you to stop thinking “yard” and start thinking “living space”.
You can bring your indoor lifestyle outdoors with everything from flooring and furniture, to décor, accessories, artwork, music, lighting, overhead coverings and ceiling fans, fireplaces, kitchens, and so much more.
Create separate useable areas by incorporating patios, gardens, natural stone pathways, cozy seating, gazebos and pergolas, bamboo screening or flower-covered trellises.
If you think of your yard as an extension of your living space, you can begin to design and decorate it so that it perfectly suits your favorite activities, whether that’s cooking for the family, engaging in a hobby, exercising, relaxing, or simply soaking up some sun and fresh air.
Eat It Up
Why spend time in a grocery store when you can spend it tending your own gorgeous, healthy edibles? For starters, gardening itself imparts tremendous health benefits. We recently wrote about how friendly soil bacteria can act as a powerful and all-natural antidepressant. So if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, and if you enjoy the idea of a fresh green salad or vegetable platter, then this is one activity that will add enjoyment *and* beauty to your space.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of growing your own herbs, vegetables and even fruit. You don’t have to become a farmer – or turn your yard into endless rows of seedlings – to reap the wonders of an edible landscape.
Edible gardens – from kale to zucchini, carrots, strawberries, and plenty in between – can be every bit as designed and aesthetic as your peonies and coneflowers. Plant in raised beds for visual interest and an even easier harvesting experience.
Best yet, these gardens can change with the seasons, from delicate greens and berries during spring, to tomatoes and green beans during summer, and abundant crops of zucchini and hardy greens through fall.
No, we don’t want you to make a reservation. We want you to dine out – literally! – right in your own back yard. If your connotation of summer barbecues is limited to burgers and hot dogs crammed onto a paper plate, it’s time to think again!
Few summer activities are as iconic as the back yard barbecue, so why not take it up a notch and get serious about your outdoor entertaining? Serious doesn’t mean complicated, though – it actually means simpler, more beautiful, cleaner, and a whole lot easier than running back and forth to your indoor kitchen to grab plates and condiments and more ice.
Adding an outdoor kitchen to your landscape is one of the most effective ways to create a livable space that will bring four seasons of enjoyment. It can be as simple as a lovely natural stone grilling area with countertop seating, to an all-but-the-walls kitchen to rival any you’ll find indoors, including a refrigerator, running water, overhead lighting and other amenities.
For even more enjoyment, add a fireplace for ambiance, cooking, or both. With a fireplace as a focal point, you can go from upscale to rustic in a matter of a few carefully selected accessories.
Include lighting in the form of lanterns, string lights, or candles, and now you’re really cooking!
Sure you could build a back yard pool, and if that’s your dream, there are plenty of ways to make it come true – from vinyl to fiberglass to fully custom gunite. But for a truly memorable experience that you can enjoy over and over, all year long, consider adding a natural ecosystem pond.
There are more benefits to a pond than we could say here, but they include reduced anxiety, improved healing capacity, better focus and decreased pain. Beyond that, a pond is simply great fun.
Even people who were self-proclaimed “indoor people” suddenly found a love for the outdoors the minute they stood beside their own pond.
Koi make especially entertaining additions to the family. In bold shades of red, yellow, orange, gold, black and white, they’re each uniquely beautiful, with personalities of their own. They’re lively, fun to watch and can even be trained to eat right out of your hand. Feel free to share your edible garden greens with them!
Oh, and if you really want a swimming pool but either don’t have the space or don’t want the hassle? A pond can be your natural swimming pool. Yes, you can join the koi, goldfish and frogs, and float your way to peace of mind in a chemical-free, all-natural, healthy environment.
There are so many ways to build “wow” into your outdoor space, so why not start imagining your ideal experience right now? Whether you’re dreaming of a total overhaul, or adding a special element like a patio, seating area, kitchen, gazebo or pond, your best summer ever starts with a little imagination.
If you’ll be spending some time at home this summer and want to love every second of it, contact us for a consultation. We’re here to listen to your ideas, make recommendations, and create just the right space to suit your lifestyle.