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Creating a Summer Oasis

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Memories and moments in time are so valuable if life and knowing that summertime, lake parties, and bon fires are just around the corner, is making  getting through the long work week that much easier for me this spring.  I have started to research and shop for items to create my own summertime oasis because, when I know I’m coming home to a relaxing beautiful place it helps me remember why I work and can enjoy the fruits of my labor.  If you have a large backyard, creating a space that is inviting and well-used can be tricky if there isn’t a larger patio or deck to start with.  If you have a small city living patio or rooftop deck it can also be tricky to make it feel homey and relaxing.  Through my leisurely research for my own backyard oasis I have realized there are so many options when it comes to making your backyard part of your home and summer living space.

There are main areas to consider when creating your backyard oasis.  First you need to decide if your space is for entertaining more than relaxation.  The amount of things you need to create that space will differ depending on how you plan to use it.  The next area to focus on is water features, and water upgrades.  The next areas of the outdoor space are plants and greenery, shelter, accent features, and finally the bonfire pit or outdoor fireplace.

First you need to decide if your space is for entertaining more than relaxation, and is it going to be utilized on a daily basis?  The amount you need to create the space will differ depending on how you plan to use it.  If you plan to use it as a space primarily for your immediate family, you should invest in high quality patio furniture for durability with wear and tear.  I suggest creating two main areas on your deck or patio for the family to live in and enjoy. First I would start with purchasing a table and a BBQ grill.  You don’t need to get fancy with these two items, but make sure they are functional for your family.  Be sure to get a six or eight person dining table with an umbrella in case more people stop by or if the kids invite their friends for dinner.  This table can be used for more things than just dinner, use it to do summertime crafts or as meal prep station.  Once you have the table and all that goes with it, a standard BBQ grill is perfect for a family of four. You can cook whole meals on a good grill so don’t waste time going in and out of the house to check the boiling corn on the cob, grill the corn right outside!  After dinner everyone needs to relax, so having a space to chill out in is very valuable.  I suggest purchasing a couch, love seat, and rocking chairs as a set to relax in.  Accent the area with a coffee table and end-table and mount a flat screen TV to the back or your house or pergola to keep the family happy and entertained for hours.  Outdoor shelter or coverage is important when creating a space for your family to live in, make sure you have shade and coverage from rain at all times when creating your space, canopy, pergola, and tiki huts all work great and add character and shelter to your outdoor space.

If you want to use your outdoor space for more than just your immediate family, add a bar to the essential areas of the yard.  You can make your own bar with an old door and scrap wood, or you can purchase an outdoor bar patio set with bar chairs and all.  This area is get for entertaining and if it has proper storage you can leave clean glasses and such outside.  These are the basic areas of starting a great outdoor space, obviously they can be upgraded by adding a full outdoor kitchen, fire burning pizza oven, and ice maker but they are not necessary for a great night outdoors with the family.

If you want to use your outdoor space for relaxation more than entertainment or if you don’t have a large family, then investing in a water feature will help create a unique and peaceful outdoor oasis for you.  Water fountains into a pound are great for spaces with high traffic noise.  The trickling water drowns out the sound of traffic and helps transport your mind into a spa–like atmosphere.  Installing a mini pond if very simple and easy do it your self-directions can be found all over the internet, ask your local hardware store for ideas and help as well if you are unsure about starting a project of that kind.  If you have room in your yard to install a pool, I say do it!  But be sure to add a water feature to create a more organic looking space that blends into the yard and patio.  Use plants and foliage around the pool to help it look more natural and cohesive.

Plants and flowers are an essential part of creating your backyard oasis and there are so many different ways to use them.  Start with multiple potted plants, and arrange them on the deck and patio.  Use the same flowers for the potted plants as the ones in your flower beds; this will bring a nice flow to the garden and patio.  Use a lot of colorful flowers like pink, yellow and white if you have brown and gray cement or wood.  The bright colors will pop and make your backyard look like a fun and happy place to be.  I suggest planting your herbs into bright colored pots and labeling them with outdoor paint.  These bright pots with beautiful green herbs will add so much fragrance and functionality to your outdoor space, because not only to they look great but you can cook with them too.  Be sure to add plants to your outdoor tables, succulents are great centerpiece to an outdoor dining table, people can see over them when sitting across from each other and they are very durable and easy to take care of.  Cutting your own flowers and putting them in a vase from your tulip garden or cherry blossom tree is great for a quick outdoor centerpiece as well.

When accenting your outdoor space not only are plants and flowers a necessity but pillows, rugs and candles are as well.  When purchasing your furniture pick cushions and frame colors that are natural like gray, black, brown, sage, blue, tan, or cream.  You can accent the furniture every few years with new pillows and dining table umbrella.  This year navy and white are great colors to accent your outdoor space with.  Along with pillows, you need to get and outdoor run to go under your seating area and coffee table.  This will add warmth and depth to your space while making it feel like you’re sitting indoors.  Lighting can make all the difference when you’re setting up your outdoor space, so buy candles in different colors for end tables, string lighting through the trees, and use tiki torches for a lite pathway to your party.  If you have stairs on your deck or patio light the stirs with rope lighting or under glow.

A main focus of a late night party is the bonfire and all the fun that comes with it.  Bon fire pits come in all different shapes and sizes so find the right pit for you can be tricky.  If you don’t have a lot of grassy space, putting a black metal pit on your concrete patio works great.  Some of these pits come with cut out logos on the side of them that you can personalize with your last name or favorite sports team. When the pit has a fire going, the logo illuminates making a great conversation piece and accent to your yard.  If you prefer something with no mess or smoky smell, the beautiful coffee tables that double as a bon fire are magical, using propane.  The ultimate bon fire pit in my opinion though, is the brick pit, one that is built into the ground with a surrounding patio and fire wall.  This area if built correctly will be the centerpiece of your yard and give your friends and family years of enjoyment and memories.

Whether you have a large outdoor patio and back yard or a small apartment balcony it’s important to decorate that space as part of your home.  Being outside is great for your mental health and if you live in an area with the four seasons, spring and summer are valuable times of the year.  Outdoor spaces don’t have to be just for entertaining, they can also be for your own personal meditation and relaxation.  Create the best outdoor oasis for your taste and you are sure to have an amazing summer.

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