Create A Backyard Getaway

by Rob Thomson - Date: 2010-08-15 - Word Count: 587 Share This!

A few years ago, we were landscaping our new home and had a consultant come in to give us some ideas. Following behind while she viewed the property, I feverishly took notes as she made suggestions. I figured we'd have a bit of grass, a couple walkways, some gardens - a typical yard, but our consultant had bigger ideas. She stopped at a spot, slightly on a hill, and overlooking trees and marsh., and stated, "This will be your private sitting area.".

I'm thinking, "sitting area," isn't that for the deck or the patio? She went on to explain that a yard should be divided into various sections, each assigned a different theme or function. This particular spot with its nice view and higher elevation, would make a perfect retreat. We took her advice, and proceeded to set this spot aside from the rest of the lawn by creating a floral hedge. We extended our rock path to weave through this area and poured gravel. Finally, we added a concrete bench, birdbath and some planters. Now we had a secluded spot to escape with our morning coffee and enjoy the view.

A backyard retreat is something that can be created in most yards - it just takes a little planning and creativity. This handy guide will help you design your ultimate getaway.

1. When choosing the location for your retreat, begin with an area that already has a nice ambiance. It may be a spot that you've always been drawn to, has a pleasing view, or is a little set back from the street and watchful eyes.

2. Once you've selected the general area, get out your sketch book and start brainstorming attractive designs for its overall shape. Try and make it flow with what is there, perhaps connecting part of your seating area with an existing flowerbed. You'll need to design a path leading to your new patio - make it curved, and have it connect to existing paths wherever possible.

3. Use a garden hose to define the shape of the patio and the pathway. Don't be timid about straying from linear to more free-flowing designs.

4. Create privacy by adding hedges, lattice fencing, trees and flowers. There should be a defined entry point bordered with posts or containers, or even a trellis. For patios built into hills, retaining walls may be necessary.

5. The patio surface can be as simple as gravel, patio stones, slate, flagstone, or whatever fits with your tastes and budget. Add interest by combining different mediums, such as a gravel base with stepping stones for easier walking.

6. Whatever you choose for seating should be low maintenance - you don't want to be removing it every time it rains. Concrete benches, and wood furniture works well.

7. If your retreat is located in a sunny location, you may consider adding a pergola roof with climbing floral vines, canopy, or a large umbrella.

8. If you don't have a built-in view, create one. This could be done with ornate shrubs, or a water feature, such as a fountain or pond. Adding a birdbath will also add a source of enjoyment. Make this area your own, by adding artistic elements such as unusual pottery, pictures hung on posts, glass balls or garden sculptures.

9. Depending on what sort of plans you have for your retreat, you may want to add a fire pit, or hot tub.

Remember, this is a place where you'll be spending considerable time, your retreat should be comfortable, cozy, and reflect your individual needs and personality.

Related Tags: landscaping, home improvements, yard improvements, back yard landscaping, outdoor retreat

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