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Friday, April 23, 2010

10 Secrets For Creating A Backyard Oasis For The Whole Family (Guest Post)

This time of year everyone is spending more time outside in the yard and the garden. Today Jay Chua of PorchSwingSets.com offers us some tips in creating that perfect backyard setting.

10 Secrets For Creating A Backyard Oasis For The Whole Family

Nothing brings the family out to play like a warm summer day. Outdoor fun is a surefire way to create lasting memories with the entire family. Encourage the whole gang to spend time together by creating the ideal area for relaxation just outside your patio door. Discover these secrets and invest in your family today.

1. Survey Your Surroundings

Start with an overview of your yard. Is there a patio or deck that provides an excellent base for living space? Note any mature trees and plantings and be aware of the light conditions in the area, shady, sunny or a mixture of both.
Consider how you can spruce up the existing features. A new coat of stain or a good scrub will bring a deck or patio back to its glory. Climbing vines hide unsightly views well and shrubs and trees can be easily trimmed to create clean, natural lines.

Ensure you have enough privacy in the yard. Create a living fence by planting quick growing hedges close together. Evergreens offer year round coverage and also act as a sound and wind barrier.

2. Personalize The Space For Each Person

Consider the lifestyle, hobbies and interests of every member of the family in your backyard design.

Bistro sets are a refreshing place to read the morning paper and sip your coffee. Set out casual patio furniture that's ideal for chess games or a round of cards and let imagination reign with a treehouse or clubhouse. Private nooks draw the reader in the family and there's room for two on a porch swing set inspired by the classic romances.

For the kid in all of us, a garden train set could be just the thing. With outdoor, weatherproof track installed around the landscape perimeter, the whole family will have hours of fun and excitement.

3. Create Less Work For Yourself

Design your gardens for low maintenance and you'll be free to relax instead of chained to the garden. Choose your plants wisely, including growth habits and light tolerance.

Mulch the garden well every year to retain moisture and control weeds better. Consider landscape fabric under paving stones and wood chip paths for an even stronger weed block. Plan well and fill your garden with flowers you will enjoy, not chores you may dread.

4. Take The Kitchen Outdoors

Grilling on the patio can involve the whole family. Keep the stifling heat out of your kitchen and install a BBQ. Choose from the wide variety of natural gas, propane and charcoal grills out there.

Outdoor fire pits bring the cozy feeling of a campfire home. Whether you install a wood burning fire pit or a gas patio fireplace, your whole family will look forward to gathering around it long past the sunset.

5. Garden For Function, Taste And Beauty

Appreciate the taste of fresh vegetables from your own backyard. Involve the kids and grow favorites like sugar snap peas, pumpkins and cherry tomatoes. Or grow something that all can appreciate inside the house as well. Cut flower gardens are full of cheer and flowers like daisies, cosmos and sunflowers are perfect.

6. Invest In Furniture To Last

Your yard will need quality, well designed outdoor furniture to provide the optimum atmosphere. Besides a solid patio set, additional pieces like a chaise lounge, hammock or glider bench present comfortable, attractive spots in the yard. A porch swing set invites you out of the smoldering sun or light summer rain for a relaxing moment or two.

Color and patterns play a big part. The entire look of your yard can be changed with a coat of paint or finish, as well as different cushions and pillows. Be sure to decorate with the colors of nature in mind.

7. Invite Conversations

Set up your patio furniture with interaction in mind. Conversations sets that include low tables and couches are perfect to stimulate a good discussion or create room for laughter and chatting. Add in a patio fire pit for an even cozier setting. Be sure to include enough seating for the whole family, plus any guests that are drawn to your oasis.

8. Set The Mood With Music

Wire the stereo to include some hidden outdoor speakers, allowing you to add the soothing sounds of tunes any time. Look for clever specialty speakers, where the unit is discreetly designed to resemble garden rocks. No one but you will ever need to know.

9. Add The Calming Effect Of Water

Water features like fountains, birdbaths and ponds are peaceful focal points, especially if your home is situated near noisy traffic. Block out the sounds of the world with the calming effect of water in the backyard.

10. Leave Room For Games

Don't forget to leave clear yard space available for family games like Frisbee, catch or bocce ball. Badminton is another popular sport that sets up easily in smaller spaces. Build a horse shoe pit to one side or install a hot tub to soothe aching muscles. Areas designated for group play are a must to complete your yard.

Give your whole family the ideal place to stay, play and hang out in this year. Your backyard oasis will be a magnet for every one of you, just beyond the patio door.

About The Author

Jay Chua is the Publisher of PorchSwingSets.com, but his heart is filled with a love for nature and the outdoors. He and his wife Deisy find plenty of time to enjoy the natural beauty in Vancouver, Canada. When he's resting from the garden, home from his travels and not designing backyard retreats, Jay enjoys slow, relaxing moments on wooden porch swings with his wife by his side. There is simply no better place to savor coffee and a good book. At PorchSwingSets.com you too can discover how swings and hammocks can be used to create your own backyard oasis.

3 comments :

  1. Great ideas from your guest author. There is only one thing I would add to the planting suggestion is to make sure they do not attract bees or wasps. I learned this the hard way and have gone to plants that are either green or that do not attract insects (and there are many).

    Eileen

    ReplyDelete
  2. All great ideas -- music and water are two of the things I think I would enjoy most, along with some quality furnishings, of course. :) I bought a small bubbling fountain at an end-of-season sale last summer and look forward to establishing that...er, somewhere. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Jay!

    These are all wonderful tips. I like the idea with the hidden outdoor speakers that look like garden rocks.

    ReplyDelete

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