As people spent more time at home over the last few of years, the outdoor space regained prominence as an important “must have” feature for prospective homebuyers in 2023.
Most homeowners and aspiring buyers alike desire a comfortable, private, yet elegant area in fresh air that will give them a chance to relax and enjoy nature peacefully. Unfortunately, most homes lack such an oasis and consumers are often misguided on how to go about creating one.
If you’re ready to update your exterior and aren’t sure where to start, here are the top items to keep in mind.
10 Ways to Create a Beautiful & Peaceful Outdoor Oasis
- Keep Learning & Experimenting
- Treat Your Outdoor Kitchen as an Entertainment Venue
- Divide and Conquer Your Outdoor Space
- Don’t Underestimate the Power of Landscaping
- Bring Elements of the Indoors Outside
- Don’t Forget to Plan for Drainage
- Make Lighting the Star of the Evening
- Use Durable & Low-Maintenance Sustainable Materials
- Control Your Outdoor Climate with Style
- Protect Your Outdoors Against Pests Safely
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1. Keep Learning & Experimenting
As you start to gather ideas for your dream outdoor area, always keep in mind that this will be an on-going process. In other words, your outdoor areas can be used as a fun learning experience to try new things – keeping what you like, and correcting or eliminating what you don’t.
Flexibility is always a key trait to prioritize, as this will give you options to make adjustments as you experience your updated spaces over time! This is one variable that even the best designers, landscapers and contractors do not have – they will never have the opportunity to live in the actual spaces that they create. You, however, do – so be sure to make notes as you get more familiar with your “outdoor space creations”, as your needs and preferences change over time.
Durability and ease-of-maintenance are two prevalent needs that will influence homeowner preferences over time, as products and materials get tested by both real-world usage and the natural elements over extended periods of time. You’ll grow to love those products that prove themselves, no matter the upfront costs!
Whether you’re updating to sell or building a special retreat for your own enjoyment, there’s nothing like blurring the lines between indoors and out. Consider the rest of these inspirational ideas to make your own backyard oasis that you’ll be excited to come home to, and enjoy in private or share with others.
2. Treat Your Outdoor Kitchen as an Entertainment Venue
The best way to make the outdoors inviting is to create a space you’ll feel inspired to use. An outdoor kitchen is a highly effective way to build an entertainment area outside, while also giving you the chance to spend time with guests while they’re visiting.
This is especially advantageous if your backdoor goes through your indoor kitchen. To elevate a food-centric space, take the time to invest in high-quality outdoor kitchen supplies, furniture that’s conducive to dining, and flexible shade structures to block sunlight as needed during hot, late afternoons.
Outdoor kitchens catering to Asian-cuisines are especially popular in Southern California, as they allow home chefs to use strong-smelling ingredients with abandon. Normally, powerful ingredients, such as fish paste, curry powders, and garlic, when used indoors, can permeate the entire home and settle into fabrics. An outdoor kitchen alleviates this problem by allowing lingering cooking odors, as well as heat, to dissipate quickly into the open outdoor space and air.
Many innovative new kitchen products are lending themselves toward outdoor entertainment, as well, such as:
- Pizza Ovens
- Electric Smokers
- Turkey Fryers
- Fire-Pits for S’mores
- Outdoor Popcorn Poppers
- Automated On-Demand Bartenders
3. Divide and Conquer Your Outdoor Space
If you are fortunate to have a large yard that can certainly represent an exciting opportunity. However, it can be challenging to plan how to use a space when there’s so much of it, with no clear purpose for most of it. To get a handle on a large outdoor area, start by envisioning zones that can be sectioned off using pavers, stones, gravel, plants, sculptures, or furniture.
Creating zones within vast spaces using structures such as cabanas, permanent or temporary pergolas, awnings, or movable umbrellas with portable stands, will make your outdoor area more manageable, and intimate, as well.
Similar to how you would section off a living room that’s too large and open, take the time to make spaces for everything you want. This could mean a lounging area, a sensory garden space, an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, or so much more. If you build “micro-sites” with purpose, you’ll be far more likely to use them. They’ll also make hosting easier, as they will offer multiple ways for guests to feel comfortable, yet engaged.
When entertaining, section off areas for food and drinks, making sure to have lots of shaded seating areas for guests, including quiet nooks for private conversations.
4. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Landscaping
Landscaping can elevate your backyard a lot further than your original perceptions. If you want less noise to get into your backyard, planting a line of shrubs or trees can help. You can outline specific areas of your lawn, use plants for drainage, add privacy, and so much more. A good virtual landscape design can provide a vision to strive toward over time.
Consider how often the plants you put in will need to be watered and how much maintenance they’ll need before you pick specific types. Don’t build more work for yourself in the long run. Those seeking a natural setting that’s easy to care for should definitely consider a “self-managing” permaculture backyard.
Make use of potted plants that can be repositioned as needed. Fruit trees, flowering trees and bushes that add calming scents, such as lavender or mint, are perfect for planters and pots that can be mobile, when necessary.
5. Bring Elements of the Indoors Outside
Bringing features and details that you have inside to your outdoors is an excellent way to make the outdoors feel like a true extension of your home. You can do this by using similar stone, tile, and fabric colors and styles, but you should also consider metal finishes, wood stains, and lighting types, as well.
Creating an “outdoor living room” will give you the luxury of entertaining outdoors without all of the fuss and worry over spills, traffic, and wear-and-tear like with your indoor décor.
Bean bag chairs, sectional outdoor sofas, chaise lounges and outdoor lamps will all help to give a cohesive, outdoor space a sophisticated, yet comfortable indoor look.
Although you shouldn’t bring indoor furniture outside and leave it, you can use your indoor furniture as a jumping-off point for aesthetic ideas. Choose wooden chairs made of eucalyptus, teak, or acacia for an indoor look with lasting beauty and easy maintenance.
Wrought iron furniture also offers lasting durability and stands up to the elements over the years with minimal maintenance.
Pillows of all sizes encased in washable outdoor-rated fabric are an easy way to deliver the powerful combination of comfort and personality. You can finish the “comfort look” by adding outdoor curtains around a deck or pergola for privacy, adding protection from the elements, with a more upscale look.
Other sources of inspiration to envision “indoor-comfort outdoors” are professional picnic planners and innovative picnic products. You will be amazed at the available products and the comfort that can be designed for temporary outdoor spaces!
6. Don’t Forget to Plan for Drainage
As part of your outdoor planning process, keep in mind that foul weather and heavy storms are excellent opportunities to understand how they may impact your outdoor areas and how to best mitigate these threats.
That said, drainage is one of the most important features to consider for outdoors spaces, yet it is too often overlooked when doing a yard remodeling project. Consider where water sits on your property, and look into where you can lead water away from. Pairing landscape drainage grates with a rain garden can be a great way to pull water down and out, without making your yard unattractive through this process.
Also remember to use local native plants since these species will be able to absorb the water best and will be able to handle whatever weather your area typically gets.
7. Make Lighting the Star of the Evening
Ironically, many homeowners can overthink what type of wet-look paver sealer they need, while not thinking much about the kind of lighting that’s vital to a backyard space.
Just as an outdoor kitchen can draw guests and family around a central point of entertainment, outdoor lighting can captivate audiences by being able to transform an ordinary daytime place into an extraordinary evening atmosphere.
There are seemingly limitless lighting options for the many types of outdoor structures, color, how much light, when they’ll turn on, and so much more. It’s vital to think about what suits your needs upfront before making a purchase decision.
Solar powered outdoor lamps can add glamour and help bring the indoor look to your outdoor space, all without worrying about electrical wiring or restricted placements.
Dimmable net lights mounted above a pergola or gazebo, beneath a deck, or inside a cabana can create highly unique and memorable nighttime spaces.
There are so many choices to give your outdoor areas a well-lit or dimmable appeal to suit any occasion or mood, from “colorfully festive” to “comfortably intimate”.
8. Use Durable & Low-Maintenance Recycled Materials
Though it’s understandable that many homeowners will think first of natural materials when making selections for outdoor features such as: decking; pavers; cladding; and furniture. However, there are many new sustainable products that are being manufactured with recycled materials that are achieving the “trifecta of outdoor materials”:
Whenever selecting materials for outdoor areas that will withstand the most usage or exposure to the elements, be sure to research thoroughly the pros and cons of various materials. You will likely be pleasantly surprised by the many advances in sustainable materials.
Here are just three examples of sustainable material options worthy of strong consideration for any outdoor oasis:
9. Control Your Outdoor Climate with Style
Though the weather can never be fully controlled in your outdoor oasis, there are still many ways to mitigate its unpleasant or uncomfortable impacts.
Propane heaters have long been a popular option for keeping outdoor areas warm during the evening. Modern propane heaters combine a growing list of functional benefits (e.g. portability; efficient heating; versatility; enhanced safety) with stylish aesthetics. The result is being able to provide beauty, interest, and warmth to crisp evenings for extended hours of outdoor entertainment.
Fire pits are another effective way to create a center point of your lawn for entertaining or just spending time with loved ones. Remember to build a fire feature intelligently in an area free from trees, at least twenty feet away from your home, and that can be constructed and used safely. Fire pits are gaining more and more popularity in recent years and are one of the best ways to boost your yard’s popularity.
Similarly, for those hot days or humid nights, you may still want to entertain outdoors while keeping your guests comfortable. Misting cooling systems have become affordable for residential use and are a great way to keep the festivities going while keeping guests refreshed and protected as the temperature approaches triple digits.
Shade sails are yet another highly flexible solution that can provide further protection against both the sun and rain, while making a striking aesthetic statement in the process.
10. Protect Your Outdoors Against Pests Safely
From pesky ground moles that destroy your lawn to annoying mosquitoes and biting insects, you will want to mitigate pests that will inevitably disturb your peaceful backyard oasis.
Keep your yard comfortable and pest-free with new environmentally-friendly products such as Pestie and BugMD. Both companies offer safe, effective pest control solutions that are not harmful to children or pets.
Insect repellent blankets are another recent invention that provides portable protection in elegant style.
Also make sure to plan ahead when landscaping with sod by installing mole resistant barriers to prevent tunnels and mole hills from developing over your yard.
Related to safety and wellness, professional pet waste removal services should be a part of an outdoor maintenance plan for any petowner, especially prior to any large outdoor gatherings. These services are not just about convenience, but they are also able to sanitize and deodorize more thoroughly than DIY methods. Regular, thorough cleanings will also keep your yard free of smells that might attract unwanted or dangerous wildlife.
About the Author
Stephanie Rogers is a freelance writer that enjoys sharing her love for writing with others. She primarily writes about home remodeling, interior design ideas, and landscaping, but lately has started writing more about her passion for music. She lives in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona where she enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, Chino. Stephanie’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a construction industry resource site.
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