8 inspiring ideas to transform your backyard into an oasis

November 16, 2014

As any Canadian will tell you, summer is too short. To make the most of the time you have and turn a bare garden into an exotic outdoor oasis, here are eight backyard ideas to inspire you.

8 inspiring ideas to transform your backyard into an oasis

1. Create a garden plan

Many homeowners have turned their attention to sprucing up and landscaping their backyard to create the perfect outdoor living space. Before you move a single shovelful of soil, it's important to think about how you're going to use the outdoor living space you plan to transform.

  • Are you looking to entertain often?
  • Do you want privacy and an escape from people?
  • How large is the space you have to work with?
  • What is your budget? Is it realistic?

Whatever you decide, creating a garden plan will allow you to envision what your backyard might become before you've spent a penny. Write or sketch your ideas, and allow your imagination to guide you.

2. Add a relaxing water feature

Adding a water feature can immediately transform the simplest of backyards into a peaceful retreat, and a focus for wildlife.

  • Include a small fountain to have a bubbling sound that carries through your garden. The trickling sound is nothing short of heavenly!
  • Install a fishpond, complete with colourful koi fish, which can create a habitat for wild animals and aquatic plants alike.
  • If you like to cool off during the hot summer months, an in-ground swimming pool that looks like a natural pond is another great option.

3. Light up the backyard

Shimmering at night, inexpensive backyard lighting can be used to accentuate the curves of your garden. It's equally useful to light up pathways so people don't stumble.

  • There are many styles, shapes and colours of solar-powered lights that are easy to install and look great.
  • Lights can also be placed around trees or on the patio to create a soothing ambient environment.

If you want something brighter that turns night into day, consider motion-activated spotlights to avoid always having to flick lights on and off with a switch.

4. Plant trees, shrubs and colourful flowers

Trees, shrubs and flowers will instantly make any backyard look elegant and inviting.

  • Trees  provide shade and are usually low maintenance.
  • Exotic ornamental trees, like the Japanese Maple, have beautiful purple leaves that change to a surprising bright burst of red in autumn.
  • During the harshest of winter weather, evergreens will maintain their same verdant colour all-year round and provide a visual focus on the frozen landscape.
  • For a splash of eye-catching colour and the scent of perfumed fragrances, plants are an easy addition to any backyard. A magnet for birds, bees and admiring neighbours, perennial flowers will come back year after year and must be planted only once. Annuals need to be planted at the start of every gardening season, but allow you to mix it up differently each year.
  • Fruit trees covered in bright blossoms each spring can produce tart fruit, but they will also draw an abundance of bees which you might not desire.

5. Line the garden with stepping stones

Lining your garden with stepping stones provide visitors with a welcome and enchanting pathway.

  • Stone paving and rock walls anchor outdoor spaces and help define the size of the outdoor living area.
  • Because stones come in many natural colours, shapes and sizes, they can be used to create an infinite number of possibilities.

If you choose to go with stone features, select them with care because these structures are a heavy and often permanent fixture once installed.

6. Install an overhead structure

Whether it's an awning, gazebo or another kind of overhead structure, protection from the rain and sun is sure to be appreciated.

  • There are adjustable patio awnings available that can be controlled at a touch of a button or turn of a crank.
  • With a few friends and some basic tools, you can build a wooden gazebo in the space of an afternoon...then enjoy it after!
  • For some people, setting up a tent-like canopy is the answer: it's cheap, quick to put up and lightweight.

Most of these accessories need little maintenance, are environmentally friendly and allow you to enjoy your outdoor living space, regardless of what Mother Nature has in mind.

7. Add some stylish garden furniture

Why not replace your old, stained resin patio furniture with something sturdier and more appealing? Patio furniture now comes in a variety of styles, sizes, colours and designs that were not offered a few years ago.

  • Swap your sagging canvas lawn chair attractive club chairs and matching ottoman
  • Get rid of that rusty old hibachi and replace it with a portable fire pit set
  • Turn in that rickety wooden picnic table for a comfy bistro set made for two

Almost any outdoor furniture can transform an underused backyard into an elegant and inviting space. Sometimes a furniture upgrade is all it takes.

8. Remember to include your patio

The patio is an integral part of landscaping a backyard because it allows you to sit and relax while enjoying the scenery. There are many types and styles of patio to fit almost every budget.

  • You may also expand an existing patio to accommodate larger furniture and provide more space to walk around the area, essentially turning your patio into a useable outdoor room.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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