You don’t need to book a camping trip to reap the restorative rewards of nature. Whether you’ve got a small condo balcony in the city, or a sprawling backyard in the country, here’s how to turn your slice of nature into a relaxing oasis.
Go overboard on plants
Adding greenery is the simplest, most effective way to transform your outdoor space into a fresh-air sanctuary. For balconies or small patios, use potted palms, grasses or climbing vines to create height (and privacy), then add flowering hanging baskets or planters for pops of colour.
For a large backyard space, the possibilities are endless. The plants, trees, and flowers you choose should be based on your budget, style, and the time you’re willing to dedicate to maintenance. Consider hiring a landscape designer for a one-hour consultation; for a much smaller price tag than landscaping services, they’ll be able to give you their advice on what to plant and where.
Create shady spots
There’s nothing sadder than a serene outdoor space you can’t actually use come summertime thanks to scorching sunlight. An umbrella is the obvious choice for adding shade, but a tree, vine-covered pergola or retractable awning will also get the job done.
Let there be light
With the right lighting, your outdoor retreat can be open 24 hours a day. Dimmable recessed patio lights are a worthy splurge for larger outdoor spaces with the budget to match. Outdoor solar lights are a more wallet-friendly option, but check the lighting quality before you purchase; some offer cooler toned illumination which is decidedly less cozy than a warm glow. Don’t forget string lighting, a necessity for any calm and cozy backyard or balcony. From fairy lights to Edison bulbs to kitschy pineapple-shaped twinklers, there’s a string light for every style.
Choose comfortable seating
The relaxation levels of your outdoor space can be directly correlated with the comfort levels of your outdoor seating. If you have the space, an outdoor chaise lounge paired with weatherproof cushions is the perfect option for long, lazy afternoons. A hammock is a classic choice and, depending on whether you choose a tree-strung, beam-hung or stand-supported variety, can work in spaces big and small. Or go for a chair-hammock hybrid—the hanging chair. These suspended seats make for a peaceful perch for al-fresco reading and daydreaming.
Outdoor rugs, throw pillows, furniture, candles, and art can all transform your outdoor area into a bonafide living space. Looking for inspiration on how to bring the indoors out? Scroll the Instagram feed @thejungalow, which is chock-full of outdoor spaces featuring wicker furniture, brightly hued cushions, patterned throw blankets and sunburst mirrors.
Pick your soundtrack
The nature sounds provided by a water feature, like a miniature fountain or a tiered waterfall, can imbue your oasis with a sense of calm. If babbling brook-like sound effects aren’t quite your idea of relaxation, install an outdoor speaker system (for larger spaces) or source an all-weather, Bluetooth-powered speaker to play your idea of tranquil tunes as you lounge.
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