Creating a Backyard Paradise for this Season’s Stay-cation

backyard_designThis year there is no reason not to enjoy a stay-cation in your own backyard.  All that is really needed is a few items that can be purchased through Outdora and the backyard will be transformed into a paradise.

To begin the design, decide on a focal point or center the paradise around the patio. Next, address the elements that are essential to any paradise.  These elements include fire, water, earth, and wind.  Each one of these elements addresses one of the five senses and together creates a complete paradise.

The fire element can be described as the part of the design that brings heat into the environment. It addresses not only our vision but also touch and if food is cooked over the fire then our taste buds come into play. This heat can be created from the spark of a gas grill all the way to a literal fire in a fire ring or pit.  Placing a grill on the patio along with a table chairs can create the fire element.  Another approach is to use a fire ring or pit that is placed on the patio or moved out into the backyard environment. When using the fire element, always remove any flammable material, such as grass, from the area before lighting the fire.

If zoning does not allow or a grill and/or fire pit is not an option, then add that spark to the landscape by using lighting.  This can take the form of tiki torches, traditional landscape lights and/or lighted stepping-stones.  Distribute the lighting through the garden space by highlighting special features and walkways for safety.  This will prevent the backyard from being too bright while allowing the gardener to build in mystery.  In this design, not every corner is lit.  This allows the moon to play in the environment and create shadows on walls and other materials without causing a safety issue.

Water is an important design element that every paradise has and is easily created. The water feature does not have to be a huge fountain but instead can be a simple table size fountain or a koi pond.  The sound of trickling water and the feel of it running through your fingers is a great stress reliever.  It also creates that sound element that can take one away to the tropics.

The earth element is the most diverse of all the elements.  It includes plant material, ground covers, and accessories.  Plant material can include that parlor palm that has been in the house all winter along with a hibiscus plants and everything in between.  Before moving plants outdoors, transplant them into larger containers.  Many different containers exist that are made from bamboo, wood, and/or clay pots with a decorative finish.  Using these containers will add to the feel of the backyard paradise.

Ground covers include different types of mulch and patio coverings.  When planning the backyard paradise do not limit yourself to mulch made out of wood.  There does exist dyed wooden mulch, dyed rubber mulch, and even stone mulch that looks like volcanic rock.  Also, consider adding a bamboo rug or outdoor patio covering that ties in with a paradise theme.

Accessories in this design are also diverse.  They can take the form of a statue, birdbath, and even a grass skirt to go around the edge of a table.  Also, bamboo blinds can be hung around the patio to not only create shade but as well as generate a more tropical feel.

The wind element in any paradise is the easiest one to mimic.  Wind chimes scattered around the backyard adds the musical tones of wind blowing through tropical plants.  If you want more than Mother Nature’s song, then consider using landscape speakers.  These can be place around seating areas or on a patio without disturbing the design.  Many of these landscape speakers now come in rock shapes that add design elements.

The last thing that needs to be added to design is seating.  Bamboo furniture is a favorite choice but what would a paradise be without a hammock.  If there exists two strong trees in the backyard landscape that are close together a traditional type of hammock can be used, but if there are not trees do not fret.  A hammock stand with a hammock will look right at home in your backyard paradise.  Just remember to place the hammock in a shady area away from any hazards, such as a fire pit, and make sure to test the strength of the structure that will hold the hammock.

So this year, do not fret over a stay-cation but instead, start planning for your own backyard paradise.  Outdora has many different products that will help turn your backyard into a paradise that you will take pride in and the neighbors will want to visit.


Mindy McIntosh-Shetter has been an Agricultural Science educator, and is a horticulture and/or environmental blogger who earned a degree from Purdue University in Agriculture Education with a minor in biology, and natural resources. Presently she is finishing up her Masters in Environmental Education and Urban Planning for the University of Louisville while working on her own agriculture/environmental blog.

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