Have you been spending a lot more time in your backyard like me?? It seems now more than ever making your backyard a personal oasis is so important!
We had a pretty major mudslide back in April 2020 (yup- right when the great pandemic was in full swing…🤪) that forced our hand in making some serious upgrades to our backyard.
It’s okay though – it was kinda long overdue tbh…
And boy am I in love with all our improvements!
Aaaaaand now I am going to share my tips and ideas on how you can make YOUR backyard a personal oasis too!
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Tips on How to Make a Relaxing Backyard
But First… The Mudslide…
Just to give you a little background on what I meant when I mentioned a mudslide above…
I don’t think I need to add any more words here as the pictures will give you an idea of how Mother Nature forced our hand in a backyard remodel 🤪.
NOW THAT WE GOT THAT OUT OF THE WAY… HERE ARE MY TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE YOUR BACKYARD A PERSONAL OASIS 🙂
Have Multiple Comfy and Cozy Seating Options
Obviously seating areas are going to be a crucial part in creating your backyard retreat spaces.
If the seating is cozy, you are more likely to kick back and stay in your backyard.
We have had this extra large sectional for about five years now and it truly is the center of our backyard oasis!
I personally love to sit on the rocking chairs here though (what is it about rocking chairs???!!)
I usually have to buy new outdoor throw pillows every year or so as our salt air is pretty hard on outdoor materials. Small price to pay for our temperate climate though ;).
We also recently added this little sitting area in the far back corner of our yard.
The barn door has special meaning to my youngest daughter and I.
We bought it when we were at a vintage market about four years ago with her best friend who recently passed away suddenly and tragically.
We have named this corner of our yard the Katie reflection garden after our loved one and hope to always come out here and smile as we remember that fun day with her ;).
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Add Fire (or Heaters!)
Not that the mudslide required redoing our built in firepit BUUUUTTTT it was almost 18 years old and pretty dang rusted and worn out.
So this last summer of 2021, we kept going with our backyard changes and repaired our firepit and changed the materials to be all concrete.
Of course, once we did that – we had to change the bench that was behind it.
And the bbq grill countertop.
Do your ideas snowball like mine do?
Again- it’s okay. It was beyond needed and turned out soooo much prettier and cleaner than I ever could have imagined!!
Sadly, I totally forgot to take a before picture of our old firepit (and since it was not so photo-worthy I had never taken any photos of it before!) – crazy I know!!
You can see in the before photo of the ring though how warped and very likely kinda dangerous our fire ring was underneath all the lava rock we had on top of it 😱.
And here is a before and after of the BBQ grill area too ;):
Besides fire, warmth can be added to your backyard with heaters.
My daughters love how easy the electric heater is (literally just push the button to turn it on). So it was a really convenient addition to our yard last year.
I will say however that the glow from the electric heater is quite orange – and sometimes I feel like I am under a food warmer when it is on 😂…
But I guess that is the point – isn’t it???
I also have a basket of blankets ready to go whenever it is time to sit outside.
They are all outside blankets and are never used inside so if someone stops by impromptu – the basket is already ready for us to get cozy on my backyard sectional :).
Put in a Beach
A beach you say?? In a backyard??
The idea to do this literally just came to me as we were repairing our yard last year. I live less than four miles from the beach and yet – I maybe go once a year… maybe..
My biggest reason for this is that I cannot stand the hassle of getting yourself to the beach and then finding parking!
Well that and I am 100% not a water person.
Probably been in my pool a total of 5 times in the last 18 years 😬.
That said – I do love the feel of sand on your toes and how cool it feels…
So I decided – why not make my OWN beach in my OWN backyard?
It is not huge by all means – but I dare say it is my favorite spot in my backyard now ;)!
Don’t Forget About Lighting
We hired an electrician to hang Edison light strands in our yard. Mainly because we don’t have a lot of options on where to attach them on either end besides our house and our palm trees lining the back of our yard.
We have a friend who is an excellent electrician and knows me well enough to just do things that he knows I would like.
It was his idea to splice the four strands together and then make it so that they have a switch to be turned on inside the house WITH A DIMMER!
Guess I should tell you all that I am also not a fan of bright lights. I get headaches pretty easily from overhead lights and every single light switch in my house is a dimmer.
So when David put my outdoor lights on a dimmer – I knew he was thinking of me ;)!
Candles and lanterns are also a perfect addition to your relaxing backyard oasis!
These lanterns are everywhere in my backyard and are on a timer so they are very low maintenance and add so much to the ambience of my yard ;).
Add a Bar Cart
I stumbled upon this bar cart at the beginning of summer after googling outdoor bar carts! And the price was sooo reasonable!
It is perfect for small parties, large parties, and even when it is just my family sitting outside on a summer night (which I am not going to lie has not been very often this summer with everyone’s crazy schedules!).
Did you read my blog post about empty nesting and what an adjustment that has been???
Install an Outdoor Shower (with hot water!)
Being that we live close to the beach and my husband is a surfer and my kids did not inherit their mom’s dislike of the beach, an outdoor shower was kinda mandatory when we bought this house in 2003…
When my kids were little and spent every single summer evening in the pool, I would even have them take their night showers outside.
Boy did that make the nighttime routine easy btw!
Have a Space at the Table for Everyone
We had this table custom made for us by a talented friend who had a similar table in his own home.
I loved the rustic simplicity of his when I originally saw it and when he said he could make me one – I was like yes please!
We had always struggled to fit everyone around the table when my in-laws would come over for dinner and so I had my friend make this table big enough to seat 14 ☺️.
The wood is three planks of reclaimed barn wood from a local SoCal shop and the pipes are literally just pipes my friend got at Home Depot!
Be sure to check out my blog post about this dinner party I had last month btw!
We have had the table for years now and have used it for Easter brunch, Graduation parties, Fall dinner parties, and even Thanksgiving during the Covid pandemic (which may actually be our new holiday tradition!!)!
We also added seating at our newly remodeled bbq counter.
We used to have an outdoor burner in this place which we seriously never EVER used so when we decided to change the slate top to cement – I had my contractor take that dang burner out.
And now we have an entire seating area for anyone that actually does not fit at our large table.
That has been the case so far for two large backyard parties we have had this summer!!
I looooovvvee these new outdoor barstools too btw! I am just waiting for an end of summer sale (or discount code) to buy two or three more even!!
I hope this post was even the teensiest bit of inspiration and or encouragement for you to make your backyard a relaxing retreat!
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~ T.S. Eliot
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