How To Create A Backyard Sanctuary

Use our step-by-step process to build a backyard space ideal outdoor meals, morning coffee and more.

Craving an escape from the day-to-day? Carve out a peaceful oasis right in your own backyard with these simple steps.

1. Ask Yourself How You Will Use the Space

Do you want a space where the whole family can spend a lazy weekend day, or are you craving a private spot for one or two? Do you want to host brunch or a summer supper outdoors, or just sit with a new book or a stack of magazines? Decide now how you want to use the space and how many people you want to fit, and keep it in mind for later.

2. Choose Your Site

Take a tour around your backyard and brainstorm possible locations for your outdoor room. Once you have it narrowed down to a few options, visit the spots during the time of day you plan to use it most. For instance, if you want a place to relax after work, choosing a spot with great morning light won’t be so important – but if you plan to drink your morning coffee there, great morning light could be ideal.

3. Build a Path

For this project, it’s not all about the destination – the path you travel to get to your sanctuary will set the mood. Lay out a meandering path using mulch, stepping-stones or gravel that leads from your back door to your oasis.

Tip: Make artful, embellished stepping stones to add a touch of personalization to your backyard sanctuary.

4. Pay Attention to the Ground Cover

Grass, gravel, concrete, brick and stone each have pros and cons as flooring options for your outdoor room, but the fastest way to put your sanctuary together is to work with what you have! If the ground cover isn’t ideal, consider rolling out an outdoor rug for a quick, pretty change.

5. Create a Border

A lush flower border or row of planters and pots will create a visual boundary between your special space and the rest of the yard. For added privacy, place large planters with trellises of climbing flowers or vines around the border of your sanctuary.

6. Use Mood Lighting

Soft lighting will add an irresistible magical glow to your backyard sanctuary. Try stringing outdoor café lights overhead, or place solar stake lights directly into the ground along the pathway and around the perimeter of the space.

Tip: This Wicker Basket Light Art project from the experts at the Home Made Simple TV series can easily brighten up a patio space.

7. Add Comfy Seating

Choose seating that will stand up to the elements and also suits your purpose. For lounging and reading, try a pair of outdoor chairs with cushy pillows and a coffee table to put your feet up on. (Spray cushions with Febreze FABRIC once a week to keep pillows smelling fresh.) Or, for a weekend brunching spot, try using a resin or iron café table and chairs. If sun is an issue, you may want to add a patio umbrella, too. If you enjoy shopping for vintage finds, keep an eye out at flea markets and antique fairs for unique garden furniture that will add eclectic character to the space.

Tip: Help keep table surfaces clear of dirt and grime with Home Made Simple Multi-Purpose Spray. Made with plant-based ingredients, this cleaner gets the job done and is safe on hard surfaces (but please, no unfinished wood). Just spray, wipe with a paper towel or cloth, and enjoy the delightful scent of lavender, rosemary or lemon.

8. Engage All the Senses

The cheerful sound of a small fountain, birds splashing in a stone birdbath, a soft blanket to cover your lap on chilly evenings, fragrant flowers and fresh herbs growing nearby – try to provide something for each of your senses to make your backyard spot feel like a true sanctuary.

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