Now is the perfect time for a “Stay-Cation”
Turning your own backyard into an oasis retreat
During a time of social distancing and self-quarantining, looking at the same four walls can start to become a little maddening. With summer “officially” here, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying nature does wonders for the mind and body. If you’ve been thinking about how to maximize your outdoor living space or want to create one in general, I’m happy to share some fun ideas to make this summer memorable with projects, activities and relaxing spaces.
Depending on the location of your home, apartment, condo, etc., there are always ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you have a small outdoor balcony or vast acres of land to roam, creating an outdoor oasis takes a little creativity and some elbow grease. Your living space doesn’t need to cost a fortune and can more often than not, be completed in an afternoon. Start with the space you have, brainstorm about how you’d best enjoy the space, evaluate your budget, make a game plan, and get to work. There are many ideas online, in magazines (including this one) and even in your own neighborhood to draw from. Check out some of the ideas below to add some sizzle to your summer.
1. Build a deck or patio. This may seem like a huge and costly undertaking, but if you research the best type of application for your space and types of materials, this area will provide lasting memories.
2. Accessorize your area with colorful outdoor rugs, ottomans, and pillows (both throw and floor). Update them if they are faded or mildewed.
3. Add lanterns, torches, and candles to create a calming effect while keeping pesky bugs at bay.
4. Illuminate your space with outdoor string lights. You can easily create posts or spaces to connect them to with online tutorials.
5. Spray paint existing furniture to give it a makeover or shop at thrift stores for unique finds.
6. Purchase or build large yard games like oversized Jenga or Connect Four.
7. Create an outdoor movie night with a projector or inflatable movie screen. Add outdoor ottomans, blankets, and floor pillows for a cozy vibe. Don’t forget the snacks!
8. Create a firepit for roasting s’mores and telling ghost stories. (Check with your local fire department first – just in case. Some communities have guidelines for outdoor fires in residential areas)
9. Designate a special space for a reading nook.
10. Mix and match dining chairs with a table for a fun outdoor “restaurant.” Create themed meals and pretend you are dining out at a popular new restaurant.
11. Create or improve your BBQ area. Try adding an outdoor pizza oven.
12. Set up a kiddie pool to cool off during a hot day. No judgment if there are no kids present.
13. Slip and slide your way around your yard.
14. Add plants and flowers to your space to add color, scent, and texture. Look into renovating your landscaping if it is dying, overgrown, or could use a fresh update.
15. Evoke a sense of calm with a water feature. This could be a small table-top fountain or something much larger depending on the amount of room you have.
16. Add a fish pond and stock it with your favorite coy and water plants.
17. Plant a garden and try planting new veggies, herbs, and fruits. This year, I’m trying strawberries. Fingers crossed they don’t all end up as a tasty snack for a bird.
18. Set up a yoga or exercise area and take your workout outdoors.
19. Pitch a tent and have a good old-fashioned camp out. Be sure to have a sleeping bag, bug spray, a lantern, and snacks. Leave the electronics inside.
20. Build a fairy garden.
21. Have a water balloon fight.
22. Fill your birdbath with overripe fruit or sugar water to attract butterflies.
23. Turn your shed into a livable space by giving it a fresh coat of paint, adding shutters, comfy furniture, lighting, and accessories. It could be used for reading, a music studio, gardening, crafting, brewing, etc.
24. Add flower boxes to the front of your house and plant your favorite plants and flowers to add curb appeal.
25. Build a pergola and hang outdoor lights, creeping plants, and include seating for a beautiful hangout.
26. Give your front porch a makeover with a new welcome mat, updated house number, planters with small trees or flowers, a new wreath, and even swapping out your lighting for new fixtures. You could even change your front door with something colorful or different in design.
27. Install outdoor speakers to listen to music in surround sound.
28. Build an outdoor bar for “entertaining” or making evening cocktails.
29. Paint rocks with positive messages or colorful images and hide them around your neighborhood for others to find.
30. Hang a hammock and take a long nap. You deserve it!
As different as life may be from what we’re used to, it’s important to find the silver lining in the pause we were given. I know I’m grateful for the time spent at home with my family and I am looking forward to more time spent outdoors. Here’s to making the most out of summer 2020!