How to Create a Backyard Sanctuary Over a Weekend

How to Create a Backyard Sanctuary Over a Weekend

You don’t need a huge project (or budget) to create your oasis with these tips.


By: Laura Gaskill

Carve out a peaceful oasis right in your own backyard this weekend with these simple steps.

Consider How You Will Use the Space
Do you want a space where the whole family can sprawl out on a lazy weekend day, or are you craving a private spot for one or two? Do you want to have meals outdoors, or just sit with a new book or stack of magazines? Decide what activities you want space for and how many people you want to accommodate, and make a note of it.

Choose Your Site
Take a look at 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 are most likely to use it. For instance, if you want a place to relax after work, choosing a spot with great morning light won’t be so important — but that could be ideal if you want a place to drink your coffee first thing in the morning!

Lay the Pathway
It’s not all about the destination — the path you travel to get to your sanctuary will set the mood for what’s to come. Consider laying out a meandering path using mulch, stepping stones or gravel, leading from your back door to your oasis.

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Pay Attention to What’s Underfoot
Grass, gravel, concrete, brick and stone each have their own pros and cons as flooring for your outdoor room, but the fastest way to get your sanctuary put together is to work with what you have! If the ground is not what you ideally would like to have, consider rolling out an outdoor rug for a quick change.

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, use large planters with trellises supporting climbing flowers or vines around the border of your sanctuary.

Use Mood Lighting
Especially important if you plan to use your sanctuary in the evening, soft lighting will add a magical glow that is hard to resist. Try stringing outdoor café lights overhead, or place solar stake lights directly into the ground around your outdoor space.

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. Or, for an elegant breakfast spot, try using an iron café table and chairs. If sun is an issue, you may want to add a patio umbrella as well. If you enjoy the vintage hunt, try keeping an eye out at flea markets and antique fairs for garden furniture — your finds are sure to be unique, and vintage shopping is always great for the budget!

Engage All the Senses
The gurgling 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 — providing something to delight each of your senses will make your backyard spot feel like a true sanctuary.



Laura is the founder of Lolalina, an interior design and lifestyle blog devoted to decorating from the heart and living the sweet life. She lives in a 1920s cottage in Providence, R.I., with her sweet husband, adorable son, cat and three chickens.

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My husband and I have been talking about an outdoor room where we can entertan guests, dine, drink wine, and the list goes on. We have 4 kitties who are indoor kitties, but could enjoy the outdoor room from the sunroom. Can't wait to get started on this one!

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