If you’re like most people, you spend more time at home than anywhere else. Your backyard is a natural extension of your home, and should therefore be your first destination when searching for a place to unwind. What could be more ideal than escaping the hustle and bustle of the city to the private oasis of your Oyster Bay, NY, backyard? Here are four landscaping ideas to help you create a relaxing backyard where you’ll be excited to enjoy your free time:
An Inviting Patio
Think of a patio as an extension of your living space: It can be designed to become a welcoming gathering place for friends and family—or just for you, when you’re looking to relax. A landscape designer will consider the style of your home as well as your lifestyle when designing a patio that you’ll want to use often and that fits in with the size and shape of your yard. What are some elements to consider? Just as it does indoors, adjustable lighting can be used to set the mood, to allow for flexibility in how you use your outdoor living room—it can be made brighter for relaxing with a good book or dimmer for a gathering of close friends. The transition from the patio’s solid features can be made to seem seamless with the use of nearby plant beds. For a noticeably large patio, a more intimate feel can be created through the use of retaining walls to divide the space or paver borders to close in the expanse of repeated pavers.
A Fire Pit
Nothing will add warmth to your backyard, both literally and figuratively, like a fire pit. If you’re planning on hosting guests outdoors, a glowing fire will instantly create ambiance and provide a source of light as dusk fades into night. Fire pits can be integrated within the size and shape of your current yard, and can be scaled to your preference to accommodate a small family or as many as a couple of dozen guests. A fire pit can also be partially recessed into the ground or elevated at the center of a stand-alone seating area, giving you multiple options depending on the nature of your space.
A Water Feature
The sound of gently bubbling water is ideal for setting a mood of peacefulness and tranquility. A fountain can be the perfect feature if you’re looking to enjoy the benefits of flowing water and are working within a limited area. If space permits, a pond can revolutionize both the look and the feel of your backyard. Whether large or small, ponds can be constructed to fit a variety of yard designs, and can incorporate features such as fountains, waterfalls, underwater lighting, and even stone bridges. Many ponds are constructed using natural stone bottoms, and can be customized any number of ways, depending on your preferences, including by depth and width. You can even create a pond that will sustain its own ecosystem, complete with aquatic plants, goldfish, or koi, which may inspire you to incorporate a seating area into your pond design.
A Gazebo or Other Outdoor Structure
Whether attached to a patio or as a standalone feature farther away from the house, an outdoor structure such as a gazebo, pergola, or trellis provides numerous benefits. Certain plants such as roses and vines need a trellis or lattice to support their growth structure, and the two can be combined to create a semi-secluded seating area with natural shade cover. For larger yards, a gazebo can be used to create distinct “areas” within the yard, helping open spaces feel cozier and more inviting.