Five Ways to Create a Natural Backyard Oasis
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. With majestic mountain ranges, rivers, lakes and streams, and the rugged coast all within driving distance, escaping urban life is relatively easy. But even so, isn’t it nice when you can just escape to your own backyard?
If your backyard is feeling less like an inviting oasis here are five tips to add some natural beauty and tranquility into your landscape.
- Decorate your yard with a variety of plants. Use a mix of perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, and trees to create a lush backdrop full of interesting textures, colors, and shapes. Arrange them in groupings to create natural pathways and outdoor rooms, or soften the edges of your hardscapes and lawn. Stagger bloom times and mix in plants with evergreen foliage, colorful bark, or winter blooms to create year-round interest.Hint: Native plants are naturally adapted to our climate and will generally be easier to maintain year-round. Native plants also attract native beneficial insects, pollinators, and wildlife.
- Incorporate natural stone elements. Large boulders, stone, and river rock can be used as accents or focal points in your yard, adding color and texture. Lining pathways, lawns, and flower beds with stones will help define the space and add another element of style befitting a natural aesthetic. And the bonus… rocks are low maintenance requiring little if any attention once in place.
- Add water. Whether it’s a small pond, a meandering stream, a waterfall, or a simple bubbler, adding a water feature to your yard will lend an air of peace and tranquility to your backyard oasis. For a more natural look, use stone materials. You might even want to create a water garden complete with native water plants like Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar polysepalum) or Arrowheads (Sagittaria latifolia).If you have something grander in mind, consider a natural stone swimming pool surrounded by lush plantings and a travertine, basalt, or slate flagstone patio.
- Use natural elements to create pathways. Break up expanses of lawn with natural pathways that lead to the different areas of your yard. Pathways can be as simple as stepping stones or more defined with a wide variety of natural materials including wood planks, crushed gravel, and stones. Interlocking pavers with the texture of natural slate are another great option offering design flexibility while delivering both lasting durability and a natural aesthetic. Walkable ground covers and even moss can also be used in pathways.
- Create outdoor rooms and private spaces. Outdoor rooms are an excellent way to define different areas of your yard and can be created in a number of ways. Pergolas, fencing, stone walls, even plants can all be used to define the space and provide privacy. The “floor” of your outdoor room can also be made up of a variety of natural materials including stone pavers, crushed rock or gravel, wood, ground covers, and more.As you are creating your backyard oasis, keep in mind how you want to use the space—a quiet spot for meditation and relaxation, a place to entertain guests, or maybe an outdoor dining room for family gatherings—and incorporate the elements that support the functionality.
Consult with a landscape professional who can help you design the backyard of your dreams and help you select all the natural elements to complete your private oasis. The design experts at Landscape East & West have been transforming bland urban yards into beautiful backyard retreats in the Greater Portland Metro area for more than forty years. For more ideas, visit our gallery or contact us today to start planning your backyard oasis.