Stuck at home for the foreseeable future? Welcome to the club. If you’re used to spending summers going on lots of vacations and outdoor adventures, this summer may be a bit of a departure. Yes, some places are reopening in spite of the continued presence of COVID-19, but for those who remain cautious, aren’t able to travel, or live in places with ongoing lockdowns, summer adventures may be a lot more limited. So you may now be turning to your own yard for your outdoor oasis and reprieve from the stresses of life in the coming months.
If that’s you, here are some tips and tricks for creating an affordable at-home oasis in your own backyard:
Add Elements for Peace
Does the gentle sound of flowing water bring you ease? Add a little fountain to your yard or patio! You’ll be instantly calmed every time you step outside to enjoy your yard. If water isn’t your thing, consider what makes you feel most at peace. If you like to read outside, prioritize comfortable seating. If you like sunbathing, set up a great spot to catch some rays.
Flowers and Plants for the Win
Having plants around is great on a ton of levels. Plants and flowers make people happier, it’s been shown by science. If you have a yard, plant flowering bushes or other plants you enjoy. On a deck, try planting flowers and herbs in cute pots and placing them on railings or tables. Surrounding yourself with beauty (especially if it also smells good!) will bring an extra level of tranquility to your space.
What better way to feel like you’re out in nature and not in your own backyard than to let nature join you. There is something incredibly pleasant and peaceful about sitting in your yard and observing the antics and lives of animal visitors. Put in some bird feeders and a bird bath. Don’t drive away squirrels–they’re just hungry creatures like the rest of us! Plant nectar-rich flowers for butterflies and bees. There are tons of easy ways to be wildlife-friendly.
Furnish for Comfort
If you want your yard to be an oasis, that means you’ll have to want to spend time there. Get super comfy furniture that’s outdoor-friendly. A cushy couch or lounge chair is a great start. Add a patio umbrella to get nice shade. Include a little table where you and loved ones can enjoy meals. One trick for doing all of this on a budget is shopping on Facebook Marketplace! Crazy as it sounds, if you can’t head to thrift shops or antique stores, you can find really great outdoor furnishings on Facebook, all very affordably and nearby.
Plan for Fun Activities
Make your oasis a fun place to hang out. Get a projector and screen and host outdoor movie nights. Add some large yard games you can play with family and friends. A fire pit or fire table will get you out in the yard more often. You can even set up a tent and camp out in your own oasis.
Upcycle and Decorate Like You Would Indoors
Just because it’s outdoors doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate! Your deck is the perfect place to beautify. Add water-resistant wall decor. Put down a beautiful outdoor rug. Hang some pretty string lights or lanterns. It’s all about the little touches and getting creative.
Annie Burdick is a writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon, but transplanted from the Midwest. She also works as a community inclusion specialist for adults with disabilities. Previously she's edited and written for magazines, websites, books, and small businesses, on an absurdly wide range of topics. She spends the rest of her time reading, eating good food, and finding new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.